I am very proud to say that I have recently been granted the honor of becoming a certified agile leader!
I attended the course for this distinction in November, 2015 led by Brian Rabon of The Center for Agile Leadership and the Braintrust Consulting Group. It was a wonderful experience that really made an impression upon me and building upon my agile leadership skills and growing as a thought leader in general. This blog was actually started out of inspiration from this class to find my voice and get my thoughts out to others.
The first part of the journey was a “full” 2 days of classwork (and some homework assignments) at which time upon completion, I became a “candidate” for the agile leader certification. The class then had a specified follow-up period in which you actually demonstrate how you are utilizing the agile leadership skills that the class teaches and is receive really good feedback and perspective being “back in the mix”of daily work. This follow-up really helps reinforce the ideals as often it is too easy to go to a class, become motivated and lose any momentum when the reality of daily work returns. I feel like this tailored experience helped not only gauge if the principles I learned stuck with me but did I make it actionable in any way. If successful in demonstrating that you are applying the concepts of an agile leader you learned, you can be granted certification.
The class is kept intentionally small, I assume, to facilitate a high level of communication and participation but it also allowed it to be a very personal experience to the overall journey with a small group. I was very fortunate to be in the inaugural class for this experience with an amazing group of classmates. It was also good to get a mix of industries (including some of Brian’s own company members from Braintrust) so that we could see that often issues in leadership are the same and just in different domains. The members of the class, like myself, were all people seeking to do something different in their companies and become stronger leaders. I think that this commitment added a real personal investment by everyone who attended. I felt a part of a group who chose to be there and were not merely sent by their company to attend.
We were all very open and candid with one another but defined our “group rules” before we started (therefore embodying the ideas of a team agreement which is a great principle for any collaborative group). It was a safe space to express yourself (the good, the bad and the ugly) for sure. People disagreed, people agreed and connected ideas similar between companies and shared some great personal conversations over lunch. Very little time was centered around my classmates on “the problems” and degenerated into a gripe session, we all accepted and knew we had obstacles in doing what we do, especially as we all sought to do it differently than those that may have come before us.
I described the class afterward to someone as “I felt inspired by all the ideas and conversation I was exposed to as it resonated with me and my beliefs. But I also completed it somewhat emotionally drained through the focus of my self examination of my own current state of being a leader. It helped me focus on what a leader is and does”.
If you have not had the chance to hear Brian speak or take his classes, I would highly recommend it. He is very transparent about his agile journey with himself and his company and definitely someone who applies agility throughout his personal and professional life. I found it very inspiring to gain his personal insights of agility and its application towards building agile organizations. I personally feel like a great deal of organizations could benefit from taking a moment to think about how they work, what it means to their message and how it impacts their people.
I think I can sum this up and reinforce my journey moving forward with an early quote by Mike Cohn; “Agility is not something you become. It is something you become more of …”
That being said, although like a product release plan itself, I have clarity of purpose in the immediate, I cannot wait to see how my own path to agility continues to unfold.