I #ChooseToChallenge our Agile Community
Happy International Women’s Day! It is a dynamic time to be alive. Dynamic, don’t you love that word? I do. Words like strange, scary, and unprecedented have been used to describe the times we’re all living in, but dynamic is a new one I’ve been considering. Have you looked at the definition of it recently? It seems incredibly relevant and useful for us on International Women’s Day.
- (of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, or progress. "a dynamic economy"
- (of a person) positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas. "she's dynamic and determined"
- a force that stimulates change or progress within a system or process. "evaluation is part of the basic dynamic of the project"
- MUSIC another term for dynamics (i.e. volume of the music)
The time we are living in is certainly one of constant change, activity, and progress. While the times we are living in are new since COVID-19 changed our lives nearly one year ago, the idea that our world is dynamic isn’t new. The pandemic has only exacerbated our perception of it.
Then I turn to the word in its noun form. We, as agilists, are a force that stimulates change or progress. And if you subscribe to the natural alignment of feminine leadership qualities with what we seek to enable in agile and the future of work, then you must agree women agilists are uniquely positioned to dynamically change the world and make it a better place. It leads me to reflect on the adjective form of the word. As leaders and change agents, women have a tendency to occupy roles with a positive attitude that is full of energy and new ideas.
Lastly, I will comment on range. Inspired by the musical definition of dynamic and the volume of music. A song lacks luster when it maintains a sustained volume. The contrast of quiet and soft, the crescendo to moments of emphasis, and the subtlety of silence. It all contributes to the listening experience. It contributes to life experience as well, and if you’re influencing and leading others you know range is critical to meeting people where they are and calling forward the utmost potential of others. You cannot be a true leader without range and dynamics.
Why does this matter? Because today, on International Women’s Day, I #ChooseToChallenge you each to get curious about how dynamic your life and work are. How dynamic you are in the way you show up every day. In fact, I want to share two stories with you that have specific calls to action. Each has impacted me and shaped the person I am today. I hope they inspire you and that you find the same.
Giving Your Glow
An early mentor in my agile consulting career was pairing with me to jump-start new agile teams at one of our clients. I was 30 years old and working with lots of senior leaders. It was terrifying, and he (my mentor) was brilliant. You could look at him and know he was meant to be running in executive circles. The client trusted him 100% and I had no idea how I was going to be able to lead alone after we finished the kickoff.
At dinner one night after working with the client we were discussing the pending events of the next day. He told me it was time for him to “give me some glow”. I didn’t understand, but when I experienced it in action I completely understood and it changed my way of thinking (and acting) forever.
The next day in the office I noticed how when the client asked him questions he subtly redirected them to me. He also lobbed new discussion topics my way, “Leslie, why don’t you tell them about how we plan to…” and after just one day of this everything started to shift. By the end of the week they looked to me first. I had become their trusted partner. At the beginning my mentor was the one with all the gravitas. He was the bright shining star in the room, but it was no longer the case. He gave me just enough of his glow that my talent started to shine. My star rose in the sky and not only did the client trust me more, I trusted myself.
This is a perfect illustration of the mentorship we all deserve. The type of ally I hope we all have the opportunity to be blessed with. So I #ChooseToChallenge each of you to seek out opportunities every day to find someone around you to share your glow with. It will make the world a brighter place.
Embracing a True Sustainable Pace
“You can't give away what you don't have.” - Wayne Dyer
I first learned this quote from Portia Tung when interviewing her for an early episode of the Women In Agile Podcast. It was like she shared words with me that gave me language for a concept I instinctively knew, but didn’t know how to articulate. It also made me feel like a complete fraud void of all integrity. I was a leader, a coach, a trainer, and a consultant that talked a good game, but I wasn’t drinking my own prosecco (i.e. practicing what I preached). I tried, but I often failed. It didn’t mean I wasn’t successful in the work I was doing, but I was very clear on the fact that I was holding myself as well as those I worked with back from their fullest potential.
Why am I sharing this anecdote? Because there is an agile principle I so rarely see brought to life I know it is holding us all back in unimaginable ways. Sustainable pace.
We live in a world that seemingly moves faster and faster every day. (It’s dynamic.) We have societal pressure to keep up. We work for competitive organizations seeking to win. We want to be all-the-things for ourselves and those around us.
Back-to-back Zoom calls without bio breaks, billing 40 hours a week and also working on your business, nor finishing conference calls while making dinner and bathing children are signals of a sustainable pace. It’s what we are having to do to keep up though. Perhaps it’s time we uncover better ways of achieving sustainable pace by doing it ourselves and helping others do it too.
As agilists, we teach that sustainable pace is important, but how many of us have it ourselves? How can we give it to others if we don’t have it? What would be possible if we all had the space and blessings sustainable pace has to offer? I believe it would give us greater gifts of connection, greater levels of humanity in the workplace, and greater ability to solve the truly complex problems of injustice and inequality holding back far too many people in our world.
I #ChooseToChallenge everyone to find the courage to tackle your own sustainable pace journey in hopes for paying it forward. Making it something you now have so that you may give it to someone else.
Share Your Thoughts
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these ideas as well as learn how you #ChooseToChallenge our global agile community on International Women’s Day. Comment here or connect with me on LinkedIn to start a conversation!