Saturday, March 29, 2014

Career Kaizen #2 - Your Story Matters - Storyline

Monday - Where do You Want to Go?

rural road through fields next to fence
Everyone is on a path. Paths take us somewhere.
Is yours taking you somewhere that you want to go?
Some say that if you don't know where you're going, it doesn't matter where you are. What are your goals? Where do you want to be, and what do you want to be doing in 6 months, a year, 5 years?

The ScrumMaster role opens up many opportunities. I've seen people thrust in this leadership role suddenly realize that they have leadership in them. I've seen people fall in love with the coaching aspect, and others grab onto the educator and trainer pieces.

Homework: Ask three people if they have, or have had, any goals. What are or were they?

Tuesday - Your Strengths, ScrumMaster Roles, and Goals

The ScrumMaster job has many roles: Servant Leader, Impediment Remover, Coach, Educator, Organizational Change Agent, Evangelist, Chief Mechanic, Shepherd and Guardian of the Process, Facilitator.

Some of these might leap out at you, or perhaps are what you're already doing and especially love.

Your strengths might shed some light on why that is. Perhaps you love coaching because you're someone who loves building deep relationships or like watching and helping people develop and grow. Or perhaps you love the mechanic role or trying out some experiment and seeing what happens because you love making things great (just being average bugs you). Or you might love being the impediment remover because it's always a clear checklist that means you've had a good day when all those things are checked-off.

When you combine the insights and fuel of your natural strengths and passions coupled with goals that move you forward and motivate you, you'll have a powerful catalyst for change and growth. Not just for you, but a better you to serve and help the team.

Homework: On a sheet of paper, list your strengths in a column on the left, and on a column on the right, list at least five roles of the ScrumMaster, preferably the ones that appeal to you. Draw a line from each of the strengths to a role to which it relates, is a part of, or might help. You might have a strength that relates to several roles, and a role that is related to more than one strength.
Pick one of these roles, or the ScrumMaster job as a whole, and use it to help determine some goals. Extend one goal for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 18 months.

Wednesday - What's Your Story?

We, as humans, are story-driven. We love movies because they tell stories of someone who wants something and overcomes some conflict to get it. We learn best as our brains web new information much stronger via stories.

You already have part of your story - you want something. You have a goal. Now, the reality is that life can be difficult. What challenge, opposition, conflict can you anticipate that might get in the way of you achieving that goal? Is it finding the time? Getting the money? Getting approval from someone? Keep in mind that overcoming these challenges is part of what makes it all worthwhile - you come out better for it, and it makes it a better story to tell others (perhaps even inspiring). Sometimes it takes practicing on overcoming smaller challenges as part of smaller goals.

Leverage inciting incidents as a tool to move forward. These are decisions or actions that catapult you forward, partly because there's no way back. It's the signing up for the 5K race, the email to the boss asking for approval for training, submitting a proposal to speak at a conference, showing up at that local code camp or user group, emailing that famous expert to ask for advice. Not sure what happens next, but something will, and it will be different from all the nothing that happened the weeks and months before.

Homework: Create a Storyline account on and enter your goal and whatever other information you can. Take a look at some of the other goals in the community.

Thursday - Make Your Goal and Progress Big and Visible

Just like agile, make your goal a priority
and the progress towards it big, prominent, and visible.
Well, you now have a goal. Perhaps you've had some before, as well. Many people have. New Year's Resolutions are very common. Approximately half of Americans make them. But less than 10% succeed. Why is that, and what can you do about that?

One of the best things that you can do to help yourself is to tell others about your goals, preferably people that you're close to and care about their opinions. Next, just like agile, make these priorities and the progress towards them big, prominent, and visible.

Movement on some goals needs to become part of your daily routine, a habit, and therefore also have a low effort or barriers to see and update them. You might use post-its or index cards on a wall, a goal or habit tracker app on your phone or computer, scheduled reminders or appointments with yourself, or a chart that you print out and pin to the wall.

Homework: Choose at least one way that you add working on your goal as part of your daily or weekly routine. Choose a way to make the goal and progress big and visible. You could add yours as a comment on this post as one step.

Friday - You're One of the Few...

Congratulations - you're one of the few that has a goal that's known by others, has clear next steps, and has built-in support via schedule and visibility.

This is very significant, not just for you and these goals, but in other ways, too. At the meta level, you're dealing with how to change, how to improve, clarity on goals, the value of making progress. These all relate to your team and the business. And, in addition, as a servant leader, you're being a model to others on how to improve, how to grow, dealing with challenges, ambiguity, inertia, and perhaps bad history.

Well done.

Video Fridays: Watch the Storyline video by Don Miller

Weekend Warrior: Take a look at some of the posts on the Storyline blog. If this has really resonated with you, take a look at the books and audiobooks on the topic, such as the Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business , Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, and The Dream Giver (a little corny, but simple and powerful metaphor), and grab one.

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