Friday, February 12, 2021

Secret Agency

I've listened to every episode of Gene Kim's Idealcast, a podcast about "the important ideas changing how organizations compete and win." If that terse statement sounds desert dry to you, then think again, the show is a wide open ocean of practical experience and considered theory.

I particularly enjoyed the one with Elisabeth Hendrickson whose playbook has chapters on management, software development, people development and more, along with the testing chops of Explore It! that she's particularly known for in our field.

Gene's presentation style is that of a knowledgeable friend, making space for his guests to lay out their perspective on a topic, and giving each insight a big "yes, and". He injects verbal sidebars into the podcast from time to time, pausing the interview to zoom in on a point that was made in passing and direct the listener to references that will give background, or talking about how a specific example made the concept click for him, or highlighting a connection to thoughts aired in another of the podcasts.

So, when he tweeted a stream of notes quoting Elisabeth, and pointing to her "FABULOUS DOES20 talk ... Influence > Authority and Other Principles of Leadership" I was ready to put down what I was doing and watch it. 

Which I did, and it is fabulous, and if I can boil the message down into a couple of sentences, it would be something like this: regardless of whether you are in a position of hierarchical power in your organisation your ability to be a change agent depends on your actions; you do have agency even if you don't realise it yet. To help to effect change you should act to demonstrate the value of the change,  praise behaviours that move the change along, visualise the motivation for the change, and amplify the voices that have evidence for that motivation.

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