This post is an optimistic opinion piece. Our arguments in support of making a difference in our organizations as agile teams are based on professional experience and research. Links that may appear in this post are not affiliate links.
As agile people, we have the personal responsibility to leave our community (and the world at large) a little bit better than how we found it. That might seem an ambitious and overwhelming proposition, but we believe is a reality that can be achieved with a shift in everyday thoughts, words, and actions.
What’s required is getting into the habit of thinking and believing that we are difference-makers.
Let’s jump right to it!
How can you make a difference? (the agile way)
- Be curious: ask questions and listen.
- Be empathetic: learn to shift to someone else’s perspective.
- Be experimental: try new things and be willing to fail.
- Be conversational: engage with the narrative of those around you.
- Be proactive: take the initiative to act before all ducks are in a row.
- Be authentic: show your individuality and your whole-self with courage and confidence.
Making a difference in an agile way starts with being your whole-self & caring for the whole-self of those around you. From that empathetic & authentic place, you can look for solutions, be a source of inspiration to your team, & generate positive transformations.Tweet
Why is this individual focus on making a difference important?
- Because leaders and teams need a purpose outside themselves.
- This purpose needs to result in a significant contribution or added value.
- By contributing to the big picture each individual gains a sense of control over the preservation of their organization’s culture and the outcome of their life’s work.
- Having something to point to as a direct result of our input or contribution adds a significant boost to our sense of belonging to the team/place and ownership of the work.
Making a difference (in our place of work, in our team, and in the lives of others) is the path to co-creating a lasting legacy. From a more intimate perspective, when you focus on making a difference, your mindset is set to optimal performance, an optimistic view of work and life, and an empowered position to act when you feel it’s right.
We want you and your team to develop and embrace “difference-making” habits, behaviors you engage with every day, and a mindset geared toward adding value and changing outcomes, environments, and people around you, for the better. Generating meaningful impact, big or small.
What are some of these “difference-making” habits?
- Practice optimal performance behavior. What can you do, to the best of your abilities, right now to work with what you have in front of you; a challenge, a problem, a conflict.
- Practice ownership of those challenges, problems, and conflicts that have come your way, or are in your field of vision, as well as the possible solutions, alternatives, and opportunities.
- Practice quick action. Similarly to optimal performance, and a key part of it, quick action is about the small things we can do to generate immediate impact and move change forward. Quick action gets the ball of change and transformation rolling. Consistent quick action loosens your mind and muscles to be ready for optimal performance.
- Practice co-creation. Involve your team and other leaders in the creation process that may result in powerful conversations, creative solutions, and new paths for transformation.
As you can see, “difference-making” habits are part of your daily agile practice. They involve you and the people around you. The goal is to impact the present as well as leave a lasting legacy. The goal is also to empower leaders and teams to take action and ownership.
Once you embrace a “difference-making” mindset, this simple shift in attitude can go a long way.
When we can communicate with our words and action that making a difference is something within everybody’s grasp and an intricate part of our team and organizational culture, others will want to join in the co-creating of a better workplace, team, organization, and society.
Will there be people for whom the “difference-making” benefits of a better working environment won’t be enough to jolt them to practice the “difference-making” habits? Yes. Will that stop you from wanting to make a difference in the lives of all those you come across, in your team, organization, and beyond? It certainly won’t!
The rewards for the difference-maker that will drive you forward:
- A great sense of accomplishment.
- A deep sense of belonging.
- A daily opportunity to engage your creativity.
- A new level of connection with and understanding of the people around you.
- An ongoing sense of fulfillment and high levels of personal agency.
- (share a personal difference-maker reward in a comment below!)
Making a difference is the ultimate purpose of the agile leader and teams.
Any timely action that moves the needle of change in the direction of progress, creativity, innovation, transformation, and a healthy and rewarding working environment for all should be made by someone in your team today.
We’re giving you permission to let that person be you. So, how can you make a difference today, big or small?
For now, let’s make an intentional commitment to be “difference-makers” and stay #agileforlife.
Next Action Step: Learn more about the power of Optimism in Leadership and Optimal Performance Behavior.
Agile & Co. is an HR & Comms. Consulting Firm, with a focus on People & Culture that embraces an agile mindset and management style. It serves small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs, offering coaching, mentoring, or consultation, to assist in the co-creation, development, and transformation of their organizational flow and people experience, in a humanized, collaborative and agile way. Follow @myagilehr #agileforbiz #agileforlife