Do You Want To Release Agility and Build an Engaged Team?
I suspect the answer is YES PLEASE!
I can help you with these things and more.
I quickly realised in my career that as I RELEASED AGILITY in my teams that Employee Engagement levels went UP. I got employee engagement for FREE!
This was what allowed me to move from being an Engineering Manager building and scaling agile, to become a Vice President of Employee Engagement and Enablement.
As a side effect of releasing agility we obtained:
- 3% Churn Rate – people didn’t leave very often – when they did – they often came back!
- 8% Recruitment Costs – as a blended rate of recruiters, self sourced and referrals
- SUPER HIGH Engagement Levels – according to our engagement survey
- 10 Day Hiring Cycle Times – the elapsed time from first application to a decision (post interview) for candidates
- CONSISTENT and PREDICTABLE delivery of work – every week, every year – economies of flow – not highs and then lows.
- RAVING FANS – People who didn’t get hired would go and tell others how great the company was!
I can help you and your organisation achieve this – and all without a single Agile Framework or Engagement “Initiative” – just amazing communication and superb management.
It’s achieved through:
- clarity of purpose
- overcoming obstacles
- building the right teams
- changing your culture through behaviours (not sofas and slides and cereal and wall art)
- building productivity systems that encourage positive habits
But what the heck is Releasing Agility?
I don’t often talk about “Agile” or “agile” – I prefer to talk about “Releasing Agility”.
Releasing Agility can happen in any team and in any industry.
Agility – “the power of moving quickly and easily towards your goal or purpose”
Release – “
In other words – I help you move more quickly and easily towards your business goals, by removing the friction that stands between where you are NOW and where you WANT TO BE.
Of course, this means you need to know where you’re going – if you don’t – I can help you with that too.
Releasing Agility follows a simple process :
- Step 1 – Paint a picture of the future.
- Why are you doing what you’re doing?
- Communicate it clearly and easily to everyone.
- Get people amped and stoked to be working with you on this amazing bright future.
- Step 2 – Identify what is stopping you achieving this future state.
- Why are you not already doing what you need to be doing?
- This requires studying real problems; not myths, rumours, opinions and conjecture.
- Step 3 – Build a team with the right strengths and behaviours to overcome the obstacles.
- Cooperation, good communication and a sense of team spirit are essential.
- As a manager or leaders you should be able to say with confidence and commitment that “This is the team to get it done”. If you can’t – you have some work to be done.
- Step 4 – Define and refine the very behaviours needed to overcome the obstacles.
- Hire against these, fire against these and manage against these.
- Behaviours, what people do everyday, are your company culture.
- Your company ethos, style and culture will be different to others – so refinement of what’s expected is a long term project
- Step 5 – Iterate, learn and build productivity systems that support the behaviours and habits identified in Step 4.
If all goes to plan, you will be overcoming obstacles, have a team who are having fun solving tricky and interesting problems and you’ll have a culture that gets stuff done and is a pleasure to work in.
In other words – you’ll get business results.
And as a positive side effect you’ll get Employee Engagement.
Why is Employee Engagement important?
There are plenty of resources online making a case for increased revenue and a better company culture when you have engaged employees. This is likely spot on.
I’ve seen it myself.
But I work on a much simpler level than this.
Engaged teams have fun delivering against purpose.
Engaged teams are disciplined and have strong behaviours that lead to business success and outstanding personal growth.
It’s easy to observe engaged high performing individuals. It’s easy to see when people are not engaged.
Employee engagement means people will overcome the downturns, the hard work, the gnarly problems and the times when it seems like success is elusive. And they will approach these challenges with humility, poise and humour.
And those times happen to all businesses, but especially to businesses who are pushing boundaries and removing the friction needed. Over the long term your team should be enjoying what they do – they, and you, should be having fun.
My Business Programs are designed for organisations that want to “Release Agility” and remove blockers whilst building engaged teams, no matter what industry you operate in.
My programs support every aspect of Releasing Agility so no matter where you are in the journey I have you covered.
They vary greatly from client to client and tend to be highly intensive – Releasing Agility is not something that can be easily packaged, certified and rolled out to anyone – although many will try.
Each program is built specifically for my clients to ensure maximum success.
Programs are often a combination of my main services:
- Inspirational Talks
I offer single day Programs all the way through to 6 month intensive Programs.
Programs can be tailored for specific audiences, such as leadership and managers, or specific roles such as Testers, HR and Agile Coaches.
Each program will be specific to your needs.
Take the first step by downloading a brochure of services here.
Below are details of the Programs as well as information about how I operate and what to expect from me.
Connect with me on LinkedIn and take up the conversation there if that works for you.
Or simply email me to get the ball rolling.
Training and Workshop days are charged at £2500 for the entire day.
Speaking engagements are priced at £1500 for the day.
- Travel costs not included in that price
- Some workshops have attendee limits for practical reasons
My Consultancy day rate is available upon request.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch to book, have an informal chat or move ahead with anything you like on this page.
BUSINESS PROGRAMS & TRAINING
A program tailored around hiring, on-boarding and retaining Technologists.
Topics covered include attracting talent, balancing cash with other benefits, designing a WOW recruitment process and on-boarding to ensure rapid productivity and a WOW first week.
I’ve written a book outlining how to create a WOW hiring and onboarding process:
If you are looking to grow a team in Poland – I can also help you with that.
Available as on-going Consultancy or as a Workshop (tailored to your needs)
The truth is – Releasing Agility and building Engaged teams is pretty much the responsibility of management. Management make or break initiatives, often spend too long working “on people” rather than the system and often avoid tricky conversations because management fear people will leave.
The Cultivated Management approach is:
- 70% of a managers time is spent managing the process, flow, environment, removing blockers and improving the world of work.
- 20% of time is spent working with people. Giving feedback, discussing performance and active coaching.
- 10% of time is spent developing self, reflecting and improving the discipline required for this tough job.
I can teach and train your managers, or even be on-site to implement a rigorous but people focused approach to management in your organisation.
Good managers really do lead to great success.
Available as Consultancy or as a Seminar
Program tailored around releasing agility. Achieving agility means removing friction on your journey to deliver against your business purpose. Friction points will be different for each organisation. Studying is required.
Agility cannot be bought, forced or rushed. It needs releasing at a pace that makes sense for your organisation, your people, your technology maturity and your organisational/leaderships approach to risk.
Available as Consultancy only
Cultivated HR and Talent
Program tailored around HR Engagement, Learning & Development initiatives and modern HR practices to support growing Technology teams.
Engagement is FREE if you have good management in your organisation – so a focus on management is essential with this Program.
This Program may include running Company Values workshops, initiating or improving Engagement Surveys and strategies, or rolling out a Learning Management System.
Career development, job descriptions, behavioural matrices, strengths finders and more are also part of this Program.
Available as Consultancy
Cultivated Testing and Quality
Program tailored around improving your test team’s ability to become good exploratory testers with a toolkit that equips them for success as you grow.
Testing is mostly about asking amazing, useful and important questions of yourself, each other, the process and the software under test.
Available as Consultancy
Program tailored around improving communication in your organisation, from personal communication skills to corporate communication strategies.
I often joke that 99% of problems in business are because of communication – I may not be too far from the truth.
I can bring my Communication Workshop to your organisation, do 1:1 coaching with those in need of improving communication or create communication plans and strategies for your organisation.
Available as Consultancy or I have two Workshops (tailored to your needs)
Cultivated Content Creation
I’m available to do guest posts, webinars, eBooks and podcasts that can help drive engagement and marketing around your product and services.
I can create:
- blog posts
- handy guides
- white papers
- training material
- company strategies
- brilliant product documentation
I don’t do Ghost Writing Services, but I can teach people how to write very effective content.
You may wish to book me to speak at your event. Find out more about my approach, topics and speaker kit here.
Why Cultivated Management?
There are some problems that simply won’t be solved without some external help.
You may require some help with hiring, HR Engagement initiatives, retaining people, building effective release cycles, getting your testing to where it needs to be, getting your managers to do the right work, getting DevOps working, Agile transitions or some help to build the culture you need to achieve business results.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Expertise – It could be that you don’t quite have the expertise yet or you need someone to help spot problems that are holding you back. I have a wealth of experience in building highly productive agile teams in both Technology and HR.
Delivery– Maybe you just need someone to come in and support, nurture, mentor and grow your team – or simply help your team out in times of need. I can help manage, coach, teach or release agility.
Catalyst – I can act as a catalyst for change – this is one of my specialisms and I know how hard it can be to inspire and lead teams through dramatic change. The key is an inspirational vision that is clear, compelling and believable – I can help you craft that, articulate it and communicate it.
If you’re after someone to act as a Catalyst my Blazingly Simple Guide To Turning Around A Team gives you some idea how I work.
Objectivity – Or it could be you need some objectivity – someone to bounce ideas off. Someone to do an audit, assess your plans or help you build a strategy that makes sense.
Teaching and Learning – One aspect of consultancy I really enjoy is teaching and learning. Maybe your teams don’t have the right skills and need some in-person, on the job training (the best form of training). Although I have many training courses, sometimes you and your team may need some on-going training and teaching.
Hiring and Firing people is hard work and it requires an approach that I can help you with. Building and forming teams takes good communication skills, empathy, respect and the ability to truly understand problems. This has been my bread and butter trade for 9+ years. It also requires an awareness and collaboration with HR – this was my life for 2 years in a fast growing tech company.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY
Don’t throw money at tech and agile consultants though if your foundations aren’t in place (values, management, career development, HR, rewards, people management, process improvement, remunerations or hiring).
Many agile software consultants only know how to address tactical issues around testing, dev and agile. This is brilliant if you have strong foundations. If not, it could be a royal waste of time and money.
I worked with a Bank who had spent £24million in agile consultancy and were no nearer to shipping code than when they started.
Why? Because the very foundations of the culture were not set up to support agility.
Save your money. You cannot buy or force agility – agility must be released at a pace and rate that your business and team can sustain. This is often not what Executives and Managers want to hear, but it is true.
Agility comes from having strong foundations in your culture, brilliant management, HR strategies that support your teams and very clear communication from leaders and managers who inspire.
Agility is nothing more than removing friction towards a purpose, through co-operation and clear communication – but these skills are often in short supply. And many consultants will confuse matters and sell frameworks that may or may not work.
That’s not what I do. I don’t sell frameworks.
I help you find the friction points (which will be different for each team and company) and find sustainable ways to work around, through or over the friction.
Your agile implementation (when you’re delivering smoothly and quickly against your business purpose), may resemble a well known framework or it may not. But we’ll start with problems and not with frameworks.
All of this relies on solid foundations.
The good news is I can help you with these core foundations too.
I knew that move to HR would be valuable in the end 🙂
WHAT ARE THESE FOUNDATIONS?
- HR and Rewards mechanisms
- Strong purpose, vision and values
- Clear communication
- Solid coaching plans and awareness of how individuals contribute to the success of your team
- Measures, metrics and improvements
- Solid management principles and behaviours
- Clear understanding of how people can progress
Below is the Cultivated Change guide that I use to get us started if it’s foundational work that needs doing; management, communication, coaching, hiring etc, before plotting what moves next.
Many strategies can run in parallel but within your team, for lasting change to happen, these foundations need to be addressed at some point. For example, there is little point in moving forward with agile tactics, if your team have no idea why agile is right for them, how they will be measured and how they will grow.
The first section is about your people and giving them reasons to support the move to releasing agility.
The second section is about your managers and leaders – getting them to focus on the system, not the people. In this section you’ll find just one part dedicated to tactics like TDD, stand-ups, CI and many of the other tactics typically associated with agile. Releasing agility is about people, communication and delivery – not frameworks and tactics.
CULTIVATED PROJECT KICK OFF
I’m a one man band with a wealth of experience and access to a network of super-professionals in the agile, tech and HR space.
As such, my service is a very personal one. I’m here for you to succeed. In order to succeed though we both need to understand what we’re trying to achieve.
I approach consultancy in my usual friendly, curious and fun manner, but with a seriousness designed to get to the heart of your problems quickly. At the heart of my approach is the belief that improved communication and better management will unlock your business potential further.
I’m straight talking and can articulate well, which means we can have open and honest conversation about problems and opportunities.
The following framework is the basic starter guide I like to use – it get’s us chatting about what your problems and opportunities are and how I might be able to help. It’s a useful model to discuss how we can move forward. It gets us building a relationship. It’s not set in stone but helps to guide
Don’t hesitate to get in touch to book, have an informal chat or move ahead with anything you like on this page.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY
Scott Summers –
DIRECTOR, nFocus Testing
“I knew Rob was a great speaker as I’d seen him present at a number of industry conferences so I had high expectations of the communications workshop he delivered to my team. He exceeded them all! He consulted with me to understand what we wanted to achieve and then facilitated a jam packed workshop that had something for everyone. Rob’s energy, expertise and amiable presenting style was a big hit with all of us and we left with new skills, insights and practical knowledge.”
Check out what my team had to say on LinkedIn recommendations.