Orchestrator vs. Leader

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I came across a leadership podcast a few weeks back wherein there was a description of leadership that seems to fit the type of leadership that a ScrumMaster or agile advcocate needs to exude. I lost my notes on which podcast it is for the necessary attribution but the notes that stuck with me contains the following (paraphrased) content:

During a performance show, an orchestrator (conductor) is somebody whom everybody in the group looks up to, following every flick of the wrist for the correct entry into the symphony. The choreographer on the other hand only teaches the vision of the dance, corrects any mistakes during the practice sessions, and then sits back in the audience to see the dance troupe interpret the visions, sometimes in ways that even exceeds what was practiced.

conductor-baton

Image courtesy of freerangestock.com

The choreographer aspect seems to fit what the agile advocate needs to do. This follows the mandate that in an agile team the scrum master is a servant-leader, a person who influences without any direct mandate. For those who finds that hard to comprehend, it is the same type of authority that friends form over their experiences, wherein a select few of the pack is looked upon for inputs on what to do next. That only comes with trust that the “choreographer” knows what they are saying and that they will not lead the pack into ruin.

The only resistance is the inherent inertia that most of the corporate organizations still pine for the command-and-control structure which gives the “feel good feeling” that everything can be boxed into a specific plan. This makes organizations make more open to the idea of putting seasoned managers as conductors of delivery in order to control every aspect and cadence of the team. They are not entirely wrong but the unpredictability of the human mind and real life means they are also not entirely right.

The conductor can still be a person of trust but normally the conductor’s authority is proportional to their perceived reputation. The reputation is a double edged sword as that can be the initial hump that the team needs to overcome to start being comfortable with having the “conductor” as part of the team.

SMH

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I saw this phrase in a social media comment : “idealistic and gullible”

Two words that are dangerous when put together. These words are what mobs are made of. The gullible aspect will feed the idealistic side with enough high the same way that adrenaline can mask pains and injury that would have triggered the common sense to stop the body from hurting itself.

It is not a matter of age but more of experience. Be idealistic. Don’t be gullible. Learn to recognize and keep the two apart. I know it is not easy as it took me a while to recognize it myself.

Six feet under

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And the stupidity and zealotry continues. Each side spouting points on a whimsical issue.

When I die I want to be wrapped in the cheapest, flimsiest banig (straw mat) and buried six feet under in an unmarked rice field. So that in my passing I will go back to the earth that nourished me and in turn I will contribute in nourishing the next generations.

However my loving wife and commander refuses to acknowledge that so I will compromise on being cremated and my ashes placed inside a hollow coconut shell. The shell is to be buried under a patch of land where a fruit bearing tree will be planted on top.

If possible please make it a mango or chico tree. 🙂

ciao! 

Unstoppable Force, meet Immovable Object

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Every working day I usually have a 30-minute walk from my workplace to my wife’s office where our car is parked. I pass through a busy intersection under a criss-crossing elevated highway. I saw something today that made me think of the paradox that asks “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?”

Let me try to describe the scenario to set it up.
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On giving up

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Sometimes giving up is the only option. Shelving it. Lowering the priority. Putting it in the backburner for a later time.

Give up with the hope that someday might be a better day to try again; that on that fateful day you will have the numbers and support to cross the pitiful gap that for all it’s worth could be the chasm between two continents.

He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight
– one of the essentials of victory, Sun Tzu, Art of War

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