Why do retreats work? And.. how do you do retreats in these confinement times??

These are challenging times, but they also present opportunities to revisit our practices and rediscover the values and principles behind them. Indeed, doing so makes it pretty clear that they are heuristics- practices that have worked for us many times in several different contexts. In this sense, they have been faithful friends in our agile journeys. But they have started breaking and failing us in these highly disturbing times.

Retreats work because they force us to take a fresh perspective on our challenges. They get us out of our comfort zones and enable us to look at our blind spots. From this new viewpoint we are able to find creative solutions to recurring issues and get us unstuck.

A “SL!K” workshop (“is there a Snow Leopard !n your Kitchen”) achieves the same outcomes using metaphors for agility. My personal experience and thorough research in agile and lean principles and applications has allowed me to identify two particularly simple yet extremely rich metaphors. The workshop invites participants to identify common characteristics of agility through them, then invites them to bring these newly rediscovered principles and apply them to their context.

Such a workshop works because it brings participants to another location, a safe place, where they explore and test ideas with strangers or colleagues outside the context of their workplaces. Creativity emerges and so do new ideas for agile practices. Finally, it works, because they can leave rigid frameworks and copy-paste agility behind, and create practices that they will be motivated to try, and empowered to adapt.

This talk summarizes a journey over decades of mental exploration and research, trial and errors, through the complex intertwined mazes of large organizations and agile training, certifications and coaching industries.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

[9 mn] impromptu networking

[13 mn] talk with slides: 1. characteristics of agility. 2. Navigating the Cynefin framework 3. Using Training from the Back of Room to teach agility 4. Agile practices vs emergence 5. Implications for leaders 6. the SL!K workshop psychological underpinnings

[8 mn] participants break into small groups and discuss, identify questions to ask in the whole group

[8 mn] Q&A with the whole group

Learning Outcome

  • the importance of emergence in complex systems and agility
  • the importance of psychological safety, growth mindset & intrinsic motivation
  • introduction to a simple metamodel for agility
  • why and how a SL!K workshop works, when to use it
  • conditions for the workshop success (leadership, environment)

Target Audience

executives, managers and coaches

Prerequisites for Attendees

  • Good understanding of Agile and/or Lean framework principles
  • Experience going through at least one Agile transformation
  • A critical mind and
  • An open mind!
schedule Submitted 10 months ago

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