Empowerment vs. Autonomy

There is much conversation in the Agile world and about the Agile world involving terms such as "Self-Management" and "Empowerment" and "Autonomy."  Agreeing to the definition of each of these terms, and making a distinction between what they signify or don't signify is vitally important to preventing the mistaken impression or misapplication of mandate, freedom, support, and guidance.  Or any mixture of the 4 concepts. Empowerment is a throttle of conveying decision-making authority to an individual or group who is closer to the work than the centralized, elevated tier in an organization which otherwise exclusively retains this decision-making authority. Autonomy is the state of holding all the decision-making authority for oneself, and inescapably owning all the effects of wielding or failing to wield that same totality of authority. I am…
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The Best Books In Life Are Free

Before Agile was actually named 'Agile' or described in any kind of coherent document, there were people doing research into social technology who wanted to uncover predictable ways to lower the drama that makes life less than great for everyone, at work, in school, or at home.   -Anywhere that interaction is bound to happen or be sabotaged by misunderstanding. The people I'm talking about are Jim and Michele McCarthy, and they compiled the very best learning into a book called "Software For Your Head." (Pay full-freight here if you want a paper copy.) And as if that wasn't enough, they made their book free to the world because social technology wants to be free. If you want to have a Great life, and accomplish Great things, then this is the…
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Only Adaptable Organizations Have A Shot At Becoming Agile

If you are an Organizational Design professional, a business executive, or agile coach/consultant that has been sitting on the fence about Open Space Agility or Prime/OS™ (both leverage Large Group Interventions or 'LGI's') for the last few years that it has been blowing every other Engagement Model or transformation platform out of the water (actually no others existed until about 1 year ago), then you may want to ask yourself if you are just a laggard. Being conscientious is one thing.  I always look before I leap.  But waiting until academics have gone several years beyond gathering the data, and publishing white papers about their findings for scientific peer review, ultimately culminating in the publication of mass-marketed books.... is an entirely a different matter.  Could you be waiting for your…
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The Growing Popularity of Leadership Scrum

I'm noticing quite frequently now  people from a broad variety of fields, especially agile transformation consultants, executive coaches and engagement model designers, are seeing success with Leadership Scrum as a highly effective approach to Business Agility.  Starting with the Product Team has not given us nearly the lasting benefits that starting from the top of the organization has.  I attribute this to the difference of impact that leaders who go first have on the rest of their organization. Authorization by example, is just more viable as a self-replicating vector (aka. 'meme') than directing people to "do-as-I-say, not-what-I-do."  People who are leading Exponential Organizations understand this phenomena instinctively, and they are taking very bold, decisive action toward behavior modification throughout their organization, starting with themselves. Expect to see many more presentations…
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