Why today's Leaders must be Lean-Agile Leaders

Today’s organizations require leaders that are developers of people/talent.

David Marquet offers some lean-agile steps and a simple solution to achieve this. David's Intent Based Leadership approach is really at the heart of our lean-agile leaders and enterprise scaled agile mindset coaching.

So here is the story: As a Leader…

1. I want people to Think (Don’t give instructions, give Intent).

2. Supplement this desire with questions. Where workers are waiting or ask for instructions (Tell me what to do), ask them what they think or intend to do.

3. This is immensely powerful as the psychological ownership now shifts to them as they need to discover the answer re what they should do in their role. (An additional benefit is that you as Leader can go home to dinner as you’re no longer the “Answer man”).

4. As this first step takes hold, when the worker informs the leader of his/her intent, the Leader may ask “what do you think I’m thinking right now?” Whatever the answer, the leader can then ask the worker to confirm x, explain in more detail how they intend to do y etc.

5. This open and exploratory dialogue enables an agreed course of action in a safe environment.

6. There are two pillars that need to be in place to give control.

- Technical Competence

- Organizational Clarity

7. Outcomes:

- Move from 1 to n thinking leaders (Leader creates an environment for thinking)

- Increased engagement (the option to not engage is simply not available)

- Increased productivity (as people are contributing to their full potential)

- Increased intellectual capacity (in the words of Daniel Pink, knowledge workers are driven by autonomy, mastery and purpose)

- Increased speed of execution

- Reduced cost of delay (see the work of Reinertsen which confirms this is the single most important metric we should concern ourselves with)

8. Goal as Leader: To create the environment that anyone can make a decision as if the CEO were standing next to them. And if it’s not the same decision that the CEO would make, it’s likely to be better – as they have the information!

9. The solution is simple. Nothing in this process is hard except you. As leaders, we’ve been programed to attract followers and take control. We must move to create leaders and give control. What we want is to move Authority to where the information is.

10. The only possible outcome of this approach is that the Leader will achieve true greatness

by enabling all to fulfill their true potential.

Stay tuned for our article on Essential SAFe to learn more about the operating model within which Intent-based, lean-agile leadership is enabled.

Looking to empower yourself as a lean-agile thinker and leader, sign up to our SAFe Advanced Scrum Master course with SASM certification 29-30 November 2016, Vancouver, BC.

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