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career advice
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Wayne the Scrum Master

Those of us who have spent way too much time watching the Hulu show, “Letterkenny”, have no doubt all had the same thought: “Would Wayne be a good Scrum Master?”  Fortunately, Wayne and the other residents of Letterkenny, Ontario give us a number of catch phrases to examine as we consider whether he would indeed...
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Show Your Work (Godin)

As many of our regular readers know, we are huge fans of Seth Godin.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with his work, Seth is a leader, marketer, and author.  You can read more about him here: https://www.sethgodin.com . While never formally identifying himself as an Agilist, Seth very much embodies an Agile mindset....
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Leadership Maturity Matrix

One way to judge someone’s leadership maturity is based on the maturity they show in taking responsibility and the maturity they show in engaging others, be they subordinates, superiors, peers, customers, vendors or others.  Adapting a Control/Responsibility Matrix presented by Seth Godin[1], we’ll present our “Leadership Maturity Matrix,” identifying four different leadership personas, representing different...
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The Ball is the Program

Happy New Year!  We hope that your holiday season was spent with family and friends and that you were able to reflect on everything you accomplished in 2021 while planning for an outstanding 2022. As many of you know, I am a football fan and, as such, I spent part of the break watching the...
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Tolstoy, an Anesthesiologist and an Agile Coach walk into an Organization

In Leo Tolstoy’s book, Anna Karenina, he offers this famous quote: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This quote has been applied to many contexts from the obvious familial setting to larger organizations of various shapes, sizes and forms. It’s true that each of these organizations is...
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Lessons from the Lake

As many want to do in the upper Midwest, I spend part of my summer fishing.  While I live in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, one of my favorite fishing trips is to Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota.  The Lake is actually a reservoir created by the damming of the Missouri river.  It is a...
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Don’t Go Back to Normal

I’m writing this in May 2021.  It varies, but the global COVID-19 pandemic caused much of the world to push pause on “normal” life and go into and stay in emergency mode since March 2020, or earlier.  Thankfully, amazingly safe and effective vaccines now allow us to realistically envision a return to “normal.”  That said,...
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Organizational Agility: Vertical Hierarchy & Titles

In an earlier post I talked about defining every position in the context five roles:  Producer; Talent & Resource Manager; Innovator & Entrepreneur; Personal & Team Developer; and Friend & Citizen.  In this post I argue for limitations on vertical hierarchy. I think most organizations currently have too many levels of vertical distinction.  In non-management...
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Organizational Agility: Job Descriptions & Roles

I hate most job descriptions; I find them unnecessarily complicated and overly sophisticated. In any organization that is growing and expanding, they are meaningless anyway because they can’t keep up with the rate of change. If you have a job description that says what you actually do, then you are probably part of a nice...
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Career Advice From Someone Who Broke Free

I have had, and continue to have, an eclectic career—on purpose. Besides being more interesting, it has also protected me from a “follow-the-herd” mentality that’s all too common in just about every profession and industry. It enables me to look at situations and see things others may not, and to find connections that might otherwise...
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