Executive Amazement

I’ve recently had the pleasure to work with a client where the CEO astonished me multiple times with really awesome ideas. As there’s so much management bashing going on the community, I want to share what I saw, as an inspiration…

Awesome Sky

S is for Sky by Ali Catterall

Crowd-Sourcing Strategy

I worked with the management board on an Agile Strategy Map. We had explored the alignment of the board members the day before, and they had already astonished me by being comfortable with staff members joining that exercise. Similarly, for the Agile Strategy Map, we included some employees so that during group exercises the board members could each pair with someone who was not on the board, increasing the diversity of ideas.

After we had created a draft map and discussed how it should be improved, the CEO suggested two great ideas:

  • the map should be set up on a public wall so that everyone could participate in the creation and refinement
  • once some alternative paths to success have emerged in a sufficiently clear way to be executed, he’d like all employees to vote (as in “buying real options”, but without money) on the ideas to crowd-source prioritisation. “After all, everybody’s bonus depends on us reaching that goal together next year!”

Embracing and Keeping Emotions

At the end of the first two weeks where I had worked with the Product Owner group, mainly on forming them into a team, we did a short feedback round before I left. We had worked in one of their meeting rooms all the time, plastering it with drawings and post-its and visions and ideas… And during the feedback many of them said that they are glad they’re beginning to think and function as a team, and that they are afraid that some of that spirit and momentum might get lost in daily business.

The CEO replied to these concerns, “I want you to keep this room. The new spirit I feel is captured beautifully on these walls. We can set up a new meeting room easily. Whenever you feel the new spirit depletes, when ever you feel the need to revisit these emotions you feel now, come back to this room and look at the walls. Make this your team room and continue what you have started. Keep this spirit!”

Enabling Excellence

This is what management is supposed to be. Amplifying the drive of your people with little signs like this. Take their ideas and emergent ways of work seriously, integrate them into your culture. Embrace the excellence of your people!.

1 Comment

  1. Zsolt Fabok (@ZsoltFabok)
    December 31, 2011

    Well done. Finally, someone starts working with the CEO (top -> down) which is way more effective than starting with a team (bottom -> up).


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