Positive Incline Mike Burrows (@asplake) moving on up, positively

January 31, 2013

Agreement: it’s not about you

Filed under: Kanban,leadership,Uncategorized,Values — Tags: , , , , , — Mike @ 7:22 pm

Google this morning gives 62 hits on “agreement” for positiveincline.com. Admittedly that includes some dupes, but it’s definitely an itch I keep scratching. Most recently:

Agreement is right there in the second foundational principle, “Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change”. I like to turn this around: would you reasonably expect to be successful in implementing change without it? Could it be that it’s lack of agreement that’s limiting your progress? Or perhaps there is some agreement but it’s not deep enough – you’re agreed on the existence of a problem but not on its impact or causes (see understanding)?
Introducing Kanban through its values (January 2013)

On agreement, Greg Brougham brought to my attention Ackoff’s distinction between agreement in principle (a theoretical kind of agreement) and agreement in practice (an agreement to live with the consequences of a decision, accepting that agreement on “better” can be effective where consensus on perfection is impossible).
Kanban: values, understanding & purpose (January 2013)

Where in the assessment tool [is] agreement – “Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change” is a foundational principle of Kanban and the organisational scope of any agreement is surely assessable. As a change agent, have I achieved 360-degree agreement? If I have, won’t this help make change “stickier”?
How deep is “How deep is your Kanban” (October 2012)

That last one needs some modification. 360-degree agreement is all very well, but it places me at the centre. What happens when I go away? How much agreement is left? If the agreement is about change, is that change really going to stick? David Anderson this week reminded me that change often fails to survive a generational change in leadership. That’s a sobering thought if you’re in the culture game.

I’m struck by the difference in coaching models aimed at getting to “what will you do now?” and other models (the Triad model [1] is a great example) that are more indirect but no less deliberate. Could it be that we invest too much in getting agreement from other people and too little in supporting agreement between people?

I’m pleased to report that I do see some very encouraging signs of the latter kind of agreement in my own consulting and coaching work. It takes time though! I wish I could give some recent concrete examples, but NDAs & such prevent. One day perhaps.

You may enjoy Jason Yip’s article We agree… but… meanwhile. I did!

[1] See The Culture Game – a book by Dan Mezick – Triads are described about half way through the article, and the book it describes is well worth a read.

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