Dominica Degrandis’s book “Making Work Visible – Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work and Flow” dwelves on not just making work visible but identifies the five time thieves that prevent you from getting work done – namely, Too much WIP, Unknown Dependencies, Unplanned Work, Conflicting Priorities and Neglected Work. Each of these “time thieves” are dealt with in depth and also looks into ways and means to tackle each of them.
“The Coaching Habit:Say Less, Ask More and Change the way you Lead Forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier is a great read for Coaches in asking the right questions, which builds curiosity and get the most out of a Coaching conversation. The Seven questions are:
What’s on your mind?
And what else?
What is the real challenge here for you?
What do you really want?
What do you want from me?
What could be being fully committed to the idea look like?
The Art of Focused Conversation – 100 Ways To Access Group Wisdom In The Workplace – edited by Brian Stanfield, is a wonderful book which talks of how structured conversation takes place through questions in a format called ORID model – Objective, Reflective, Interpretative, Decision. The book also has 100 examples of conversation in different settings using the ORID Focused Conversation model.
Clean Language is a communications methodology, developed by David J Grove, a New Zealand ‘Counselling Psychologist’, during the 1980s and 1990s. Though initially used in psychotherapy, Clean Language offers helpful techniques to all professional communicators, especially those working closely with others.
Clean Language is a questioning and discussion technique used especially for discovering, exploring and working with people’s own personal metaphors.
Clean Language techniques are aligned closely with modern ‘enabling’ principles of empathy, and understanding, as against manipulative methods of influence and persuasion and the projection of self-interest.Clean Language helps people to convey their own meaning, free of emotional or other distracting interpretation from others.
Clean Language helps clients to discover and develop symbols and metaphors without any content introduced by the therapist/coach/interviewer. It promotes better clarity of communications, neutrality and objectivity (absence of emotional ‘spin’, bias and prejudice), ease of understanding, and cooperative productive relationships.
This is a brief summary of the book “Liminal Thinking – Create the change you want by changing the way you think” by Dave Gray. Dave is the author of books such as “Gamestorming” and “The Connected company”.
According to Dave, Liminal thinking is the art of creating change by understanding, changing and reframing beliefs. The book goes on to talk about the Principles and Practices of Liminal Thinking.
Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute, is a leadership fable which discusses two concepts – “In the Box” and “Out of the Box”.
Once a person is “in the box”, they see others in a distorted way and as a source of their problem. The person “in the box” sees himself as the centre of the world and others as mere objects – whose needs are secondary and less legitimate than their own. He, more often than not, blames others and finds faults with whatever others do or say. For the person “in the box”, his needs come before anybody else’s and only after they are satisfied, does he look at needs of others. And a person “in the box” could face issues such as a lack of commitment, lack of engagement, poor team work, backbiting, lack of trust, communication problems among others. It is because being “in the box” limits our ability to reach our full potential and betrays the basic obligation that we have to see others as they are, as people.
A person “out of the box” sees others as People – as a person who has feelings, hopes, fears and needs. A person who is ‘out of the box’ places his needs and the needs of others on the same level. He is a good communicator, tries to motivate people around and can deliver even the hardest messages without any ill feeling. The motivation for smart people to be smarter and for skilled people to be even more skilled, is for them to be treated in a straightforward manner, and to give them the respect and dignity they deserve. A person “out of the box” creates an environment of openness, trust and teamwork where people work hard, put in effort for the collective good of the group not for individual accomplishments.
There is a nice summary at the end of the book :
Self betrayal leads to self-deception and “the box”
When you are in the box, you cannot focus on the results
Your influence and success will depend on being out of the box
You get out of the box as you cease resisting other people
Don’t try to be perfect. Do try to be better
Don’t use the vocabulary “the box” and so on – with people who don’t already know it. Do use the principles in your own life
Don’t look for others’ boxes. Do look for your own
Don’t accuse others of being in the box. Do try to stay out of the box yourself
Don’t give up on yourself when you discover you have been in the box. Do keep trying
Don’t deny that you have been in the box when you have been. Do apologise, then just keep marching forward, trying to be more helpful in the future.
Don’t focus on what others are doing wrong. Do focus on what you can do right to help
Don’t worry whether others are helping you. Do worry whether you are helping others.
I recently read Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness – A Path to Passion, Profits and Purpose” and I found it a very inspiring read. We, in the Agile world often hear of the Zappos culture and values – which looks very simple from the outside, but very difficult to follow in the real sense of the term.
I have summarised the 10 Core Values which Zappos lives by, in letter and spirit. Here is a brief summary of those Core Values —> The 10 Core Values of Zappos