I am fascinated right now by the question of what comes first… agile thinking or agile doing? Does the agile mindset have to precede implementing agile mechanics? Could we lead an agile transition by implementing the structure of agile and coach people into thinking agile while we do it?
Last night I happened to be listening to an audio version of CS Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”. I was in a section of the book where Lewis was talking about the idea of Christian love. He was making the point that God expects us to ACT with love towards others even if we do not FEEL love towards others. The act of treating people with love would engender the feeling.
As you might imagine, that got my attention. Here I am driving home contemplating the relationship between religion and agile leadership.
Don’t feel bad, my wife thinks I am strange too.
Peace, love, and agility? What’s this guy talking about? I guess I better hurry up and make my point. Let me do that by sharing a couple of examples…
As a married person, I may not always feel love toward my wife. There might be times when I don’t even like her, but… I am always expected to treat her with love. If I consciously act in a loving way, it will create space for the feeling to be sustained.
I happen to be a Catholic. Over the past few years I have worked quite a bit with the teens in my Church. Teens tend to have issue with all the “rules” in Catholicism. They just don’t get why we have all the rules. If the message of the Bible is love, isn’t that all that matters?
My typical answer goes something like this… yes, the message is love. That is all that matters. The challenge is that as human beings, we don’t always understand what love really means. I often use the example of two teens that use “love” as a justification to have premarital sex. The rules of the Church around sex help us to understand what a right understanding of love really is.
Are the rules around sex the main point of their existence? No. Do they help us along the way to understanding what it means to love and to love consistently with how God loves? I think yes. The rules, the mechanics if you will, bring us closer to the truth. They are a means to an end, not the end itself.
So our question remains… can the rules of agile help us develop agility where it does not exist? Can we be asked to behave in an agile way regardless of how agile we might feel at any given moment? Can structure create better agilists? If acting with love can engender loving feelings, can acting with agility engender agile thinking?
I think so. I would be interested to know what you think.