Resolutions for Agile Catalysts Everywhere (2017 Edition)

A Strengthening Boldness

With the arrival of 2017 it’s hard to believe how fast 2016 went by. It’s even harder to believe it’s been 6 years since the first resolutions post back in December of 2011. You can take a look back at all of them with these links:

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

As I sat down to write the resolutions for 2017, I decided to expand the scope of this annual activity beyond Scrum Masters to include anyone looking to be a catalyst for positive change in their organizations. The more I’ve been doing what I do, the more I realize the importance of each individual being an active ingredient in the creation of an environment of connected agility.

So regardless of your role – a team member, Scrum Master, product owner, senior leader, manager, coach, or anyone in between – these resolutions are crafted with you mind. The strong and the brave willing to break out of the status quo and be an active participant is shaping a workplace where bonds strengthen and creativity flows.

If there is a theme to the resolutions this year I guess it would be “A Strengthening Boldness.” Throughout the month of January, I will be blogging and podcasting about how change is introduced into the workplace. To embed change into how we work, it will require bold people doing bold things. Watch the video in a blog post from 2012 to see what I mean. Hopefully, these resolutions will provide a spark of boldness for you (and for me) as we venture into a new year.

But before we jump into the resolutions, I would like to express a quick but sincere thank you to the readers of The Illustrated Agile Blog and to the listeners of The Illustrated Agile Podcast throughout the year. It’s been great interacting with you in 2016 and I can’t wait to experience the adventures we can stir up in 2017.

So here they are…the 2017 Resolutions for Agile Catalysts Everywhere. If you have any of your own to add to the list please share them with all of us in the comments below.


Strengthen others. Resolve to make every interaction with others meaningful and memorable. When people leave a conversation with you they should feel bigger, encouraged, stronger, happier and more alive. This investment in the well-being of others will not only reinforce the team bonds, it will begin to release confidence throughout your workplace. While this is important for everyone, if you have people reporting to you put this one at the top of your list. If you find you can’t genuinely be a force of positivity with someone then you probably need to learn more about them. Hence…

Really learn about your teammates. Resolve to connect with someone and discover as much as you can about them. Maybe pick someone who you may not know very well or someone who, on the surface at least, might be quite different than you. Names of people are popping into your mind as you read this. Commit to reaching out to them as soon as possible.

If you’re not sure where to start, grab them for a quick coffee or a walk and have starter questions ready. A few could be:

  • How are things outside of work?
  • Are you feeling the strength of being a part of our community?
  • Do you feel your voice is being heard?
  • Are you growing in your role?
  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing right now?

Find a mentor. If you don’t have someone who is inspiring you, challenging you, encouraging you and pushing you, resolve to find someone who can fill this role for you…today. I’ve written about the importance of finding a mentor in the past. This act of surrounding yourself with a person willing to unselfishly give of their time for the purpose of your own growth will provide dividends for the rest of your life. It has for mine.

Be a mentor. The only way this mentor thing works is if you subsequently become a mentor to somebody else. Resolve to take someone under your wings and become fully responsible for their growth and well-being this year. While this may seem daunting, just a few interactions and periods of sharing and conversing is all it takes to get started. If you are not sure who you can be a mentor to, continue the “learn about your teammates” resolution until you find someone. Your experiences could be just what someone else needs to inspire them to greater things.

Default to action. This is the biggest thing I’m working on for 2017. I’ve recently found myself in the habit of telling people, “Let me know if you need any help.” My resolution this year is to stop asking if people need help and to JUST START HELPING. Many people will never “let you know” if they need help even when they need it the most. While this will require a little more sacrifice of time, rolling up our sleeves and doing work together is how communities bond and connections strengthen.

Think simply. The book “Essentialism” mentioned the phrase “less but better.” I’m thinking this will be the phrase I will be frequently saying to myself this year. Resolve to take a hard look at how people in your organization, department, or teams really get things done and decide to do fewer things better. This will require hard decisions to be made about what is really important. For Scrum Masters and Coaches, start every conversation about how we should work (or how we should be Agile) with the question, “What is the simplest thing we can do?”

Think radically. With the pace of change in the world accelerating, by the time you’ve become “Agile” it will not be enough to keep up with future challenges. So in 2017, resolve to start thinking about fresh ideas. Better yet, start experimenting with seemingly “radical” ideas. Add creative things to otherwise mundane activities. Add mundane things to otherwise creative activities. Change things up. Ask daring questions to everyday problems and provide daring answers when a typical response would be expected. Be a shock the system.

Looking forward to an amazing 2017 with all of you!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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