Friction Caused by Asymmetry

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Asymmetry(s) arise due to Language and Collaboration Distance, just to name a couple. As we go through the series, we will be sharing some powerful tools on measuring friction and asymmetry (and how to mitigate/eliminate those).

In my previous post I introduced the idea of Asymmetry and how to Win over it. This week I’m following up with a few more asymmetries that arise in any organization, primarily in the areas of Language and Collaboration Distance.

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Friction arises when people think that communication has occurred, but it hasn’t. During the span of my career, I have seen multiple times where the Business thought it had been clear in communicating with the Tech teams. And vice versa. But when the Product, Service, or Result was shown, it was clear that a miscommunication had occurred.

The communication errors are often bidirectional and/or multidirectional. The larger the effort and organization, the risk of misunderstanding each other seems exponential.

Tribal languages (i.e., the Language of Leadership, the Language of Business, the Language of Technology) create an “us vs. them” game with a “business-as-usual” result (that no one really wants).

Collaboration Distance
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The further removed teams are from one another, the greater the friction becomes due to this collaboration asymmetry. Friction can result because of competing visions (or lack of vision), varying team languages, disagreement, or even plans that are uncoordinated between the teams. The greater the distance, the greater the friction becomes. This can even lead to gridlock.

If you are attempting to scale Agile, for example, and are imposing an external structure, tools, and processes without (in parallel) addressing the leadership needed to guide the mindset journey, then your risk of failure could be in the 80-90% range (see the Surviving Scaled Agile post and video from a couple of years ago – the numbers haven’t changed).

Today’s Video
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It’s time to take it out of our books, blogs, training, and videos and start using the eighteen mindsets, included in Guerilla Leadership, today! 

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