Values driven Impostor or heartless opportunist?

A Month of Being SELFLESS - Bestie's Challenge - Today's the Best Day

In the Commons today Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of being a serial opportunist, this struck a cord with me. When Boris deliberated over whether to join the leave or remain campaigns a few years ago he was accused of the same thing. Hedging his bets to get him on the “winning” team. His main personal ambition was to become the Prime Minister. He is competitive and driven.

Interestingly during my journey of many different organisations I see a similar pattern among those leading the evolution of ways of working. This change in an organisation normally necessitates new roles, strange new job titles, new responsibilities and for some a salary increase and a new found spotlight from those above.

These Agile transformations usually span all aspects of the organisation and often the future prosperity of the organisation depends on it. We often start to discuss how organisations have far less certainty in meeting their commitments to customers and shareholders and as such need to become more experimental in approach; a “learning organisation” is the popular new description i.e. understanding that we will never know everything. Achieving the vision is not guaranteed and even the strategic intent might not be correct. Terrifying.

Given the importance of this change in ways of working and the experimental nature of what’s required, this leap in culture and mindset; why is it so often that the changes made are done in such a fixed and absolute way? A hierarchy change, new roles, methodology roll outs, training and new tooling. Success can quickly become about the tangible output and less about the hypothesised outcome. Less about learning and experimenting and more about time spent, commitments made and cost.

It takes a pretty strong leader to stick to the values and principles, to value people and culture over processes and tools. Which brings me to my point. The role of the opportunist in the demise of the “agile transformation”. The senior or middle manager who notices the importance placed on greater agility, who has no real understanding or care for the principles, or the curiosity to make a change, and the selfless leadership style required. They just see the opportunity for greater importance placed on them, often financial rewards and a further step up the career ladder.

Being a leader in an agile organisation requires increasingly high levels of self awareness and the ability to adapt, to place high levels of trust on your teams. To give away credit when good things happen and to shield teams from negativity and blame when issues occur, allowing teams to reflect and improve.

It’s so very very different to how we have all been trained for years when managing people; it’s less about having direct “reports” , giving orders and being expected to know all the answers and more about having a duty of care over people. A responsibility to make it your mission to help them to be the best they can be and remove obstacles and support however you can.

Without the leader being driven by the agile values and principles, their sometimes controlling behavior can in fact smother the selfless, self sustaining culture you are trying to create. Lots of money is spent on new tools, roles and technology and it can feel that very little has actually changed. The culture remains unaffected.

Leadership has never been more important.

Next time a new role comes up that is aiming to help improve your agility and culture, ponder if it’s simply a promotion, a selfish act or if you truly believe in the values and principles.

I’d sooner have a selfless, self aware leader riddled with the impostor syndrome than a selfish, controlling opportunist.

Remains to be seen which one Boris is.

I’d love to hear about your experiences as leaders through change and how the roles and expectations are evolving. We all need to support each other in what can be a difficult and ongoing transition.

Quotes about Journey to truth (34 quotes)

Stop playing the game and start enabling your people


Having spent the majority of my career in large enterprises I have recently been pondering where loyalty comes from and who really cares about customers, brands and products and who is just playing the game using the organisations rules.


We talk alot about building high performing teams and it being people that make up a company but more and more we see conflict between the needs of the worker and the wants of the organisation and its share holders.


“Far too often the measures of success for the organisation are skewed too much towards the needs of the share holder and not enough for the customer and worker.”


I’ve worked with leaders in the past that had a notion that a high performing team could build any proposition, product or brand.  I do wonder how much we put the reputation of the leader and the brand ahead of the worker, too fixated on how we are perceived within the all too often short term goals and lagging indicators that we have set.


Whilst its not straightforward why we join organisations and has many facets (see Daniel Pinks work on Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation – – ranging from career progression, learning opportunities, salary, values, technology etc etc) it is important to understand them. If we assume things incorrectly we may underestimate people’s tolerance for change. I’ve seen people join organisations and the product, team and location get changed assuming they joined for the role, salary and the brand.


“Leaders must become enablers and not controllers.”


With average tenures dropping and mobility increasing, organisations cannot take people for granted, inline with the agile values we must provide an environment where motivated individuals can do their best work.  Leaders must become enablers and not controllers. You cannot suggest that workers are ‘lucky’ to be part of the transformation, challenge at your organisation. It’s a two way relationship that needs clear benefits for both, making goals and objectives and value clear.


Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. The fifth Agile Principle focuses on the project team and emphasises the importance of trust, support and motivation.”


I have worked with teams recently that have done amazing work, caught up in a challenge, problem solving, great levels of team work, energy and creativity.  None of this was directly influenced by the organisation or the brand, the organisation benefited from the excellent work the team produced as customers loved the solutions.  This was tested as the team were not located in the corporate environment, when this changed the teams main comment was, it feels like work now.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”    Steve Jobs

We are in a world where there are so many opportunities in Digital that we need to try and understand what the phrase “it doesn’t feel like work” means.  Shoving brand values and tone of voice down someones throat, company values that clearly most leaders do not exhibit and enterprise bureaucracy will mean your most talented people will go somewhere else.


Professionalism, a desire to learn and loyalty to team mates will only be tested for so long by wider inefficiency and constant tinkering in enterprise companies before your top talent gets fatigue.


A well defined career ladder and impressive job titles remain at odds with alot of the recent approaches to work that focus more on intrinsic motivators, large bonuses where the bonus percentage gets larger the more senior you go will be uninspiring.


“A place where people understand the value they can add, rather than simply adding capacity to the delivery pipeline “


I was inspired in the past by the Virtuous cycle by Appirio, trying to bring together energised and loyal workers, focusing on meeting their needs and making it a place where people understand the value they can add, rather than simply adding capacity to the delivery pipeline

Hired for skills, put on a PIP for attitude


Lots of times in many different organisations I have heard leaders mention the now infamous phrase “Hire for attitude, train for skill” made popular by articles on the subject in the Harvard Business Review.

It’s a great thing to aim for but my suspicion in recent years is that we fail to understand what is actually required when we make statements that we prioritise someone’s attitude and potential over current skill set and experience.

We must consider our;

  • engagement with candidates during the recruitment process
  • activities carried out during the recruitment process
  • on-boarding processes
  • management training in people development
  • policies on learning (on the job, learning time, courses, mentoring, platforms)
  • objective setting and measurement
  • appraisal processes

Seems like a lot of work and it is, it’s perhaps for this reason why we just don’t seem to bother making the required changes.

Three times in the last three years I have been in the fortunate enough position that I could hire a new member into my team.  Three different companies in three different industries, sadly the same result.

Given the mixture of skills, experiences and personalities in my teams I was looking for someone with a hunger to learn, a desire to join a new team and grow and also challenge how things were done. Each and every time I did this my management had the same concerns.

”This might be your only hire this year, why waste it, get the best, most experienced person you can”

Best and most experienced person typically means the person who’s recent experience aligns with the companies industry, role description or at its worst the exact skill and skill level your project needs.

This seems to be happening due to how the managers above me are measuring progress and how they are being measured.  To have budget allocated for a new developer, say up to £60,000, why on earth would we hire someone for £40,000.  We have work that needs doing and the more expensive more experienced person would get that work done more quickly and efficiently.   My concern isn’t for the strength, morale and long term prosperity of the team and wider business, it’s for the success or failure of the current change, current feature, current business case.

I’ve worked with some fantastic development partners and here too we see tension when less experienced people join the team, they are seen as a drain and a wasted expense.  Whilst commercials can be changed in that scenario it doesn’t change the attitude towards the more junior team member and the potential lack of time and support the rest of the team are able to give them.

And what about the really experienced team member who we do hire for £60,000? That person who has worked in that sector before, who knows your technology better than the vendor who created it? Turns out they are arrogant, unhelpful and aggressive and have decimated team morale.  We have realised that we don’t really know how we measure productivity or team happiness and so now after hiring a new team and spending our budget the work still isn’t getting done any faster or at higher quality levels?

Hiring people is a tricky business and must be given the respect it deserves. The recruitment “process”, all the contact you have with candidates, the on-boarding process and the probation period are all a two way street.  You, the company and the employee must decide if it’s a healthy and rewarding partnership.  The responsibility has to be on the company here, make clear the values of the business, how the candidate will be supported and developed once joining.

In my experience very few people have such high levels of drive, objectivity and self awareness that they will spot within 13 weeks that this company isn’t a good fit.  So that means if its isn’t quite right we fall into the often subjective place of the PIP (Performance improvement plan) and the probation extension.   This is a stressful and arduous place for the employee and manager as both are often unprepared.

The mandate from a subjective set of opinions is often “exit them from the business” which leaves little room for sentiment or emotion.   Don’t forget we are dealing with people and in the main people come to work to do a good job, meaningful and valuable work, they don’t want to be on a PIP any more than you want to be creating one.

Like a sprint, the PIP process should have a retro regardless of the outcome. We shouldn’t be relieved whether the employee goes or stays with the company.  A PIP is a failure often in the recruitment and on boarding approach.  Both parties failed to align on values and objectives or there was something deeper and personal that we could have supported had we taken more time with the person.  We must learn from that.  Changing jobs and companies is a huge emotional wrench for most people and so we have a duty of care to support candidates in making the right choice.

A number of times I have had people remove themselves from the recruitment process and even (after further conversations) tear up a signed contract before joining. Whilst not ideal it has to be more positive than that person ending up on a PIP 13 weeks into their probation period.   In that position most will cling on as looking for another move when in that emotional situation is much more difficult. Keeping things positive and constructive when in interviews is so tough when with your current company you are on the dreaded PIP.

If we end up with team members in this situation we must strive to ensure it doesn’t happen again.  When faced with this in the past the two things I could influence were helping my team member find a role in a different company and ensuring the recruitment process was changed.

Just like we aim for finding bugs as early as possible we should aim to discover whether someone’s values and attitude align with the business as early as possible i.e. before they even click apply, your company marketing has a role to play in this, content and tone of voice and values that are out in the ether.

 The cost in hiring someone with the wrong attitude or values is huge.

Don’t just see recruitment as a process, a positon to be filled, a task to be completed. Give it the time and care it needs and focus on people and values.  Make it clear how success is measured and how people will be helped and supported.    We spend most of our time at work and we need a good mix of skills, personalities, interests and experiences.  It’s a team game.  So if your team is hiring, get involved and keep interviews practical and human.

I’m not knocking everyone, there are some amazing places to work out there, some really supportive and fun places to work, I’ve worked in quite a few. If any of the above resonates with you then make a change, improve how you attract and recruit new people into your teams.

Good luck.

See also:

Leading and lagging – take the weight off your feet

When speaking at conferences over the last few years I have always leant on weight loss as an example to emphasise the difference between leading and lagging indicators. To show how weight loss, the lagging indicator cannot be used in isolation to achieve ones goals. Getting on the scales at the end of the week to review our weight may or may not end positively and its actually about leading indicators such as diet and exercise that will ‘lead’ to achieve the lagging measures of success.

With that in mind imagine my shock when after a festive season filled with mince pies, cakes, caramel hot chocolates and lots of sitting down I discovered I was 11 stone. The heaviest I had been ‘since records began’. The heaviest I had been in my life. 11 stone felt like a lot for someone 5ft 5.5 inches (the .5 is important) and nearing 40.

More importantly it was how I felt, slow and unfit, heavy and not happy walking around in just my pants, which is an ancient past time of the Leach clan. So something had to be done. Like a lot of people in early January my instinct was to join the gym or buy lots of exercise equipment. Sadly I have previous for this.

So I decided to think through what I had been banging on about at the conferences. Using data to set goals, defining outcomes, creating something which is sustainable, using leading and lagging indicators.

I would start with doing some research into ways to lose weight and common approaches and methods, one of my heroes Mark Ridley practices fasting so this was also an area of interest.

My plan led me to 3 logical steps:

1. Reduce calorie intake – going from lots of cakes to no cakes would be bad. More generally slightly decreasing meal sizes

2. Cut down drastically on sugar – I have a very sweet tooth so this would be no mean feat

3. Start exercising more than not exercising at all

4. Needed a fourth step for actually sticking to it, discipline and intestinal fortitude are not strong traits in me, so would need some work .

My research led me to a decision to set myself 3 goals all of which would be timeboxed to 4 weeks and undertaken in order to give focus and to ensure there wasn’t too many variables in my experiment 😉

Goal 1

Drop calorie intake by 50%, Online tools helped me understand that I needed about 2000 calories, however I was currently at nearly double that. Crisps had become the norm at lunch, I had 4-5 cups of tea with 2 heaped teaspoons of sugar. A sugary dessert after dinner has also become mandatory. Plus breakfast was typically jam or peanut butter on toast.

So I set about cutting down, as I mentioned things need to be sustainable. It’s my belief that drastic changes are not sustainable so fad diets that make you unhappy will not be stuck to.

So day on day I cut back. No jam on the toast. Deserts every other day and 2 cups of tea not 4-5. Swapping the bag of crisps for a banana (this one hurt the most) damn fruit, my natural enemy.

It was working though, even after a few weeks I had lost a few pounds so those lagging indicators were giving me confidence that my leading indicators (behavioural) were correct.

I reached the end of month one and had lost half a stone (7lbs or 3kgs). I felt better and in other stages of my life this would be where I would stop. This time was different. I wanted to explore goals 2 and 3.

Goal 2

Cut down drastically on sugar. This one would ensure me and my best friend, my go to guy ‘the cup of tea’ would either part ways or have a very different relationship. I wanted to experiment with less sugar (manky) or different tea bags (weird). After 2 weeks of experimenting I actually settled on coffee. Working in central London I am spoilt for choice with coffee shops and ground coffee sourced from all over the world.

I always knew I liked coffee but now I absolutely love it. Often black and always without sugar. I had said goodbye to Tea and bye for now to jam, peanut butter and caramel.

So I’m lighter, happier, eating smaller portions and consuming far less sugar.

Goal 3

Burning calories of course, this puzzled me though as how to approach it, as I’ve joined a gym twice before and never stuck to it, swimming more than a few lengths makes me feel sick, running long distances makes my knees feel sick and exercise classes are just weird. Being nearly 40 and stood at the back of a room full of girls in short shorts makes me feel bad.

So I googled something far more masculine and something I now enjoyed watching, Boxing. I am lucky there is a boxing training class camply named ‘Boxercise’ based just a few miles down the road. I anxiously signed up and went along for the first class. It nearly killed me but was so much fun.

What I have discovered is that when you are padded and sparring with a partner you need to focus, need concentration and need to put 100% effort in else you impact the level of workout that the other person gets. Getting the motivation for weeks 2 and 3 was difficult but I’m now 15 sessions in and loving it.


My goals for the 3 months had been met:

Reduce calories, cut down sugar (related to goal 1 but specific), start and maintain exercise. Whilst I have been on the scales on and off, those lagging indicators were going to be slightly irrelevant as I was confident in the leading indicators and had met or exceeded them.

My daily calorie intake was now 2000-2200 which was balanced against the weekly boxing class and average daily steps of 8,000, I was enjoying coffee without sugar and really enjoying the occasional chocolate brownie. When you have treats less often they really do taste amazing. The nut and chocolate brownie from the Kiosk in Kings cross station is amazing.

As of July 2018 I had dropped the lagging indicator of weight from 11stone (69kgs) to 9 stone 9lbs (62kgs). My previous weight actually had me at a BMI of 25.4 (not good) now I’m down to a happier 22.

Whilst this is all very positive and I feel more comfortable walking around in my pants it does question what next. I’m happier, fitter and thinner. I’m exercising regularly and enjoying what I eat. Maybe my goal is one of sustainability now.

The other thing I haven’t mentioned again is that of fasting. As part of the calorie reduction once I had cut out Jam on toast for breakfast and cut down the size of my dinner and cut out regular afters I then decided the conditions were right to introduce intermittent fasting.

Eating for 6 hours a day only. This by now wasn’t a difficult thing to cut out breakfast and just enjoy lunch and dinner. Avoiding beer after 7pm and milk in coffee before lunch were the only hardships.

The most important thing for me was that all this felt sustainable. My annoying craving for sugar before bed and something at 11am between breakfast and lunch were now a thing of the past.

My body feels stronger and I liked myself again.

I had lived the theory, set goals, used leading and lagging indicators, used data and research to drive decision making. Life is good.

FACT hunt:

I lost 17lbs in 20 weeks

My BMI went from 25+ (overweight) to 22 (middle of healthy)

I love coffee and chocolate brownies more than ever

My love for freshly cooked bread has increased

I was never going to give up or reduce my intake of wheat as i wouldnt have stuck to anything else (I love wheat beers and bread)

Most of my jeans no longer fit

I now consume far less sugar – 2 1kg bags per month less.

There is no picture of me holding out small trousers

I do actually have some discipline

I lost 2 inches off my waistline and am now happier in shorts

Suns out guns out

There is no ‘I’ in team but there is in Indispensable


In Simon Sinek’s video – A leader without a vision is a follower he speaks passionately about the leader’s responsibility to make the team they lead feel protected and safe.

Simon talks about the fact we should think of our teams as family – we do not get to choose our family, but we give them our undying love and support.  We celebrate their strengths and do not constantly point out their weaknesses.  Sometimes you let them fail and sometimes you discipline them and sometimes you let them go.  All we want for them is to achieve more than we achieved, we offer them support and protection.

Simon, as do I, strongly believes that this should be the same at work.  It’s even more unacceptable as we choose the people that we bring into our teams.

STOP saying our company is like a family, IT IS A FAMILY.  Make sure your team members can achieve more than you ever did.

The people matter more than numbers and customers.  Take the leap of faith that supporting your teams will mean they feel safe, they work hard, learn and achieve great things.  That in turn will lead to better products and services, happier customers and higher profits.  It just will.

Too often we still demand certainty in outcome in an uncertain world.  If we fail to achieve then we sacrifice our teams.

Stop identifying goals like increased top line growth for next year, start by aspiring to a company that will last 100 years.  We cannot predict the future but we stand a better chance of being around when we create teams that care for each other.  The best teams can create any product and solve any problem, this is very different to ‘any team can build my product’.

My team can build any product……very different to any team can build my product

Speed seems to be more important now than ever given the increased adoption of new technology, but this cannot be at the expense of the people creating and embracing that technology.  Technology will not just keep advancing, it needs people driven and motivated to do so.  Leadership or more specifically, servant leadership, has never been more important.

To go fast go alone, to go far go together

Intrinsic motivation needs to be understood.  With unemployment at a 42 year low and software craftsmanship and digital expertise in demand, the extrinsic motivations of money and competition will no longer motivate the team.  We must look to the intrinsic motivations of purpose, mastery and autonomy (as specified by Dan Pink).

With all that in mind when did it become OK at work to stop caring about each other?  For the task to become more important than the happiness of the person carrying out the task, for it not to matter at all who is even doing the task.  To become so fixated on a goal to complete a task for your business, that the duty of care for the people in your teams to be forgotten or ignored.

I find it unacceptable the so called leaders in large organisations who seem to pay lip service to peoples’ feelings, to people aspirations and desires for support and development, when it becomes clear that the only concern is for the job that needs to be done and for their own survival and reputation.

Once the tribe figure out that the leader will not keep them safe then we are all in danger.  The tribe starts worrying about it’s own personal safety, they even stop looking out for each other.

Don’t let that happen.  Lead by example.  First thing tomorrow, ask someone in your team how they are feeling, ask them what you can do to help them improve.  Ask them what they want to learn.



The importance of performance

Speaking recently about the importance of Product Owners being aware of the importance of performance of products, not just based on more business focused KPIs but also from a technical perspective. Google in particular are ensuring that we ensure sites and apps perform well for users.

It’s complex though, we have to balance time to market, many different technologies and cost.

This video talks about things to consider.



To innovate or to disrupt?


For years now we have been trying to shock leaders into action with statements such as “innovate or die” or “burning platforms” or “your industry competitors in 10 years time haven’t been founded yet”.

Whilst most still haven’t really grasped what it means to create and foster true organisational agility, we are shifting the goalposts again.

A few years ago, it was enough to do business with a few of the top right quadrant cloud SaaS vendors and setup an innovation hub.  Now it seems the only way to survive and gain an advantage on your competitors is to create the disruption yourself.

I must admit, the most inspired I have ever been is when my CTO stated that if you are expecting to be disrupted, why not seek out and create that disruption yourself?

There seems to still be a kind of arrogance in large enterprise businesses, in particular I’ve observed in retail.  A sense that we are still too big to fail and if we do tomorrow what we did yesterday, then we will still have high spending and loyal customers.

I’m being harsh, there is some great work that goes on under very challenging circumstances.  However, customers care little for legacy infrastructure and high levels of technical debt; they are more interested in software that makes for friction-less and valuable experiences.

So what am I jabbering on about?  I suppose it’s the fact that whilst sat at some recent “IT” conferences, I felt that although there is a world of opportunity out there, we only ever seem to be playing catch-up.  Talking about what could be possible, if only we had the time, money and capability.

Retailers always bemoan being one step behind their pureplay/digital/startup counterparts, in a constant battle to stay relevant.

I would suggest it’s time to be brave.  We need to accept that every single company will eventually go out of business, some faster than others, but all will fall.  Some will pivot business models, some will launch new brands and some will move into entirely new sectors.  Only Trigger from “Only Fools and Horses” would claim that it’s still the same broom.

I think it’s time to start looking at that broom and stop thinking about the process and materials taken to make the broom faster and cheaper.  Stop thinking about sweeping and start thinking about why we need to sweep in the first place.

When thinking about traffic congestion, Elon Musk decided to go down not up.  This took him on a journey to create the boring company, challenging each and every assumption along the way.  He had no real right and no real experience to question long standing rules and regulations, but we are all glad that he is.

We are on the cusp of another wave of change, often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.  Whether you believe it, all or some of it will touch our lives very soon and some already has; robotics, chatbots, automation (RPA), cryptography, block chain, distributed ledger technology, predictive medicine, drones, iOT, platform economy, AI, machine learning, human 2.0, Elon Musk….

As Matthew Griffen said: “Do you want to innovate or do you want to change the world?”

Answering this question in any business is crucial.  I know change is hard, I know transformation is years in the making but as leaders ask yourself this – if our company, our brand, our products did not exist, would anybody be worse off?

Grasp that and turn it into a vision.  Know why you exist, know what problems you are solving and inspire not just your customers but most importantly your employees.  Those teams that work in your innovation hubs don’t (in the main) come into work simply for the money.  They want to do their best work knowing that the work they do is meaningful.

In the same way coming in and playing with cool gadgets will not motivate many for long.  The snooker tables and bean bags are not the main requirement for innovation, they become symbolic of the culture you are aiming to foster.  One of trust, autonomy and experimentation.

The exciting but terrifying thing for most leaders in this new and ever changing world is that we cannot create a roadmap, set deadlines and set teams to work safe in the knowledge we will be successful.  A lot of ideas, however much we validate them, will ultimately not have the desired impact.  The behaviour of humans is changing.  The way we interact with the world and each other is changing.  So we must be open to experimenting and learning.

For those developing eCommerce solutions, voice could completely change the way you do business, it could even make the idea of a brand irrelevant. “Alexa, order me some batteries”.  People won’t ask Alexa for a specific retailer and possibly not even a particular brand of battery.  For those doing logistics, machine learning coupled with autonomous lorries and robotics could change all that you do.  This is no longer just interesting futurology, this is reality.

It’s a brave new world out there and one I am really looking forward to.

So ask yourself this, what’s your product or service equivalent to the broom?  Ask do we even need a broom?  Do we even still need to sweep?

Never waste a crisis.  Now is the time to make change.




Respecting time – trains, school bells and meeting etiquette

wedgies Google Search

It was a rainy Thursday morning and again, despite my good intentions, I found myself leaving the house with only minutes to spare before the train pulled in.  As I dashed down the road, I could hear the train approaching.  A glance at my overpriced Apple watch suggested I still had 90 seconds.  I got to the station and straddled my way down the many steps, just as the doors closed and the train pulled away.  “Damn and blast!” I thought to myself, whilst trying to style out the fact I had just run all the way from my house, some 6oo yards away.

Whilst waiting for the next train and gathering my breath, well, trying to stop gasping for air actually (it’s been many years and several pastries since I last did any strenuous exercise), I pondered my frustration about the train doors closing “early”.  If you read the website terms and conditions (which I did), the facts state that the timetabled time is the time that train leaves the station.  Several activities take place before this time including all doors being shut, the platform checked, signals checked and controls activated in the drivers cab.

So by rights the train doors should beep 30 seconds before the stated time of the train, remembering that the stated time is the time the train should depart, not the time it arrives.  I think we have fallen victim to the trains being constantly late.

I then started to consider this behaviour within schools and our workplaces.  When we were at school, the times stated on the timetable were the times the lesson started, similarly when at work we state the start of the meeting time.

However, when at school, someone else takes on the responsibility of ringing a bell 5 minutes before the start of the next lesson, giving us ample time (in theory at least, not taking into account trips and wedgies on the way) to wander to the next lesson so that we started on  time.  Do we ring any bells when at work?  We have all at some time or another discussed meeting etiquette and how we should arrange meetings with a clear agenda, that start on time, set clear actions with clear minutes and end on time.

How often in reality have we spent all day apologising for being late rather than apologising for leaving 5 minutes before the end of the current meeting to avoid being late for the next?  It’s not rude, its ensuring we offer courtesy to each and every meeting we have accepted.  Remember, if meetings are arranged where you are not clear what the agenda is or why you are needed, ask.  Your time and the time of others is precious, don’t waste it.

P.s. I’m a fan of meetings, for me they are not something to be mocked, rather to be valued, they are opportunities to collaborate with our amazing peers, so respect that time and respect your peers, ensure there is an agenda and make sure you adhere to the timebox.

Remember, it’s OK for meetings to deliver value early.

Agile and strategic thinking – conference talk – London 2017

For those who were able to watch my first talk back in September 2016 this latest video is iteration 4 of the same subject matter, hopefully becoming more valuable.


Agile Success conference talk

My talk last year on Agile success. Linking strategy and vision to objectives and measures of success and how measures can impact behaviours. Behaviour defines culture so getting the right measures of success is crucial.