Strong Leaders Don’t Need Agile

The more I learn about Agile the more I seem to get annoyed with all the talk of doing stuff ‘the Agile way’.  There’s a recent article on InfoQ, which is actually a well articulated commentary, on ‘Agile Goal Setting’.

Why is there a difference between setting goals in an Agile way vs….um, well, just setting goals.   Are today’s leaders so completely out of touch that they need an ‘Agile way’ to set goals?  What’s next?  The Agile way to get to your car in the parking lot?  The Agile way to keep the fridge stocked?

I recently was talking to a former colleague, who is also the CEO, about how their Rockefeller Habits process was going.  For those who know me, I toot the Rockefeller Habits quite a bit.  It was what Business Agility was before all the hoopla…anyway, long story short I wanted him to talk to another client of mine about their experience implementing the framework.

His response was quite profound.

“We don’t really follow the framework anymore, it’s just how we work now.”

Brilliant.  Simply brilliant.  Strong leaders don’t need “Agile”, they clearly have a deep understanding of their domain and current state and know how to make decisions based on that data.

Perhaps in a less brilliant statement, I remember talking to another client where a manager had said “I don’t know if it’s the Agile way to do it but it seems to work for us.”  Isn’t that just common sense?  If something works, do more of it.

I suppose the more we can figure out how to put “Agile” in front of stuff, the better it is for marketing (hence my agilecoach domain!) but man, sometimes it just really bugs me that folks need to call something “Agile” to validate that what they are doing is the right thing.

By the way, here’s the link to the article, it is very well written, I enjoyed it very much!  Rant over.