Agile Change

Podcast Ep. 164: Agile Change Part 2 with Adam Ulery

Agile Change
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Episode Description:

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by Adam Ulery to continue the conversation in regard to Organizational Change. In the previous episode, they discussed the first two steps proposed by the ADKAR Model for Change Management (Awareness and Desire), and today they follow with Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Key Takeaways

  • What does Knowledge Building look like?
    • Training and education are needed to help people get the knowledge they are going to need to be successful in this change
    • The mindset component is a major part of an agile transformation; this mindset involves a different way to approach business and the delivery of a product
  • Dan and Adam talk about the “Follow the rules” approach
    • There has to be some knowledge acquisition before “learning by doing”
    • Formal training is very helpful (videos, books, classroom training)
    • A potential pitfall is not giving adequate time of resources to allow the knowledge acquisition to really take place
  • See one, do one, teach one
    • When someone teaches others they start to learn what they are teaching in a better way
  • Knowledge and Ability are tied together
    • Knowing something needs to go along with being able to do it
    • Acquiring more knowledge and improving abilities grow together
    • Feedback is crucial to increasing someone’s ability to solve a problem
    • Failing safely is part of learning
    • Adam and Dan share on gradually increasing knowledge and ability from an enterprise perspective within a safe environment that fosters change
  • The Reinforcement piece
    • Celebrate examples of the change
    • Be happy and excited about the change
    • By reinforcing, you are creating more awareness
    • Rewarding people is necessary. (Bonuses matter)
    • Public celebrations and peer-to-peer recognition are effective ways of reinforcement

Transcript [This transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate in its depiction of the English language or rules of grammar.]

Intro: [00:03] Welcome to the Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought. The podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work, and pave the path to better outcomes. Now here’s your host, coach, and agile expert, Dan Neumann.

Dan Neumann: [00:17] Welcome to this episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast. I’m your host Dan Neumann. And first of all, happy New Year’s Eve to all the listeners and happy New Year’s Eve to my co-conspirator here, Adam Ulery, who’s joining for part two of two on organizational change. How you doing Adam?

Adam Ulery: [00:35] Hey, I’m awesome. Thanks for inviting me back and Happy New Year, everybody.

Dan Neumann: [00:40] Yeah, yeah, no happy to have you anytime. And we get to round out the old year look forward to the new year. And the last episode we recorded was on change management. And we talked through a couple elements of the ADKAR, A D K A R model for change management. And we talked about awareness and the desire part, the A and D super important and often neglected as part of change management with organizations. And today we’re gonna be exploring more about the knowledge, the ability, and then the reinforcement of those behaviors. Are you up for this rodeo, Adam?

Adam Ulery: [01:18]
I’m ready. Let’s let’s dive right in. And I like how we’re, we’re starting this episode off with where a lot of our clients start their change management. Right? Like we touched on that in the last episode. A lot of times when we show up, we find they’re right here and they’ve just begun their change. So it’s kind of cool that, that this is where we get to start this episode.

Dan Neumann: [01:39] Right. And, and so we, we would like some agile, we want some Scrum, give us the training, teach us about Kanban and teach us about Scrum. Let’s, you know, get some roles going, right. They just boom right into the knowledge part.

Adam Ulery: [01:53]
Yeah. We’re making this big agile transformation change. We’re gonna, we’re gonna switch to being agile. Let’s let’s get trained up and getting knowledge about it.

Dan Neumann: [02:05] So for people less, less, we, I fall into the trap of revisiting the importance of awareness and desire. So awareness of the nature of the change, a desire amongst those impacted to actually do the change. Let’s start talking about some of that knowledge building. Like how, what does that look like for you?

Adam Ulery: [02:24] Yeah, I, I think it looks like a lot of training and education and you know, helping, helping people get the knowledge they’re gonna need to be successful in this change. And so, depending on what the change is, that’s gonna vary, but the example we’ve been running with, so, so far that I think’s applicable to a lot of our listeners is an agile transformation. And so in that case the, the types of things we would want them to be learning would center around the behaviors and the skills they’ll need to require acquire rather the techniques and activities that we’ll expect of them and, and learning about those things. I think

Dan Neumann: [03:14] For sure, the obvious cost of entry of part of the journey is a Scrum framework, Kanban method, SAFe, LeSS, nexus. Any of those different approaches is training on that particular framework. So that roles, responsibilities, values, principles, that those are at least people are knowledgeable from a book answer standpoint like that. That’s kind of the basic cost of entry.

Adam Ulery: [03:47] Right. And what’s unique. Well, maybe it’s not unique, but it’s certainly a major part of this particular change of an agile transformation or an agile adoption is a mindset component. So with some changes, maybe there, there are more say technical skills or, you know, skills of, of actually doing something mechanical. Maybe is a way to say that if it’s, if you’re not in development software development, but with an agile transformation, this involves that, plus a mindset shift, a different way to approach business a different way to approach delivery of a product. And that to me is distinct. It, it is certainly a big part of the knowledge that a lot of people are gonna have to acquire when going through an agile transformation. And it’s funny because that’s intangible, right? Like a lot of the things that we need these people to know to be successful is not, is not a tangible thing. Yeah. How to think about things.

Dan Neumann: [04:55] Right. You thinking of the Scrum framework and five values that go into it, focus, openness. Right? How do you teach focus? Right. It’s tough. Now I think of from a DevOps practices, DevOps also has mindset to it, but think of how do you set up a continuous deployment pipeline? How do you, if you’re in Azure, how do you set up resource management in Azure? So that like there there’s, there’s definitely a technical component to do that. Flip the right bits, set the right things, et cetera, et cetera. But then there’s also the mindset part of how do we break a problem down small enough so that we can build a little bit of, of it, put it through the deployment and get some feedback from an end customer. It requires thinking about the problem differently than we had before.

Adam Ulery: [05:52]
It really does. And I think that’s, that’s a, a challenging thing to this particular change. It, it just requires a different, a completely different way of approaching the problems you’re solving. And, and that’s a good example. I think that’s one of the better examples is how to break these things down differently. And it, it’s not just breaking them down into smaller pieces either it’s breaking them down differently. It’s breaking them down in a way where some amount of value can be delivered.

Dan Neumann: [06:26]
Where do you stand on the, the whole Shu Ha Ri approach? So there’s a, there’s a whole separate podcast episode on this approach. But you know, Shu is just kind of follow, do the form. Like it comes from martial arts. So just follow the leader, the leader’s gonna show you how to, you know, whatever wax on wax off, how whatever happened in karate kid. Right. You just do the thing, you don’t need to understand the whys. And then eventually you take more liberties with the form. You can start breaking some of the rules from a knowledge acquisitions standpoint, kinda what’s your stance on, on that? Just follow the rules type of approach.

Adam Ulery: [07:02] Yeah. Well, I, I love the Shu Ha Ri pattern and I’m a big fan of learning by doing, although I think there, there has to be some knowledge acquisition to even even get started with the thing. Right like, you have to learn how to wax on and wax off at its most remedial level and then start doing it. And it’s okay. That you’re gonna be really bad at it in the beginning, but you’re, you’re starting to get the knowledge to learn it. Right.

Dan Neumann: [07:37] I probably need to apologize to anybody under 30 who’s listening. I don’t know if like karate kid Daniels son, that whole thing might not land anymore.

Adam Ulery: [07:47] I don’t know, man. I mean, Cobra Kai, I think kind of brought it back a bit, so it may not be unfamiliar.

Dan Neumann: [07:52] Right. I’ll just sit there and just do my crane thing, you know, ready. Yeah. But I think so you’re right. There’s knowledge required. And then ways to help people practice that knowledge job aids come to mind. There are certain artifacts that I find myself going back to and sharing with people. 20 ways to split a story. Okay. Yes. That’s a big thing by, by the way, here’s a nice 20 different ways you might consider breaking that down. So you don’t have to invent necessarily. You could invent. That’s great. You might have ideas number 21 through 25 in your head, but here’s 20 ways that have been done before, which one of these might work for you or ones of these might work for you. So I love that type of job aid.

Adam Ulery: [08:40] I do too references in general. I’m just a big fan of, I don’t store a lot of, I don’t store a lot of detail in my head. I, I store a lot of pointers. It’s just the way my brain works. So if I know where my reference is, like the one you just mentioned, I refer to all the time, how it’s good story, splitting patterns, you know.

Dan Neumann: [09:02] Right. And, and you might have a different one than I do. Right. But, but by golly, go, you know, there’s only so many wheels to invent out there, use somebody else’s wheel it’s okay.

Adam Ulery: [09:12] Yeah. Yeah. So sources are, are fantastic. You know content that, that helps you with knowledge and then having those taught to you in a format that is aligned with the way you learn, you know, so some, some type of classroom type delivery works pretty well, especially if workshops are used and a lot of interaction within the, the training that works for a lot of people. But having those, those formal trainings, I is very helpful. And a, a lot, lot of people can’t just read a book or, you know, read the content or even listen to it and get it, you know, having a human there to to deliver it can be very helpful.

Dan Neumann: [10:07] I think of right, the classroom training full day, half day, two hours, you’ve got all those different levers to pull there’s lunch and learn types of things. So that, that kind of ongoing maintenance of knowledge, although that actually from an ADKAR standpoint, maybe that’s getting back into reinforcement will maybe explore that a little bit later in this episode, but lots of different formats, videos, books, classroom training, there, isn’t the one knowledge acquisition, cuz my mode of learning might be different than yours. I might like to curl up with my, you know, Mike Cohn’s, succeeding with agile book and just have some time to highlight and mark through. You might like podcasts. Somebody else might really need the classroom as their favorite way of learning.

Adam Ulery: [10:52] Yeah. Agreed. Now, one thing that is a potential pitfall and, and kind of a crap. I see a lot of clients of our fall into is not giving adequate time or resources to allow for the knowledge transfer that needs to take place or the knowledge acquisition maybe that needs to take place. So, so wanting to get this done right away, look, let’s go through that training session. We’re gonna be all trained up and we’re ready to go. And that isn’t sufficient in a lot of cases. And the, I think the more difficult the knowledge is for, for people to obtain the longer you’ll need

Dan Neumann: [11:40]
When we were talking through this topic offline, in preparation for this, one of the analogies we kept going back to was professional American football. And I think of, you can do a training in a clinic in, in whatever, with quarterbacks. So they they’re all skill positions, of course, but you think of like quarterbacks and running backs and receivers, you can do those training camps, but man, you, when you watch the show, when you watch the game, they come off the field and there’s the coach there giving them feedback on what just happened and reinforcing things. It’s not just go to the training thing and you’re going to be excellent at your craft. It’s that constant reinforcement. And it takes time, practice, practice, practice, and perform.

Adam Ulery: [12:25]
Yeah, I totally agree with that. And imagine if you’ve never played football before and you weren’t a fan of the game, but you were ready to learn how to play. So you want enough knowledge acquired to begin, to be able to play, like to be able to play your first game? Well, football is a more involved game than I realized it was until I started watching the games and, and you couldn’t just go to a class on the game and then the next weekend go play a scrimmage. Right? Mm-Hmmyou, you, you wouldn’t know what to do. Well, the agile transformation or lots of business changes that we would be talking about here are gonna be just as complicated as that game. Right? So you can’t just expect folks to go through a class and have what they need.

Dan Neumann: [13:26] No, no. My friend Derek Wade introduced me to some of the thinking from nursing, which the nursing had as a, an approach of C one, do one and then teach one from a, from a change standpoint. And so I think of that, you know, if somebody is a going to be a Scrum Master, Hey, let’s have them see what Scrum mastery looks like. Yes, yes. Training. And let’s have them see what working with a team through the Scrum, from events, through some of the one-on-one coaching, let’s have that person do it while being observed and getting a chance to debrief. And then you can have them teach others how to do different facets of them in a very time honored way of building new skills. And in healthcare, the stakes are really high. So I, I much like what we’re doing with software. So I like that metaphor see one, do one, teach one.

Adam Ulery: [14:22] Love that. And for me personally, the teach one is where I really begin to process internalize the knowledge and, you know, put it into a place in rain where it becomes more, more likely to last, right. Is when I’m teaching others. I start to learn it really well.

Dan Neumann: [14:46] Yeah. And people will find gaps or, or ask a question and it, it makes more connections in the brain. Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Or here’s, here’s a different way to tie these different activities together. Let’s talk about the, the ability part and, and in ADKAR knowledge and ability gets separated from each other. I was reflecting back on Mike Cohn’s book, succeeding with agile. He has a different acronym. We won’t go too deep into part, but he ties knowledge and ability together because in technology there’s really limited value to knowing something versus being able to do it. And, and so he combines the two, but for the purpose of the ad car acronym here, let’s, let’s ex explore the difference between knowledge and ability.

Adam Ulery: [15:35] Yeah. I, I think this is interesting. I, I like the way Cohn thinks about it because I feel like there’s just a lot of overlap here and I’ll also feel like there’s some I don’t know, movement back and forth into, and, and out of each of those a until you, well, maybe, maybe indefinitely, right. Until you reach the level where you, you won’t continue to grow if that ever happens, but yeah. It’s like you, you kind of go back and forth between acquiring more knowledge and then improving your ability and then acquire more knowledge and improving your ability. Yeah. So yeah, I, I don’t really see it as a, a linear step where you’re completely done with one and then move into the other. How do you look at it, Dan?

Dan Neumann: [16:26] Well, as a as a Detroit lions football fan and they’ve, they’ve set some historic markers for being feeble on the field. I bet they know what they’re supposed to be doing. Their ability to execute seems lacking. Right. And so I don’t know how much of our listening audience is made up of people familiar with the national football league in the United States, but they’re bad. They’re are just historically bad. And so there is definitely a gap between knowing what you’re supposed to be doing and the ability to execute on it. But when I think of you know, Scrum frameworks, then we’ll, we’ll talk about organizations. Okay. I might know, and be able to execute the basic Scrum events, the knowledge and the ability. I might have some knowledge about long range planning using empiricism, but I might have never done that. I might not actually be able to do that. Let alone embrace transparency, inspection and adaptation. So I don’t think it’s like no Scrum and have the ability on Scrum it’s facets within the framework facets of different levels of agility.

Adam Ulery: [17:37] I, yeah. I think about it very similarly, the, the team may have an understanding that they need to be able to break things down into smaller chunks that have value and deliver those frequently, get feedback on those and allow that to inform what they next, repeat that cycle with, but it could be tough to do that. It, it can be hard to do that, especially depending on the platform, the technology you you’re working with and, and so forth so that, you know, that’s that line between ability and knowledge and especially in the business of building software professionally, it’s very difficult. It requires high intelligence. It’s not an easy, not everyone can do it. Mm-Hmm, there’s, you know, there’s that knowledge of what needs to be done. And then the ability it’s yeah, I, not everyone may have it. Not everyone may be able to attain it, even.

Dan Neumann: [19:00] Or they can attain it. But the time investment is not gonna be good return on investment from a, from an economic standpoint as well. But imagining if you will, we have people who are capable of acquiring these skills and, and executing it. I love the, the approaches of, of kind of mentorship or pairing up with somebody and having not really direct, but feedback. So in, in software code reviews, different patterns, et cetera, it’s all always great to have another, another brain in there, even if it’s just the, what I’ve heard called the nodding dummy, right? So Adam, you might come to me with a problem and it’s just bouncing that off of another human being who’s literally nodding potentially working through that can increase your ability to solve a problem, or if I bring you a problem, just talking through it and that’s a way to increase my ability to deliver. So I just, I kinda like some of that real simple tactic,

Adam Ulery: [20:00] I, I thrive on feedback and, and so just being able to talk to someone for me, even if they don’t give me much or any of a response somehow how helps me finish my thought or get to where I need to be and get the validation I need. I’m not sure what that is, but it’s kind of what you’re saying about, you know, just having someone else there. There, there is a percentage of us out there who that works really well for, but you know, just any, any form feedback that works for you is a, that’s a great way to kind of help build ability. And then for me, it’s a lot of practice or doing right. I learn by doing so my ability will be increased by just trying stuff and not getting it right. Of course. I mean, you’re, you’re gonna get it wrong before you get it right. Correct. You, you can’t, you can’t learn to ride a bike without falling at all. You can’t learn to snow ski without taking a tumble. You’re just not gonna be able to do that. Right.

Dan Neumann: [21:08]
So then the, then it becomes a question of how do you do that safely, right. Right. Yeah. What about that

Adam Ulery: [21:15] And that, so that’s something you and I work with our clients on a lot is creating that environment where it nurtures it. And there’s a reason we do that. It’s not because we’re you interested in a touchy, feely environment. It’s because it helps people grow and increase their ability to deliver and to learn new things. So it has to be safe for people to make mistakes and, and to learn and grow from those, you know, not to is safe to make the mistake, but also there’s a way to learn and grow from it. That’s the important part of making the mistake is that you learn from it, not that you just get frustrated that you just screwed up.

Dan Neumann: [22:00] Like, like a, like a child just getting frustrated. Yeah. So, and, and seek feedback on ways to improve, assuming a, a you better be getting feedback from a good source, right? You, you want, you want, there’s a lot of armchair quarterbacks. They’re not gonna coach Tom Brady, right. They’ll have an opinion, but it’s not an opinion worth having. There are people who are able to provide feedback to people performing at an excellent level who will still make mistakes and really making sure that that critique is in the spirit of growth and of learning.

Adam Ulery: [22:34] Yeah. I love that. And I, I like to look to what the top performers in a area of interest are. So if I’m trying to learn something new, I will look at the top performers in that area and, and try to get mentorship from them, try to learn lessons from them, even if it’s not a direct one-on-one personal mentorship relationship. But you know, watching their content following them right. Listening to their podcast or the, their, their vlog or their YouTube channel, whatever, you know, there are ways to get that mentorship, even if you don’t have a personal relationship with ’em and, and learning from those people with the deep expertise. So if, you know, if you’re going through an organizational change, they’re likely senior people in the organization with some experience in the area, and those are great people to tap into.

Dan Neumann: [23:32] Yeah, let’s talk about, so let’s, we talked about kind of a technical example on the knowledge and ability from Scrum standpoints and Scrum events and empiricism and transparency inspection adaptation from an enterprise transformation stand here, let’s maybe give an example of how knowledge and ability might fit in there as gradually increasing knowledge and gradually increasing ability.

Adam Ulery: [23:57]
Yeah. So from an enterprise perspective, you know, we could think about clarifying those top objectives as an organization and prioritizing work based on that. Right. So you, and I know from experience, lots of organizations, aren’t clear what their top goals are. It’s not, it’s not there’s not a shared understanding of that. There’s not alignment.

Dan Neumann: [24:25] There might be a list of 50 things we need to do this year. There’s definitely that, but that, that’s not what you’re looking for. Right. When you talk about alignment on priorities, it’s not the list of 50. Right. Right.

Adam Ulery: [24:35] Because those who are most clearly focused, don’t have a list of 50, right. They’ve got a list of one to three, maybe five, they all, they all align to the top one. Right. So that, that’s kind of what, what we would see in a more mature organization. But you know, if you’re not there and the, this kind of change we’re talking about you know, you could start somewhere like clarifying those top goals and the, then intentionally aligning your work to those. That’s a great place to start. Right. And then an evolution of that might be to use a framework like OKRs. So you’re, you’re starting to advance now and be more intentional about aligning your execution to your strategy. Then, then you may advance to something like lean portfolio management. So you’re gonna, you know, you’re going to mature as your abilities improve and, and you will get more sophisticated.

Dan Neumann: [25:43] Yeah. And, and it’s all steps along in the way. It’s hard to go from a bucket of 50 important things to now we’re gonna do the beyond budgeting approach or the rolling quarterly forecasts. And in that it’s, that’s dangerous if you will, right. Zero to 60. Right. Right. And it’s it’s not a safe change. There’s too many missteps that have big consequences by disrupting something at that level that quickly.

Adam Ulery: [26:14] Yeah. So I, I guess some of what we’re saying here with this whole adopting change theme is you also have to be realistic and, and take it at, at a pace that allows you to make the change without harming yourself. Right. So don’t insist on, on going to the full, most extreme and mature change you could, right?

Dan Neumann: [26:43] Yeah. I was metaphors. I was, I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for those Invisalign things on TV and right. And, and, but it doesn’t happen overnight. That’s how you would break your teeth. But over time with continuous intentional pressure and pushing, it moves that you would think wouldn’t move teeth in a mouth. My brain doesn’t really know how those things move, but apparently they do. And it’s same with an organization. You can’t just, you can’t break the thing by trying to change it. And that’s where I regularly reflect on the challenge of this stuff takes time. It’s not a two month transition a three month. Lot of organizations don’t have success with their agile journey until year one is over, or two is over or three until they’re like, yeah, this is awesome. Like I’m seeing it now because so much has to change. Yeah.

Adam Ulery: [27:38] Yeah, absolutely. And so when you get there

Dan Neumann: [27:41] I’ll pick up the Gartner article, just so that isn’t like, so you guys stuck, right? No, it’s like, there’s Gartner data on how long this takes. Yeah. Yeah.

Adam Ulery: [27:51] Absolutely. We we’ve had multiple clients who come back to us and say, I, I really underestimated how much work this was gonna be and how long this was gonna take, you know, and they’ll say that eight, nine months in when they’re starting to actually starting to gain the ability, and that, you know, that’s the point where they’re like, okay yeah, this was hard. And, and we got a long way to go. So when you start hearing, ’em use those words, you know, they’re actually changing. That’s awesome.

Dan Neumann: [28:27] Let’s talk about the last letter in the acronym of ADKAR, which is the R for reinforcement. So awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and now we’re off to the reinforcement piece.

Adam Ulery: [28:37] Yeah. and I, I think just celebrating examples of the change is a really a great reinforcement with clients I’ve worked with where a top leader has publicly acknowledged an example of the change. And, and they’re clearly excited about it and happy to see that it has made big impacts for the boots on the ground. People are like, wow. The, they notice at that level, what our team is doing, and we don’t even think we’re doing this very well, you know, but it’s, it’s a signal that the changes firming up, it’s taking root and that’s a great reinforcer.

Dan Neumann: [29:21] Absolutely. And it ties right back into the A at the beginning. So the awareness piece by reinforcing thing, you’re creating more awareness. This is an example of the nature of the change we’re looking for. Here’s a team that did something cool. Here’s a business result that we realize one smart car goes down the road sees that the traffic sign is a different speed in a different spot, beams it up next car coming down the road. It’s smart enough now it is aware that the speed limit is gonna change like so awesome, like speed of things, just, you know, realizing that cool stuff has been delivered. Right.

Adam Ulery: [29:59] And, and inevitably someone will think of rewarding an individual, or even a team.

Dan Neumann: [30:06] Of course, we need to bonus people. We need to have an annual bonus based on where do you stand on that?

Adam Ulery: [30:14] Well, I think it’s a slippery slope. I think, I think it’s very easy to unin intentionally incentivize behavior that is at odds with the outcome you’re after. So I, I think it could be dangerous. It could easily encourage dysfunction or the types of behaviors that misalign with where you want to go with your change. How, how about you, Dan?

Dan Neumann: [30:43] Yeah. Humans are smart. And when you dangle a carrot out there for them, they will find a way to get the carrot, but they might not care about other downsides that are incurred to get that, that local optimization is what we would call it. Yeah. Our, our, we can and get a sprint velocity. That’s stable. I’ve heard. Oh, that’s a whole, right. Oh, we want teams of stable velocity. Well, I’ll make up numbers to hit that if I’m gonna get some money for it. Right. That’s what humans will think. Yeah, for sure. I had one team I’ve related in a previous podcast. Their manager would berate them if their sprint burndown wasn’t on the line. So it wasn’t a reward. It was a pain avoidance system that burndown was on the line. No matter what the state sprint was. Right. Because they’re not stupid. They’re pain of verdict. Or you talked about last episode, you talked about humans being sense making we’re also good at avoiding pain. And, and so be really careful. I, I, I tend to subscribe to them more. Let’s get people intrinsically motivated about what they’re doing, help them get to excellent and not try to manipulate them like the little marionette dolls where you pull the strings. So the arm goes up. I, that doesn’t work. I don’t know why it’s still a thing.

Adam Ulery: [32:00]
I know. It, it is. It’s kind of crazy that it’s thing, but it is it’s we see it used all the time. I mean I advise clients pretty regularly not to do that because they’re still trying to do that.

Dan Neumann: [32:14] We just lost any sales people that we’re listening to this podcast, they all just because that’s one of the right, Aw, sales people, we’ve gotta, they will sell crap that can’t be delivered if they’re, you know, it’s, it’s a risk it’s, you know, when you, when you create that coin operated mentality, it’s very dangerous and it’s hard to undo.

Adam Ulery: [32:33] Yeah. And, and not to, I know we don’t want to dive into, into that too deep. But I will say something to consider I, if you’re sitting there wondering, well, what’s, the alternative is, is just to balance out what the what the reward I, or the, the desired outcome is for which you’re giving the reward. So, in other words, it’s, it’s those, it’s those singular rewards that are the problem. Like if you get this many sales, you get the reward, that’s the problem. So you gotta have a couple of other things that need to be achieved along with that, to balance it out, like some quality component maybe, or, or something.

Dan Neumann: [33:18] Yeah. So I’ve, I’ve heard that as like a balanced scorecard. There’s also I’ve heard it described as if then rewards, if you sell this, then you get this being much more harmful than now that, which is almost like a surprise. Okay. Hey Adam, now that you know, you were on the X podcast, you know, I wanted to recognize you. Here’s a, here’s a token of, of appreciation, but not something large in monetary that’s gonna pervert your behavior to, you know, let’s just let’s do one of these every day. Right? Boom, boom, boom. Right. That’s not the behavior we’re looking for. What about public celebrations?

Adam Ulery: [33:53] Yeah, I think, I think those are a really effective tool. And I, I think a verse mixture of celebrations works best so the, the big public ones are great. Some type of a town hall event where the leadership team is really expressing their, their, you know, their pleasure of what they’re seeing there in terms of the, and, and those types of things. And then having some maybe smaller events that just a function of the organization is invited to, with the leaders of, of that function, middle management, doing a similar thing. And then some more localized groups like team meetings where a manager and their team are, are doing that as well. I think all of those things combined together to work really effectively. And it’s great for employees to hear a consistent message. I’m hearing the same thing from my manager that I’m hearing from the top team in the company and, and that consistency makes me feel good about this.

Dan Neumann: [35:04]
Yes. And I would add to that also peer to peer recognition. So, mm. One of the things that got me way outside my comfort zone is this acting class, but one of the things at the end is just, you know, circle up and it’s a chance to recognize other people for things that happened in that, you know, hour we spend together every week. Hey you know, I really appreciate you for showing vulnerability and, and sharing whatever. And, and here’s how it helped me. And so it’s not, well, it’s also important, right? The town halls, the big public things, the manager ones, but then also peers reinforcing it, cuz there’s tremendous. Well, it’s called peer pressure, you know, for certain behaviors, good or bad. And anybody who’s raised a kid knows about all that. So a few things on, on reinforcement. So Adam, any closing thoughts here is new year’s Eve. I don’t know if people are listening to this before, after the celebrations, but any closing thoughts on change as they’re contemplating resolutions that they are going to make or just made and they’re waking up to.

Adam Ulery: [36:06] Yeah, well, I, I think choosing a change that you can commit to is is pretty important if you’re talking about a personal change, if there’s so that you personally are planning to change and it, it, you really need to be able to commit to it. And so spend a little time thinking about that and being intentional about what it is you’re, you’re contemplating changing and then commit to that. You’ll be more successful.

Dan Neumann: [36:37] I love it. I wanna appreciate that you took time to make a couple episodes here, right at the end of the year on an important topic of change management and I’m looking forward to a whole 2022 of podcasts.

Adam Ulery: [36:50] Yeah, me too. Thanks for the opportunity, Dan. I appreciate it. Always

Dan Neumann: [36:54] Really appreciate it. Thanks again, Adam, have a happy new year.

Adam Ulery: [36:56]
You too, Dan.

Outro: [36:59] This has been the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast brought to you by AgileThought. The views opinions and information expressed in this podcast are solely those of the host and the guests, and do not necessarily represent those of AgileThought. Get the show notes and other helpful tips for this episode and other episodes at

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