I'd like to begin this blog by asking our readers three simple questions, which are:
1) Your colleague accuses you of spilling company secrets. What would you do?
a) Say something back
b) Leave the place
c) Don't say anything and hope your co-worker leaves the place
2) What will you do if you confront a bear?
b) Fight back
c) Play dead
3) Your team member Sam calls you at 9 AM to let you know that he can't attend the critical customer meeting as he must visit the grocery store today at the same time, what will you do?
a) Approve his absence
b) Decline the request
So, what happened within you when I asked these three questions?
Going back to the timeline of history, we all know about 13.5 billion years ago, the matter and energy appeared, which in turn gave birth to physics & chemistry, followed by the formation of Earth and then the emergence of organisms. Today humans transcend the boundaries of planet Earth while we fear if tomorrow the humans are replaced by the super-humans.
With this history of evolution, human brains have also evolved to a greater extent. As soon as you are put into a situation, physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived event, attack, or a threat for survival.
This response is called Fight or Flight or Freeze.
Now, let us see a few virtues of humanity. Every Agile training starts off with quoting Agile/Scrum values however, how many of the participants understand the real intent of those values being in there? How many of our leaders, managers, front line employees know about the virtues of humanity?
We all know Openness, Courage, Commitment, Focus & Respect are the values. But there are a few more that we have never considered at home or at our workplace. Like,
This brings me to a point to ask all my readers, if you have faced a similar situation as I have:
a) I want to start a business and I want to do my own podcast. But life gets in my way.
b) I want to spend time with my kids after work, but these emails have to be attended to...
c) I don't know which task to prioritise today
If you have experienced a similar situation like me, then where do you think the problem is? What do you think is missing?
Personal Agility can be a possible way to work around the situation. Let’s look at it!
Peter Stevens and Maria Matarelli define Personal Agility as a simple framework for people who want to do more that matters and have more impact through their actions. In a nutshell, the Personal Agility System is:
a simple framework
six powerful questions
one weekly event
a set of tools to achieve one's Personal Agility
Pete and Maria have explained Personal Agility beautifully on their website https://personalagilityinstitute.org/
After going through their website, you may probably ask how and when do I start the journey towards achieving my Personal Agility?
There is no better time than now to embark on this journey of your Personal Agility.
The answer is NOW!
As we across the globe are affected by the Pandemic, work from home, lock-downs, this is the time we start learning something new and put it to action.
When I think of Personal Agility, I think about these four steps:
Let me take you through each step one by one:
E – Emotional Agility
It is all about free’ing yourselves from any entanglements, being adaptable to change which can make you strong, resilient and confident, and thrive in Work and Life.
M – Mental Agility
Mental Agility refers to mental quickness and sharpness of an individual.
P – Physical Agility
We all understand, there is no silver bullet for you to stay healthy all the time. Investing in your personal well-being by taking time to rest, eating food that energises you, drinking water and getting plenty of fresh air and exercise, will put a spring in your step.
Decide your way of doing things. Be it a Scrum, Kanban or a set of good practices that work for you. Just have an approach in place.
This is my approach; I use Kanban as my approach to achieve my personal agility at home.
So, what you see from this blog is that I've talked about the Fight, Flight & Freeze responses, the virtues of humanity and now the Personal Agility. Now let’s see how they are interconnected.
The EMPA formula sits right in the middle of these three pieces. If you go back to the question, If your team member Sam calls you at 9 AM..... the answer that you had in mind comes from the virtues from within you like Empathy and Compassion.
Likewise, if a web development firm had a target to build a $100 million business, but due to the current COVID-19 situation, they know they could only achieve $85 million. Is that acceptable to you?
In this situation you can really have two options:
Option 1: The outcome won’t change but actions to achieve that can change - like work for extra hours a day. This can be a Fight response to the situation.
Option 2: Redefine the outcome to be something different, not the same like before, but acceptable. This can be a Flight response to the situation.
So, this is where your human elements of caring, compassion and empathy comes alive in you, which makes you a true human being.
A few tips to be a human that just be a human being during these COVID-19 times and beyond. I'd like to categorize these under the below five headers:
Have set work timings even if you are working from home to avoid burnouts
Connect with your families & friends
Take a break in between your workday to walk your pets, take your children to parks etc.
Keep Friday post lunch time open for a virtual catch-up over drinks - don’t talk about work, talk about families, pets, children, hobbies etc.
Help plan the tasks for your team
Prioritise them using priority mappings (as explained within Personal Agility Framework) or using any other visual information radiators
Offer help to team members, lend a hand, plan for contingencies
Plan for timely breaks & meals
Plan your expenses & finances
Humility is the key, be modest
Be open to ideas from the team and Embrace them
Be open and transparent
Voluntarily talk to people and don’t wait for them to come to talk to you
We all are in this together. Be compassionate towards your fellow human being (be it your team or your family member).
I am because we are!
Ubuntu exactly means this. We think we operate individually in this world we are living in, which is not true. We are all intrinsically connected with each other and all the actions that you perform affects others and even the mother nature in many ways.
So, as the great leader MK Gandhi once stated, "Be the change you want to see in the world". You should walk the talk. Being a human is more important as human beings.
This blog is from my recent talk at 4IR Webinar series and Future of Work.
Sri - Your Agile Amigo