Do Something and Celebrate Failures

Photo by Doug Beckers

Photo by Doug Beckers

I get a kick from finding agile ideas in non-software development related resources.  Penelope Trunk recently posted about how to see the barrier to reaching your goals, and her advice was, "the way you figure out what you should be doing next is that youtry stuff."  It seems so simple, but most people get caught up in planning and neglect to take the first step.  Agile teams get in the habit of doing because of the nature of their work, but managers and leaders can easily fall in the trap of going all with the status quo.  Why?

Part of doing stuff also inevitably means failure.  It's part of the feedback loop and how we learn.  Failure usually doesn't mean the end of the world, but we feel shame, self-doubt, and unhappy nonetheless.  Just yesterday I was telling one of my project managers how I was mad at myself during the holiday break because I felt like I should've been able to do something more or something differently to change the way things turned out related to her project.  It's not rational for me to blame myself for the situation, but I did, and I struggled to see what could have changed to improve things earlier.

According to researcher Dr. Brene Brown, guilt can be a helpful emotion, but shame is destructive.  To overcome that feeling of shame, we can use body language to change our emotional state.  Namely by doing the Failure Bow:

If managers and leaders can be more transparent in their failures, teams will be encouraged to further embrace openness and courage.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.