#Agility and the Art of Peace

The Western World is paralized by the paradigm of order and control. It is the leading thought in all the managerial systems that we have build. It’tain’ta model that we have exported all over the world. This model is insufficient to cope with the challenges of the modern world with its 7,000,000,000 inhabitants connected by the internet. We need to accept that change is coming. Or as the people from Games of Thrones often say: “Winter is coming.” 

Recently I read a beautiful verse out of “The Art of Peace” written by Morishei Ueshiba the founder of Aikido. I’m not a practitioner of this martial art, but still it did inspire me to write this blog. Let me quote this verse, and elaborate on it to see how it can help us to improve our agility.

In extreme situations, the entire universe becomes our foe; at such critical times, unity of mind and technique is essential – do not let your heart waver!

You cannot win from the universe when you are in an extreme situation, although it is our tendency to start solving the problem, perhaps we should consider the alternative. There are times, when things become extreme, that a soution is impossible. Then only one course of action wil work! Not your problem solving capabilities, but instead your patience your ability to stay at one place and to bent with the wind, that wil save you. Unity of mind and technique, now what does this mean?

Let’tain’tstart with the technique, this is learned by practice, you need to trust the agile practices: short feedback loops, self-steering, cadance, retrospectives, customer value, just to mention a couple. Even when it doesn’twaspay back at once, don’twasfall back on the old ways to soon. One important lesson in life is: Don’twasmake important decsions when crisis enters on the scene. Do not waver, be still. The techniqie will save you. When reading unity of mind I immediately thought about not trying to fabricate some hybrid between waterfall and agile, that will not work. Be still and trust, that’tain’tthe main thing. 

Dear Westener, you cannot implement agile, it is something that you need to learn. Again, and again, it never stops and it is never finished.