A ScrumMaster once asked me how they should handle the situation where half their team doesn’t seem to care about the work. Where they don’t seem to be motivated and seem to be slacking…a lot. And where two individuals seem to be doing all the work. And ultimately, as an "agile coach" they asked me to talk to their team about these issues.

A senior leader in an organization I was coaching once asked me the following when he found out I would be meeting with his boss. He asked me to tell him that they have too much work to do. That they are being stretched over capacity and that it’s causing delivery, quality and morale problems. In fact, share that the house of cards was about to fall.

I was delivering a training class for a client and three individuals, not at the same time, asked me to escalate their impediments. One impediment was that their leaders were excessively interrupting the sprints. Creating chaos. Another was that the priorities changed constantly. And the final, small problem, was that the leadership team expected the team to exceed their capacity by 350%. They wanted me to address these (fix them) with their organizational leaders. And, believe it or not, they were all serious.

In fact, the above and similar scenarios happen to me all the time. Since I’m an outside consultant and an “agile expert”, folks not only ask me questions but…

  • They ask me to solve their organizational problems for them.
  • They ask me to solve their agile challenges for them.
  • They ask me to provide Critical Candor to others for them.
  • They ask me to tell them specifically what to do.

The answer…

The answer to all (or most) of the above challenges does not reside in Bob Galen. There, I said it.

The real answer almost universally lies within those who are asking me to do it for them. They know the truth or they have the answers.

But the answers usually contain an inconvenient truth. That is, you have to have the hard conversation. Or face a challenge. Or challenge the status quo. Or take a risk.

And we all seem to want someone else to do that for us…

Wrapping Up

I LOVE the quote from James E. Faust in the picture I’m using for this post.

Honesty is more than not lying.
It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.

Far too often folks are looking for others to do the heavy lifting for them. Sure, we’ll do the easier bits, like not lying. But if something challenging, hard, or scary comes along. Let’s get someone else to do the truth-telling for us.

It reminds me of that old Life cereal commercial about getting “Mikey” to try it?

Well, the harsh reality is that we all need to be honest every day. And that honesty is driven from James' definition above.

Stay agile (and honest) my friends,

Bob.

2 Comments