It's been a while since I wrote a blog, here is some good news, this is part 1 of a 3 part blog series, inspired by the writings of John C. Maxwell, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential.”
This blog is by a Scrum Master for Scrum Masters to improve themselves and their teams. In this first part, we will explore the 5 laws of growth that could help us as Scrum Masters to grow ourselves and our Scrum teams.
1. The Law of the Mirror
You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself and Teams
I believe all Scrum Masters have the seeds of greatness within them. All they need to do is cultivate those seeds, water them, provide adequate sunlight, and they will begin to grow. So, why do many Scrum Masters fail to grow and reach their fullest potential? One of the main reasons I found is low self-esteem.
Many Scrum Masters don’t believe in themselves rather have limiting beliefs that hinder their growth, this may be either due to lack of traits and skills, organizational constraints or lack of empowerment by the Leadership. However, I feel sorry to say that many Scrum Masters actually don't invest in themselves but expect employers or others to invest in them.
They need to have a laser-like focus on continually improving themselves and their teams. This is only possible if they believe in themselves and recognize the internal change momentum a Scrum Master can bring inside their organization by promoting and supporting Scrum as per the Scrum Guide.
Living the Scrum Values "Focus"
Focus on your self-talk: Instead of practicing helpless victimhood, explore how could you look for possibilities by moving away from what isn't in control to focus on what's in your circle of influence.
Stop comparing yourself with others: The only one you should compare yourself to is you. Your mission should be to become better today than you were yesterday. You do that by focusing on what you can do today to improve and grow yourself and the team.
- Practice the one-word strategy: If you could pick one word to describe yourself as a Scrum Master, what would it be?
“Wherever Focus goes Energy Flows.”
2. The Law of Awareness
You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself.
To grow, you must know your strengths and weaknesses, interests and opportunities. You have to know who you are to grow to your potential. But you have to grow in order to know who you are. This is a catch-22 situation. In order to navigate through this situation, the first step is awareness, second is acceptance.
Living the Scrum Values "Courage"
Questions to help develop your awareness:
1. What is my biggest asset?
2. What is my biggest liability?
3. What is my highest high?
4. What is my lowest low?
5. What is my most worthwhile emotion?
6. What is my least worthwhile emotion?
7. What is my best habit?
8. What is my worst habit?
9. What is most fulfilling for me?
I find these nine questions super handy to plot my self-awareness radar chart. You might want to give it a try, Value guaranteed.
"Awareness is the greatest agent for change."
— Eckhart Tolle
3. The Law of Modeling
It’s Hard to Improve When You Have No One But Yourself to follow.
The single most advice if I have to give to Scrum Masters is to find at least a mentor who you could look up to. Beware that, You must be humble enough to ask for help, listen, and learn from your mentors.
Growth comes from both the head and the heart. Only supportive people are willing to share both with you. Most of my mentors and I saw something in each other that drew us together. We have common attitudes, outlooks on life, goals, but realized there was a shared goal to work together.
Over time, because you start to closely communicate, you will find some of the strongest friendship bonds will be formed from a mentor/mentee relationship. I think mutual respect and bond is formed during the journey that lasts a lifetime.
Living the Scrum Values "Openness"
This is what I've learned from my experience, find a mentor who can help you see yourself for who you could be, not who you currently are. And then use that image to inspire you to start stretching.
“When the student is ready, teacher will appear.”
4. The Law of the Rubber Band
Growth stops when you lose the tension between where you are and where you could be.
Most people only use a fraction of their ability and rarely strive to reach their full potential. I believe that nobody has ever achieved peak performance by being in a comfortable zone. Improving yourself is the best way to help your team. Great Scrum Masters set themselves apart because they initiate the improvement others need.
When they get better, those around them benefit. Excellence has the potential to spread in the same way that mediocrity does. The positives or negatives of a group always begin with one. When you get better, so will others.
Living the Scrum Values "Commitment"
Instead of wishing, wanting, and waiting, Scrum Masters need to search inside themselves for a reason to start. Have a personal journal and pen down: I believe I’m so much more than mediocre. And answer this question honestly — What do you pride yourself in, mediocre or excellence? Do your daily actions reflect your thoughts?
“If you won’t be better tomorrow than you were today, then what do you need tomorrow for?”
—Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav”
5. The Law of Contribution: Developing Yourself Enables You to Develop Others
Hey Scrum Master, Are you a river or a reservoir?
Reservoirs continually take in water but only to fill themselves up. In contrast, the river flows. Whatever water it receives, it gives away. That’s the way we as Scrum Master should be as we learn and grow.
That requires an abundance mindset like a river compared to the scarcity mindset like a reservoir. If you live by the Law of Contribution, you will have much to offer other people, because growing yourself enables you to grow others.
Living the Scrum Values "Respect"
Be Grateful: Being grateful for being able to offer services towards the development team, product owner and organization as a daily ritual could bring in a big mindset change to grow ourselves as Scrum Masters.
Put People first: Scrum Master is a servant leader, putting people first is even more important, because your actions impact so many other people and teams.
Define Success as sowing not reaping: I consider the success of my day based on the seeds I sow, not the harvest I reap. If you sow continually and abundantly, you can be sure that in the due season there will be a harvest.
“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
— Abraham Maslow”
I believe Scrum Masters are so much more than a mediocre. What do you pride yourself in, mediocrity or excellence? Do your daily actions reflect your thoughts?