“Value is in the eye of the beholder, and we need to make sure that we are adding the right value for the right reasons.” — JD Meier
I want to share a simple walkthrough of the values that Agile Results is based on.
I’m a big believer that values are the ultimate lightening rod.
Values can repel or attract, and like attracts like (opposites attract, but similarities bind.)
Values are the fast way to know whether something is right for you, or if you feel a conflict (and sometimes you can’t put your finger on it.)
Fulfillment, Flexibility, and Focus
I’ve been teaching Agile Results to more individuals, teams, and leaders.
With the spread of Agile Results, I have to think more about what the values really are.
The values are the life-blood of the system.
They give it juice.
Off the top of my head, when I ask, “What are the values of Agile Results?”, the first few that come to mind are:
Fulfillment, flexibility, and focus.
It’s really what I wanted out of a productivity system.
I knew that I wanted to achieve meaningful productivity.
I knew that rigid systems don’t stand the test of time.
And I knew that focus is a big deal.
When I asked one of my early Microsoft managers, what separated the best from the rest he paused for a moment to reflect.
And then he said, it’s focus. In all his experience it was focus that helped anyone realize their potential.
The Essence of Agile Results
Agile Results was born to help more people find a path of fulfillment in a practical way.
It’s designed to help you live your values in work and life. It’s also designed to be flexible.
I’m a fan of Bruce Lee’s philosophy of, “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own“.
Darwin also taught us that nature favors the flexible.
There’s truth in the saying, “adapt or die.”
Focus is also at the heart of Agile Results.
Focus helps us engage with work and with our life.
It brings out our best. You’re the director of your life and you can choose what you point your camera at.
Voltaire also comes to mind: “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”
And again, Bruce Lee reminds us of the power of focus, when he said, “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”
Values That Drive Agile Results
When I think a little more on the values that drive Agile Results — the values that breathe life into the Agile Results system — I think of the following values:
- Continuous learning
Adventure is a powerful metaphor for life. It adds The Fun Factor and it turns problems into challenges. In life, you can choose a lot of things, from your attitudes to your actions. Choose your own adventure.
Balance is a way to blend the best of both worlds, such as the game of business, or the business of life. It’s a way to meld our minds and our bodies and our emotions to bring out our best. Balance your great up time, with great down time.
Congruence is about living our values and staying true to you. It’s building a firm foundation versus a house of cards.
Continuous learning is about finding the lessons and turning insight into action.
Empowerment is about putting the world’s best insight and action at your fingertips to help you unleash what you are capable of … in an exponential way.
Focus is about setting your eye on the prize and going for it. Focus is also about choosing to find the opportunity in any situation. Focus is about directing your attention to things that empower you, whether it’s focusing on strengths over weaknesses, the future over the past, or the positive over the negative.
Flexibility is ready for anything. It’s rising above habits and practices that don’t serve you. It’s about staying open to new ways of looking at things. It’s about adapting to new situations as the world changes under your feet. It’s about being an acrobat for life.
Fulfillment is about writing your story forward in a way, where you give your best where you have your best to give, and play to your strengths in a way that shares your gifts with the world.
Growth is about continuously expanding your capabilities. You grow your ability to take on bigger challenges, and you become something more in the process.
Passion is about being bold, pushing the envelope, and chasing the dreams that make your soul sing. Passion is the value that races through your veins when you wake up in the morning, ready to face the World, and ready to make your mark.
Simplicity is about the essential. It’s elegance in action. It’s economy of motion. It’s reductionism in action. Simplicity is about useful, relevant, and intuitive. Simplicity is about the truths … the timeless principles, patterns, and practices that are enduring over time. It’s the part that sticks with you, when everything else fades away.
Sustainability is about finding a way forward in a way that is durable and evolvable over time. Sustainability is about finding your downtime, and responding to “always on” in a way where you can turn it off. It’s finding your flow. Sustainability is about fresh starts. Sustainability is about doing the things that reward, renew, and revitalize you.
I think that those are the values of Agile Results.
When I peel everything else away, and really look under the hood at what makes it tick, it’s those values that bring it to life. It’s the very fact that the system embraces and lives those values that make it sustainable, durable, and evolvable over time, and with the people that embrace the system.
10 Values (The Original 10 Values of Agile Results)
When I first wrote Getting Results the Agile Way, here is the original set of values that I based the approach on:
1. Action Over Analysis Paralysis
Taking action is the best antidote for analysis paralysis. Rather than over-engineer or try to figure out everything up front, start taking action.
Your results will inform your thinking, and you can change your course as needed.
2. Approach Over Results
You can’t control your results. You can control your attitude, actions, and response.
Use your results as a gauge and for feedback.
3. Energy Over Time
Focus on keeping your energy strong.
You’ll get more done in one power hour than throwing lots of hours at a problem when you just don’t have the energy.
In addition to eating right, sleeping well, and working out, the key to energy is following your passion and living your values.
4. Focus Over Quantity
It’s not about doing more. It’s about focusing on the right things.
Focus is your force multiplier.
5. Progress Over Perfection
Don’t let perfectionism get in the way.
It’s better to produce something that you can improve or iterate on, than to continuously block yourself while striving for perfection.
6. Growth-Mindset Over Fixed-Mindset
A growth mindset means that you can learn and respond.
A fixed mindset means that you think something was born that way and won’t change.
By adopting a growth mindset, you help avoid learned helplessness.
You also pay more attention to your situation and feedback. You also become more flexible in your approach.
This flexibility is your key to results.
It’s how you will improve over time.
7. Outcomes Over Activities
Spending more time or doing more things isn’t a good measure of productivity. Results are the best measure.
By focusing on your results instead of your activities, you can place value on where you spend your time.
By getting clarity on what you want to accomplish, you can be flexible in your approach.
8. Strengths Over Weaknesses
Spend more time in your strengths than in your weaknesses.
Rather than spend all your energy improving your weaknesses, spend your energy maximizing your strengths.
You’ll get more payback.
If you do work on your weaknesses, then focus on reducing your key liabilities.
9. Routines Over Ad-Hoc
Having a systematic approach for results is a powerful thing.
It gives you a firm foundation.
You can experiment more.
When you get off track, you have something to fall back on or to turn to when you need it.
By having a system for the basics, you can move yourself up the stack and automatically invest yourself in higher level matters.
Most importantly, you free your mind by having trusted places to look and a trusted process to fall back on.
10. Value Up Over Backlog Burndown
Rather than just work through your backlog, think in terms of creating value.
This can be value for yourself, other people, or your employer.
This is a value-up strategy.
By thinking in terms of value up, you get in the habit of asking, “What’s the next best thing to do?”