Lever 2 Activate the Space
The next is about Activating the Space (Lever 2) and understanding where we are going, what it is we are trying to create. Leaders need to be able to choose what ways of working levers to use in a particular space. To do that they need to understand what success looks like and what they are creating. I have always found that life as a leader gets easier with a simple True North or North Star. Something that pulls people in a direction, something more of a horizon than a destination. I have had success using a simple statement – leaders support teams to deliver more value with more ease. It’s effectiveness is that it focuses not on the how, but on the impact we want to be having as individuals. It opens up the space for people to make choices and use their strengths in a way that is collaborative and enhances others.
An essential part of this lever is the concept of guard rails. How we create more value with more ease is important. We can either be responsible for the doing, so building the obeya boards, running the stand up’s, telling teams what to do, solving their delivery problems for them and giving them the solution that they just mindlessly implement. Or we can support the teams in finding their own way. In case you were wondering, the last option is the one that aligns best based on observations of coaches who have significant impacts on teams
It is important at this point to explain a bit more about what a guard rail is and what it isn’t. The point of guard rails is to create a way for us as individuals to become better observers of ourselves and the impact we are having. They are not solid concrete walls. They are also not rules that though shalt not break. We expect to go through them. Their power is in the conversation that happens when we find ourselves on the other side of the guard rail. What happened ? What pulled us here ? Was it something we chose or was it a pull from the team/ system we are in ? Is the guard rail still valid ?
For more on the guard rails, read the blog post on Lever 2 : Activating the Space