When things get tough

It’s important to understand grit and how it can help your team stay strong when things get tough by using military agile methodology and team building exercises. Agile transformations take time. Understanding and using any methodology or framework takes practise. ‘Doing’, in order to become agile, is a part of cultural change…and it’s different.

When working with teams going through change, I think it’s imperative to understand all the above and how to put it all together. Achieving success is going to take some effort from everyone.

I had the privilege to train over 400 people (Officers at the Officer Training School (Air Force)) across a variety of skills and capabilities including agile mindset and leadership for over three years during my time in the ADF. Three key factors were always emphasised when training in a topic:

  1. Explain its relevance.
  2. Clarify students’ understanding.
  3. Get students to practise it.

Now, I did have the luxury of being able to help people transform and change in an environment that was very different to the corporate world. The course took 17 weeks, 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, and consisted of countless hours of classroom training, practical exercises (on campus and out field), 1:1 mentoring, team building activities (abseiling or caving anyone?) and many team exercises (I had lots of people helping me too!). People got hurt, left the course, were taken off course, had to redo the course and…well, you get it…transformation is hard.

Why do I tell you this? Well, I’d like to apply these methods and experiences to help others make successful transformations, because changing culture takes work and understanding as well as commitment from each and every one of us.

Why is this important?

OK – so we have all heard the saying “knowledge is power”, so the more we know the better prepared we can be for what is coming ahead. We can plan, prepare and brace ourselves as required. Most readers will have been through Agile Fundamentals, so I wont belabor those points. In the long run, going agile simplifies and streamlines communication, boosts productivity and even reduces stress on the team members involved as well as helps to get products and services to customers faster. There are many others – but I’ll save those for another post.┬áDuring the fundamentals course there are a number of ceremonies and activities that take place in order to ensure teams know the ‘rules’ of the game and can start to get fit and practise them once in their teams. Each one helps the team in a specific way at a specific point in the iteration – get to really know them all well, as it will help you develop and grow to be a great team member.

Ensure you understand it.

If there is something you are unsure of or don’t quite understand, who do you turn to and where can you go? Here is an incomplete list of people/places to ask/go.

  • Here! Ask the Coach. I will attempt to answer any questions you may have, in fact if you don’t want to post it (for privacy reasons) you can email me privately! I’m more than happy to offer advice, support and pass along any tips, tricks or guidance to suit your question.
  • Ask someone in your team at work or there are any number professional sites all over the web… it’s not hard to find what you’re looking for.
  • Raise it in your Chapter huddle or Retro.

Put it into practice.

One more military saying – ‘Train hard and fight easy”. Enough from me today – go out and practise, make mistakes (correct and learn from them) and have fun. You are in control of the How!

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