Episode 167: Unlearning and the Improv Effect with Jessie Shternshus

Craig and Tony are at Agile Australia in Melbourne and with guest revolutionist Toby Thompson (who was sitting at the table and initially didn’t want to speak on the podcast but then we couldn’t keep him quiet!) catch up with Jessie Shternshus, CEO at The Improv Effect and author of “CTRLShift“:

  • Agile 2015 keynote “Individuals, Interactions and Improvisation
  • CTRLShift – 50 games for different types of days you might be happening
  • Agile Australia keynote “Unlearning: The Challenge of Change
  • When you are facilitating you need to know your audience and believe in what you are doing – to get people involved, do things in small groups in partners so nobody has the attention on them initially and then build them up to group activities
  • Make people safe and get them to laugh – then you have them for the ride
  • Tony imitates a dinosaur (which we keep telling him doesn’t work on a podcast)
  • Introduction Tiebacks – introduce yourself as the facilitator and then when it comes to your turn tie your introduction back to the person who came before you
  • Game ideas come from twists on old games or from things people say
  • Last Letter Conversation – use the last letter from what someone just said to be the first letter of what you say
  • Improv Encyclopedia and a bunch of books are good resources but are usually made for actors (so you need to amend for the workplace)
  • Improvisation For The Spirit” and “Improv Wisdom” are books more geared towards people and everyday life
  • Agile Australia keynote from Martin Fowler “Agile in 2018” around faux agile
  • Our brains have a hard job letting go, need to help people figure out what’s in it for them (the haveta versus the wanna)
  • The Backwards Brain Bicycle
  • Helping people change comes back to listening and empathy
  • Walkshop – 4 day hike for leaders to help them unlearn and connect
  • Unlearning – need to find experiential learning that helps people unlearn – backwards number game or name things around the room differently
  • Mayor of Weirdsville – dealing with pushback, pretend you are the mayor, make a proclamation and then the rest of the town has to poke holes in your idea

TheAgileRevolution-167 (25 minutes)

Episode 166: A Trip Down Agile Memory Lane with Jeff Smith

Craig and Tony are at Agile Australia in Melbourne and talk to their former leader Jeff Smith, EVP and COO at World Fuel Services and former CEO of Suncorp Business Services:

  • Australian Agile journey took him from Telstra, to a small startup and then to Suncorp, and later IBM and World Fuel Services
  • Scale of thought is more important than scale of people
  • The Suncorp Agile Academy was born out of the fact that learning matters, but the idea was for other companies to create content that could be shared in the Agile community which did not happen
  • Suncorp Building Quality In program
  • It all comes down to great people and working through problem
  • It’s hard for companies to build great leaders that are interested in building great teams
  • Jeff Smith keynote “Leading an Agile Company
  • Availability is not a skillset
  • Thinking from a team point of view is important – at World Fuel for example, the MTR dropped 80% due to this approach
  • Don’t waste time on people who don’t want to follow what you want to do
  • Most companies surround themselves with the companies being disrupted, not the disruptors – need to work with people and companies who want to change the game
  • You learn a lot from being around better people
  • For ANZ, the key to their Agile journey has been that CEO Shayne Elliott was willing to spend time outside the organisation and learn
  • You need to be structured to support end to end cross functional teams formed around the work – the structure of the team matters
  • The next disruption is the physical versus virtual world, in particular what happens to things like networking appliances
  • It’s easy when something is new to find ways to shut it down, its harder to keep it going

TheAgileRevolution-166 (33 minutes)