Leaders Go First

In a real adoption of Agile, formally authorized leaders go first. They do the very thing that they ask their direct-reports to do. They do their work in an Agile way. They craft a backlog. They have a short daily meeting. They do a formal demo. They use a Kanban to display work in progress.

If they do not do these things, and also mandate the use of Agile practices, we can expect cynicism. We can expect some resentment. We can expect more than a little dis-engagement.

If, on the other hand, the formally authorized leaders go all the way, and do these things, and go first, then we can expect enthusiasm. We can expect appreciation. We can expect more than a little engagement in the work of figuring Agile out…up and down the organization.

We can expect the feeling (or spirit) of community. Of communitas.


If and when leaders go first, a whole lot of enterprise-wide alignment can and will begin to take shape. And  show up. And be great.

So: If you are coaching, it is your job to get this done. Leaders, specifically the formally authorized leaders, go first.

This is step number one.

If you, the so-called “executive and Agile coach,” cannot help formally-authorized leaders to go in this direction, the Agile adoption and the so-called “transformation” is probably dead in the water.

It ain’t gonna happen. Can you see why?


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