I noticed a pattern early on in my career helping organizations use Agile as a way to grow their capabilities: The Leader is the Limit for Growth.

I am speaking about the most senior person involved in the change initiative: Director, VP, or CEO. How they show up as an individual would determine how far the change initiative could go.

Leadership Characteristics Needed for Growth

What are the qualities that I have seen missing? What is it that limits these leaders?

Here are some questions that we might ask:

  • Do they value people as human beings?
  • Do they trust others?
  • Do they admit mistakes?
  • Do they seek to learn and grow?
  • Do they have humility?
  • Is their ego in check?

If we take these all together we might create a summary as: The Consciousness of the Leader. See also: VAST Model for Leaders.

Leader is the Limit

The more conscious the leadership, the greater the possibility for growth. My Culture Bubble Model, shows how the consciousness of an organization is connected with the governance structures. How the most senior leaders in an organization show up is a key driver for this.

There are two options in any change initiative:

  1. Upgrade structures to match consciousness of the leader.
  2. Co-evolve leaders and structures.

See also related posts:

I Hired You to Fix My Organization – Not Me!

I am often hired by organizations who want me to help them with Agile. The usual requests are to “fix their staff”, “fix their process” or “make people collaborate”. My strategy is to bring the conversation to Doing Agile vs Being Agile dilemma – very early on. If there is interest in looking at “Being Agile”, then they discover that it’s not just about staff. It’s about them. And how they show up.

Then they have a choice: Do they want to start change with themselves? Or just “Roll out Agile”?