Agility is dangerous — CEO hospitalized
Executive summary: Agile coach at large after landing CEO in hospital
“First, I was just staring blankly ahead of me — what shall I do with all this time on my hands? Then I was flooded with stimuli: family, friends, forgotten hobbies… It was too much. My brain just could not process.”, says Hans, the victim in our story.
Hans, whose name has been altered to protect his real identity, was living the ordinary life of a CEO. His days were balanced, as in balanced between board and committee meetings, multi-day strategy and sales sessions, top management cuddles, and the occasional interviews and media appearances.
He was living his childhood dream: he wanted to be a firefighter, and in his role, he had to put out fires every day.
Hans prioritized health and fitness, jogging (often sprinting) miles a day from one meeting to another.
All was fine until he had this strange idea to introduce agility in his personal and professional life. The decision proved fatal: it allowed the Agile Coach to infiltrate Hans’ home and company.
“It all started with Personal Agility. I still remember the moment when I first looked at my Breadcrumb Trail. Is this really what I’m spending my time with? Is that all that life has to offer? And is that all I can offer to my employees? I was shocked.”
“I felt dizzy the first time I said ‘No’ to a new project idea. I said, ‘It’s in the middle of the Backlog. Let’s deliver the topmost items first.’ I felt like a different person. As if a demon had possessed me.”
“Then it only got worse. I wanted transparency. I wanted to focus. I wanted teamwork. The next thing I knew, I formed the Leadership Scrum Team. We started to tackle all the difficult conversations, one at a time, yet every day. It was like a horror movie. The skeletons falling out of the wardrobe, the ancient mummy dust swept under the rugs for years. We battled them shoulder to shoulder with my teammates, like in a zombie apocalypse. Indeed, I said teammates! I hadn’t used that word since I got my MBA!”
“Soon, I had to face the fact that my team can solve everything. We started collaborating with the teams we created in our own image. That was the beginning of the end.”
Alice (name also altered), an employee of Hans’ company told us, “The executives started coming to us, saying weird things, like ‘Tell me more about that impediment your team raised. We want to understand more, so we can help you.’ It was all so strange; we’ve never seen them acting like that before. Before, they seemed like normal executives, happily talking among themselves and the department heads about things they didn’t know a thing about, like where we are with the different projects, how we work, what the customers think, or where the bottlenecks really are.”
“And then, the employees come to us with all their weird requests”, Hans continues in a quiet voice. “Tell us What Really Matters to you! Give us your vision of the company! Fix the purpose statement! And we did all those things and much more. And they started to come back and say, ‘Oh, no worries about that. Now that we understand where you want to go, we’ve already organized it ourselves to get there.”
“And then our CTO went on a holiday. And we knew what to do to deputize him. Then the CFO followed. And the CIO. And we didn’t need to wait for them. We just discussed with the rest of the team, decided, and moved on, never waiting for the missing person. And they were pleased when they were back that no huge pile of paper is waiting for them on their desks. So, it was inevitable. They told me, ‘Hans, it’s time for you to take a few days off. We’ll cope with the things while you spend your time with your family on the boat. You haven’t been on a boat trip for 7 years now, right?'”
“It was surreal. All the time spent together with my family and reconnecting with old friends, having all the meaningful discussions again. I was so happy, knowing that back at the office, my team handles everything. But I really shouldn’t have tried to take my wife to the boat in my arms. So many things changed – including my back strength. But I hope the doctors fix me fast, and then I’ll make time for sports again. I just need to update my Priorities Map a bit and discuss our Working Agreement with the team.”
According to undisclosed sources, the fugitive agile coach moves swiftly and is drawn to water. Recently he was spotted around the Lake of Zürich and Lake Balaton. Police warn that approaching him is dangerous and can result in similar incidents as described above.
Happy Summer Season!