Help me to see... corporate culture
Changing the way individuals and teams work is one thing. Changing organizational culture is quite another, especially when so many of us (yes, even us at this conference) have little idea that the assumptions we make, the language we use, the structures we are bound by are the direct antithesis of Agile. Our thinking is locked by the patterns of years and needs to be unleashed in order to make inroads towards cultural change. Using a simple yet effective collaboration game from the Improv tradition this session will challenge our assumptions and open up new neural pathways. It is a beginning.
Help Me To See It is a powerful dialog game for teaching collaboration skills. It clearly illustrates the benefits of careful listening, building on the ideas of others, exploring pathways that are unfamiliar to us and moving away from positions of entrenchment and the belief that our own viewpoint must be the right one. It is a game that frees the mind and unleashes the creative spirit; it gives us the courage to take risks and to trust our colleagues; it cultivates a “yes-and” attitude, opens up previously unseen possibilities, and frequently guides us in new and surprising directions.
Matt Smith and Tobias Mayer developed the game during an exploratory improv session with a small group of Agile practitioners in 2006, riffing off existing improv material. Tobias has been using the game in many coaching situations, and on CSM and team training courses since that time, and has taught it to others, including co-facilitator Alan Cyment.
In this session, Alan and Tobias will use this game to explore ways to free existing (usually heavyweight) corporate cultures from the bondage of the past, and catapult them into the Agile age. The participants of the session will actively engage in creating idyllic stories about the culture they’d like to exist in. But this is not about day dreaming and castles in the air; Help Me To See It comes with built-in reality checks that prevent us flying off into la-la land. The focus of the session will be on creating a new reality, with the emphasis clearly on the word reality.
The game will probably last around 60-70 minutes, with the last 20-30 minutes of the session being used to capture the ideas generated in some concrete form for further discussion and development back in the respective workplaces of the participants. We will also encourage participants of different organizations to create partnerships in pairs or small groups, and commit to staying in touch and sharing their experiences. With luck, there will be an experience report or two at Agile 2010 describing corporate culture transformation… or the failure of the same!
- Participants will learn more about the melodies and noises of their current culture by collectively exploring an extremely complex matter: what an “agile culture” really is.
- Participants will also be armed with a very effective technique for breaking conversation log-jams and moving the story forward. This game illustrates the power of letting go of your own ideas, and trusting your fellows.