Archives for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Lead for Greatness

Grow Leaders

Everyone a Leader

I have a dream. I dream of my two year old little girl all grown up, doing what she loves and loving what she does. She tells me how much fun she’s having at work. And that she’s great friends with the people there. And of how what she does makes the world a better place.

When I explain how far mankind’s relationship with work has come in the past twenty years alone, she laughs. She shakes her head at ideas such as “putting people first”, “Intent-Based Leadership“, “self-actualisation” and “collaboration”.

She tells me, “It all sounds like common sense, Mama. Why would people want to live and work any other way?”

I reply, “Because all too often, common sense isn’t common practice, Darling. And even though some ideas sound simple, they’re not easy to implement.”

She asks me to tell her the Ship story, of how long ago I made a wish to learn how to lead. And how one day, I met a former U.S Navy submarine captain who gave his power away to turn his ship around, taking his crew and boat from poor performance to greatness.  And of the leadership course that transformed the way I live and lead.

My grownup little girl turns to me and says with a bold and brave smile, “I intend to… make the most of my life because anything less would be a waste of the gift you have given me.”

And with that, we hug and I look forward to a brand new adventure of making more dreams come true.

Time for Play and Work

Time for Play

Calling all Players…

Consider this your very special invitation to Playcamp London on 24 March 2015!

What’s Playcamp?

Playcamps are one-day regional conferences celebrating the use of Innovation Games® and other serious games for problem-solving in both the public and private sector. These events capture the best of traditional conferences and unconferences through a mix of compelling speakers and attendee-driven content, and include both in-person and online forms of serious play.

Why play at Playcamp?

  • Learn about how play can help you bring about positive change at work and deliver more value.
  • Play and learn games that can help you with your daily job.
  • Gain new skills in facilitation, problem solving, creativity and innovation.
  • Get the most out of learning from play practitioners.
  • Have fun and make friends!

What’s the agenda for Playcamp London?

Luke Hohmann and I will be keynoting and there’ll be 6 possible open space slots for you to share ideas with others on games you play to deliver more value at work. Find out more here.

Where can you sign up?

Here! Get your tickets quick! And tell you friends all about Playcamp!

What if you’re not in London and you want to play?

Check out playcamps happening around the world. And if you can’t find one in your neighbourhood, why not organize your own? Contact Luke and his team here.

Read the latest InfoQ interview with inventor of Innovation Games Luke Hohmann who’ll be keynoting as will I.

Hope to see you there! 

Edge of Tomorrow Today

Love Your Life

Tom Cruise has been a continuous source of inspiration in my personal Agile journey in so many ways.

In Jerry Maguire, he emphasised the importance of “Show me the money!”, a quote I use whenever I talk about prioritisation by business value.

Then there are the diverse and dangerous missions he gets assigned to, to which he always responds with a purposeful smile and a gleam in his eye.

And now his latest film has proved to be the ultimate inspiration to people like us, agents of change for greater good.

The parallels between the hero’s conundrum in Edge of Tomorrow (aka Live Die Repeat) bears more than a canny resemblance to what many of us experience at work. Day after day after day. It’s no wonder then things eventually get us down.

That’s when I remember what Peter Drucker says, grand daddy of organisational culture. “Organisations form and deform people,” he said.

It seemed like such a bleak observation when I first heard it all those years ago, that I found myself boldly reply, “It takes two to tango. People allow themselves to be formed and deformed.”

I know that according to systems thinking a bad system beats good people every time, but what if those good people worked together to improve the system? To change the game for a better tomorrow?

I know how hard things can be when everything seems intent on catching you out or making you stumble.

In my experience, the trick is to keep playing when the going gets tough and make friends. Because you never know when you’ll need them. And a lifelong journey of change is best enjoyed in good company and laughter.

What if each of us could “re-set” and change the future by learning from each moment that passes?

Live. Love. Repeat.

Bounce: How to harness your resilience in a changing world

The Challenges We Face

Are you feeling stressed? Do you feel uncertain about the future? Everyday we find ourselves facing different challenges, accomplishing various tasks and constantly adapting.

As mankind has evolved, we’ve become more conscious and informed of who we are and how our minds work. Resilience, previously considered a personality trait, is now a vital modern-life skill which can be developed to help us better deal with everyday challenges as well as great adversity.

My friend Lauren L’ecaros and I have created a brand new 75-minute session to help us all better understand how resilient we are and figure out how to become more resilient in order to overcome our next big challenge.

Check out this presentation complete with speaker notes on Slideshare released under the Creative Commons Share-Alike-By-Attribution licence. Have fun with your colleagues, friends and family:

Bounce: How to harness your resilience in a changing world from Portia Tung

Going for Hope

During our search to increase our resilience, we noticed 4 key factors common in helping us tackle our challenges.

We call it the HOPE model.

Help – We can benefit from asking for help as much as giving it
Openness – Being present and daring to be vulnerable with the things we share with others
Perseverance – Never give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try something different
Ease – Strive to perform at your best

Why not give Hope a go?

Beauty and the Beast

Some years ago, I went for lunch with an old friend who worked (and still works) for Microsoft. At the time, by way of introductions, he gave me one of his latest business cards. On it was written, ‘Change the world or go home‘.

Meet the Blue Monster

Holding that one business card in my hand signified my first encounter with the ‘Blue Monster’, a life changing event that I would remember always. Why? Because at that moment, I fell in love with an idea. Truly, madly, deeply. The kind of love you find in ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The kind of love so powerful that begins its life as a children’s story, before becoming a Disney cartoon and then finally transforming into a Broadway musical created to move the world.

I was still clutching onto the business card when I got home because I wanted to share it with my friend TJ (Thoughtful Jim).

“So what do you think?” I remember asking eagerly, hoping that he would join me in the noble and worthy cause of ‘changing the world or go home’. Since resigning wasn’t an option for either of us (we both needed to work to pay the bills), I reasoned that the only option was to change the world through the work we do.

As usual, there was a long pause between telling or showing TJ something and getting a response.

Eventually, TJ replied. “The sentiment is noble indeed, but what would happen if everyone did what the card told them to? Everything would turn into chaos.”

“What would happen?!?” I said, my voice shrill with excitement. “We would change the world, bit by bit. One baby step at a time. It doesn’t take a lot when each of us is willing to do our bit. Just imagine!”

Remember the Blue Monster

That fateful day, TJ and I came to a mutual and silent agreement that we would each of us make of the Blue Monster what we will.

And to this day, the Blue Monster still has a special place in my heart. Over the years, the Blue Monster has even acquired a special place in our world. I know this because of the continued resonance of his creator’s subsequent work, judging by the way books like ‘Ignore Everybody’ and ‘Evil Plans’ have become successes.

Lessons from the Blue Monster

Thanks to Hugh McLeod sharing his thoughts on how we should ‘Ignore Everybody’ and have ‘Evil Plans’, I’ve learned to let out a caricature chuckle “Mu-HA-HA-HA!!!” in my head whenever I’ve pushed the Envelope of Assumptions just that bit further and nudged the Wall of Fear of Change by a micro-inch.

Become an ‘Investor in People’

We can each of us make a difference, no matter how small or how insignificant it may seem to others, so long it matters to us. Just as I choose my restaurants by voting with my feet, I choose to support and sponsor the people who inspire me with their beliefs and actions. Why? So that together, we can shape the future we want to be part of. A future for our children to be part of.

Look around you. Who do you support and what does that mean for our future?

Favourite Memento in 2011

Remembering Snowbird

Remembering 2011

One of the highlights has to be my Agile Pilgrimage with Carsten Ruseng and Henrik Kniberg to Snowbird, Utah on 12 August. Snowbird has a special place in my heart because it’s where only ten years ago, a bunch of enthusiasts got together to create the Agile Manifesto that became the definitive catalyst for the way we develop software and work together as teams today.

“Look what I found in my Agile treasure trove…”

As I looked through my Agile video library collected this year, I came across a video we made during our visit to Snowbird. It’s of Henrik Kniberg sharing his story behind the Agile Manifesto Translation Programme and the impact it’s had in forming new Agile communities.

“It’s nice to see you, to see you, nice!”

The coming together of this group has shaped not just my career, but also my life, in so many ways. People, purpose and play. These three words best describe the impact of Agile on my life as a whole.

Learning about Agile has meant that I’ve met more people than I would have done otherwise and learned something from each of them. Because Agile is a tribe of tribes the diversity that comes from this community is immense and the learning intense!

“Love what you do and do what you love”

If I had to sum up Agile in two words, they’d be “Continuous Improvement”. This passion for improvement has lead to many personal failures, learnings as well as successes. It’s made me realise that it is possible not only to love what you do but take you closer to doing what you truly love. By daring to fail in order to improve, it’s helped strengthen my purpose: to be better than I was yesterday every day and help others do the same if that’s their wish.

“Play once a day to keep the doctor and priest away!”

My Agile adventure started with playing The XP Game back in 2004 and has continued with playing many more games and even creating some of my own. My take on Agile has made play a key tool for tapping into people’s potential as well as increase it with time through shared experiences.

I look forward to meeting more people through more play in 2012! It’ll be nice to see you, to see you, nice!

Create the Place Where You Long to Belong

Synchronised Origami

A Hundred Years of Solitude

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always yearned to find a place where would I truly belong. A place where I’d spend most of my waking hours actively participating in what I call the 3 Cs: Communication, Collaboration and Community.

Communication: A place where my finger’s always on the pulse, a place where people say what they mean and mean what they say.

Collaboration: A place where people work together, play together, win together, working towards a common goal.

Community: A place where we care about one another, look out for each other and create opportunities together.

Then one lunchtime, as I peruse the shelves of business books at my local bookstore, I stumble upon a book to help me turn my dream into reality. To create a place where I long to belong at work.

The Power of Tribes

Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright is a book based on the ancient concept of tribes. In it, they describe how organisations operate in a 5-stage model based on organisational research from numerous U.S. companies. The book is packed full of practical tips of how to “upgrade” your tribe from its current stage to the next in order to create an organisation that doesn’t merely survive, but thrives.

According to Dave and his co-authors, a tribe consists of a group of between 20 – 150 people who would stop and greet each other when their paths crossed. A small tribe (the equivalent to a small organisation) is between 20 – 50 people large, whereas a large tribe (a larger organisation) is between 50 – 150 people. The concept of “tribe” scales in that a large organisation is made up of a tribe of tribes. And what do all tribes in a single organisation have in common? Organisational culture, of course.

What Dave’s research tells us

The supporting research of Tribal Leadership is based on workplaces in America.

5 Stages of Tribal Leadership

Stage 1: A person at Stage 1 is usually alienated by the world of them. Around 2% of professionals are at this stage. People at Stage 1 take shotguns to work. Tribes at Stage 1 are reminiscent of prisons in culture.

Stage 2: A person at Stage 2 is constantly complaining, wondering “Why me?” Dave refers to this stage as the “ghetto of corporate despair. Around 25% of workplaces operate at this stage. According to the model, Dilbert is at Stage 2.

Stage 3: A person at Stage 3 is all about “Me! Me! Me!”. Knowledge is power and they hoard it and keep it for themselves. A whopping 49% of workplaces are at Stage 3.

Stage 4: Individuals and tribes are value-driven at Stage 3. Around 22% of workplaces make up Stage 4. Interesting fact: people at Stage 4 require a common enemy against whom the tribe focuses in order to be better. Reminds me of classic James Bond movies where Bond needs baddies in order to be a goodie.

Stage 5: A person at Stage 5 “makes history”. People at Stage 5 take full responsibility for their words and actions. They are driven by leadership, vision and inspiration. Around 2% of workplaces make up Stage 5. Graduates begin at Stage 5 and usually regress to lower stages.

Tribal Leadership session at XP Days Benelux

For those who know me, one of my favourite hobbies is turning theory into experiential learning to help bring the theory alive and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do with Tribal Leadership at XP Days Benelux last week.

Copycat Origami

What Dave says about the session

Dave has seen the presentation and says, “Amazing work! Would you be open to our posting this on our website? It’s really outstanding!” Having seen the pictures from the session at XP Days, Dave adds, “This is really fun! Love the pictures. Looks like you get people really involved.”

I hope you have as much fun looking through the presentation as I did in building it with help from my tribe!

Where can I find out more about Tribal Leadership?

Special Thanks!

Tribal Trade

To Dave Logan and his team for giving permission to re-use his model and snippets from the great book “Tribal Leadership”, not to mention all the really useful feedback and input to clarify the role of ego in the different stages.

To my tribe at work for playing along and giving the gift feedback. It sure helped to turn the BETA session into something much more challenging, meaningful and fun!

To the 40 participants at XP Days Benelux who took part in synchronise peace crane paperfolding and are living proof of how even perfect strangers can learn to tribe in as little time as 90 minutes. And for their gift of feedback. Looking forward to playing again next year!

XP Days Benelux: 2011 Christmas Edition

It’s that time of year again, Christmas is just around the corner, people are talking about the possibility of snow on Christmas Day and, of course, it’s almost time for XP Days Benelux, the friendliest and most fun Agile conference I know.

I’ll be presenting a brand new session about Tribal Leadership based on the book by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fisher-Wright. I’ve had great fun experimenting with the theory, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!

5 Stages of Tribal Leadership

Tribal Leadership – Create the place where you long to belong

Do you hope that one day all the office politics will be replaced by a common and worthwhile cause? Do you wish you could be part of a winning team? Do you dream of working in a place where you belong?

Every organisation is made up of tribes, naturally occurring groups of between 20 – 150 people. And even though each tribe is different they have one thing in common: organisational culture.

Join me to learn about Tribal Leadership, a practical model for leveraging natural groups to create organisations that thrive. Learn how you can help transform your work experience into what you want it to be by focusing on language and behaviour within a culture.

You’ll get the chance to identify the stage you and your tribe are in and the next stage you want to move towards. Working in pairs, triads and as a whole group, you’ll leave the session with a roadmap of your own to take your tribe towards “Innocent Wonderment”.

Find out more about the session here.

Looking forward to the fun and games at XP Days Benelux and all the invaluable learning and sharing!