I’m a big believer that values are the lightening rod. Values can repel or attract, and like attracts like (opposites attract, but similarities bind.) Values are the fast way to know whether something is right for you, or if you feel a conflict (and sometimes you can’t put your finger on it.)
I’ve been teaching Agile Results to more teams at Microsoft. With the spread of Agile Results, I have to think more about what the values really are. The values are the life-blood of the system. They give it juice.
Off the top of my head, when I ask, “What are the values of Agile Results?”, the first few that come to mind are:
Fulfillment, flexibility, and focus.
Agile Results was born to help more people find a path of fulfillment in a practical way. It’s designed to help you live your values in work and life. It’s also designed to be flexible. I’m a fan of Bruce Lee’s philosophy of, "Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own". Darwin also taught us that nature favors the flexible. There’s truth in the saying, “adapt or die.” Focus is also at the heart of Agile Results. Focus helps us engage with work and with our life. It brings out our best. You’re the director of your life and you can choose what you point your camera at. Voltaire also comes to mind: “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.” And again, Bruce Lee reminds us of the power of focus, when he said, ““The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”
When I think a little more on the values that drive Agile Results -- the values that breathe life into the Agile Results system -- I think of the following values:
- Continuous learning
Adventure is a powerful metaphor for life. It adds the fun factor and it turns problems into challenges. In life, you can choose a lot of things, from your attitudes to your actions. Choose your own adventure.
Balance is a way to blend the best of both worlds, such as the game of business, or the business of life. It’s a way to meld our minds and our bodies and our emotions to bring out our best. Balance your great up time, with great down time.
Congruence is about living our values and staying true to you. It’s building a firm foundation versus a house of cards.
Continuous learning is about finding the lessons and turning insight into action.
Empowerment is about putting the world’s best insight and action at your fingertips to help you unleash what you are capable of … in an exponential way.
Focus is about setting your eye on the prize and going for it. Focus is also about choosing to find the opportunity in any situation. Focus is about directing your attention to things that empower you, whether it’s focusing on strengths over weaknesses, the future over the past, or the positive over the negative.
Flexibility is ready for anything. It’s rising above habits and practices that don’t serve you. It’s about staying open to new ways of looking at things. It’s about adapting to new situations as the world changes under your feet. It’s about being an acrobat for life.
Fulfillment is about writing your story forward in a way, where you give your best where you have your best to give, and play to your strengths in a way that shares your gifts with the world.
Growth is about continuously expanding your capabilities. You grow your ability to take on bigger challenges, and you become something more in the process.
Passion is about being bold, pushing the envelope, and chasing the dreams that make your soul sing. Passion is the value that races through your veins when you wake up in the morning, ready to face the World, and ready to make your mark.
Simplicity is about the essential. It’s elegance in action. It’s economy of motion. It’s reductionism in action. Simplicity is about useful, relevant, and intuitive. Simplicity is about the truths … the timeless principles, patterns, and practices that are enduring over time. It’s the part that sticks with you, when everything else fades away.
Sustainability is about finding a way forward in a way that is durable and evolvable over time. Sustainability is about finding your downtime, and responding to “always on” in a way where you can turn it off. It’s finding your flow. Sustainability is about fresh starts. Sustainability is about doing the things that reward, renew, and revitalize you.
I think that those are the values of Agile Results.
When I peel everything else away, and really look under the hood at what makes it tick, it’s those values that bring it to life. It’s the very fact that the system embraces and lives those values that make it sustainable, durable, and evolvable over time, and with the people that embrace the system.
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