Adding value

We are living in a strange world. Everyone of us in its own.
People say, nowadays we are living in the age of knowledge – and we never know at the same time. Paradox.

At a client, there was this small project (“user story”) to improve value of the team leader’s morning meeting.
It is a little bit like a daily standup in Scrum. But, You cannot reduce communication to “what did You do – what will You do – what impedes”.

Nearly 20 team leaders represent about 300 people working in about 50 production processes. Some of them are interdependent to each other and most of the people involved do not know about each other’s interdependencies at all.
Nevertheless, the head of production was unsatisfied and in the way annoyed as I am often are in the Scrum Master role in the beginning of a team working together.

She initiated the improvement activities like I wake up teams in the beginning of their interaction as a team.

Don’t report me the numbers. I am able to read.
Make us understand!

Some stakeholders formed the DEV-Team. Participants of the meeting circle (team leaders by role) formed a team to develop rules, guidelines and list some practices to improve meeting’s quality. Everybody contributed personal best practices to the pool of tools.

PO and Agility Mistress weren’t so happy at all. They missed a deep discussion about what is a value and what is needed to add for rising overall worthiness in participation for each team leader.

So, after a while of poking around, the Agility Mistress asked me, whether I have already published something about values, she can refer to.
I had, and from my perspective it was not precise enough to help them in this situation. So, I began to share my understanding orally and developed some additional material like the feedback sheet (“… I miss”) below.

This article is intended to round up and explain where additional value arises from – in my understanding of communication in general.

/terms and conditions

Before I dive deeper into the topic, I want to lay ground for deeper understanding.

/age of enlightment

Some centuries ago, people’s understanding released from “God’s given” at the middle ages to belief in science. This period in time often is named as “age of enlightment”. Some curious evolvements resulted from this. Declaration of human rights, French revolution, Americas Independency etc. Industrialization is one of so many other results.

You might have a glance over to one of the first programmed machines at all, the Jacquard loom.

/humanism

Once progress speeded up, some people realized, it is impossible to instruct pupils for a lifetime. They made the twist and made people learn to be able to cope with the uncertain, the yet not invented, what will come along their way, once they left school or university.

This is one essential idea behind humanism. This insight is more than 200 years old and the very basic of the Prussian school system, lost between generations which did not understand nature and worthiness of learning at all.

Meanwhile there were two other, real powerful errors arising from one brilliant source. Capitalism as well as Marxism reduced the need to learn by stabilizing the context. As long as the production facility stays as least changed that people can cope with, no invest into deeper understanding is needed. F.W. Taylor did his to emphasize this error. Summit of misunderstanding is expressed in some words related to Henry Ford I – “… as long it is black”.

/kiss of God

Normal life is not very exciting and this is good as it is. Once a while, we get some enlightments which strikes ourself like lighting. This is, when we understand something. If You are able to explain and make others understand, great feelings intense this feeling of enlightement. And this is not the end, it is just the beginning of something which is so unrealistic, so unlikely, outsiders often call it “magic”. If they never experienced at all, they often call it “magical mystery”.

If somebody experienced some deep understanding like the golden ratio realized in some thousand year old cathedrals and is following from this insight and finding it again and again – this is like a kiss of God. This is experiencing the gist of the matter.

Amongst others: Kamisama Kiss

/complicated

Complication is perceived, when a result is achieved, basing on a multistep activity in a stable, single environment context.
Complication is understandable and convincing forwards and backwards – in an inductive as well as a deductive direction.
Understanding of complicacy needs just investment into knowledge about every single step to result.

In the end, understanding of something complicated is about complete knowledge about all of its parts – any time.

/complex

Complexity is what is perceived as a result of impacting influences in the very moment.
Context cannot be stabilized and is valid only as singularity within time and space.

As time goes by, change happens. This change originates in environment as well as from context defining components which are people as well as machine and natural ecosystems.
Results of complexity are impossible to predict in advanced and only understood from perception – in a deductive manner.

Complexity can be transformed into complicacy if it is possible to stabilize context’s environment from being influenced by external impacts – like in a lab or testing environment.

/process

A process describes a repeatable approach under stabilized environment conditions.
A process can contain human interaction if it is assured, people will act within a role rather than as a person.

Repeating activities, performed from the ever same roles in a ever same manner are worth for automation.
“One off”-activities should not be automated from effort-worthiness aspect.

/progress

A progress describes shifting of an identifyable identity like a person from one stage of ability to another.
Regress is the backwards direction.

/context

A context is a mesh of impacts to the very moment. Some describe contexts as fabric. Fabric made from thread is stable in shape but flexible reacting on movements impacting from within and outside.

While fabric is existing, it is aging according to its properties resonating with impacts from energy and matter like sunshine and rubbing. Fabric tears while it is worn.

/topic

In age of industrialization, in its beginning, it was enough to produce something. Later, things differed. There was enough offer. Customers began to distinguish between having, liking and needing. In the end, where we are now, some people demand a good reason to buy anything. They like to live a minimalist’s life and therefore, a deep and real understanding is needed to get access granted to people’s life – it is all so full everywhere.

In fact, If You want to be part of western world people’s life of plenty, You need to outbeat something which is already existing.
Almost everyone lives in a home, has the ability to owe a TV-set, refridgerator, any kind of computer device etc.
On the other hand You do not need to “perform against” something, the moment You offer what people search for. People will opt-in for Your offer voluntarily and by that decide against all other offers in this moment. This is a very difficile type of competition – not handled openly, not even transparent to every player and no consciously agreed ruleset within this game of life.

From this, I offer You a metric to determine value added.

The thing itself – good exchanged or knowledge shared – is worth one time (“x1”). It is what it is and like it is.
If someone likes it, it gets the pot. If You see it as a poker game, three opponents give their blinds. One for dislike, one for don’t know and one for like. “Like” often outperforms the other two and sometimes not. Magic is: people want to possess what they like – most often. If the wish to possess so bad, people get dragged by attractivity of this item. If there is nothing of this kind to compete against, it is only a matter of “price” – of solvency.
The highest value is represented where understanding of need is established. Once You can tell, what something is for and what it is not suitable to, You are able to see the essence. If things compete on its nature’s level, no additional spoils like loud presentation, appealing package, high rebates and steepy discounts are needed to influence decision of the well-informed.

It needs a lot of educational investment and time to learn to get into the inside-ring of “WHY?”. Once You are there, You are part of people’s heart and soul. It is a very solid and comfortable position to act from. If You act from the heart, almost nothing can compete against. There is no argument to change a “dislike” into a “suits to me” as long everything stays in affordable level of acceptance. A deep crisis is needed until people are willing to change what is beloved into something else. This refers to every item beginning from people themselves, via goods to own and finally to beliefs.

In commercial terms, the WHY-HOW-WHAT refers to products and their capability to pay off. If a company is able to develop products that speak to the heart, everything else is less relevant. If the price is high, the money will be spent – come what may. If the item is rare, the price will rise. People are willing to accept used conditions and refurbished products as long as they are able to get hold of the item.

You can exchange product and style to whatever topic, issue and item You like.
If people work in a suitable environment, competitors need to raise offers to make them change. It is not only price in terms of salary that matters. Sometimes it is challenge or freedom or ability to suit a changed life where children were born or houses bought. You never know in advanced, You can only guess and probe.

As long as someone or something is able to speak to the heart, it is nearly impossible to make a change there.
This is why investors estimate market share in the early days of a market branch higher than profits already realized.
They are wise enough to be sure, that some day it will pay off. It is a bet on an unknown and partly uncertain future.

/insight

You need an idea to pay in before investments in this idea are able to pay off.

When mutual understanding happens, the Magic begins.

Zhang Ziyi in “THE GRANDMASTER – from Ip Man to Bruce Lee”

Why does it pay off to invest into mutual understanding?

Lets say, it is possible to hand over an item from one to another. The thing is the thing (x1).
Lets say, some items are liked and others are disliked. Whatever results in resonance takes the pot and equals worth three.
Lets say, You understand and make it to Your own. You are able to reflect, to tell and to share understanding which adds another two for understanding to the existing three of the “like”-pot.

Understanding is the solid ground which equals five times more then pure “having”. Once, someone demands understanding, You know You are beyond the “like”-barrier. You just need to invest into understanding (x2) to create the full x5. The more of the same is working in a specific environment, the more of it will occur – suits here, hoodies there. This is the power of auto-selection.

AND behind the scenes, beyond surface, something even more powerful evolves. Once You share mind, explosion of productivity happens.

When mutual understanding happens, the Magic begins.

Zhang Ziyi in “THE GRANDMASTER – from Ip Man to Bruce Lee”

How could that be?

Take the circles of “WHY-HOW-WHAT” not only as a timely sequence. If You multiply them by x1, x3 and x5 and You meet each other on the “WHY-level”, Your personal x5 multiplies with all others who share Your “WHY”.

“We understand” (5×5) in opposition to “we both like” which equals 3×3 in opposition to “we exchange an item” which equals 1×1.
If You multiply this in a team, You get a value added of 5x5x5x5x5 = 390.625 if five people share understanding.

And, if these five people share the same moment in an open, trustworthy environment to gain same understanding, You need to invest once instead of instructing one after the other until every single person is likely to understand – again and again.

/whatif deep understanding is the result of several misunderstandings?

There is so much You do not know and so little You really know. Most people help out by silent assuming.
This is were dangerous imbalances occur from – unspoken assumptions.

  • What, if You do not understand?
  • What, if they do not understand, either?
  • What, if You all talk about?

/understanding is the least recorded asset in any organization

I am working in ISO 9001 certified envrionments for more than 20 years, now. Most employees there do not even know that procedural recordings exist at all. And there are lots of additional constraints arising from the need to be compliant to law and standards. By that, I am able to tell from outside that some resources like relaxation rooms need to exist in an environment. I am able to tell, that there must be a process description about what they need to do. I am able to explain internal cascades of guidelines and policies – just because they need to be there from law and certification standards.

Once identified, I “only” need to work on understanding between all people I interact within given context.
I am used to it – AND nobody explained it to me. I had to work it out for myself. And now, I am able to share and open doors into spheres “where none of them was ever before …”

Yes, I am often paid for a specifiable, measurable result. But, what I leave behind is deep understanding, which enables people to work on their own, once I left the scene. My success is not measurable. My success as a coach is being not needed anymore, in this particular context.

This is the difference between flexibility and agility. Agility stays in shape once impulse to change fades.
It costs more in the beginning and pays off in exponential outcome. Profits depend on what is aimed for.

The only things which are needed are (time) resource invested, tolerance within affordable limits and acceptance to build on step-by-step.
Safe from inside, secure from outside.

Nobody likes to risk a safe and certain ground for a dangerous and uncertain future.

/what can You do?

You can tell in real certainty only about Your personal relation to something. So make it transparent by sharing insights about Your relation to the topic, This will make Your fellows understand.

Sounds easy, is simple and not very hard to implement.
Only some slight adjustments in Your everyday communication habits are needed.
You add value by improving clarity in Your conversations.

It is only a small step of changing in text modules, You use everyday.

  • “It is” >> “I see it this way, …”
  • “It is” >> “from my point of view, …”
  • “It is” >> “as I understood, …”
  • “this is right” >> “I agree with [list of items You like to accept] …”
  • “this is wrong” >> “I am not convinced …”

AND add phrases like

  • “Yes, and I like to point out [additional aspect]”
  • “Do we share same understanding in [wrap up of conversation]? … then, explain them in Your words, please.
  • “I see [optional: what conviced You, already]. To make it perfect [issues, You feel still missing]”

AND to challenge

  • “… convince me to do/understand right!”

Tell them what You got by their sharing. Tell them what You like and what it is likely about to make them understand.
Request what You miss in addition … to make Yourself understanding them.

/etc

You get access to whatever I estimate being worth to share on my twitter-channel.

/inspirators (chronologically)

  • Nolan Porter “If I can only be sure
  • Simon Sinek’s “why how what”
  • Conny Dethloff
  • Alexander Krause “I like, I wish”
  • Angelika Fichtner

/sources (universality in usage)

/farewell

May all Your needs vanish into reality.
Live long and prosper.

/famouslastwords

Does Your life run in a circle?

Life runs in cycles. Some are smaller, some are bigger.
In the end, there is no end – only another beginning.

Talk to whom it may concern. And share what matters to You!

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