The journey of our team’s growth starts with the space under our feet. In order for us to grow as a team, it helps to see where we’re currently at. Some teams find it helpful to use a measurement tool aid them in assessing their health or growth.
When we apply such a tool to assess our growth, the tool serves as a lens to look at ourselves. When looking through a lens, we see both ourselves, and the lens. Using the lens colors and distorts our view on ourselves.
When using a lens with the aim to see opportunities for growth, then by looking through this lens, we see the desired direction of growth with the lens’ distortion.
Like the catch wires guiding the growth of a grapevine, our lens will guide the growth of our team.
If we aim to be an agile, self-organizing team, then our lens’ distortions should be towards agility. The agility focus of the lens reveals itself by embracing ambiguity and uncertainty, and by trusting people’s intrinsic desire to improve and to grow, and their ability to skillfully inspect and adapt accordingly.
We measure what we see. We get what we measure. We have to make sure that we see the right things. Our lens should reveal the proper directions of growth for our team and for the organization around us, at the right level of detail.
Tell me how you measure me, and I will tell you how I will behave.
Eliyahu M. Goldratt, the Haystack Syndrom, 1990
Our growth is messy, ambiguous and unpredictable. Most of the time, it is not very clear where we are and how we’ll get where we want to be. Like in agile product development, we rely on skillful inspectors to continuously inspect our team’s growth and adapt accordingly. We, the team members are these skillful inspectors.
There is not a single lens that clearly unveils all that matters for each team at every time moment in time. Any tool suggesting such a thing is in fact blinding us with clarity and focus, impeding us to see the things that really matter.
What we see through the lens is what we’ll measure. And that will be the direction in which we grow.
See the lens, and then use it wisely.