Lindsay’s In Business: PART 68: Why agile rocks!

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

I’m sitting at gate 38 at Bangalore airport, waiting for my flight home and it’s 00.32 local time.  I can feel myself getting a tad irritable. It started with the slow-moving queues at the check-in desk.  But I suspect it’s more because I had 2 glasses of prosecco 4 hours ago, I didn’t sleep well last night, and had to get up at the equivalent of 3.00am this morning.

I’m also noticing a stronger feeling that is overtaking this mild irritation. It’s a quiet but deep kind of excitement.  In just 1.5 days at the Agile India conference in Bangalore, I made some great connections: people who might be interested in adding Mirror Mirror to their training portfolio, people who might be interested in buying Mirror Mirror for their teams, people who might be interested in running an interview about Mirror Mirror, and a whole bunch of really friendly, open, non-judgemental new contacts.

My 90-minute talk went well this morning.  Even though it’s difficult to read the local audience, there was a lot participation in in the interactive sections, there were good questions afterwards and I ended up on the Best Rated Speakers list (at least for now).

I kept a note of feedback to Mirror Mirror on a ‘reaction tracker’ spreadsheet I’ve set up recently:

  • how receptive were they? (scale 1 – 10) – average score 8
  • how much do they perceive the need for MM? (scale 1 – 10) – average score 7
  • what objections or other comments did they have? – minor and overcome-able objections.

More interesting is how, when you unpack agile ways of working and the agile mindset it’s really ALL about high-quality communications in empowered teams. Everything that agile stands for is about ensuring the clearest, shortest, most adult lines of power and communications take place at the speed of business.  So inspiring.

Top-down leadership and leadership communications seem so out of date and UNINSPIRING. The Agile thinking connects so closely with the philosophy behind Mirror Mirror and that’s why I put a speaker proposal in to the conference.

When I get home, a podcast recording session awaits.  It will be a debate with 2 other Internal Communication professionals and I know what I want to say.  I just have to make sure I don’t let loose, and I stay respectful and calm . It would be so easy to be blunt. To tell them I think Internal Communicators constantly have to justify themselves, constantly wonder why they don’t have more authority and power because while they’re at the right party, they’re in the wrong room.  You cannot routinely delegate communications to a department and you cannot label it communications when it primarily uses channels to reach mass audiences on a one way basis!!

I’m a bit nervous that maybe someone who is VERY good at debating and tying people up in knots, gets me into a corner I can’t get out of.  But I’m going to do this anyway. For me, my argument is as clear as day and it needs to be said.

Incidentally, Anja sent over an article to me recently that is another sign that people need to connect with their organization on their own terms and in ways that make sense to them: https://www.15five.com/blog/employee-communication-millennials/.

Here’s an excerpt from that article:

A recent survey of 1,000 full-time employees across the US found 81% of workers would rather join a company that values “open communication” than one that offers great perks such as top health plans, free food, and gym memberships. Yet only 15% of employees surveyed said their current companies were doing a “very good” job fostering honesty at the office. 

Millennials (aged 18-34) who make up 36% of the US workforce and will account for nearly half by 2020, get an especially bad rap for having thin skins, having grown up amid ample praise from parents, teachers, and coaches. Yet they are even more apt than older colleagues to choose a company that values honest feedback over one that gives top perks; 84% said an open communication policy was more important than perks in choosing a job, vs. 77% of boomers (aged 51-69).

Of course, the old-fashioned practice of managers calling out missteps in quarterly or yearly performance reviews does little to motivate any employee and especially backfires with millennials. So, when it comes to honesty at the office, weekly communication (not just quarterly check-ins) is key.

I’ll be really interested to hear how the other IC pros argue this one.  I’ll keep you posted.

Mirror Mirrorbecause a collective focus, with each team at the centre, drives performance.

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