I do still remember, when I attended my first Certified Scrum Master Class. My then boss demanded to get external support. At that time I was using Scrum already for quite some time in my Marketing team. I thought, that I had already a great understanding how to apply Scrum. Such a class might be a waste of my time and my employer’s money. I did not need external support.
But given I did not have to invest into it myself and it was covered by my salary package, I thought to give it a shot.
The training was the second training in Vietnam overall and it blew my mind. I leant a lot about self-organization, how a retrospective might be more effective and what a cross-functional team really is. In the end, it was neither wasted time nor wasted money. I learnt a lot on how to adapt the process and could make suggestions to the team on how to ensure to further improving the process.
We don’t have all answers if the environment is non-predictive
Organizations and their managers often have a clear idea on what is going on and think, they do have all the answers. But as we know in an non-predictive environment, we often do not have all the answers,. We need to experiment our way to a better solution. Also Management 3.0 offers to diverse the perspective as one of the guidelines on how to navigate through complex and non-predictive environments.
A while ago I read about a very successful Business Owner, who decided to create 360 Reviews for their company feedback session. He was requiring it from anyone at the office. But nobody required it from him. Therefore, after some years, he asked once also for feedback for him in form of a 360.
The result devastated him. While his success as an organization told him, that he was a good manager, the team told him, that they were scared of him, had no idea, what he was contributing to the organization and did not really know, who he actually was.
While he misjudged, how people felt about him, he knew to fix it. The external support gave him direction.
Asking for feedback is not a sign of weakness
Managers sometimes regard seeking for feedback as a sign of weakness. But usually it is not. It is admitting vulnerability. In a 1-1 session with a team lead of about 5 people, he asked me, how he could handle a team member, who would not accept his authority. In this situation many people would see vulnerability as a sign of weakness. I say, it would show, that a lead will take the concern of the person serious.
Instead of really trying to prove this person wrong, a simple “What do you think I need to be better at and how can you help me to achieve it” would create a feeling of teamwork and that they are all together inside the boat.
Accepting to not have all the answers and being humble enough to take external perspective into account, creates a “We”-feeling. And this can help a new manager or team lead to gel better with the team.
External support can help
In business a consultant can offer such an external perspective. We at semdi for example offer the possibility to assess the team and processes first, so we do know the biggest issues and how we are able to help. Follow up consulting can then additionally support the team to keep the outside perspective going.
A transformation is an ongoing journey, there is no start or end. Consultants, coaches or trainers can help to keep the journey alive as the consultant constantly keep the external perspective in the frame.
Contact us, if you are interested to see, how our external perspective might help your organization.
Chris is a German working in Vietnam since 2008. He became passionate on Agile, when he started to implement Agile into his Marketing team about 2010. He immediately saw the impact of cross-functional and transparent teams and became a CSM in 2011. He founded semdi solutions end of 2012 with the goal to coach teams on how to be more adaptive and ready for the 21st century. Since then he has worked with nearly 20 organizations in Southeast Asia and supported them in increasingly becoming more Agile.