Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen

Michael Gothe - Safe to Fail Experiments

May 01, 2022 Scott J. Allen Season 1 Episode 121
Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen
Michael Gothe - Safe to Fail Experiments
Show Notes Transcript

Michael Gothe is an Agile Organizational Coach at Crisp in Stockholm, Sweden. He has 20+ years of experience in building high-performance team-based Agile organizations and has worked with large multi-national/cultural organizations and start-up companies. Michael is passionate about transforming businesses to become truly Agile organizations that create fantastic value for customers and are an inspiring place for people to work. He also loves capturing the moment through photography, lives close to nature outside Stockholm, and is a proud father of three.

Connecting with Michael

A Few Quotes From This Episode

  • "I don’t think there is  a formal study of or body of knowledge about 'Agile leadership.' I think it’s about leading in complexity."
  • "The key to success is learning. And the biggest hindrance for learning is when you think you know."
  • "So as a leader, you first need to kind of shift from a 'know it all' to 'learn it all' approach." (attributed to Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella)
  • "In Agile, you work with creating faster feedback loops and high-quality feedback loops. You want to have both quantitative and qualitative data."

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

About the 2022 ILA Healthcare Conference

About The International Leadership Association (ILA)

  • The ILA was created in 1999 to bring together professionals with a keen interest in the study, practice, and teaching of leadership. Plan now for ILA's 24th Global Conference online October 6 & 7, 2022, and/or onsite in Washington, D.C., October 13-16, 2022.

Connect with Scott Allen

Note: Voice-to-text transcriptions are about 90% accurate 

Scott Allen  0:00  

Okay, everybody, welcome to the Phronesis podcast. Thank you for checking in. I’m excited for the conversation today. Throughout the last couple years, we have been engaging in this project of Phronesis. I’ve been learning, and today is no different. It’s another opportunity for me to learn. I hope it’s an opportunity for you to learn as well. We’re going to be speaking with Michael Gothe. And he is an agile organizational coach at Crisp in Stockholm, Sweden. He has 20 plus years of experience in building high-performance team-based agile organizations. He’s worked with large multinationals, cultural organizations, as well as startup companies in the public sector and nonprofits. He’s passionate about transforming businesses to become truly agile organizations that not only create fantastic value for customers but are also an inspiring place for people to work. He also loves capturing the moment through photography; he lives close to nature outside of Stockholm, Sweden, and is a proud father of three. Michael, you just mentioned you live on the edge of a national park in Sweden. My family loves national parks. Tell me a little bit about the national park that you’re close to. What are some of the features that make it something special, sir?


Michael Gothe  1:18  

Yes, so it’s just south of Stockholm, Sweden. So, it’s quite close to the city centre, it’s only 30 minutes by car from the actual center. But I live so nice. It’s exactly where they can suburb ends. And the big national park starts and there is a lake system, and it goes out to the sea. So, it’s the perfect combination of being very close to the city, and also kind of in nature. So Spring is coming here now. So sometimes we even hear birds here. 


Scott Allen  1:52  

So, if listeners hear birds, that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. I hope the next time we record, Michael, I will be in Sweden, and we’ll sit in the National Park and listen to the birds in the background as we talk. Is that a deal?


Michael Gothe  2:09  

Yeah, that would be nice.


Scott Allen  2:10  

What did listeners need to know about you that wasn’t necessarily in your bio. Is there anything else you’d like to share before we jump into this conversation around agile and leadership?


Michael Gothe  2:21  

Yeah, I work at a consultancy in Stockholm called Crisp. People cause like an agile boutique consultancy. So, we don’t kind of promote any specific framework or any flavor of Agile way working. But we know it’s everything is contextual. So, you need to adapt and kind of work with where you are. So, we’re about 25 consultants together. And we all have a kind of big agile heart, so we believe in that, but we have different specialties. I focus more on leadership development and learning programs, and building agile organizations.


Scott Allen  3:02  

Well, I’m excited to learn about this space. I’ve had one other guest where we touched on the topic of agile, I’m excited to venture into the conversation around agile and leadership, and education. So maybe bring listeners into the space of Agile. And as you mentioned, there’s probably a number just like anything else, a number of different approaches, theoretical frameworks, there’s probably all kinds of but can you give us kind of a landscape of the topic? And then how does the topic of leadership fit in there?


Michael Gothe  3:33  

Yeah, so first of all, just to kind of frame agile a bit, it goes back to an Agile Manifesto that was created in 2001 - more than 20 years ago. And it came from the software industry. Some thinkers, thought leaders in Agile or soft development, were kind of fed up with a lot of failed it and failed software projects. And the old view on software development was this engineering practice where you could plan everything up front in the thought you knew exactly what you were going to develop. You created a plan; you expected people to follow the plan. And if people follow the plan, they just did what you were told they will not generate results. And you thought that those results were what was needed. And of course, nothing that works in a complex environment.


Scott Allen  4:26  

Now, I mentioned to you that guest speaker last night from Tesla, and he’s an engineer, and he talked about even, you know, the model three, like he said, we went way too far down the path before we even knew if some of these things were going to play out the way we thought they would.


Michael Gothe  4:45  

That we can come back to Tesla I love this to have a Model Y you know, it’s one or I think an agile company an agile organization. We actually, I mean Tesla, through rapid innovation and learning and changing even in the hardware. So, either comes from the software, and I think the software industry has been a bit ahead. Because there’s a lot of complexity in software. It’s soft, yes, it’s easy to change. So when you change somewhere, something in a big system, you can cause a bug, or something can happen. It’s not predictable. The users, they don’t know what, what they want until they can get something in their hands. And they say, “Hmm, this doesn’t work. I don’t like this.” Typically, you need a lot of people collaborating. And people are unpredictable. So it’s very complex. And I think this is what created the Agile Manifesto, the agile movement. But nowadays, we all live in this complex world, right? Agile came from software, but it’s needed anywhere where you have complexity unknowns, where you need to innovate by having a more of a learning and learning adopted approach.


Scott Allen  5:53  

I love that “learn and adapt” approach. So let’s talk about that. And how that aligns with leadership because a leader with a mindset of a “learn and adapt approach.” Talk about that. How does that shift the way we think about the role of leading others, right?


Michael Gothe  6:11  

Yeah, so for most leaders, they’ve had success in the more of a traditional setting, right. So they created success been successful, have a career, they accomplished fantastic results. But suddenly, expertise and knowledge is not enough. To innovate, you can be paid by definition, you have to create something new, right? And, and when all this kind of is uncertain, the key to success is learning. And the biggest hindrance for learning is when you think you know, so thinking that you know, stops learning, right? If you as a leader think you have all the answers. If you are the person can to know or I’d had the success in my last company, this is how we should do it. Or if you think that you know what the users want, or need or going to buy. And you tell the teams to develop this. Typically, it’s like a 20% chance or less that that will be successful. So as a leader, you first need to kind of shift from a know it all to learn it all approach. I think that’s a quote from Satya Nadella, the new Microsoft CEO. He kind of shifted Microsoft, he has an agile background, I think so nowadays, Microsoft is very successful. And the stop increase is correlates when he joined. So he started to work with like the growth mindset learning approach, creating a learning organization, really creating an environment where people can be empowered, innovate and learn.


Scott Allen  7:45  

Sometimes Sometimes when I’m doing some of my educational programming, I say something similar to how you’ve just framed this because I love that from a “know it all to learn at all.” And I think at times when I’m working with leaders, and I’m having conversations with leaders, some have an implicit leadership theory that the leader, quote unquote, is supposed to know everything is supposed to make the decisions is supposed to have the answers. And it can be somewhat comforting at times when I’m talking with individuals and groups. And just even present the notion that look, sometimes the leader is the individual who creates a space for the best questions to emerge, so that we, as a collective can design the next the best experiment that we think has the most legs, not the command and control No at all. Henry Ford, you know, this is how it’s gonna be. Right?


Michael Gothe  8:42  

Yeah, so exactly. And the notion of leader versus leadership. So seeing leadership as a function in the organization, that if you think about who’s the leader, then everybody needs to lead and people can lead in different areas. Someone has expertise in design, then they take initiative there, and someone has knowledge and authority in some other area, let them lead there. You have this kind of shared leadership, working as a network, your ideas will emerge.


Scott Allen  9:13  

And I love that mindset of working as a network, because I might, in moments, engage in the activity of leadership. But then I might step back and assume the follower role. Again, I may have a formal position of authority, I may not have a formal position of authority, but to your point, if everyone has a mindset, that they can bring their voice to the space, that they can themselves identify the questions we need to be asking and really, really noodling on, based on what they’re observing again, to your point, you create that network, and you capture the knowledge of the system versus just a few because in those organizations where it’s super hierarchical, and I might be afraid to share what I see I might be afraid to ask certain questions. Think of I mean, it’s I wish we could visualize this, Michael, and maybe you’ve seen this somewhere. But I can almost visualize in my head, the missed opportunities, and what that looks like.


Michael Gothe  10:15  

I mean, you can think of someone new joining a company and they say, Oh, I have these ideas. And they can Oh, can we do this? Can we do that? And then oh, no, we have tried to doesn’t work or that’s not allowed, or people get discouraged really quickly. So imagine the opposite. Like, you encourage ideas, new thinking, ideas, thoughts, really tapping into the collective intelligence. If you assume that we have complex problems nowadays, right? That is things just to execute as well, for sure. But innovation when it comes to innovation, new things, that’s a complex challenge. And to solve complex challenges, the best way to do that is humans can collaborate the interacting, taking different perspectives, come up with new Ideas, everything that’s kind of predictable. Typically, you can automate it, that you can do with software, you can kind of automate things. We don’t have to kind of spend our energy on that. But the complex things, at least until we have AI to also do solving that but so far, for now, it’s people that we can focus on those complex things, right. So that means that creating this learning environment is really key. I think that for an agile leadership is that I don’t think there is like a formal study of or body knowledge of agile leadership, I think it’s about leading in complexity. So creating learning environments leading in this complex complexity, we’ve got


Scott Allen  11:47  

The key to success is learning that there’s a humble curiosity that this individual is really focused on, rather than knowing it all, learning it all. So there’s a learning mindset. What other attributes does this individual with an agile mindset bring to the table as a person in a position of authority or as a leader, what are some other things that come to mind for you,


Michael Gothe  12:13  

It can compare to the mission command, or how you lead in, in war actually. So create setting a clear commander’s intent or direction for people to know what which problem to solve. But don’t kind of not handing out problems or tasks or delegating like tasks, but setting an intention. So, there’s a direction one key is not having kind of too narrow goal, because that will change as well, you might discover that if you have too narrow goal, you will not be innovative. So, it’s rather than having an intention or direction like we’re going, secondly, is working with boundaries or constraints, and the guides for how to do things, you could have some simple kind of boundaries of what not to do, basically. So that leaves out a much bigger solution space to be innovative and find out how to do things.


Scott Allen  13:09  

It’s having a sense of our general direction that we’re headed in, what we’re what we’re moving towards, but not being so narrow, that we miss potentially some very important data in the environment, we miss some very, very important clues or information that we have to be paying attention to. Because we could be making some assumptions that are completely false. And as I understand that, there’s, in some ways a shorter time horizon that’s going on. You mentioned in software, there’s a famous documentary about an infamous Atari game. I think it was et. I don’t know if you’ve seen this documentary about Atari and the game E.T. Did you ever see it?


Michael Gothe  13:51  

No, nothing gets in the documentary now.


Scott Allen  13:54  

Okay. It’s a fascinating documentary. So just I’ll put it I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. But today, you could Google it. Yeah. Essentially, it’s one of the worst video games in history. And it’s a whole documentary about how Atari completely failed at navigating this design of the game. And it was horrible. Allegedly, scores of them were buried. I think at one point in the documentary, they actually try and exhume all of these Atari cartridges. But, you know, it goes back to what you mentioned them in the beginning that it used to be that we’re going to plan everything out, and then just follow that exactly. And all kinds of problems are introduced. It balloons in cost, the timeline gets shot. And if there’s some hard deadline, we end up releasing something that’s just not good. And not ready, right?


Michael Gothe  14:50  

And then we celebrate because we managed to ship on the date. That’s kind of stupid. Well, people know that one key to learning is feedback, right? Yeah, the shorter feedback cycles we have, the more quickly we can learn. Also, the quality of feedback is important. In Agile, you want to involve the customer in the feedback loop for the user. It’s not only having like a short delivery time towards some internal stakeholder, someone like manager saying, Okay, we should deliver this. And it helps if you do it in short cycles, because you might be able to track quality and things. But really, you should have the cycles, including the user and customer, so you get real user feedback. As far as possible, at least in Agile, you really work with creating faster feedback loops and high-quality feedback loops. You want to have more both quantitative and qualitative data. You measure, for example, how users are interacting with your product. And the sentence, you also need to do quality, active interviews to understand the needs and behaviors of your users. You want to be a collect a lot of data to get insights to learn so you can constantly tweak and adapt.


Scott Allen  16:12  

Talk about let’s go a little bit deeper on the importance of the quantitative and the qualitative. Because I love that in academia, you know, there’s this, I think, false dichotomy in this false debate about, you know, the quality of either, and for me, it’s more of a both/and. It’s more of a both end and another way of understanding some type of phenomenon, and is either one correct or incorrect? I don’t know. But it’s probably gonna give us a broader perspective. And is that kind of what we’re getting at with Agile here?


Michael Gothe  16:42  

Yes. We won’t have better quality data is quite interesting. Some companies, they say, “Oh, we don’t need to talk with users. We know everything about them, because we monitor exactly how they interact on the app,” what they do and what the where they click and how many do how many like interactions, but you cannot know how they think and their needs and their reactions, unless you talk with them. Right? Yes. And some compressed air on the other side that they are not really they’re really bad at measuring, but they just cannot talk we use this and often the most loudly or someone complaining. But that’s not the rep might not be representative for the users, or I’m sure it’s not the representative for potential users, or people who have already left your service. Exactly. And many companies do neither they really, they have some executive team, they come up with a brilliant idea and just tell people to develop this product, then it fails on the market, but they never conducted any research.


Scott Allen  17:43  

As you think about the learning space, I mean, if these are kind of some of the core tenants of this, this agile mindset, the agile approach, where we are constantly learning, we are creating environments where we are asking the right questions, where we have a network effect of people feeling like they can contribute and voice what it is they see where we’re getting qualitative and quantitative feedback on shorter cycles from users and including them in the loop. Are there any others really quick before we go to the Learning? Are there any other kind of core elements when you think about leadership and agile that come to mind for you?


Michael Gothe  18:23  

I mean, one key is creating really empowered teams.


Scott Allen  18:27  

Okay. yeah, that’s essential, right? Because if I’m on a team, and Michael, I don’t feel like I can voice my authentic opinion or share what I see. Because you’re going to think ill of me, you’re going to dismiss what I mean, essentially, you’ve just shut down the whole, the whole process, right? Yeah.


Michael Gothe  18:47  

You need to have very little kind of power distance on the team. So that you can cannot if there’s a if there’s a boss, or manager or some expert, you tend to hold back. You need to have really this creative space where each person’s ideas can build on the others, etc. You can be kind of, you can kind of questions, ideas and make it robust, better quality, first of all, having that kind of psychological safety and that space. But also with empowerment, I mean that the teams are first of all team, often in Agile rotations, they’re built on kind of teams, teams are the building blocks. And then they are empowered to solve problems. You give teams problems to solve, or even objectives to reach rather than just requirements, tasks or solutions, because that’s very limiting, then you’re not really using their credit, creativity is not really engaging, it’s not motivating. You, you become just doing a task.


Scott Allen  19:53  

We’re thinking about creating an environment where there’s psychological safety, where people truly feel empowered. We’re giving you a general direction, not to mandating exactly how it has to be done. But saying, Okay, you have these conversations you learn, you chart a path forward, and help us think through. And the team is a core element of all of that, do you have leaders who are creating spaces where that dialogue can occur, where people’s authentic voice can be brought to the table, even if it’s a dumb idea, I feel like I can share it, so that we can potentially get to the best path forward, right? And unlikely one person has the answer. But it’s about us coming to a shared sense of our next best experiment or a next path forward to learn.


Michael Gothe  20:42  

Yeah, so it’s less kind of leading people in one on one, it’s much more coaching a team, looking at the organization as a system and working with the culture. Nice. You can take more of an integral approach or a holistic approach to the mindset to thinking but you also have to develop the culture. And as leaders, I think that is most important, if you work with the culture, and create environment. And then also making sure that structures in organization are kind of aligned with this work innovative culture. For example, if you reward individuals, but you say team is, and you try to create teams, but you have in performance management, like focus on individuals, you recruit, for example, very unrealistic people not contain players, etc. If the structures don’t go hand in hand with the culture, it will be there will not get the results, basically


Scott Allen  21:39  

It’s going to fail. 


Michael Gothe  21:39  

So that requires for leaders to be more kind of looking at systems thinking bit broader, wider, having more mature, so to say, leadership,


Scott Allen  21:50  

I love how you even brought in the notion of I was speaking with a leader in an athletic team here, professional athletic team here in the United States. And we were talking about leader development, and this individual is building and creating. And one thing we discussed was that our efforts aligned with how we’re recruiting, how we’re orienting how we’re conducting performance management, our reward structures, to your point, is there a system in place that is helping whatever the initiative is live? Is there a culture and a structure that will create space for this to actually flourish? Because I imagine you’ve come across individuals who heard agile, and it’s the latest fad, but then did very, very little to address those two elements, like you said, the culture and the structure, and even the mindset of the leaders and their managers. It’s gonna it’s dead in the water, you’re wasting money. 


Michael Gothe  22:53  

I think this is the biggest problem for agile at the moment, because there’s so much kind of marketing sales and people selling agile frameworks, tools and processes. Like the first value of agile when it was created was individuals and interactions over processes and tools, there was the kind of shift, but still, now adays many years adopt the tools for a job, adopt some process and by a process, tried to implement it. And actually, they’re just creating created a more new structure on top of the the old ones, you actually have created more bureaucracy.


Scott Allen  23:33  

And yet another flavor of the month failed program that exactly managers engagement.


Michael Gothe  23:42  

If you try to solve complex problems with more structure, that is the kind of knee jerk reaction like if you’re if your leader manager or this is chaotic, this is this is messy, we need to have a better process in place. And you try to put some more process on the complex problem, you only create more complexity, because you had a complex problem from the beginning with the software, the users and market markets, competitors, now you have a complex internal structure that it makes it even worse. And basically after why you cannot get anything done, unless you break all the rules. In agile as a leader you want to remove, like any kind of unnecessary process or structure and use it. I mean, where there is can predictability. In some places like it or in production, it’s up to you, that’s fine. But when you’re innovating or problem solving, you need to have more structures for collaboration, basically.


Scott Allen  24:42  

Wow. Well, again, I love that visual of you’re just adding to the complexity. And I wish we could visualize that because imagine a visual of that and imagine a Fortune 500 company and the different layers or a government? Just, I’m seeing a thick crusty layer on top of that creates a hard shell that just makes it impossible. Right?


Michael Gothe  25:14  

I was talking with a leadership team about this some time ago. And then the lead the team leaders said, Hmm, I just have just approved that we went from, like 14 to 35 quality controls, hmm, maybe doesn’t help the quality.


Scott Allen  25:33  

It might, but it might not. And to your point that systems thinking, Are we seeing that? And are we seeing the complexity in the system and addressing that opportunity or that challenge with the right tools?


Michael Gothe  25:48  

So the thing is that if you feel uncertain the complexity, you might go for, like simple solutions, or expert solutions, or I have, I can manage this, oh, you just need this role to fix it. Or we have a problem here in the quality. Let’s make it let’s introduce a quality coordinator. And then there’s another problem, oh, we need someone to coordinate this. So basically, you get bogged down by just coordinating. And what happens is that if I go to many companies, you try to fit, organise meeting right, then everyone is super busy at work. Yeah, it’s when can we meet? Oh, in two weeks. Okay. So, get these people together. And now we’re going to solve this complex problem. But it’s not enough without with us, too, with two perspectives, we need to involve someone else. Okay, now we’re going to have a meeting with three people. When can we find time in our agenda? Let’s three weeks away? Yeah, okay, we meet in three weeks, we try to solve these complex problems. And we see that oh, we need to involve another, of course, that is four weeks away. And while we’re waiting for all this, well, we’ll start with something else. I’ll put, I’ll do something here. And this is, oh, this is complex, I need to talk with that person. But since everyone is busy, and you’re trying to solve complex problems through coordination, rather than collaboration, you just causing this kind of snowballing effect of everybody gets super busy, nothing gets done.  So imagine instead that you don’t have any like, synchronization meetings, you only have worked meetings, where you actually come together, solve complex problems, you can mob, swarm around them, solve them. But this requires that you have basically the same priority so that people’s agendas are kind of freed, you all work on the most important topic at all times. And then you can create really, really, really fast kind of speed and innovation.


Scott Allen  27:49  

Well, it’s interesting, there’s a quote, and I’m not going to get it correctly. But, you know, we found the enemy and it is us.


Michael Gothe  27:56  

Yeah. I think now that mean, error comes from software, I think software might have a bit more of intuitive understanding of complexity, because they’ve been struggling with this software systems for so long. This is my hypothesis that they have this intuitive, they become quite good leaders, because they have this sense of handling complexity. But nowadays, complexity is everywhere. It’s a big shift for leaders that have been successful in a more predictable bull world. So, how did they know now can I shift to leading complexity, and I think, even if you understand the shift, you’re so used to the old paradigm that you’ve often fall back to kind of simple, quick fixes actions.


Scott Allen  28:43  

And that’s probably where some of the work that you do coaching others helping them see some of this. And I imagine being someone who’s a step removed, you can you can see some of that a little more clearly than someone who’s “in the basement,” so to speak, is my friend June Ryan says that you’re stuck in the basement and you got to get out. And you know, you can look at it from a different point of view.


Michael Gothe  29:07  

It’s perfectly the combination with someone internal that knows the context, understand everything, I have a huge respect for every company, every situation is different. All their context is kind of complex. That’s why you cannot just take a predefined solution and install it. And this is what people sell. But that’s another kind of failure. But getting the outside perspective is like in sports is it’s difficult to see yourself perform. But the best athletes have the best coaches so getting the outside perspective, as well like another perspective and I can see or how can you think here or these are some risks or if you try this this might happen, but you don’t know but trying to kind of create safe to fail experiments to move forward.


Scott Allen  29:57  

I love that phrasing safe to fail. Safe to fail. experiments. Yes, that might be the title of this episode safe, fail experiments. I love it. I love it.


Michael Gothe  30:06  

Yeah, agile is a risk minimizing kind of approach. Because you want to learn as fast as possible with as little investment as possible. Okay. And also, you want to start with a biggest assumption of biggest risks. So where do we need to learn the most and you start there


Scott Allen  30:24  

Let's end  with a line of questioning that I’d just love to get your insights on. And then we’ll kind of wind down for the day, embedded in this methodology. And embedded in learning is failure. Yeah. So how do we prepare the leaders for some of that failure, because we’ve been conditioned, or many have been conditioned, we that’s a mindset shift as well, that we’re going to fail. But again, your phrasing kind of piqued that in my in my interest, because failure is embedded in this work. You have


Michael Gothe  30:56  

Maybe, I am trained as a coach. And then the, the mantra is, there are no kind of failures, just learning opportunities. Yeah, some failures are kind of stupid, we should avoid them. Of course, that could be foreseen. But when there’s really complexity, we have hypotheses, then we can create an experiment to try out if we know if we’re going to sit succeed. It’s not an experiment, right? We don’t learn anything. It’s not learning. We should frame the activities as learning experience. And you can learn the best agile teams, they kind of test investments, or prototypes, mock ups that you can learn in a day or two, a lot more traditional resizing, they say, "Okay, we’ll develop this product for like, four months." Teams when they would know that in a week that this will not fly they moved on with something else.


Scott Allen  31:55  

That’s a wonderful way of thinking, what are a couple resources we can share with listeners that you have found useful? Someone, maybe someone who’s very new to this topic, and maybe someone who’s somewhat advanced in the topic, are there a couple of resources that come to mind for you?


Michael Gothe  32:09  

At we have a really popular blog. Okay. And we are quite practical, lots of the things on the blog is practical. So how to facilitate these situations, these 10 practical tools and things. Great. We can go to the blog there. I think that is a great resource. Most at the moment, I’m reading the book, powered by Marty Cagan, is from the SVPG, Silicon Valley Product Group so And he makes the distinction between really good can add yellow or product organizations. So compared to many recessions are either camel sales, sales, lead or technology lead, but not really product lead. And they’re not really typical teams are just handed features or tasks to do. Not really empowered. The best tech companies are kind of standing out. Google, Amazon, Spotify, they kind of have been born as more of a tech companies. They have this kind of really good, innovative, we talked about Tesla, that approach and more traditional companies that they think they have the experts telling people what to do, basically. And one interesting thing is I see that now, since that yellow manifest is over 20 years old, you would think that now everyone is agile. And all companies claim the agile, but if you really go under the hood, and look, the difference is getting just further and further. These good, great tech companies, so to say, they are just moving ahead because they’re innovating so fast, not only on the product, but they’re also innovating kind of on their organization and how they work.


Scott Allen  34:01  

Oh, yeah, Google’s writing papers about teams and effective teams, and they’re iterating. What makes an effective team that’s going to collaborate well and right.


Michael Gothe  34:09  

I think few of the kind of big traditional companies will survive in the long run unless they really change. But now since they’ve installed some kind of pre-defined cookbook recipe and think that they’re at Yelets, even they can stop in their development a lot. Anything else


Scott Allen  34:27  

you’ve been listening to or reading or streaming that’s caught your eye in recent times? Maybe it could have something to do with Agile or leadership or maybe it has nothing to do with that. But what’s caught your eye that listeners might be interested in?


Michael Gothe  34:42  

Well, as I mentioned about the Marty Cagan and power and I also, really looking forward to next week, I’m going to meet Robert Kegan, how good yeah, I’m going to take the Deliberately Developmental Organizations class.


Scott Allen  34:59  

He is going to be in Sweden isn’t her?


Michael Gothe  35:00  

Yeah, he’s in Stockholm next week.


Scott Allen  35:02  

Yes, I saw I saw something about that on social media, I believe. Yeah. Oh, that’s wonderful. That’s one thing


Michael Gothe  35:08  

that is a new approach to actually build learning organizations in practice. And also, we talked about the lead leadership. Everyone needs to be leaders. In his book, Everyone Culture, it talks about outcome accelerated learning. So that that I think is super interesting.


Scott Allen  35:27  

I will put a link to that in the show notes for folks of the deliberately developmental organizations. Very interesting, very interesting book, an interesting way of thinking about, and I think, probably a fairly close cousin to some of what we’ve been discussing today. Yes, yeah. Right. I mean, they’re in the same family. Feedback loops and how people are performing and learning and, you know, developing individuals mental complexity, so that they see the organization through a more complex lens versus you know, some of that the Imperial stage, where it’s kind of this that right, wrong. I love it.


Michael Gothe  36:09  

I have a great biggest I’ve listened. A couple of have a lot of episodes to catch up on. But I mean, the Deborah Helsing one, the issue is calling with Robert Kegan. And I also listen to the Henry Mintzberg. And Todd Deal. I think it was very interesting as well. You have a lot of great episodes here. But I think we people might be familiar with adult development and complexity thinking. So yeah, my, my thesis is that to succeed, leading in a complex environment, you need to have a more complex mind. And I think a key is also creating good leadership teams. So that’s kind of a shortcut to if you can tap into the complexity of your colleagues, right. And your leadership in leadership, development is kind of slow process. A shortcut is really creating a great leadership team so that you can tap into that complexity thinking.


Scott Allen  37:12  

So well said, So well said, Michael, I have a conversation later today with a couple of colleagues about a paper that we’re working on, that really is modeled in some ways on Kegan’s work, and in Deliberately Developmental Organizations. But where we’re taking the conversation is “deliberately developmental degrees,” are we, in institutions of higher education, or education in general, baking in elements that help foster and facilitate? You know, some call it vertical development, Kegan’s called the transformational learning. There’s different phrasing for it. But are we helping to increase the mental complexity of individuals and creating those habits of mind that, get them on the path for that long term work? Because, yes, if we have a team, working from keygen, stage four, the theory would be that we’re going to see and have, you know, a different level of understanding about what’s happening around us versus a team of people working out of stage two. It’s a fun area to explore. I mean, well, Michael, I really, really appreciate your time today. It’s been fun to learn. It’s been fun to hear you’re thinking about this topic and how it’s amazing to me. You mentioned the conversation with Todd deal where we can take elements and concepts from chemistry and apply them to leadership. And we can take elements from software design, and apply them to leadership. And I think there’s so many of those connections. It’s just a lot of fun. I look forward to our next conversation when I’m in that National Park with you. And I didn’t hear any birds today, but we’ll have birds.


Michael Gothe  39:03  

Yeah. Yes, for sure. You’re welcome. Would be great to meet you here in person.


Scott Allen  39:10  

Well, thank you so much, sir. Be well, and I look forward to our next conversation.


Michael Gothe  39:14  

Yes, thanks a lot for having me.


Scott Allen  39:16  

Okay, bye bye.


Michael Gothe  39:17  

Thanks. Bye.


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