Agile, Business Performance Consulting

Agile Knowledge Work: Seeking Alignment = Team Performance

Organizing for results takes experience, influence and sometimes bargaining. Aligning is about navigating ‘wicked’ problems that can occur without notice (despite the number of risk workshops you’ve done), knowing which rules to bend and which to follow, reaching consensus on which problem to tackle, and ensuring others follow through with their commitment to others and the objective

In his book, Addleson outlines three ways of having conversations for aligning: Openness, Commitments, and Accountability. These can become key values for any organization interested in moving into this new way of working. They are the pillars of getting self managing teams to achieve.

He suggests it takes conversations in all three ares for people to organize themselves and align. For example, if people don’t know what they were supposed to do, it is apparent they didn’t take the time to talk about what they’re committing to. As people don’t know this, it takes some education up front. The sort of conversation a father might have with his son in a “here are the keys to my car, now before you take the car wherever you want, here are a few things you need to remember.” way.

One way of building this into a habit of practice is to have two standard items for the start of every meeting: 1) what is the objective of this meeting?
2) what are we going to do about openness, committing to what we discuss and accountability?

Commitment becomes the answer to keeping lots of your bright and best from leaping off in different directions and instead collectively collaborating towards a goal that can only be achieved by combining the greater good.

When was the last time you had a team conversation when all three of these topics were addressed?


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