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Actionable Fearless Leadership

Leadership Leading change

4.5.2017 — Our research in Agile Leadership has been maturing from conference presentations to robust workshops, where participants experience the logic behind Scaling Agility.

Actionable Fearless Leadership
Ari Tikka
Ari TikkaFounding Partner
Ran Nyman
Ran NymanFounding Partner

Development of the core ideas

The incubation of the core ideas started early 2000. They have been tried out in numerous organizations. We have been presenting the refined approach at XP2015, XP2016 and several other conferences. Please check the video and presentation at Agile Leadership Day Cologne March 2017. The Systems Thinking diagram contrasting Agile Learning versus Tayloristic organization is explained at 14:20. More at

Actionable Fearless Leadership Training

We have started to deliver internal training workshops for customers. The workshop walks the participants through the logic of the Agile Learning Organization, using hands-on exercises. At the same time, participants learn how to lead people in building the change so that people will own the new way of working.

We use experiential learning. The participants analyze their working reality with new techniques and thinking tools. In this way, we will focus on the scenarios and burning problems of the participating organizations. We will also learn by reflecting the dynamics of the training group when possible.

The quality of the learning comes from the trainer's ability to respond to participant's problems, both from the perspective of current failure mechanisms, and how to improve the situation. Actionability emerges from the analysis, and the firm understanding of the necessary and sufficient job-to-be-done of the leadership.

The storyline in nutshell

We start with empowering leadership - why do you want to create autonomous teams instead of obedient followers. How can the leaders create conditions like in this gripping video? Next, we study the essential boundary conditions for teamwork, based on Hackmann's 30 years of research at Harvard, titled "Setting Stage for Great Performance". Then we look at the dialogue between the business and the development.

Scrum beautifully demonstrates these enabling conditions for productive teamwork. This is what you want to scale.

Large-Scale Scrum, know as LeSS, offers crystallized experience from over 600 organizational experiments that are “Setting the Stage for Great Performance” for multiple-team Scrum.

However, the vast majority of organizations fail to scale Agile teamwork. Typically the following reasons come up in the analysis by the participants:

  1. The leaders are not aware of the logic of Scaling. Often they are missing even the basics of Agile and Scrum.
  2. The organization has already developed Coordination Chaos and need professional help to find the way out.
  3. Alienated top management deliberately goes for Taylorism, which is killing the teamwork.

What are the necessary and sufficient actions of leadership?

Leaders build the organization. The organization creates the valued outcome. It succeeds when the leaders establish feedback mechanisms in three dimensions:

  1. Technology, as fast as possible
  2. Customer and User, as intimate as possible
  3. The system (organization) itself, as honest as possible

The alternative is to continue the Tayloristic micromanagement.

Building the feedback mechanisms is a serious investment. The training workshop serves as the starting point to validate your situation. Please check the training description and contact us for more details.

Ari Tikka
Founding Partner

Before finding Agile, Ari built software for embedded distributed fault tolerant software for seven years. For the next decade he worked as an organizational therapist with cultural change, teamwork and leadership. Since 2006 he has contributed to LeSS-flavoured Agile transformations including mechanical engineering, market automation, and embedded system development. For the last couple of years Ari had international coaching assignments ranging from teams to board.

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Ran Nyman
Founding Partner

Ran is an experienced software professional who has worked since 1995 in professional software development field. Currently, Ran is working as a consultant and trainer in process improvement field helping large multinational organizations to move from sequential product development to more agile ways of working. The primary focus has been on how to move big products (over 100 people) to use Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) and Lean. This work includes giving wide range of trainings, workshops, team coaching and management consulting.

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