To achieve a goal you have never achieved before you must do things you have never done before ~Stephen Covey
What is so inspiring? All of us already know that in order to do something new, we are expected to do something different.
Well, the answer is “FISH discover water last”. I will write a separate blog to explain why fish discover water last. Lets find out the relation between 4DX and the above quote.
The 4DX or The four disciplines of execution is designed to create a winnable game. Very simple and easy to understand while tricky to implement and sustain because this requires us to work differently than what we do.
Steve Jobs quoted “Ideas are worthless without execution”. It is easy to say that someone “stole your idea” but the truth of the matter is that ideas are worthless until they’re brought to life and executed
The 4 Disciplines of execution – A wonderful book written by Mr. Sean Covey where he talked about how focusing on goals that matter and further how to win the game by step by step process. You can be very well assured that this really works with more than 1500 organizations that have adopted it and seen wonderful results.
In order to understand the disciplines, let’s understand the two key concepts
A leader can influence two of the items when it comes to producing results.
Strategy and Ability to execute that strategy. Which one you think leader struggle with more – I don’t have to ask as it’s obvious.
The answer is the ability to execute the strategy.
In case if you are MBA or spend time in learning management – What did you were taught? “It’s Strategy”
No wonders great strategies fail – Now the question is why people fail to execute the goals – It’s because of whirlwind. Whirlwind – These are existing work and urgent tasks that need attention now. For example – Management reports, KPI, Status report, reviewing code, 1x1s, and the list goes on.
On contrary to that there is another concept called WIG or wildly important goals (WIG) which are nothing but “new activities” and “Innovation” which affects the future success
If you closely observe you would find whirlwind are urgent items because it affects today while WIGs are extremely important items that affect the future. When there is a battle between Urgency and Importance, obviously urgency will win.
Now, let’s understand the 4 step process to make a balance between your WIG and Whirlwind.
Discipline of Focus
Ask yourself if everything else remained the same, what is the one thing you could change that would have the greatest impact.
If you have 4-10 goals – you achieve 1. if you go with more than 10, you typically achieve none. Interestingly if you have 2-3 goals, the chances of achieving them all are very high. Sounds interesting, isn’t it?
To define a WIG; Identify 1. Where are you now, 2. Where you want to be 3. & By When
Or you define the starting line, finish line, and deadline
Focus on your wildly important goals
Focus on less to accomplish more
There are always good ideas than the capacity to execute
Focus on what not how
Inability to reject good ideas
This is the disciplines of focus and the first step for creating a winnable game
Discipline of leverage
The second discipline is to act on the lead measure. In order to understand this, we need to understand lead and lag measures
Lag Measure – Lag measures measure results towards your wildly important goal. They’re easy to measure but hard to influence.
Lead Measures – Most high impact things you must do to achieve your goal.
If we take the same weight loss example, I want to lose 10 kg by December. The 10kg is the lag measure. The lead measure would be cutting 100 calories a day and working our 5 times a week.
Using Lag Measures without Lead Measures is dangerous. They only measure the result of your goal. Lead Measures can influence the chance of success in achieving your goal. They are even predictive of success.
Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
Think of a bunch of players playing a cricket match on the ground
People and teams play differently when they are keeping score, and the right kind of scoreboards motivate the players to win. Great teams know at every moment whether they are winning or losing. They must know, otherwise, they don’t know what they have to do to win the game. We need to publish the score regularly and that should be visible to everyone. The Agile “Information radiators” plays a critical role here.
Discipline 1, 2, and 3 are nothing but a formula for creating a winnable game. Discipline 4 is how we play the game hence it’s the most important activity we need to focus on
Create a Cadence of accountability
Discipline 4 is to create a cadence of accountability – It’s all about regular and frequent team meetings that focus on the wildly important goals. You should remember
This should not last more than 20 to 30 minutes
The meeting should be held at the same time and same day of the week. Consistency is critical to have a sustained cadence of accountability.
The whirlwind never allowed in the WIG session no matter, how urgent it may seem.
The focus of the session is to make team members hold each other accountable. In this meeting, we would have answers to three things
What did we accomplish last week?
Did that move our lead or lag measure or need to course correct
What are 1-2 things we should do to push the lead measure which would push the lag measure?
The Behaviors play a critical role while ensuring 4 steps
Establish a sense of urgency (Kotter’s law of change) – The constant sense of danger to survive or innovative leadership can bring in urgency. Precisely you are expected to challenge the status quo and push employees to no longer be complacent.
Change is inevitable – We need to realize that change is mandatory but you don’t need to be perfect. Have you heard of leaders’ plans to plan and further plan – to achieve perfection but the same focus is not there in execution. Don’t be perfect. Perfection is a fallacy. Start with a good plan and move towards perfection.
Take an economic view – It’s tough to say no to good ideas. Use the Pareto principle which is 20% of ideas will generate 80% of success. Pick what is important and narrow your focus. The human brain is not programmed to multitask. Prioritize looking at the benefits of goal to the organization and not with emotions
Don’t make your Whirlwind to be a WIG – Don’t get so busy that you are 100% reactive. 20% of your time must be focused on doing WIG then only you can make a difference and that would result in organizational success.
The decision should go where the knowledge exists – Unless a decision is one time, makes a significant financial impact, move that to your team. That would help you to move faster and at the same time help your directs to grow in their career.
Intrinsic motivation – This is one of my favorites. This is from the book Drive written in 2009. If you want to bring the highest level of motivation to your team, you should focus on three core factors – Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
Autonomy– people are trusted and encouraged to take ownership of their own work and skill development.
Mastery– people see no limits to their potential and are given the tools they need to continue to improve their skills.
Purpose– people are encouraged to use their skills to achieve a “greater” purpose – for instance, getting involved in a “good cause” that they are passionate about.
Money doesn’t motivate people though not giving enough money demotivates them.
Credit Game – Don’t fall into trap of getting the credit. Have you observed people want to sign up for every initiative just for “Face Value”? As a leader, you should discourage that and moreover lift people up based on the outcome they produce. It is very easy to develop bias because somebody has said great words about your people or your direct has taken up great sessions. Once you are focused on the outcome, people would start getting out of the credit game. Focus on the outcome and not output.
A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.
Create short term wins – Remember principle #3 – Keeping a compelling scoreboard – It’s imperative to create short term wins. Celebrate your wins – Celebrate success and celebrate failure but ensure that you keep moving towards your goal.
Embrace the feedback – If you are wrong, accept mistakes. If you get feedback, listen, and act. Don’t shoot the messenger instead embrace your messenger. Feedback is the best way to improve faster.
Relentless improvement – Last but not least, continually improve. The relentless improvement is mandatory in the current competing priorities. You can go up the ladder or go down. You can never stay where you are today. Create an environment where people are encouraged to learn, read, and contribute. In fact, go back and read the book which will be given to you. Make sure the team read this before you start following 4 DX in your team.
I never knew that upbringing of a toddler will be that much laborious and tedious task furthermore requires maximum utilization of your saved energy, patience and quick decision making to say “Yes” and “No “all the time.
But today I was in so much hurry to wind up all my routine household chores and sending my son back to school, the reason behind the lady who is one among my favorite female personality I have ever met and her name is “Anupama”. Whose meaning in Sanskrit is “Incomparable”,” excellent” and she has truly justified with her name. Anupama’s presence in my life is sometimes as a mentor, many times as a true companion, and all the time as my motivational guru or speaker with whom I never hesitate to share anything yet. Though she is quite older to me, her symbolic big brown eyes on a radiant oval-shaped face and thick long waist-length hair are peculiar oomph attributes to enhance her impeccable personality.
She reached my place at the expected time. I gave her a warm welcome and took her inside the living room where she made herself relaxed on my blue color cozy sofa fully loaded with big cushions. I could not stop gazing at her until she intervened by asking to have a glass of water. I just moved to the kitchen like a jet speed and brought some homemade snacks, fruits, water and tea whose preparation was already done prior to her arrival at my place as I don’t want any interruptions while having our conversation. While placing all the stuff on the table, I was amazed to see that she is still smiling with “breath a sigh of relief” as if she has accomplished some herculean task. She is good enough to sense my rising inquisitiveness and reverted “It’s good to postpone sometime!!”Now this reply was more bewildered before I could say something she continued, “I knew it Prem is a wonderful guy”. Now this time my astonishment has reached a peak just like mercury of BP instrument suddenly rises up while measuring. Before I utter a word she gasped a long breath and started…….
Prem was my neighbor and I always treated him like my younger brother who also loved to see dreams and thought of their fulfillment. His cheerful smile and “Happy go lucky” behavior made him different in the crowd. He had always been a meritorious student as well as a good athlete built up who hardly skipped any extracurricular activity organized by our society or his school. His parents admitted him at one among the famous and prestigious school in Mumbai whose handsomely fabricated fees was more than sufficient for the livelihood of three to four middle-class family for an entire year. Initially, all went goody-goody like a typical Bollywood masala movie where everything gets changed once the villain’s entry is made. There was a villain in Prem’s life also but who that I would tell you later on.
Prem’s father who had been associated with a Private Bank as Managing Director post and earning hefty package with lucrative Bonus and a substantial amount of power and perquisites. Prem’s mother is a practicing lawyer in the High Court and trustee of an NGO which is mainly working for socially deprived women and small kids who are abandoned by their parents. As per my knowledge she had been working on high profile cases with an intense legal issue. Prem’s parents had been a consistent topper of their batches and doing very well in their individual profession. Prem was a very loving and adorable kid who never troubled so much to their family and always spread a beautiful smile on his face. He quite often visited my home whenever his parents were out of town regarding their work, to have some chit chat with me and playing with my pet “Tiger” a German shepherd dog. However I never found him complaining about his parents regarding their busy schedules and unavailability on various occasions like his Birthday, Parents meet at school or Annual function. Although they kept on enquiring towards his academic performance, attentiveness in the class, and most important the “Mark Sheet”. My flat was adjacent to his flat on the 22nd story segregated by thick wall thus I could hear frequent sounds of reprimanding and screaming from his flat which assuming their personal matter I usually ignored. In our duplex apartment, there is a beautiful sea-facing balcony with a sight of green hills and waterfalls in rains. It has always been my favorite place to have morning tea and sometimes evening also, as I usually reach home late due to work pressure. We both had shared the same balcony with concrete partition and now it is fully covered with overspread of Money Plant branches. There was always some mixed exotic fragrance of flowers flowing from their balcony to my balcony and soothed my mind and body, I must say good fragrance not only works like a tranquilizer but responsible for physical well being also maybe that’s why aromatherapy is so much prevailing nowadays. Prem’s mother told me about his fondness for flowers and very often brings different flower plants at home. But I would call such practice as a passion bringing great rejoice and ecstasy on his face even he asked me also to adorn my balcony with some variety of flowers something that he called Petunia, Geranium and, and Fuchsia. On the contrary, I find myself fumbling while pronouncing those flower species but I purposely turned him down by saying tiger will spoil them because I don’t want any issue hampering his studies and gave a clue to his parents. Till 9th standard, all went well but the moment he promoted to 10th situation got altogether altered. Prem’s parents started enforcing immense pressure and strict rules to be followed pertaining to his studies. From the beginning of the year to the end, he spent most of the time in a coaching institute, self-study and confining himself in his room.
Finally, Board exams were over and Prem’s Mother came to my place with Box of sweets, she told me Prem has scored 85% in Board though she was disappointed with his performance in science and maths who were the culprit of escaping his overall aggregate to cross the border of 90%. Eventually, he had been forced to opt Science & maths stream in 11th standard to achieve a sheer dream of their esteemed parents to become an IIT engineer. But it is said, “Reluctance and apathy will only take you frustration and anguishment” that’s what had seen with Prem now. A volcano had started forming inside him and waiting for an opportunity to erupt. Now I barely got a chance to see Prem or interacted with him. But even those few acquaintances were enough to assume his deep pain. Afterward, I was also busy with my next seminar which was going to be held in a different city and simultaneously was badly tied up with my New Book Launch. However whole year had passed and as it was anticipated he got marks on a threshold to move into the next class. On the other hand, as per my information, Prem’s parents maintained good repo with school authority and staff which could be the reason he had not been failed. Now again the battle started with the 12th Board exam and I still could not understand why Board exams are over-exaggerated and overstressed by us. From now he was completely different Prem whom I knew earlier. His rugged hair, puffy eyes, and dull face were indicating like he has not taken a good sleep for long. Parent’s pressure and expectations were increasing day by day as if he was going to fight the IIIrd world war. Contrarily my work commitments and continuous seminar made me so engrossed that I have almost forgotten about Prem. Finally, Board exams were over and result declaration Day arrived as expected he got failed in science& maths subjects. Although the result was not shared with anyone but loud scolding noise mixed with frustration and muffled whimper revealed everything. I saw Prem’s parents leaving home in anger and agony. However, I could not dare to go to Prem’s house and console him but trust me I really wanted to meet him once that time. Somewhere in-between I was also feeling bad for not look into this matter conscientiously, which has got now worsened. Meanwhile, I just went to my balcony to have some fresh air holding along with my newspaper. Instantaneously I could hear deep mourning and weeping sound coming from Prem’s Balcony and made me anxious. Hurriedly I arranged my coffee table close to the wall and adjust the chair on the table so that I could peep out in his balcony what’s wrong is happening. But the other side was frenetic what I had seen was completely unimaginable. Prem was half stood on the railing and bent down his upper half body but what he was looking for was my biggest concern. I am sure he is not doing this stunt casually that’s for sure and this sudden event made frozen my blood instantly as if the temperature drastically went down below ‘zero’. For a second my eyes were remained wide open with the half-open mouth I wanted to scream but somehow managed to keep mute myself. It was pretty clear Prem was trying to commit suicide and any wrong step could have been fatal. Fortunately, I have had a habit of carrying my Phone and this recalled me to make a call.I dialed his number silently and his new white color sleek pattern I-phone 7plus started ringing which was gifted by his father last month on his birthday. My heart was throbbing so badly that I could feel the heartbeat and seemed it would jump out at any time and get burst. It was my first live confrontation with a person committing suicide thus it was obvious. I was just hoping he could pick my call for once plz….
Since childhood, I always love to play Rubix cube where you have to try different permutations and combinations to resolve it similarly that “keep on trying” continuously coming into my mind. I did not want to give up and just tried, tried, and tried. Prem was standing like a Bungee Jumper who was about to take a dive but it was not for fun not for an adrenaline rush and not for excitement. He just wanted to run away from all his grief and problem, he wanted to end up his life and embrace death forever. However I reached on 7th attempt to redial his number at the same time he leaned ahead, Oh no he was jumping as I thought but against my scary imagination he raised his hand to take out his phone from the rear pocket of jeans and stammered “Hello”…
I replied casually, Hey “How are you Prem” and in spite of waiting for his response meanwhile jumped on another question, how are you doing??
As if I wanted to delay his action by keeping him busy in conversation and then there was a deep silence like “the calm before the storm”. After a long pause, he broke out with sobbing and crying but I let it go away this “rupture of damn sufferance”.
“Didi, I can’t take it anymore. I am fed up with this humiliation and frustration. Please tell me, How many times I should confess that I don’t understand science maths, I don’t want to become an engineer and I really hate to do what I don’t like and I am not good at that. I have lost my patience and willpower both by trying, trying, and trying harder. Every failure is worse than the previous one and wipes out my all efforts and now my mind and my body both gave up, I am feeling so hurt from my soul so there is no point to live in this materialistic world, what’s the point to survive. All he conveyed in one breathe. I have never seen such a massive conviction at this adolescent age. The most saddening part was that his parents still did not understand his hardship.”
Now it was my turn to speak and I did not want to let it go away though I had to be very careful. I replied calmly, Prem I truly understood your resentment and I will not take much of your time. Just give me 30 seconds and in those 30 seconds if you don’t find justifiable to survive then carry on…
I knew what I said could be dangerous but I knew that even if I succeeded to escape him, for now, this will not be an end because till the time your heart is filled with misery your brain is trapped by frustration such step could be reversed again.
He was quite ok with our deal and murmured, go ahead. I felt great and continued, I will ask you three easy questions and an answer should be given either “YES” or “No”, no complications anymore.
He nodded and I started with the first question, do you want to die?
He said, “Yes”
The second question, what if all your problems get resolved then still you prefer to die??
“No”, He said (as if he wants to say who the hell wants to die when he has no problem at all)
The third question and the last, I would resolve all your troubles but you have to keep faith in me, Will you??
He reluctantly first then said unwillingly, “Yes”…..
Yes, that’s what I want from him, keeping my small victory hiding from him.
Ok, Prem, you have to abide by your answer before moving to any next action. Now please open the door and let me in your house now. He was still wondering what has happened and why he is bothered to listen to me but indulging his thought in another direction, this time I said more loudly, open the door, Prem.
He said, Ok..Come and the time taken to reach towards his flat was merely two to three seconds.
For instance, I felt like crossing the railway track at the same time train is ahead of me to crush me down. I stared at him, he was totally messing with red swollen eyes overfilled with tears and he was still whimpering. Without utter a word I directly went to the kitchen and brought a glass of water. While holding the glass his hands were still shivering but he could manage to gulp few sips in one breath. I asked him to sit and then I said, listen, Prem, I know you faced immense hardship which caused you pain frustration and hatred but the path you have chosen to get rid over that was not correct rather this will only lead you and your family to great devastation. Instead of taking too much of your time and giving you life lesson speech let’s have a simple deal. A Three Day Deal. Furthermore waiting for his reply I kept myself continue to speak. I have some work commitments in the next three days which I want you to accomplish in the meanwhile I surely resolve all your troubles and escape you out from all these. I knew it he had no option to negotiate thus just nodded his face to say “Yes”. I told him to get ready tomorrow by 9’o clock sharp and the rest of the things will be explained by my assistant who takes care of my work schedules, meetings, and upcoming seminars.
The same day I met with Prem’s parents and explained to them the vulnerability of the situation and how to clear out from this. I had also revealed his deep interest in becoming a florist and a list of colleges which best suit their son. Initially, they were in deep shock as quite obvious I had presumed, with Prem’s drastic step. Anxiety and fear just have taken out all the courage to say something and what would have happened if I would have not intervened at the right time and stopped him. They silently provided all the approval to fulfill prem’s dream to become florist without any discussions as if they just want their son at that moment none other than anything in the world. From the other side Prem’s three-day task had begun, next day morning he came to my flat on time seemed he already prepared himself for the tasks no matter whatever it is….
I narrated in from of him, Prem you got three tasks in the following three days and how to execute, will be explained at task spot only.
After Three Days….
When I confronted Prem, He was no longer an old Prem who was completely shattered, whatever sufferings and pain he had gone through were wiped off and he was enlightened to persuade new beginning. He came forward and touched my feet with full of gratitude, tears rolled down from his cheeks and soaked my toes but this time I did not bother about his tears because he just unleashed all the negativity and agony through his tears.Didi, now I came to know why did you send me to accomplish those tasks.
“First day when I was taken at my first task spot I was surprised to see it was an old age home.I was instructed to spend a whole day there and had words with 20 people for minimum of 20 minutes and write down my experience with everyone. When I entered inside with shaky legs I could realize only I am not alone in this world who has suffered. Moreover, when I personally interacted with 20 people, I learned every person’s problem is worse than others but they never prefer to choose the path of an end or destruction. They taught me happiness is a state of mind which if you wish could exist all the time with you no matter what the damn circumstances knocking your door to bang you out. The woman there was rejected by their own families, many were sick and counting their last days but failed to steal smile on their faces and made me ashamed for a nonsensical act I was about to commit”!!!
If we would love life with all our hearts it would embrace us back. While cursing our failure and pain we forget to admire all the beautiful things which we already are blessed with. We blew ourselves in the air of negativity to throw out all positive elements of our life…..
After listening all this from Prem’s voice I felt passed with distinction marks in my exam.
“On the second day, I was headed to the orphanage where God’s beloved kids who are unfortunately physically challenged are given shelter and education. It was so heartbreaking to see that those tiny kids never let their physical deformity to dominate their happiness and liveliness. And the most mesmerizing part of my task was giving the speech on “Life and Laugh” with a mere 30 minutes preparation. I really enjoyed with kids with all my heart who taught me, most of the time while regretting what we do not have actually spoiled the fun that actually we could have. My best learning was “why can’t you just be with the flow in spite of whatever circumstances coming in front of you”.
It is truly said that,
“For every blocked path there is an open one
And for every disability, there is an ability one……
Now my ecstasy was on the seventh cloud after hearing all this. I could not resist listening to the third-day experience.
And the third day was most heartbreaking and saddening. When I was brought to meet a family.
A family who were in deep mourn and sorrow due to the tragic death of their beloved child. He had committed suicide a few months back and left their family members in endless trauma. After meeting and interacting with them I actually realized what a foolish mistake I was about to do and I am fortunate enough that you emerged on the right time and saved my life, saved my family from the pain they would suffer. I don’t have words to show my gratitude and he just bowed down to touch my feet.I patted his shoulder and said prem this just the beginning and you have to go very far… “Chuckles”.
I have some surprise for you now, one more surprise, He exclaimed. I handed over the envelope with
List of floriculture diploma course colleges in Mumbai and said, I have shortlisted few colleges and had a discussion with your parents and obtained their approval to go ahead. He laughed joyously and hugged me tightly. Now you can fly over your dreams and grab them one by one.
After 6 Years…
Prem had completed his Diploma course in floriculture with distinction marks and persuaded his masters also. Simultaneously he opened his florist shop also where an extensive range of flowers, bouquets, arrangements, and cost-effective flower gift basket are sold as well as delivered. He enhanced his services from office decoration, seminars, Business opening to Shop decoration, weddings and various festivals. His mother told me that response is so good that he got tied up with big corporates, Hotels, and Temples also for decoration and regular supply of flowers.
“It is said that creative minds and devoted spirits never needed to be nurtured to find their path”
Same I was seeing with Prem.
Later on, Prem initiated Waste Management Mitigation by his own efforts to curb all the waste flowers and leaves leftovers remained after pooja, decoration, and celebration. Its general practice of maximum Indians to immerse flower residues into the water or keeping underneath a tree after offered it to god or used in holy rituals. Prem’s this new thought not only be helpful to prevent all this but promote the use of waste and recycling process also.
His new mission tagline says, “You take flowers from us, we take waste from you”.
Whatever the waste was accumulated from people is being used to form compost which is an organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming.
At the simplest level, the process of composting requires making a heap of wet organic matter known as green waste (leaves, flowers) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Compost is rich in nutrients. It is used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil.
Initially, he started with his area to collect all flowers, fruit scraps and plants waste to make compost using Hot Compost Method. And the most significant thing came out from this compost formation was people here stopped immersing flowers in the pond, lake after being offered to god. This idea is so blossomed up that he started getting orders from relatives neighbors and friends for their personalized gardens, society parks and at home to flourish their plants and enhance the productivity of soil because compost is a great material for garden soil.
His earnings got doubled by selling it and that led to encouraging him to open another branch. Meanwhile, he got married to a beautiful girl and blessed with two adorable twin daughters. He had bought land outside Mumbai where large varieties of exotic flower species are grown in the supervision of well-trained staff.
Suddenly Anupama’s Phone rang and I could hear Anupama was saying Oh, Hi Prem…Yes yes, I am on my way to your place don’t worry I will be on time. She hung up and said its Prem’s third branch inauguration is there in your locality and that is the purpose of my visit today and I thought we will also have some talk J
It’s his personal desire that the Ribbon cutting ceremony should be done by me and inaugurate the opening of his new branch. We both laughed in rejoice and promise each other to meet again soon.
When I went downstairs to drop Anupama, a carbon black color Audi was waiting to take her to the inaugural function which was sent by Prem.
I must say Prem was fortunate enough out of those thousands of youngsters who hardly got a second chance by life to relive again. As per recent estimates in 2013 alone, 2471suicides (https://scroll.in/article/694364/) and in 2014 alone, 8,032 student suicides were reported, out of which, in only 30% of these cases, failure in exams were attributed in the country. A common cause for concern is the pressure from parents to do well in national board examinations, especially for class XIIth, before finishing school. As scores in these exams often determine college admissions and subsequent employment opportunities, students aged 16-18 are often subjected to undue pressure at home to succeed.
Major causes of students suicide in India are Poor Education System, Forced career choices and lack of speaking up in front of parents’ guardians or friends.
I still don’t understand why Parents, across all income groups, are petrified about letting their child do anything less than engineering or other conventional courses. Awareness about new subjects may be there, but acceptability is missing. Arts is still considered a poor cousin of science subjects, even though it offers plenty of interesting and even well-paying career options. Just a little out-of-the-box thinking is needed. We need to allow our children to dream.”
Have you guys ever plant a tree/sow seed if not then each one of you must do this beautiful activity before becoming a parent. To grow a beautiful plant a seed needs fertile soil adequate sunlight and an optimum quantity of water and pesticides to fight all the adversities to turn itself a big green tree. I am sure we all are certainly aware of this fact then how come we forget the same one to be followed while nurturing our own child. The biggest misery of life is while knowing everything we tend to pretend ourselves and our sheer ignorance and our own selfishness cause major pitfall in our child’s growing seeds of dreams and unfulfilled desires. Please don’t set too many expectations and pressure which further carried away to your kid as a burden. Being a Parent you must have decided something good for your kid but while keep putting this on their shoulder making sure you don’t miss something extraordinary which was about to come from them.
“Wonderful things are not created rather cultivated and nurtured by Brilliant People
Who are indeed lucky enough to follow their dreams only”
We all hear that Agile teams need to be self-organized. However there is not enough talked about what it means by self-organized. In this article, we will discuss the various qualities of self-organized teams.
High levels of personal responsibility
Self-organized team members are highly responsible individuals. They value the importance of their contribution to the overall success of the project. Because of this they do things on time, be available, and develop great relationship with other team members. When things are not happening as required, they take responsibility and do their part to get things done.
Put team first Team work
Being organized also mean being able to see the bigger picture. Self-organized team members always put team before them. Individuals have great respect for a combined democratic team decision than an ego-centric decision.
Openly ask and provide help Help me
Everyone is a learner and beginner before being an expert. So self-organized team help other team members for their short comings and also openly ask for help. They coach their fellow members and give them time to improve. As there are no shaming/blaming any one can ask for help without fear of being criticized.
Hold each other accountable
Pointing the finger
Self-organized teams are mostly a closed group and they have high levels of emotional security with each other. So they “call spade a spade” openly and bring up crucial topics and iron them out sooner. This not only happens at the same org level but they have no fear to hold a superior accountable.
High standards Its a Promise
They agree upon nothing less than the best. Team members agree on a common set of standards which they continuously improve. They seek advice from industry veterans, architects, managers and anyone who can help improve themselves and the team.
NO managers required
They understand the strength and weakness of not only themselves but also other fellow team members. By respectfully and openly talking and holding each other accountable, team gets better at their game. Also self-organizing teams pick and choose who gets into their team. They often interview new individuals and sets very high expectations from the day one. Instead of managers, self-organized teams rather require a coach who will guide them from outside.
Maturity not only comes with age, but also with the company of highly mature individuals. Self-reinforcement of high standards and accountability makes them mature and the team members self-esteem is often very high.
Enjoy the company
Last but not the least, self-organized team enjoy their time together. They combine specific business meetings at various places where they enjoy the time and at the same time business gets done. They make fun, laugh, and merry together so that life becomes less stressful.
A switch from waterfall to agile project and suddenly you would start seeing whole new world. Is this shift complicated? How can I be successful as manager in agile project? How does it defer from traditional methodology? And there are many more questions which every manager who starts with agile project or managers already part of agile project come up with. Most importantly what is my ROLE? Lets explore
As a manager, when you get into a project you want to manage the day to day deliverables and processes but wait that’s a job of a scrum master, you move on to prioritize the work but that’s again product owner owns. Wow, then you jump on to assign work and get involved in day to day activities but wait again, isn’t your teams are self-organizing?
By heart, I am a software engineer. Can I code? Off course you can if you don’t have any other work and moreover you are expected to become a team member. Frustrating, well yes and no. If you are quite adamant and not ready to unlearn some of the traditional practices as manager, you would be biggest bottleneck in getting your project successful. You can’t do many things in agile while you can control everything by keeping some distance while taking complete ownership.
As a manager, I would suggest you to do the following
Motivate team – Constantly encourage your team members. Agile focus on every individual and a motivated team member can do wonders. If you are thinking of spoon feeding agile member then either the member has too many challenges or you are not a right manager.
Celebrate victories – Find an opportunity to celebrate your victories. Even if that are small as every celebration would enhance your team motivation and bring in lots of energy to system.
Focus on business priorities – Constantly focus on your business priorities, contribute in vision, drive vision by ensuring work gets done, keep abreast with business demand. Learn domain and make your team gain expertise over that. Build a model to train new joiners quickly. Encourage collaboration and encourage teams to discuss the business.
Be open – This is one of the biggest challenge I see in this industry. You don’t want to hurt anybody and with that you always go with giving positive feedback. Remember the areas of improvement and constructive feedback helps an individual to grow. You are supporting short term growth by killing his/her long term growth as well as organization priorities. You need to constantly strive to build your team and focus on every individual to be successful. More you focus on people, better off your results are. Rate your people as they are. You need to motivate your high performers and bring you low performers to get better. Always remember that you need to get better constantly.
Generate Metrics and constantly monitor them – The world is not perfect place. Teams which are doing amazing, may go down. Constantly monitor productivity, prod issues, defect rate and whatever is important in your organization.
Trust team and encourage the culture of trusting people – In my experience, if you have an average team, and that team trust each other and ready to support each other, they would end up doing much more and better compare to your star team where you see conflicts. I have seen multiple examples in past where the whole team gel extremely well and the result you see are outstanding. Not just project did the best in those scenarios while the whole team has gotten bigger rewards and great careers. The dedication to team result in delivering values. This holds true all the times.
Invest in resources – Hire best talent. Further send them for trainings, Encourage cross KT culture, plan their travel if their teams are in different country city, constantly keep in touch with them and make them feel that the org does care for them. Many a times in bigger organization individuals are lost while it is primary responsibility of a project manager to ensure they are being taken care of. One of the tool I used heavily is to ask individuals their aspirations and constantly seek opportunities to fulfill them. You may not be able to do it all but creating a path is kind of easy. In fact, many a times I see individual aspirations are so easy that it can be fulfilled in no time and little effort.
Process improvements – Let scrum master handles processes while constantly review to see what improvements can be made further. Improving on test coverage, adhering to standard practices, encouraging people to take risks etc. For instance you see all retrospective items are great while after a meeting we don’t do anything about it (Unfortunately most agile team has this challenge). Well, here you can have action items and ask team to assign that. The next retrospective should start with older action items. You can always work with scrum master to get processes better.
1×1 Meetings – This is very powerful tool. As a manager, I would strongly recommend you to keep talking to team members. Appreciate them for their great work. Constantly provide feedback on areas they should get better. Understand their perspective and identify action items for you. Make yourself available for team all the times. I am being often told by managers coming from traditional model that don’t be easily available for your team as you may end up doing more and people won’t value you. I am completely against of that idea. I think you should meet up your team as much as you can.
Empowerment – Find right people and empower them to do certain things. Build your next set of leaders. Trust people. If you manage multiple agile teams then build leader within each team and empower them. Practically you shouldn’t be very busy all the times. You should be available for your team as soon as possible when they need you.
Improve system – You should be constantly looking at everything in the system and find opportunities to improve them. Improving productivity, quality, trust, competence, delivery, processes and many more.
Seek challenges – The seeking challenges is always better option over embracing challenges. You should be constantly seeking challenges and building the same culture around that.
Fun place to work– Create an environment where everyone feels like coming to office. There should be lots of fun. Believe in starting your day with fun and it should be throughout. Don’t have a constraint that I would allow you to have fun when we achieve something. Although you do celebrate every victory but fun is something should be there all the times.
Always remember that things which you can do directly, that’s great while things or tasks which agile doesn’t allow you to do it, get yourself involved indirectly and get them accomplished. At the end of day, your biggest priority is make your team successful. If you can achieve that, rest all fall in place.