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Leadership styles

Donald Gray has written a great and interesting article on Three Leadership Styles, based observations on managing traffic at an intersection.  In the article the most successful leader is the one that sees people as “adults that most of the time they can take care of themselves, and that the role of a manager is to support these competent adults”.  To be effective, the leader should not place themselves at the center of the management task so that they can be much more flexible and effective at the key management activities.   A must read.

Enlightened trial and error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius

“Enlightened trial and error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius”

is a quote from a great video demonstrating how teamwork and agile concepts at IDEO is used to successfully deliver innovation and solutions in a non-IT environment in just 5 days!

Some highlights which I thought were pertinent to agile:

  • The people are not experts at any given area.  They innovate by using and applying the process.
  • The person leading the team is the leader because he is good with groups, not because of seniority.
  • There are no titles, no permanent (role) assignments – everyone is a generalist but brings specific skills.
  • Everyone communicates and share what they learn.
  • Iterative development with showcases/demonstrations of prototypes to get feedback for the next iteration of the product.
  • Some of IDEO’s mantra for innovation:
    • One conversation at a time
    • Stay focused on topic
    • Encourage wild ideas
    • Defer judgment
    • Build on the ideas of others
    • No criticisms (this is self moderated)
  • Time-boxing, to prevent the process from going on for ever (Parkinson’s Law and Pareto Principle comes to mind).
  • Self-organization.
  • Team judges what are the best ideas (team votes).
  • Fail often in order to succeed sooner (fail safe culture).
  • Having an open mind – think outside the box.
  • Belief that focused chaos can be constructive.
  • High use of visualization tools, story boards, information radiators.
  • Fresh ideas come faster in a fun place.
  • High level of collaboration.
  • Teamwork, teamwork, and more teamwork!


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