Fluffy bears and Unicorns
The comedian Trevor Noah on his set about frightening accents explained that the Russian accent sounds like if you want to kill somebody. Indeed, it is a stereotype, and indeed it is from people who don’t understand the language. He exposes funnily that maybe what we are afraid of is the tone and that the Russians you listening to, are just talking about fluffy bears and unicorns. I had a great laugh and it happened to me too.
On the other way, while thinking about my work, I have a lot of fluffy bears and unicorns but these are a bit different.
Fluffy bears and unicorns are the distractions that you embrace to avoid embracing the real problem. It is like the captain of the Titanic seeing the iceberg coming and concentrating on the radar expecting some miraculous change to occur on the screen.
Fluffy Bears and Unicorns (FB&U) are all the noise produced to avoid the real problems such as:
- KPIs to reinforce bureaucracy and management instead of measuring time to market, ROI or customers satisfaction
- OKRs to give a smell of agile to managers instead of engaging in value creation and consuming their time in … management instead of helping teams in their value creation process
- Scaling agile methods are the kind of methodologies giving you the belief that you have a process helping you to scale up when it’s nothing more than program management paraphrasing for the uneducated. If you know a bit about program management, you know it’s the last topic you want to address in a value creation flow because it’s enforcing naturally bureaucracy. It is an FB&U of managers who don’t want to change. It is a great subject to analyze, the debate so you can postpone your engagement and find the killer argument for you against the change. It is an area where management consultants are overselling the methodologies like training on OKRs for four weeks, then starting training on QBRs for the next month. It is one of the best FB&U because it’s, in the case of agile transformations, the obsolete ecosystem finding tricks to block the transformation because they all know they are part of the problem.
- More coaching. Coaching can make wonders for FB&U lovers. Most of the coaches want to ask questions only and they usually not noticing conflicting agendas (ref. Coaching code of conduct). If you want more FB&Us then take a personal development coach for teams and always publicly challenge the idea of coaching in public by asking to change the coach. Indeed, you can’t challenge the idea of coaching, then the problem is the coach. Having a huge turn over of coaches are a great to avoid change.
- More training. Training can be an insidious FB&U. Increasing your training offer shows that you are considering knowledge seriously and that you are caring. You don’t. You care showing off that you care. How can you see that? Check out the talents available in your organization, see who is involved in knowledge transfer and see how much training is related to LinkedIn training…
They are a lot of FB&U and I have my own.
Change really matters when you start noticing your FB&U and then ask the questions:
- What really matters for me?
- What really matters for the team?
- What really matters for the organizations?
- Is it me?
- Or is it not me?
And you, what are your Fluffy bears and Unicorns?
Originally published at https://agilesqr.com on April 17, 2021.