Monday, September 7, 2009

An Accountability "Scale" and Agile Teams

Over the weekend, I found some things from many years ago regarding "rules" for corporate survival. One of them was a list of phrases related to being accountable for one's actions and situation (and, at the other end of the "scale," acting the part of a victim). Now "motivational" posters have never been popular with me, but this list was interesting mainly because of the "scale" it represented. The list was seen on the office wall of one of the owning companies of a company I worked for at the time.

Make It Happen
Find Solutions
"Own It"
Acknowledge Reality
--- [Accountability starts above this point.] ---
Wait and Hope
--- [Being a "victim" starts below this point.] ---
"I can't" Excuses
Blame Others
Unaware and/or Unconscious

Again, the theory was that there was some motivational value in posting a list like this with its implied "scale" from worst (at the bottom) to best (at the top) attitude toward accountability.

So I offer it, not as motivational material, but perhaps as something useful in thinking about individual and team accountability postures as well as something around which an interesting discussion could occur. I know that this worked, in some instances, many years ago when I (and others) first saw and heard of it.

Of course, to do so means getting beyond the platitudinous responses, i.e., agree with the best and reject the worst along the scale. Then, there can be a useful discussion of the reasons an agile team (or members on the team) could/would adopt each of the positions along the scale.

And, years ago, one group of people where I worked created their own poster on a magnetic surface, put little pictures of each of themselves on individual magnets, and placed their magnets where they felt that day, moving them during the day depending on circumstances. Seeing where other people placed their magnets was a kind of invitation for others to ask them about why they were feeling that way. They did not keep this up for a long time, but it did open up people to talk more about how they were feeling and why.

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