Actually the term I am thinking off is far from ‘endearment’ but let me avoid naming it for a minute ‘cos it is a pretty loaded term at this point.
Here’s the behaviors I observe in my current work:
When help is needed from another team I ask my manager and they ask the other persons manager and the other persons manager then directs the other employee to do the work
When I disagree with someone on another team I let them know what my position is and who I work for and tell them that they will have to contact my manager if they disagree with my decisions
When I can’t make a deadline I will identify the team or person that is blocking me so that my boss knows about it and can take action
Periodically management will need to send a ‘clear message’ to the team about what their priorities should be. Often done in an urgent fashion generating fear
The one thing you don’t see here is any mention that management is using command and control. Also there is no mention of whether the manager is deeply involved in the conversations or just watching from the sidelines.
What can be said however is that the command and control is clearly taking place and to a large part due to the employee enabling their manager. By asking the boss to ‘fix things’ instead of asking to (and being able to) work directly with the other employee a huge amount of non-essential work emerges, often including backlogs that are weeks long (even if the current request is simple to do), and all the trapping of command and control and the politics that naturally come with it.
This is why part of a new culture needs to be people asking other people directly for help without groups hiding behind the shields of SAFe, Ticket systems like ServiceNow, CommSec or whatever process is used to create lags. The lags can easily end up taking 99% of the elapsed time to address the need. This defeats the ability to go faster and without that the business is in jeopardy.
An novel and open look at what I am good at and bad at.
Super simplistic for sure but I am exploring this as an interview tool that allows a candidate (such as myself) to self-assess and reduces the need for companies to need to test them for skills they openly admit being bad at. This is a new approach. Might not work for some. Focusing on pushing candidates on their personally rated GoodAt list may be a helpful approach.
For me, the ‘good at’ list also reflects the skills I’ve actually needed in my automation and leadership positions in several recent jobs and the ‘bad at’ are skills I’ve not needed to use in those positions.
My journey for knowledge and transformation started 18 months ago as I joined a new and large company. As I started to read books about new ways of working I found that being at an organization going through dramatic change was the best place to be in order to fully explore many of these issues in person.
So I started reading.
and reading some more.
After reading a few influential books and getting an ever greater hunger for more, I started to notice something: my thinking had changed. My approach to problems had changed. omg my marriage had changed. My health changed dramatically. At first I didn’t see the changes but then a good friend pointed out “have you noticed how there seems to be a cumulative effect just from reading so many of these books?”. Boom. She was spot on (thanks Stacey!). Once I started to become aware of this – and upped my reading volume even more I started to become more and more aware of this.
It is one things to read a book. Or two. or three. However good they are, they tend to have a fairly limited effect on you. You read some great things and then ‘life continues’. Some of them you will retain and they will pop up at the perfect time in the future, but for the most part, much of the advice fades into the background of life.
You read a lot. You start spending a significant portion of your week just reading, highlighting and thinking. Then more dramatic transformation can happen. We have learned that the brain is plastic and this feels to me like taking advantage of that to change and ‘reprogram’ yourself.
Having gone through this I want to pass on what I’ve learned. I want to show the path I’ve taken and how it can work for you in far fewer steps.
OK so I have a list of 80 books on transformation and leadership. All you’ve got to do is go through all those book, highlight and reflect the key parts, and… JUST KIDDING.
I have actually read 80 books about change on my journey but if I had to do the journey again I would pick out the super critical ones. So this is what I have done for you. At first I picked the top 40. So yeah, right, just read 40 books. Again, who am I kidding? So OK I chopped that down to 20. Still too many huh? OK I chopped that down to 15. Still too many? Tough. That is really the minimum I can do (I tried 12 but it meant critical books on the cutting room floor). I think every one of these books is a critical part of the journey and not to be skipped.
The other interesting thing for me was the order I read those book in (preserved here). One book lead to another – primarily through Amazon recommendations from the previous book(s) – but also from recommendations from current colleagues – thanks Joe, Carla and Stacey – and from the challenges I faces in my daily work at a company going through and struggling with an Agile transformation.
So here is the list in the order that I read them:
The Psychology of Computer Programming Gerald Weinberg
The book that ‘got me started’. I was looking for some unusual reading and this caught my eye. It seemed such a different take from all the programming books I’d read over the decades but I though I’d give it a go. It also seemed somewhat dated perhaps. Once I started reading it however I quickly realized that the advice was priceless and just as relevant today as when it was written. This was the start of my journey…
Managing the Unmanageable
This opened my eyes to the characteristics I had observed my whole working career about how ‘techies’ work and how it can be so different from other professions.
The next three book are all about experiences from specific companies and helped me to start having some answers to the many questions that I was coming up with in my current workplace.
At this point in my journey I started to get a lot more ‘into’ how people and groups work (and don’t) work well to achieve goals and also some of the science behind it. I started to read a lot of books on just how people work together and what has proven to work well and what hasn’t.