Optimize The Whole

When moving to Scrum we ask for a lot from the team members.  We ask them to be transparent with their work, stay focused on their commitment to the team and BE on a team among many other things.  While it may seem straightforward it’s really not.  A team is a single entity.  Each team has a unique and individual identity.  It’s about the whole.  For a high-performing individual, it feels like being a part of a team takes away from their status as a high-performer and the rewards that come with it.  Rather than a stand-out individual they’re on a team which may or may not be standing out.  It can feel kind of terrible for that person.

Being on a team takes a special kind of courage.  There’s faith involved.  One must be humble.  The teams needs must come before the needs of the individual.  As a Scrum Master, you can help the unique contributions of the individual bubble to the surface.  This enables the other members on the team to see what’s special about their team mate and leverage it for the greater good. The team won’t know you’re doing it but, they will see the fruits of your efforts and they’ll begin exploiting the awesomeness of their team mates on their own.  You will hear them recognize each other in Demos to stakeholders or just to each other.  What comes from this is pure gold on a team.  Now you have loyalty.

How do you do this as a Scrum Master?

  • Observe and listen.  There’s so much that gets missed in a conversation you’re participating in.  Participate in a different way and find the awesome in each individual on the team.  Then, look for ways to introduce it to the rest.
  • Have the team do an exercise to write down their skills and knowledge and let them all see how much more each of them brings outside of their traditional role.
  • Make the environment safe and foster the trust.
  • Reward and recognize acts of courage, humility and brilliance.

Optimize the whole of a person so the team can do the same.

Trust  – Courage – Loyalty – Awesome

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