Happy New Year and meilleurs voeux! I wish you all kindness, creativity, collaboration and fullfillment! #2020 for me is all about respect for all ecosystems (individual, collaborators, business, local, global and climate) and how this helps everyone, including businesses, not only survive but prosper.
This is not some high-minded value-signaling but a pragmatic truth, our margin is disappearing or gone in all our capitals (social, climate, economic…)
But the good news is, in this transition, there is a lot of opportunity, as we move from…
old system to new
linear to circular
unsustainable growth to self feeding
throw-away to long-term assets
brittle to supple and learning
consuming to curating
This is my declaration!
We are in this together! One step at a time. Each in their own way.
Stay tuned for more and please let me know if you want to collaborate together or could use a transformation coach like me.
Where you are in your own journey as a business or individual? No shame, we all start somewhere.
How many times have you left a meeting or social function feeling like it was a waste of time or not what you expected? Sometimes this could be due to hi-jacked or unfocused discussions (going off the rails and expanding the scope) arriving at no decision or an ambiance you really do not click with.
If you are organizing a meeting or social function with a purpose, an easy way to put things in your favor is by framing the context and setting the rules “to play by” or guidelines from the very beginning. This can also be considered a “social contract”.
This works, as no one wants to waste time or step on toes but sometimes we get lost guessing our role and the role of others and navigating invisible social rules. Materializing and clarifying these rules is also a great group bonding experience!
How it works
Where: Any get together: meeting, meetup, social function with a purpose. From 2 to 2 thousand people, though adapt the breadth of the rules to the size. Yes, even at the start of conferences! You will just have to organize a little bit more differently to get feedback.
Where not: If this is a holiday party with no objective to arrive at a result (unless it’s a speed dating ;p) this may be overkill. Also, yes, the rules for two people are different than those for 10. In fact, if small, may be best to create these rules together quickly in the beginning versus dropping an imposing structure on your collaborator(s).
Materials: Write the guidelines as you explain them and keep them visible throughout the full session. So any material to do so, such as a poster or white board, is necessary. Just having the guidelines in the first slide of a powerpoint is not as effective. Writing them with space for more items allows for people to voice their feedback and for you to easily add or modify the guidelines. You could have very easily not thought of everything, that is the power of the group.
Alert! Open and reusable: It is important (especially) when you do this the first time to see it as just a draft, open to feedback. In fact, crave it ! It is a social contract so the group must feel comfortable to continue. These guidelines often can be and should be reused like any contract. So once you set them together, just need to remind the group before each appropriate meeting, ask for feedback and adapt if context changes.
Steps (should take around 10 minutes max):
First introduce the reason for getting together and the objective. Be sure to ask for feedback, modifications and if it is clear. Example: We are here to decide on the vision and next steps for the home-owners association. Our objective is to finish with a vision statement and list of first actions for the upcoming spring).
Explain the Agenda
Then reveal the guidelines, setting the mood. One by one is best. Ask for suggestions to modify, add or delete. Briefly also explain WHY each was chosen. Example (suggest you write only the title of each item and say the rest):
Open Minds – No ideas are bad ideas. Judgmental free zone.
Community in your image – Constructive feedback is welcome. Any ideas to improve our collaboration or initiatives you would like to own are welcome. To discuss at time allotted at end.
Efficient Timing – Keep to the timing to ensure we get everything done. We can always adapt the agenda for next time if structure is too tight.
Listening – One person speaking at a time. Please leave the room for side conversations or to answer phone. We will save time at end for discussions and catching up.
Have fun! – Let your minds be creative.
I find these guidelines are especially important before a brainstorming session or soft-skills workshop to ensure everyone is in the right spirit.
Notice word choice for the titles is important (as they will be seen over and over again). I suggest positive wording over negative. Instead of saying what NOT to do (lots of research points to why this does not help behavior change) say WHAT you gain. Also, avoid any phrasing that is too authoritarian… no one likes to feel like you are back in school. So instead of ‘Do not go over time.’ or ‘Respect the timing’ I chose ‘Efficient Timing’. You will gain a more positive mindset culture and increase likelihood of engagement.
A bonus perk, is just in constructing these rules with your collaborators (perhaps in a planning pre-meeting or even live with the participants) you are also creating connections, removing potential communication roadblocks and solidifying your own vision.
These guidelines could become team guidelines or values. Great idea for a community with a long life and for building and promoting a specific culture.
And what if I use my professional skills for social/environmental good?
Are these two worlds so mutually exclusive?
I am just at the start of my journey but so far from my ‘market’ and in person research (lol Product Owner habits die hard)… The answer is:
Yes, it is possible.
Not only is it possible, more than ever, but there are many people out there like me who want to do the same. In addition, companies are awakening to their societal and environmental responsibilities, if only for the reason that their clients desire it and it will increase their employer desirability.
I am increasingly convinced that the economy of tomorrow is one that is socially/environmentally (social good) conscious. It will not be a question but a fact for companies, that they must integrate social good into their DNA to survive. If we look purely at money, the market will demand this even though the environmental doomsday we are heading towards should be motivation enough. But, hey money talks.
Quick background: How to have an impact without switching jobs? And what is Pro Bono Day?
So in exploring all my options, one option came up called: Pro Bono or donating skills (without switching jobs) to causes that could not normally pay for them. Or for company owners, allowing and facilitating their employees to do this on company time and dime.
This is a great opportunity as not only is it an opportunity to share what we love to do at work but we can develop our skills further by using them in new domains. Also, often it is a write-off for companies providing it on their time, win-win.
All skills can be used for the betterment of society. We need all our minds on the issues at hand and not just our “best” minds. You may think your skills are unique to your job but often if you break them down into general know-how areas they are easily applicable elsewhere. Example: A project manager who manages CRM software system deployments knows: logistics, time management, detail orientation, systems thinking, interpersonal skills etc. So despite being quite specialized in their daily work, this person could share their knowledge with a charity that needs help structuring their supply chain or deploying an intranet. Do not forget, this arsenal of skills includes those acquired in your personal life. This same project manager organizes family meals for 15 people every Sunday? Logistics and people wrangling again! This time for nonprofit…
You are your greatest masterpiece, with no completion date.There is no expiration or prematurity of your skills. We tell the young they are not experienced enough to share their skills to help others… The old, too much experience or not relevant. The middle-aged too irresponsible… Must earn money, no? Enough, we all have something to share and gain. Often just a different perspective alone is an asset. Resource: Mélissa Petit of https://www.mixinggenerations.com/ is doing a lot of work to help us understand the unexploited power of our elder generations (a.k.a. us one day!).
The best way to learn is to do and create, working on the causes that you relate to. Programs such as Toukouleur and Enactus believe in this power of learning and gaining confidence via launching projects from A-Z, especially for adolescents. So why not create your own local project or Pro Bono help someone with theirs? In addition, it is recommended to focus on the causes that motivate you most personally as they will keep you driven. There is enough diverse interests out there to cover our most pressing issues.
The best way to gain understanding of others is to do alongside them. To do Pro Bono is to not subjugate your help on others but to come to the table to see how you can collaborate and elevate each other’s efforts. Those we are “helping” have key essential knowledge that must be taken into full account.
There is no “too little” and each cause their merit. Any drop of help is not too little nor should be shamed. Some can give an hour a year, some dedicate a whole sabbatical to helping, and that is fine. We are also not all motivated by the same causes and all enter this journey at a different time and from different places. What counts is we take a step and open up to and grow our spirits thanks to social good.
On a company level…
Pro Bono or social good programs should never be used as a band-aid for bad HR and unethical practices or to sway public opinion. (Anita Kirpalani – Epic Foundation) They should be done with the pure intention to inspire our employees and enrich their lives and skills. You may try to fake it but this is a type of “greenwashing,” where the intention is only to hide faults, will easily be recognized as false from within and around.
True intention? With time people will tell. There is a lot of public apprehension when money enters the social good sphere, but be consistent in all actions and persistent and with time your intention will be clear. Even if you have to take breaks at points to rethink your approach, that is more than fine, it does not mean people will not understand in the long run your intent.
One way to embody this intention is for the direction or company leaders to go out and move forward their social-good goals. This could be as simple as the leaders taking part of a Pro Bono or nonprofit initiative themselves. Lots of social good organisations or nonprofits may need your experience! As mentioned above on the personal level, this is an opportunity not only to share knowledge but grow and better inform the leadership of the company. It is valuable time spent.
Set your intention… have a mission statement that is clear and guides all actions and products on all levels. This mission must be co-created, owned and referred to constantly by everyone involved and surrounding you. Perhaps this means reconnecting with an old mission statement or emerging a new one. This mission statement can be the driving force to go from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. Find or refind your mission’s pulse regularly by seeking the opinions of your employees, clients and society at large. They are the true meter and not your own opinions. Do not just stop at your clients but take in consideration the opinion of those in the locations where you produce and the localsphere of your clients.
As often… When we build a product we think: will it work and can we scale? But we are missing an essential 3rd question: and how does it effect our society? There is no private-only sphere of influence… Everything has a societal effect. – Charlest Benoît Heidsieck of Le Rameau
Forget the “perfect” model, we must all find our own “pertinent” model. Our strength is in our diversity. – Charlest Benoît Heidsieck of Le Rameau on finding the perfect social-good model. This principle can be applied to so many other situations! Best is to be inspired by others but in the end build a model to fit our, our clients’ and our localsphere’s needs and unique motivations.
So that means… As organisations we must break down silos between government, public and charitable organisations. What was once a small microsystem is rapidly expanding and now an ecosystem. We can harness this power by collaborating and doing business between all types of social good organisms. Also, as consumers we must vote with our money.
It bears repeating: Companies must engage or die. Impact + profit, not just profit. Consumers want sincerity and social awareness. And our children will (and already do) want even more.
One last big question…
“No, the question is not how can tech save us… But how can the Probono and sharing our skills for a societal impact save tech?” – Charlie Tronche of HelloAsso
In the end the gift I got out of this conference and my recent adventures into this new world, is hope. Easy to be fatalist until you go out and see the doers. And we are amassing an army.
So go out there and do. And don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss in the meanwhile. If you live in Paris, our next meetup for social good curious and doers is November 20th. Join us! Allez-y!
Part III is out of my sit down with my friend and research design extraordinaire, Nikki Lavoie (and overall inspirational BOSS). She is founder and CEO of MindSpark International and the UX(r) Factor vlog.
Would love to know your thoughts and questions. How did you apply Agile to your small brand? What are your unique needs? Have you worked with a coach before? What are the best practices for UX research + Agile? Discuss.
Part II is out of my sit down with my friend and research design extraordinaire, Nikki Lavoie (and overall inspirational BOSS). She is founder and CEO of MindSpark International and the UX(r) Factor vlog.
Shortly the final video in this series will be released, which will focus on implementing Agile and it’s mindset in small companies.
Would love to know your thoughts and questions. What is your experience in Agile in other countries? What do you think the future is (Agile or other)? What did you do first in your Agile journey? Discuss.
I recently sat down to discuss Agile and UX Research with my friend and research design extraordinaire, Nikki Lavoie (and overall inspirational BOSS). She is founder and CEO of MindSpark International and the UX(r) Factor vlog.
This video is a great little intro into Agile (or my view on it) ;p and also some of the pitfalls. Check it out!
This is the first in a series. Next we talk views of the international community and our experiences working in France. EDIT: Part 2 is here.
Would love to know your thoughts and questions. Agile all buzz? How have you applied UXresearch in your agile practices? Do you like superheros? Discuss.
Réunions à distance ? L’horreur ! Je reviens sur ScrumLife avec quelques astuces pour aider installer la culture et l’engagement à distance. Beaucoup des règles peuvent appliquer même aux réunions en personne ! Autres idées ? Dîtes-moi !
But wait ! Un exemple pour la route – règles de fonctionnement … cocrées
Commencer de mettre en place des règles de fonctionnement des réunions au sein de votre équipe (à distance ou en personne !). Pour faire, juste brainstorm en groupe (les gens à distance aussi) et voter. Puis placer les règles dans un endroit en ligne et visible pour tout le monde à voir. Tester et puis les revoir après un mois ou deux. Voilà !
En bas un exemple des règles de fonctionnement, mais tout dépend sur votre problématique et votre contexte :
Une personne parle à la fois
N’hésitez pas à clarifier : Faire un signe/boîte à Moo/bruit/function sur le logiciel … quand perdu pour signaler de la mauvaise connexion d’internet ou si vous avez une question
Coupez le micro pendant vous ne parlez pas
Utilisez la vidéo
Assurez tous les locaux ont de la bonne connexion d’internet, logiciel réunion à distance et capacité pour vidéo
Soyez à l’heure sinon prévenir l’équipe
Commencer à l’heure même si tout le monde n’est pas là
Toujours décrivez qu’est-ce que vous montrez pour eux à distance (sportscast)
Envoyer l’agenda en avant de la réunion (24 heures). Tout le monde doit le lire avant.
Toujours quand vous avez des supports, les envoyez en format digital à tout le monde au moins 24 hours avant la réunion
Utiliser des rôles délégués, tournant, les coéquipiers à distance incus
Fin de réunion, le scribe envoie les notes à tout le monde/placent sur le wiki/etc.
I wanted to reshare this as more and more I see this article coming true. Are you a New Worker? Please share in the comments your experience with this “new breed.”
It is clear that a new type of developer has emerged, as described in Github’s Paul Saint John’s 2016 USI talk, but what truly inspired me is his hint that this new breed is also sprouting up in other domains. And that this rebirth was made possible thanks to the very platforms and applications created by the New Developer.
What is this New Developer… err…. Worker?
The New Worker thrives in a self-feeding cycle starting with a drive to innovate and differentiate, but no longer is this conception done in a vacuum. As Paul Saint John describes for the New Developer:
Learn > Code > Work Together (wash, rinse, and repeat)
Replace “code” with “create content” and you have the New Worker. Continuous learning and social collaboration is key to their success, often harnessing the power of the internet community.
But where to find these creatures?
Here are just a few of the many examples of these New Workers outside of the development domain:
Communities of medical professionals are forming for those who want to share their expertise, find fellow trailblazers and create partnerships to navigate a world bogged down by bureaucracy. One of these communities is Health Innovators, which has gained 1,600 members since its founding three years ago.
Two student animators got the attention and job offers from Disney and Pixar despite no professional experience due to their animated short The Present shared at festivals and on Vimeo.
DOTA which started as an open free mod created by a fan for WarCraft III now has over 10 million players as of 2015. This first mod was improved by several community members before becoming a sponsored game.
As for a personal example, as an Agile and organizational coach, I am starting to see more and more Agilists open up their tools for free use and feedback, such as Ajiro and Funretrospectives.com. John Saint Paul’s USI talk inspired me to continue to push forward and give my knowledge openly, even enable others to do “my job,” (much like the new developer who creates applications for others to create applications) as I am certain it will only open new opportunities and promote innovations in my field.
One final correction
So, I would suggest one minor change to John Saint Paul’s last slide, to expand it to fit the New Worker:
Those who enable the creation of content, whether by contributing or creating the space to do so, have the power. Numbered are the days of silos and CVs because the worker of the future needs to be part of a community to ensure their success.
Much like the communities initially pioneered or literally constructed by the New Developer.
Les “best practices” de Product Owner comment est-ce que vous pouvez les utiliser pour améliorer votre propre vie ou vie profesionnelle ? Les découvre dans mon atélier j’ai fait hier à Agile Paris by Night de Agile Tour
Chapeau à Agile Paris by Night … toujours un événement formidable et inspirant. Merci encore. C’était mon honneur d’anime mon atelier avec autres orateurs supers. Grand merci aux participants pour votre énergie, votre participation et vos éxchanges.
Yesterday I reawoke the workshop “Everyone is a Product Manager (Yes, even you!)” but did it completely in French. Just in case it may be of use to you here are the slides in English from when I did it at LeanKanban and AgileNord in 2017.
It goes over the best practices of Product Management PLUS how that can even be applied to your personal life. I crave your feedback!
I have been testing a new way of introducing myself, especially when at professional conferences and meetups. Though, I feel strongly you can use this throughout your life.
How many times have you talked for a long a while with a new person only to at the end realize there is a connection or opportunity to learn or collaborate? You then scramble to exchange emails and hope to connect and talk more later. You spent most of the conversation dancing around subjects or worse talking about the weather, when what most people want and need is connection and true exchange.
Let’s be frank, there is too often than not a lot of blah blah Rainy Outside blah that no one enjoys.
So I propose:
Instead of introducing ourselves by just our expertise, we should say what we are currently learning.
It is a bit of a way to create a skills matrix adhoc. It also engenders the mindset that we all (Yes, even consultants!) have something to learn.
Example (and a currently true one):
Hello, my name is Sheila. I am a business coach specializing in lean, agile and product vision. Currently I am delving into Lean Startup, working on my writing and practicing my Spanish. How about you?
Better yet ask them, “What are you passionate about?”
And perhaps, the person will respond, “Actually I am fluent in Spanish! Want to meet up practice? I could pick your brain on agile. I am passionate about…” Or, “I am also learning about Lean Startup! What books are you reading? I found this great one…”
Thoughts? Please, let me know your feedback if you try it.