To the man in the corner office: Are you providing business value?

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I was walking to my client’s office in downtown Minneapolis, when I spotted the man in the corner office. He looked smug in his three piece suit, staring down at us civilians on the street. The man in the corner office was literally on ‘top of the world’. Okay, maybe not the world, but the top of Minneapolis.

Then I started thinking about him and the image he represented. Was he really that successful? Was he any better than the 20-something in jeans working next to me at Starbucks? Probably not, at least Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t think so.

When I graduated college I thought I would be an instant success. Then the company I worked for made me feel exactly the opposite. As the newbie, I was given a shorter lunch time, a further parking spot, the oldest, slowest computer, and the ultimate rite of passage—getting to wear a dirty, sweaty ice cream cone costume in front of my colleagues. They might as well have tattooed my head to read, ‘Lowest person on the totem pole’.

As society has evolved, so has the definition of success. No longer can people hide behind status symbols—they actually need to provide value to their clients or their competition will.

When I first learned about Scrum, I realized that it’s more than a methodology—it’s a philosophy for how our society is evolving the world of work. The value of transparency and delivery of quality, working products naturally rewards teamwork, not individuals who use power, longevity, physical presence or a** kissing tactics to get ahead.

Here are a few ways that Scrum is transforming the world of work (for the better):

1) Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer.
By focusing on customer satisfaction, we are able to remove obstacles (okay, people) that only care about self-promotion or stakeholder satisfaction. These selfish acts will soon be recognized if customer value cannot be met.

2) Build projects around motivated individuals.
The power has shifted to the individuals that make up the team, and management now takes on a nurturing and supporting role, not a command and control one. Leaders must empower their team, not themselves.

3) Face-to-Face Conversations
It’s time to break down the corner office walls and come out and talk to your team. Engage with them. Remove obstacles that stand in their way. Let them know you will do whatever it takes to deliver value to your customers. Hang up your designer suit, and hang with the gang. They deserve a leader, not a status symbol.

 

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