What’s your Passion #38 – Modern Agile: Learning

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Experiment & Learn Rapidly … using the Flow Leadership Framework!

This is the final part of a 4-part series (the first two parts were written with my brother Ted, this one and the previous one are my own) that describes how the Flow Leadership Framework maps to Modern Agile and vice versa.

So far we’ve looked at:

The Flow Leadership Mindset has been building teams that learn at a high speed for 26+ years.

  • Is “rapid” sustainable and does “learning” even matter if the teams can’t use it to improve and then delight the Customer?
  • Do you know how to build teams that can immediately implement what they have learned?

Today we look at how the Flow Leadership Framework accelerates your ability to experiment and learn rapidly (we also built that in from the very start of our journey).

Modern Agile
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Modern Agile defines experimenting and learning in the following way:

  • “You can’t make people awesome or make safety a prerequisite if you aren’t learning. We learn rapidly by experimenting frequently. We make our experiments “safe to fail” so we are not afraid to conduct more experiments. When we get stuck or aren’t learning enough, we take it as a sign that we need to learn more by running more experiments.”

In Flow we use the iterative 4D Model (Define, Distill, Deliver and Drive) as our accelerator to learn faster.

Without exception, we have observed that somewhere between Deliver and Drive someone (most often an executive) usually comes up with a statement along the lines of “oh by the way, can we make this one ‘small’ change (i.e. innovation)?”

That is both a signal and an invitation to learn (i.e. how to change), and the Flow Leadership Framework’s mindset is one of the most powerful change management mindsets on the planet:

Copyright © 1972 – 2021 Kallman AB all rights reserved

One time I had a CEO that tried the “oh by the way…” approach to add scope to an assignment that was already halfway completed. I mentioned to the CEO that I would take his idea to the team and let him know what the cost(s) would be for that “one small change.”

When he learned that he would lose some key features already in the pipeline PLUS it would cost him an additional €1 million, he quickly replied: “skip the change.”

It’s not that his suggestion was a bad idea … the “one small change” was actually a really innovative idea that needed to be done. But, it was at a magnitude of work that was far above “one small change” since it was actually a new project all by itself.

Learning at light speed occurs on the left side of the infinity mindset picture below.

As I shared in my previous post, “…beyond trust and safety is stark raving loyalty.

One of the hallmarks of stark raving loyalty is the ability to learn quickly and pivot in an instant, if needed.

Experiment and Learn Rapidly are just one half of the equation (it belongs primarily on the left side in the picture below):

Copyright © 1972 – 2021 Kallman AB all rights reserved

At first glance, operational excellence might seem to be in opposition to learning rapidly. However, continuous improvement has always been a part of Lean thinking. So the faster you learn, the faster you can improve; and, valuable improvement can’t happen without learning.

This becomes multi-dimensional very quickly because you need to overlay the iterative 4D Model on each side of the picture above. It applies to both sides. And, without a clear Vision and and really good Definitions, across the board, you might not have the right filters to adequately judge the value of an innovation created by your teams (see Nokia link below).

Ultimately, without the guts to pull the trigger on Creative Destruction (based on your learnings & innovations), there is a high risk of being the next Nokia, Kodak or any other of the 250+ companies that have disappeared from the the Fortune 500 list during the past decade. Failure to quickly implement your learnings could be catastrophic (anyone have a Nokia phone these days?).

Learning for the sake of learning doesn’t always deliver the desired results, especially if that learning doesn’t take us one step closer to achieving our Vision.

Want high-speed learning? 

You can start right now, even today, by using the mindsets I shared above. 

Let’s chat!

For those that are not familiar with the Flow Leadership Framework, it is what’s next for businesses and organizations that are ready to succeed regardless of the methods, frameworks or management tools that they use throughout their enterprise.

Are you ‘in the zone’ of optimal performance right now as a person, team or enterprise? Did you get there by accident or by focused intentional acts?

“Flow” gives you the tools and practices needed to create and maintain an optimal state of high performance as an individual, team or organization.

Flow turbocharges “business agile” leadership.

PS Here are the associated links to this blog post for:

#culture #scrum #agile #pmi #pmp #kanban #lean #flow #scaledagile #transformation #change #transform