Several months ago, a friend gave me the book Scrum by Jeff Sutherland. I was both disrupted and inspired simultaneously. It rocked my world. I mean really, can a method really produce twice the work in half the time? Even though I am optimistic by nature, this sounded too good to be true. During my first Scrum experience, we estimated a four week project. It was completed the first week. A 75% improvement over expectations really captured my attention. Since then I have been teaching any organization that will listen to the power this tool can provide if utilized properly. My purpose today is to share highlights in order to spark your interest in something cool and different. Tighten your seat belt and hold on tight…we are going on a Scrum ride.
Understanding the tendencies of CEOs can be very entertaining and humorous. Learning to identify the common challenges faced by many CEOs can enlighten us to the point that we improve our own performance. Labels can help us identify both the success and failure we all experience when assuming a leadership position within an organization. As you read this, I encourage you to examine these labels for both intrinsic and extrinsic value. In other words, do you sometimes exhibit behavior that can be identified with each label? Have you worked with others that fit these descriptions?
How many unmade decisions are cluttering the minds of CEOs and other leaders at this very moment? Very often, the lack of action involves people. How many hours are wasted in the C-Suite because of unmade people decisions? How does this emotional burden impact other decisions? What does this do for other work and home relationships? How much does this cost in both direct hours and opportunity cost for leadership?
Let me start by making it abundantly clear; I am strongly in favor of higher education for a purpose. Are the laws of supply and demand at work for millennials entering the job market in 2017? For the jobs requiring degrees, is there a supply glut of graduates? If so, is there a corresponding decrease in salaries? According to a recent Forbes article, 37% of millennials regret going to college given the amount of debt they currently have. The same study revealed that nearly half of millennials believe they would be at the same place in their career had they not gone to college.
It is interesting how truly ironic life can be when you are able to view it through the portal of wisdom. Experience is a valued old master that cannot be replicated, no matter how much we try. Our need to be accepted as teenagers is a significant barrier to success as adults. As adults, we must often be different from others to achieve success. The average student, worker, singer, or athlete is rarely blessed with success, by most definitions. The “acceptance paradox” states that the need to be accepted during one stage in life can actually prevent success in another.
It cannot be seen, proven, or even confirmed. Only the person feeling jealous knows the truth. Most people feeling jealous will not admit it so how do you know and what can you do? “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” 1 Corinthians 3:3
The generation gap continues to baffle far too managers in the workplace. Despite the effort of many to educate front-line leadership, companies are struggling with different realities at work. This lack of knowledge is more expensive than most organization realize. It is difficult to quantify ignorance. It is far more difficult to calculate the cost of ignorance. Consider the supervisor that still utilizes fear and intimidation to get work accomplished. Managers that act like Dr. Jekyll one day and Mr. Hyde the next are still out there.
I wish I could tell you that these managers are like the fabled unicorn and only exist in lore; or they have been sighted like Bigfoot but never really proven to exist. But alas, they do indeed exist. I will admit they are a rare combination of human reality that spells misery for those unfortunate enough to work for them. Like mutants, they are hidden among normal management genetics. In other words, they are hiding in plain sight.
Look folks it is now 2017. Wake up! I am so tempted to use an expletive here (!@%$*#@#) to get your attention. We need to get a grip before we are beaten like a drum by our competitors. I hope this creates a much needed sense of urgency for CEOs and other managers responsible for organizational performance. The team with the best talent wins. There is absolutely no excuse not to have written plan to quantify your current talent reality. I am helping organizations take the best and brightest talent from competitors that offer no resistance. It is literally like taking candy from a baby. Insert baby emoji here!
This world is fighting to make us all the same. And frankly it is in our nature to become one homogenous pot of ordinariness. We must find the courage to resist this instinct. The tendency to be common among our peers is a powerful force. Too many people and organizations are simply different versions of the same reality. They are ordinary and ordinary is boring.
I never could quite figure out what the band Manfred Mann was saying after the lyrics in the hit song “Blinded by the Light” until I looked up the song for this article. But wow what a song it is! It sounds great and it is an amazing song despite my inability to understand the words rolling off the lead singer’s tongue. In the same way, organizations love the idea of a disciplined maintenance system, yet they don’t quite realize the relationship it has to leadership. I have determined that your approach to maintenance is a telling sign of the leadership provided to your organization. The relationship between the two concepts is quite interesting.
Let’s face it! The days of the old hierarchical organizational chart are finished. It is like old underwear that has indeed served its purpose yet seen better days. Though comfortable and familiar, it is time to let it go. It is time to move on. It is time for something fresh, new, and better capable of supporting (pun intended) your current human assets. We have relied on the old thing far too long and frankly, we have become blinded to the potential of something else being better as a way of organizing our people.