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Learn or Lose: Agile Coaching and Organizational Survival


The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.  ― Alvin Toffler


Overview: Change and evolve, or wither and die

For organizations to survive and thrive in the Information Age they must become truly adaptive. This will require a huge cultural transition away from the mechanistic, hierarchical, command-and-control approaches that were highly successful through the recent Industrial Age, but have now expired.

What is needed for survival is a transformation into true Learning Organizations 1. The essential cultural change is from a rigid focus on performance and risk-avoidance around a fixed (or infrequently changing) business model, to one that embraces continual learning, experiments, and small, typically reversible, changes.

Agile and Lean methods talk about learning and change, but I want to emphasize these facets as the central factor to cultural change. Without embracing ongoing learning and change, one may well upgrade one’s old approaches by cherry-picking elements of the new “Agile” way, but this is likely to only be a short-lived improvement. It is not enough.

Evidence of the transition: In Scrum we hold (typically) fortnightly retrospectives to “Inspect and Adapt”. In Lean we practice the improvement and coaching katas (daily!) to foster a culture of Kaizen. In Lean Start-Up our world revolves around rapid, frequent, low-cost experiments. If these (or similar: e.g. 20% time) learning and experiment-oriented practices are well-established and universally valued within your organization, the chances are good that the building blocks of a learning culture are in place.

The shift needed in organizations that have barely started to embrace learning can only be created by individuals at all levels, and not confined to particular teams or functional silos. Anyone who can’t or won’t learn ― executives, middle-managers, salespeople, bean-counters, front-line workers, consultants and coaches alike ― will find they are part of the problem, and will feel increasingly insecure, and many well fight back.

Agile coaching and approaches can help (a lot), but they are not an end in themselves, and must be pursued humanely and incrementally. Organizational transformation can be likened to rebuilding aeroplanes in the air, and traps abound for young players. And when it comes to this kind of change, we are all young players!

The mechanistic mindset is worn out

Just as the notion of a job-for-life is dead and buried, with the average US worker changing jobs every 4.4 years 2, organizational lifespans are shrinking. In 1958 the average time spent by a top US company in the S&P 500 was 61 years; in 1980 it was 25 years; in 2011 it was 18 years 3.

Sustainable competitive advantage via a static business model is dead. Digital photography was invented at Kodak in 1975, but a dogged unwillingness to cannibalize its (then) hugely profitable analog film business led to bankruptcy in 2012 4.

Other examples abound: many traditional organizations knew that Research and Development was important, but siloed it off, and when push came to shove were unable to put their long-term survival ahead of the seemingly safe strategy of milking existing business models. In 1943 IBM president Thomas Watson declared, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”. In a similar spirit IBM turned down the opportunity to commercialize photocopying, leading to the birth of Xerox. In turn, much of the groundwork for the microcomputer revolution was laid by the Xerox PARC research group, but commercialized by Apple and Microsoft.

By way of counter-example, Toyota, originally a maker of automatic looms, developed the Toyota Production System (aka “Lean”) under the leadership of Taiichi Ohno, pursuing continual learning and improvement in the service of a vision of “one piece flow”. Along the way they up-ended limited notions such as economies of scale, realized that inventory was waste, invented Just In Time, Kanban and many other useful methods. Ohno said “Why not make the work easier and more interesting so that people do not have to sweat? The Toyota style is not to create results by working hard. It is a system that says there is no limit to people's creativity. People don't go to Toyota to 'work' they go there to 'think'.” Today Toyota is the largest and most profitable car maker in the world 5.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes the case for a new way at the organizational level: “What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet [i.e. a desperate longshot] at the very end of their corporate existence. Whereas companies that are making bets all along, even big bets, but not bet-the-company bets, prevail. I don’t believe in bet-the-company bets. That’s when you’re desperate. That’s the last thing you can do.” 6

What’s so interesting about Bezos’s statement is that he blurs the major distinction between a startup (i.e. a temporary organization created to search for a scalable, repeatable, business model) with that of an established business (a more permanent organization focussed on the efficient execution of an established business model) 7.

Startups are Learning Organizations by necessity. They must learn, experiment and adapt to become sustainable and scalable, or die trying. However, this has traditionally been a temporary state of affairs. Once the search for a successful business model has succeeded, most startups transform (or are acquired) into organizations that prioritize execution over further learning and experimentation. By contrast, Bezos and others regard the search / experimental approach as vital to the ongoing survival of their organizations.

From Legacy to Learning Organizations

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. ― Charles Darwin

Traditional organizations are so focussed on execution that they are vulnerable to external shocks, and struggle with change. Traditional change management is typically:

  1. top-down, using only a fraction of the intelligence and wisdom of the organization
  2. big batch, so there is limited room for learning and adjustment along the way
  3. divisive: since big change is imposed, it is disruptive, and frequently counter-productive, it often leads to ongoing dissatisfaction and resentment among the rank-and-file
  4. hit-or-miss: if the big change doesn’t work as hoped it will take a lot of time and effort to organize the next attempt, and consequently
  5. infrequent, so staff are unpracticed in responding to change.

By contrast, in a Learning Organization, change is:

  1. ubiquitous: everyone proposes and tests (small) changes throughout the organization
  2. frequent: although everything isn’t in flux, small experiments are constantly going on
  3. incremental: small changes are the norm, and proposals for big changes are broken into smaller steps wherever possible, making for gentler change
  4. iterative: smalls steps that don’t work out can be re-done in different ways
  5. adaptive: it is possible to re-set goals mid-change in response to learning and/or new information, and
  6. familiar: since self-imposed change is going on all the time, when big changes do occur (either due to external shocks or because there was no way to decompose a big change into smaller bits) both people and teams are better-equipped to cope and respond positively and constructively.

Learning Organizations foster learning at the individual, team and organizational levels. Without a culture that values learning and improvement, how can an organization make the most of the creativity and inventiveness of its people?

Knowledge-workers in a learning organization will be constantly learning new skills, and deepening and sharing existing ones.

One of the lessons of Agile and Lean is that besides continuing to learn and improve at specialist skills, for high performance to occur at larger scales (team, department, and organization) it is also crucial to acquire and improve generalist skills and behaviours.

We will explore two groups of models around learning. The first group is concerned with the individual development of specialist skills, and readily transfers to the development of skills and behaviours that make a high-performing team more than the sum of its parts. The second group explores useful models of organizational culture and development.

Rosetta Stone #1: Skill acquisition models

Many models of skill acquisition have been devised and you will likely be familiar with one or more. Just as the original Rosetta Stone enabled scholars to decode ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs by comparison with Ancient Greek, the two Rosetta Stones in this article will allow you to exploit existing familiarity with one or more models to begin to access the others.

Why have multiple models?

  1. Different models bring out different nuances that may be useful in a specific situation
  2. Lining up the models is useful: familiarity with one model and the stages of the Rosetta Stone makes it easier to learn, and later apply, elements from the other models.

Here is my selection of models, organized by similar stages:


Stage 0

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

4 stages of competence 8

Unconscious incompetence

Conscious incompetence

Conscious competence

Unconscious competence

Traditional crafts





Shu Ha Ri 9





Jazz improvisation 10





Carol Dweck 11

Fixed mindset: belief in nature

Growth mindset: belief in nurture

Chris Argyis 12

Single-loop: superficial adjustment

Double-loop: deep questioning

Discussion of the stages

Stage 0 (unconscious incompetence) is untrained, untaught, and quite possibly unwittingly incompetent: e.g. the Dunning-Kruger effect 13 most cringingly on display in the early episodes of TV talent quests. In some cases an individual will exhibit raw ability, but it tends to be hit-or-miss or otherwise limited, rather than reliable in execution.

Stage 1 (conscious incompetence / apprentice / shu / imitation) is the stage where an individual follows strict rules in order to journey from an untrained state to a somewhat mechanistic competence. Think of the Karate Kid waxing the car, sanding the floor and painting the fence (1984 version) or putting on, taking off, putting down, and hanging up his jacket (2010 kung fu version). The objective is to internalise useful building blocks and habits through repetition.

By Stage 2 (conscious competence / craftsperson / Ha / Assimilate) the learner has internalized the core habits and is now able to act more fluidly, to bend the rules, explore some of the underlying principles, and act somewhat independently of an instructor or guide. In a creative art she is no longer copying, but showing signs of originality while remaining connected to her community of practice.

Stage 3 (unconscious competence / master / ri / innovate) signals a significant departure. Having mastered the lessons from the previous stages of development it is necessary to “let go” in order to make major innovative steps.

The Stage 0 and Stage 1 drawings are self-portraits by and of the same student, drawn at the beginning and at the end of a (very good) five day drawing course 14. Stage 2 is a painting of Picasso’s mother drawn by the artist at age 15 in a realistic style (1896); stage 3 is Tête de Femme (1935), by which time Picasso has left realism behind to develop abstract art.

Note that our level of competence varies across different disciplines. In an era of specialization it is unavoidable to have vast areas of incompetence and only a few areas of higher development.

When learning to ride a bicycle you can only go so fast without taking off the training wheels. Mistaking closer and closer adherence to “the rules” as true achievement is called “getting trapped in the Shu Box”!

Reaching Stage 2 in a few areas of importance to your work and life is good! Not everyone needs to be a Stage 3 revolutionary. Nor is it necessarily healthy: When Galileo presented evidence that the Earth was not at the centre of the Universe, the Church charged him with heresy, and threatened to burn him at the stake.

Historical Context: From Craft to Industry, and back

Part of the genius of the Industrial Revolution was to divide and conquer complex tasks so that individuals could be quickly trained to Stage 1 competence in a narrow task, and their work aggregated to yields complex products. In Adam Smith’s pin factory example it was spectacularly more efficient (24,000%!) to have 18 specialized operators functioning at Stage 1 competence on single tasks arranged in a production line, than to train everyone up in all facets of pin-making, and then pay the costs of task-switching.

Now that we are moving from the Industrial Age to an Information Age, in which simple, repetitive tasks are automated or (for now) outsourced, it is incorrect to believe that knowledge-work can be scaled by following similar principles. While there are lessons to be learned from mechanistic methods, they are far from universal.

Rather than seeing craft, and the progression from Apprentice to Master as an outmoded approach, we may well come to see the Industrial Era as an interregnum in which we lost something while learning the Way of the Machine.

Fixed vs Growth Mindset; Mental Maps and Loops of Learning

If the progression through the stages was without cost and challenge, we would all be doing it! It is clear that Mastery is highly elusive, and even competence can be rare. Carol Dweck and Chris Argyris provide piercing insights into the barriers to adoption. Dweck’s concept of fixed mindset vs growth mindset, and Argyris’s single- and double-loop learning line up (roughly) with our four stages, and provide both valuable insights into individual learning, and connect up with learning at larger scales: the team and the organization.

Psychologist Dweck studied the effect on a person’s belief in whether their ability is rooted in nature (fixed mindset: e.g. I’m good [or no good] at dancing) vs a product of nurture (growth mindset: e.g. I can get better through effort and learning). People who adopt the growth mindset consistently do better than those who get trapped in the fixed mindset. It’s basically a pre-requisite to learning: if you don’t believe you can improve, you won’t improve! Importantly, Dweck points out that we can have a fixed mindset with regard to some things, and a growth mindset with respect to others.

In a related vein, organizational theorist Argyris discovered that many executives suffer from a learning disability. En route to high office the typical executive learns many things and acquires useful mental models along the way. But having ascended, (s)he all-too-often becomes fixed in outlook and loses much of the ability to learn deeply, and (importantly) is blind to this shortcoming. The most that (s)he can now achieve is what Argyris terms “single-loop learning”. In single-loop learning one’s mental models are fixed, save for a few tweakable parameters. By contrast, the executive who learns to practice “double-loop learning” can do much more than tweak the parameters of the old, familiar mental models. (S)he questions underlying assumptions and makes major revision to (or discards) old mental models in response to new observations and deepening understanding. This can lead to radical revisions.

Because sane, successful humans are largely reluctant to throw out what’s worked well for them in the past, both because of material and emotional reward, and the risk of loss of status, in most eras it pays to be conservative and reject radical change. However, in the current era of accelerating change, a fixed view is a recipe for one’s own obsolescence.

Rosetta Stone #2: Agile Maturity Models for Organizational Intervention

Now we turn to the generalization of this scheme for the organization. In working with organizations seeking improvement via Agile and Lean methods I went searching for frameworks to help give me greater insight into the challenges of cultural change needed in effective coaching, beyond the team.


Stage 0

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Software development

- folk classification


a. Waterfall

b. “Doing” Agile

Agile / Lean


Marshall model 15

Ad hoc




Agile Fluency 16


✩ (one star): focus on value

✩✩: deliver value

✩✩✩: optimize value

✩✩✩✩: optimize for systems

Hofstede culture clusters 17


Pyramid, Solar, Well-oiled machine



The folk classification of software development gives a good basis on which to make an important point about perspective: while stage 2 reflects a more mature way of working than either stage 0 or stage 1, it doesn’t necessarily look that way to people who are accustomed to working in the earlier stages. For example, while recruiting for my team in a fairly established corporate Agile environment (in which teams were operating reliably in late stage 1, early stage 2) I would often get one of two negative responses from job candidates who lacked previous Agile exposure:

  1. People from Stage 0 (cowboy) backgrounds such as digital agencies would take one look and comment on the "incredible bureaucracy" of our practices. How did we ever get anything done!?
  2. Those accustomed to stage 1 (waterfall variant) such as long-time bank employees would, by contrast, perceive our operation as a risky cowboy shop operating at break-neck pace!

The positive responses came from candidates who expressed discontent with the limitations of their existing or past work environments, and were attracted to the prospect of working somewhere that had a better handle on at least some of their pain-points, and where they could reasonably expect to learn, contribute, and thrive.

The Marshall model

In practice, I have found Bob Marshall’s model (also known as right-shifting) particularly fruitful. One of Bob’s key points is that each stage has a prevailing, common organizational mindset, and a transition in mindset is fundamental to a transition in behaviour.

The ad hoc (stage 0) organization has a prevailing mindset that can be characterized as “just do it” — focus on doing the work, rather than how it is done — and this can work brilliantly at small scales. At the ad hoc stage, the heroic individual has great cachet.

At analytic (stage 1) the value of compliance is learned, and this gives rise to coordination and rules. But something is lost in terms of dynamism. Most analytic organizations are likely to fall into industrial models of working, but “doing Agile by the numbers” is an alternative variation, and makes for an easier transition to stage 2. At stage 1, switching from waterfall to doing Agile isn’t easy (since unlearning is harder than learning), but not infeasible.

Synergistic (stage 2) is where the action is. It’s where Agile and Lean really live and where team learning and performance kick into gear. Bob contends that the necessary mindset shift is to one of discovering common purpose. I prefer to characterize this shift a little differently: in my view external compliance is superseded by self-discipline and reciprocity. With the improved mindset team cooperation typically thrashes mechanistic compliance.

Chaordic (stage 3) is well beyond the reach of most current organizations. A chaordic organization can opportunistically take advantage of even transient opportunities. Internally, a chaordic organization generates brilliant and often original solutions to its challenges to suit its context, but typically fly in the face of conventional wisdom. For example, at Semco senior managers set their own salaries, but workers in their units can sack them 18. At Valve corporation everyone’s desk is on wheels, so that they join and leave existing projects as they wish. This is a form of Open Allocation 19.

A key learning for me is that trying to usher an organization straight from stage 0 to stage 2 is like trying to run before you can walk, in terms of requisite mindset. Better to work on a successful stage 1 adoption, laying the foundation for further growth to stage 2, rather than trying to make a spectacular jump too soon. Please note that in a software development context, I am not advocating Waterfall as a good choice for Stage 1. It’s bad! Far better to do some sort of slightly dogmatic approach to Agile, and then quickly move on once ready.

Another issue is that if you work primarily with a team (or larger groups), there’s only so far you can press ahead of the rest of the organization. The wider culture becomes like a rubber-band pulling you back if you get too far ahead. This can be a particularly frustrating period for the trailblazing team, and a challenging period for the Agile coach!

An interesting question to ponder when coaching a stage 0 organization is why they haven’t gone to stage 1 previously. What is it that they couldn’t afford to give up? Is there a (reasonable) concern about not being able to swiftly shift priorities? Or that creativity will be diminished? Without the understanding that these advantages will be recovered down the track, it is understandable that there may be significant resistance from those who feel they will lose out in the near term.

Some additional observations:

  • Most organizations function at stage 0 and stage 1 levels, but stage 2 organizations are far more effective, and stage 3 organizations incredibly rare.
  • Pay attention to how people react when they are under stress. Do they turn to a hero — stage 0 indicator? Do they follow the routine or perform an exhaustive analysis — stage 1? Do they look to perform an experiment — stage 2?

Agile Fluency

The Agile Fluency model of Diana Larsen and James Shore offers a very useful framework for those with their foot in the door of Agile proficiency. The Fluency model offers wisdom on how existing Agile methodologies fit into an overall schema, how long adoptions tend to take, and rates of successful adoption. Larsen and Shore also make the essential point that different approaches aren’t necessarily better in an absolute sense — and decry the label of maturity model.

Like the Marshall model, the journey through Fluency implies a series of major shifts:



Required shift


Gateway Agile Methodologies


Team culture

Focus on Value:transparency, flexibility

Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban

2 (early)


Team skills

Deliver Value:internal quality, effectiveness

XP, Continuous Delivery

2 (late)


Organization structure

Optimize for Value:product quality, innovation

Lean Startup



Organization culture

Optimize for Systems:aligned organization


Note that large scale and/or a legacy culture tends to make the shift to more stars much harder. For example, I find it’s straightforward to implement Lean Startup techniques in a start-up of my own founding (no surprise!), but getting similar approaches to fly in a much better resourced and established corporation requires exceptional political patronage. For most traditional corporations, getting teams to one or two star fluency is a large enough (and highly beneficial) goal at this time, and qualifies as a significant transformation.

Hofstede Culture Clusters

In the 1980s Geert Hofstede conducted a survey of 160,000 IBM employees across 70 countries, polling them on a small number of metrics, originally

  1. Power Distance Index:  i.e. acceptance (or not) of Authority
  2. Individualism vs Collectivism
  3. Masculinity vs Femininity
  4. Uncertainty avoidance

Interestingly, the scoring patterns tended to cluster across groups of countries. Hofstede gave these distinct “culture clusters” names: Contest (laissez faire), Network (participative), and the autocratic variants: Pyramid, Family, Solar system, and Well-oiled machine.

Matthew Hodgson introduced me to his brilliant application of Hofstede’s cluster concept to Agile management consulting. In combination with the ADKAR model of change (Awareness → Desire → Knowledge → Ability → Reinforcement), Matthew has outlined which methods are likely to be most successful given a particular dominant culture, and at which stage to apply which technique.

For example, in a contest culture (stage 0) a significant emergency such as a “burning project” is the most likely way to trigger awareness of the need for change, while in a pyramid culture (a stage 1 variant), a value-stream mapping exercise is a better fit, while in a network culture (stage 2) a consciousness-raising approach (e.g. townhalls) would be a better bet.

Overall, the Hodgson/Hofstede approach offers more of a deep-dive into cultural variation, and given a fairly accurate initial diagnosis, can save time by not attempting inappropriate interventions, and instead help build confidence in early successes 20.

Agile Coaching and Process consultation

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. Sun Tzu, The Art of War

We may accept that the change from an over-focus on machine-like performance and efficiency to also valuing learning, problem-solving, experimentation and improvement is the way to go. But such a major cultural change will be scary, difficult, and messy. And that’s just the start! The full paradigm-shift from the older command-and-control, fixed ways of working to a more collegiate, learning-oriented way will take some time my wild-assed guess is 20 years (call me in 2035). So for the foreseeable future we can expect most larger, established organizations to exist in a flux betwixt the old and the new.

Into this challenging milieu steps our hero, the Agile change agent, seeking to catalyze and accelerate positive change, but up against the obstacles of misunderstanding, unrealistic expectations, cynicism, previous bad experiences, and superficiality.

Naturally I recommend forging an Agile, incremental, iterative approach to catalyzing change.

Different styles of helping

In his seminal book, Helping: How to offer, give, and receive help, Edgar Schein 21 identifies three types of helper:

  1. With The Skilled Resource you do the thinking and diagnosis, but call in the expert to do the hands-on work. e.g. You see that a pipe is leaking in your bathroom (easy diagnosis), and call the plumber, who replaces the pipe. In this case you take responsibility for thinking and diagnosis, but the resource acts.
  2. The Expert: You call the expert who diagnoses. E.g. a doctor distinguishes heartburn from heart attack. In this case you hand over responsibility for thinking and diagnosis to an expert, and follow their recommendation.
  3. The Process Consultant works with you to diagnose and treat the problem.

For our purposes (and many others) the third mode is preferred. The Agile Consultant is the expert on all things Agile (or near enough), but the organizational locals are the experts on the current context. Together they can solve the problems, working in a collegiate way.

By adopting the process consulting approach the Agile Coach mentors, teaches, collaborates, and models behaviour, incrementally and iteratively. The coachees learn and try out new approaches while the coach is learning about the specifics of the organization. As the coachees become more independent, the coach gets to step back. Once a learning culture has been established, it’s time to move on to new assignments.


[T]he prevailing system of management is, at its core, dedicated to mediocrity. It forces people to work harder and harder to compensate for failing to tap the spirit and collective intelligence that characterizes working together at its best.  Peter Senge

For modern organizations to survive and thrive they need to become Learning Organizations.

For most existing organizations and for many people, this will be far from easy. A mindset is required that embraces ongoing learning and change. This will be especially challenging for those who have enjoyed success and status through careful conformance to an existing, rigid model, especially approaches that have focussed on minimizing risk.

Understanding and applying a growth mindset (Dweck) and double-loop learning (Argyris) will be extremely helpful.

For those who seek to catalyze change ― including Agile coaches and other champions ― we need to develop an understanding of the bigger picture. We can’t stop the world and “fix” everything at once, but rather must work incrementally, empathically, and with cooperation and consent. Process consulting (Schein) provides a helpful framework.

Agile and allied approaches are means rather than ends-in-themselves. They comprise a set of core values and principles, plus an extensive (and growing!) array of compatible practices that can help make the necessary mega-change from specialized, but fragile organizations of the Industrial Age to the robust and rejuvenating enterprises of the future.

The Rosetta Stones presented above provide an overview and brief introduction to a number of overlapping and complementary models that can aid Agile practitioners in finding an effective model to help understand, discuss, and guide organizations that are embarking on the challenging journey of cultural evolution.

About the Author

Dan Prager is an Agile/Lean coach based in Melbourne, Australia, where he lives with his family. Besides coaching Dan co-founded the craft/technology startup in early 2014 with his wife (Andi Herman) and John Barham. Dan holds a PhD in mathematical computational physics, and has worked in a wide variety of technical and leadership positions in software startups, SMEs, and corporations. When he gets the chance Dan enjoys inventing and implementing original algorithms for fun and profit, especially in bleeding edge functional programming languages. Dan has been learning traditional Japanese Jiu-jitsu and Classical Judo for a couple of decades, and teaches a weekly evening class at Monash University to young adults. He tweets as @agilejitsu and blogs at

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Andi Herman, Tim Newbold, and Shane Hastie for their helpful comments and suggestions.


1 Wikipedia: Learning organization

2 Kamanetz, Anya (in Fast Company): The four year career

3 Innosight (report): Creative destruction whips through corporate america

4 Pachal, Pete: How Kodak Squandered Every Single Digital Opportunity it Had

5 McIntyre, Douglas: Toyota: The World’s Most Profitable Car Company

6 Blodget, Henry (in Business Insider): Interview with Jeff Bezos

7 Blank, Steve: What’s a startup? First principles

8Wikipedia: Four stages of competence

9 Cockburn, Alistair: Shu Ha Ri

10 O’Donnell, Eric: Clark Terry’s 3 Steps to Learning Improvisation

11 Dweck, Carol (book): Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

12 Argyris, Chris (in HBR): Teaching Smart People How to Learn

13 Wikipedia: Dunning Kruger effect

14 Edwards, Betty (book): The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

15 Marshall, Bob: The Marshall Model

16 Larsen, Diana and Shore, James: Your Path Through Agile Fluency

17 Hofstede, Geert (articles): Cultural dimensions and clusters

18 Semler, Ricardo (book): Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace

19 Church, Michael O.: What is Open Allocation?

20 Hodgson, Marshall: Agile adoption & helping to change organisational culture

21 Schein, Edgar (book): Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help

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Community comments

  • Coaching to build relationships

    by Chris Chan,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Hi Dan,

    Nice article. Thanks

    "By adopting the process consulting approach the Agile Coach mentors, teaches, collaborates, and models behaviour, incrementally and iteratively."

    Teaching, modeling, consulting and mentoring is about trying and solving immediate needs and in this stance the Agile Consultant is the expert on all things Agile as you have described.

    Another important aspect of the Agile Coach is to build relationships. It is through building of relationships that coaches connect with people so people learn to self-correct and have self-generation, which puts us on the path to building self learning organisations.


  • Re: Coaching to build relationships

    by Daniel Prager,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Thanks Chris

    You make a fantastic point on the critical importance and power of relationships in this context. It is an area which I felt only able to touch on briefly within the limits of the article.

    The segment on process consulting is intended to point readers in the direction of setting up positive, collaborative, collegiate relationships, but there's a world of depth that could be explored in this area.

    Very happy to discuss further!


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