Purpose – our raison d’être

What is Active Agile’s contribution to the world? Why are we here? How do we aim to move the world forward?

In order to find your sense of purpose, it’s important to ask yourself hard questions about the stuff you do and more importantly, why it matters. You need to ask, “what is missing in the world today?

Active Agile’s contribution to the world, its raison d’être if you like, can be summed up in three points:

  • Inject play into leadership
  • Turn leadership into a evidence based craft
  • Set the world standard for good leadership in Agile environments

The Active Agile Mission

Make leadership into a playful, evidence based craft
– applicable to you

Inject play into leadership

Leadership is an act everyone can do. Leadership should be serious fun, not just serious. It should get you up in the morning with a curious smile “what cool fun things am I going to create today?” A leader is a lifelong learner.

“Play” embodies this. As a leader, you are not intimidated by uncertainty, you embrace it. In a sea of uncertainty, you know where you are heading – you are effect driven. You also know things will change. . You experiment. You have a sense of urgency. You learn fast and move forward. You like this domain because you get to create the playbook!

Play energizes, and so can you! It would be cool for organizations to recognize a person’s ability to energize his/her environment as a desired and recognized leadership trait, on a par with having the gumption to make hard decisions and to get stuff done.

Let’s apply our scientific mindset and this hypothesis on published business articles. What gets written about leadership in business articles? For the fun of it, here’s a case in point. Let’s compare the frequency of the use of “leadership accountability” vs. “leadership engagement”. Which one gets most mentions? You probably guessed right but the disparity will likely surprise you:

Articles mentioning“leadership accountability” vs “leadership engagement” using Google Scholars

Not much of a contest here 🙂 It’s quite a simple search comparison (so take it with a grain of salt), but it does corroborate the observation.

If you look at what people actually search for, it’s a bit more encouraging:

Google trends, “leadership accountability” (blue line) vs “leadership engagement” (red line).

Finally, the ability to make good decisions and the ability to energize are by no means contradictory. A good leader creates an open atmosphere – a conducive environment for seeking the truth and asking hard questions. It’s relaxed focus. The key to relaxed focus is a dash of humor. Shoulders stay down, but minds are focused. We avoid over-dramatizing. A dash of humor keeps us open to more than one perspective. A relaxed focus allows a leadership team to deal with serious matters, but without taking themselves too seriously.

Turn leadership into a evidence based craft

Put simply, a scientific mindset is the ability to hold two seemingly contradictory thoughts in one’s mind at the same time. Curiosity: “that’s interesting, how can that possibly be?” and (a healthy dose of) Criticism: “what is missing here?”

It may surprise you, but if there is one thing that is conspicuously absent in the field of leadership and management, it is scientific studies. And if scientific studies are ever conducted, they are often made with an inside perspective, driven by surveys from participants. Rarely do they critically evaluate organizational output.

In the same way, take any model currently on the top of your mind and ask yourself: When was this calibrated with reality? If there is no data, how do you know it will work? Will you bet your career on it? Can you distinguish it from random luck?

Adopting an evidence-based approach to your evaluating your organization’s processes and practices is the key to simplifying. Any Agile organization should be good at detecting and removing to simplify wasteful practices. The key that unlocks this is using a scientific mindset.

Why we welcome copying

At Active Agile, we want to set the world standard for for good leadership in Agile environments. Everyone should have the competence and the means necessary to do a good job.

We would like to challenge the silent acquiescence of low standards, of leading at the wrong level, of avoidance of responsibility for the system/environment where people work, of only choosing safe bets (avoiding experimenting and taking risks)…the list goes on and on.

In our world, a leader doesn’t await permission to act, he or she acts because in that context, it was the right thing to do.

Let’s clarify that we are not aiming to be presumptuous here – “our way is the best and only way”. There are way smarter people out there than us. We build on their knowledge. Our contribution is in helping people navigate a complex space by packing practical and useful, evidence-based knowledge in a millennial compatible way .

And if we come up with something good and other people copy it – great! Then we can say “job well done”. We moved the needle.