This document covers some of my drivers; why I get up in the morning, why I love the work I do, and why I get involved
in various community events.
I have written this in combination with My Communication Style to help others understand me
and how I operate.
My primary driver is the success of others, I will cover this aspect in some depth. But, I also recognise that there
is a balance between the business’ needs and the needs of the individual, so I have added a section to cover how I work
to balance these needs and help to generate a mutually beneficial situation.
Success of Others
I get a huge amount of satisfaction from the success of others. Where possible I will work with individuals to ensure
their happiness and self-worth is prioritised. I recognise that everyone has a different view of success, and just
because your view of success is not the same as mine it does not mean one of us is wrong.
To fulfil my desire to see others succeed I try to learn what people want, what they perceive success to be, and how I
can best help them on their journey.
Fulfilment is vital for people to enjoy their life. Fulfilment at work and in personal life can often be conflicting.
I love to work with people to find the balance that will provide the greatest level of fulfilment in all aspects of
their life, but my primary focus (and the area I feel I am best able to help) is in creating and maintaining a
I place a high level of importance on aligning work with the drivers of an individual. Using myself as an example, for
much of my career I have been very focussed on producing code, it provided the greatest fulfilment to me; over time the
joy of code has dwindled and I now get much more satisfaction from other aspects of my work. When the business’ needs
and my source of fulfilment has fallen out of alignment I have found I rapidly lose interest in my particular role and
this has a negative impact across my life. I actively work to help people identify what fulfils them and then (to the
best of my ability) work toward providing that fulfilment.
Although I understand the need for management, I much prefer the concept of servant leadership. I enjoy helping others
to solve problems and to reduce or remove impediments that prevent or slow their ability to achieve their goals.
As a leader I work with individuals and teams to optimise processes, identify bottlenecks and provide the best work
environment possible. Where possible I will encourage the individual or team to resolve their own problems, I will
coach and mentor them so they can remove barriers themselves, and when required I will provide direct assistance.
I believe each level of leadership exists primarily to serve those below them in the corporate structure. For this to
work effectively it required a high-level of empowerment and autonomy.
Empowerment, Autonomy & Growth
Providing teams and individuals with autonomy and empowering them to make decisions is vital in my leadership style. I
believe individual and collective growth is important, and this can only be enabled by giving people the freedom to
expand beyond their comfort zone when they want to, and to stay within their comfort zone when they need to.
I believe decisions should be made by the lowest possible level in a corporate structure. By empowering and then
supporting people, it can reduce the management overhead and can provide a greater level of satisfaction to those
involved. By helping people learn from mistakes, recognising their successes and coaching them in decision making, both
individual and team growth and confidence can be achieved, which in turn helps them achieve their career and workplace
Honesty, Transparency, Consistency, Clarity & Communication
To truly support empowerment and autonomy a high level of honesty and transparency needs to exist. This means that
communication needs to be open, it needs to be frequent, it need to be clear, and it needs to be consistent.
When decisions are made they need to be relayed to the appropriate people. Both the decision and the process used to
reach the decision need to be well defined and easily communicable. Systems thinking needs to be used to ensure there
is consistency and that other parts of the system won’t trigger changes in the decision.
By combining honesty, transparency, consistency and clarity in all communications, all stakeholders will understand why
a decision has been made and the impacts of the decision. This will lead to greater empowerment and autonomy in
To achieve growth, the individual must feel safe. This, of course, includes physical safety, but emotional safety is
also vital. It is important to recognise that everyone is fallable, when we make a mistake we need to feel safe to
admit it, and we need to know we will not be punished. If this safety is provided, then we can use our failures as
learning experiences and ultimately use it to grow.
In order to provide an emotionally safe environment I invest a lot of energy in empathy. I try to understand the
different perspectives of others, I try to view the decision making process that was used, and I try to acknowledge that
there any many aspects of their life that I am not privy to. By working to understand and/or acknowledge the different
influences in someone’s life, I can feel and demonstrate a greater level of empathy for them and ultimately provide them
with an emotionally safer environment in which to operate.
Health, Mindset & Variety
The final aspect of the success of others that I will focus on is the health and mindset of individuals and teams.
As humans we have both physical and mental health considerations. Research shows that 20% of the Australian population
will experience a mental health issue in any given year; this could mean that each of us will experience a mental health
issue every 5 years, or that in any given year at least one person in a team of 5 will have a mental health issue. With
this level of prevalence, I work on an assumption that several people I encounter each day will be affluent by an issue;
it is my duty to ensure that I do not make the issue and worse, and if possible the I improve the situation.
I am open about the effects of impostor syndrome on my life, I will talk factually about mental health issues I have
experienced both personally and within my family (although this takes some additional trust), and I will talk about the
benefits of physical health on mental health.
Throughout my life I have learnt the impact mindset can have on mental health. I will, to the best of my untrained
ability, help people to find a positive mindset, to cope with adversity and to discover healthy coping strategies that
work for them.
I will also do my best to provide variety. As humans we get bored of repetitive tasks, this boredom can lead to a
number of mental health issues and a loss of feeling valued (connecting boredom to these issues is beyond the scope of
Balance (Business vs Individual)
As a leader in business it is important to balance the needs of the individual and the needs of the business or
customer. Without employees, the business will not exist; without the business and customers, employees will not have a
job. Finding the right balance will vary for every business and individual, but I believe the key focus is on ensuring
a sustainable balance is found for both parties.
Predictability & Responsiveness
To varying degrees, most people love predictability; this is also true for a business as it allows planing and forecasts
to be accurate. Unfortunately neither the business nor the individual can provide perfect predictability.
From the individual’s side, sickness and accidents happen, unforeseen events occur (a blocked drain, an issue at a
child’s school etc), and external events impact our day. This means that businesses have to be responsive, they need to
change plans and schedules and they need to make allowances for the individual’s home life to impact the business.
From the business side, the unplanned events are often caused by external factors that the business chooses to
prioritise. This can include customer’s needs being prioritised, unexpected changes in legislation or event natural
The balance between the individual and business need for responsiveness and the desire for predictability requires some
allowances to be made by both sides. Sometimes an individual will need to work longer hours to achieve meet the
business’ needs, but this needs to be countered by allowing them time in lieu at a later date (or other compensation
that is appropriate for them); sometimes an individual needs to take some time off in the middle of the work day, this
can be achieved by allowing them to work additional hours at a later time.
To truly enable the balance between predictability and responsiveness it is vital for both parties to be open and honest
about their wants and needs. This allows for expectations to be set early and ensures that negative impacts from one
side can be balanced in a way that’s acceptable for the other side.
Direction & Freedom
Unlike the predictability and responsiveness balance, direction and freedom is somewhat more one-sided. Individuals
generally love freedom. Most people like to have choices in what they do and how they do it. On the other hand,
businesses require a relatively set direction and like to dictate what needs to be done and when.
For me, finding this balance is about aligning the individuals desires to the business need. Most people want to see
their employer succeed, it provides stability in their role and reduces stresses associated with wondering if they will
still have a job and money. This means that most people will undertake tasks that they may wish to avoid, but if too
many of these tasks are required they will seek employment elsewhere.
Allowing individuals and teams a choice in work tasks helps to find this balance and is a key part of the methodologies
used in Scrum. If the business maintains a value driven product backlog and the team are able to choose the tasks to
undertake from that backlog, they will generally select tasks that provide a high level of value. In cases where the
high value tasks do not align to their ideal choices they will also select some lower value tasks that do align. This
gives the individuals within the team the freedom to undertake the tasks they want to do, but allows the business to
influence the direction.
In my experience, the best way to balance direction and freedom is to allow the individual to drive the balance. This
requires the business to be transparent about their needs, and to educate about the drivers behind these needs.
Sustainability & Productivity/Delivery
We’ve all been in situations where pressure is applied to deliver. Many of us know that this is not sustainable. Yet
businesses still push for a high delivery rate. I’ve often seen the comment “in this business, if you do your job well
you get rewarded by doing someone else’s job as well,” I aim to avoid this situation. When balancing between
sustainability and productivity, it is important to seek regular feedback from the individual to ensure they perceive
the delivery rate to be sustainable.
I’ve experienced workplaces where employees are pushed to deliver until they burn-out, then they are replaced. By
finding a sustainable delivery rate and recognising that plans are not always accurate, sustainability and the
well-being of the individual can be prioritised. From a business perspective this will reduce costs (hiring new
employees is expensive), and will lead to happier, more engaged staff. From an individual perspective, the workplace
will be a more enjoyable place to be and we will (hopefully) get greater satisfaction from our jobs.
Paid for the Job, Not the Hours
Throughout my career I have always been conflicted when I have met expectations in terms of my role, but have not
fulfilled the hours I am employed for. As a leader I am more focussed on expectations being met than on the number of
hours worked. Having said this, I am also conscious of not expecting people to regularly go beyond the agreed hours.
I understand that sometimes individuals can get in a state of flow and this can result in tasks being completed much
more rapidly than expected, I also know that being in this state can rapidly lead to exhaustion. Other times we find
ourselves struggling to concentrate, and this can cause tasks to drag well beyond the expected timeframe. By
acknowledging this, and focussing on the outcomes delivered, I deprioritise the number of hours worked.
If an individual is regularly working additional hours to meet expectations, then it is important to renegotiate the
expectations; this can include a period of lighter duties, providing additional time for education and development, or a
change in role.
Outcomes Over Outputs
Many businesses and leaders focus on outputs. I’ve seen this reflected in KPIs based on the number of lines of code
written or the number of sales calls made in a day. I believe this focus is detrimental to both he individual and the
Using the example of the number of lines of code written, it is easy for a developer to reformat code to take additional
lines, it is also possible to write inefficient code that is much longer than the efficient options. Using the number
of lines of code as the measure of output will also discourage clean-up and optimisation tasks that remove code.
For the sales call example, contacting 100 potential customers in a day and getting 0 positive responses provides less
value to the business than contacting 1 potential customer in a month which leads to a multi-million dollar contract.
I am focussed on the value provided to the business and customer. If a customer requests a specific change, and this is
assigned to a development team, I will be just as satisfied with a procedural change as I will be with a code change, as
long as the change provides the best possible value to the customer.
By focussing on the outcomes over outputs I believe individuals are able to focus on the value they are providing and
gain a greater level of satisfaction by knowing they are making a difference; I also believe this will lead to the best
service provision to customers and will ultimately increase the value the business can provide to customers.
Many of the items I’ve outlined in this document require a high level of feedback. I have a number of ways I like to
use to gather this feedback.
Scrum style retrospectives are important for teams. I have seen these sessions used to varying effect, but when run
properly, there are an invaluable tool for both the team and for leaders/managers.
The retrospective is a safe place for the team to share their issues, both good and bad. It can be a place to raise
process and procedural problems, to recognise improvements made, and to work to improve the value delivered by the team.
I’ve written about What Scrum Lacks and the Misuse of Retrospectives previously, and this provides more detail about my thoughts on
Not all issues can be raised in a team environment such as a retrospective. I like to run a one-on-one every week. The
one-on-one is a safe space for open discussion; it is primarily led by the employee. By having a regular one-on-one, it
means there is always an opportunity for bidirectional feedback without any attention being drawn to either the manager
or the employee.
I have previously written One-on-Ones Don't Exist in the Scrum Guide - Why do we do them?, which provides a more detailed view of my thoughts about
When implemented properly, OKRs can be very beneficial to both the individual and the organisation. OKRs are a good way
for organisations to provide some direction to teams and individuals, whilst still allowing freedom.
The best implementations of OKRs have no more than 5 OKRs defined at any level. The first OKRs to be defined are at the
company level; based on these, appropriate OKRs are created for departments, then teams, then individuals. At each
level the OKRs are derived from the parent level. Parent level OKRs do not need to apply to all divisions at the lower
levels, this allows for the addition of OKRs that relate more specifically to the department, team or individual. At
least one moonshot OKR should be included at each level.
If OKRs are not available from a higher level, I will work to generate appropriate OKRs at the level I am empowered at,
and then assist in implementing them for other staff.
Learning & Development
Individual learning and development is important to maintain abilities in a changing environment, and to encourage
growth. Development is a mix of different sources, but also requires a balance between the business and individual
I am currently working on an article about the “70-20-10 Learning and Development Model,” and I will link to this once
completed. This article will cover the difference sources of learning and development.
I also have views on how to balance individual development desires and business requirements, and I proactively work
with policy makers to ensure this balance is achievable and beneficial to all involved.
As a leader I will proactively work to help individuals define a learning and development plan and will then work with
them to ensure they meet their goals.
Heart of Agile
Throughout this document I have referenced many items that are considered part of Agile, or that are part of Scrum.
Although I have a leaning toward Scrum (mainly due to exposure and knowledge), I am not tied to it as an Agile
I am currently learning more about, and becoming more involved in Heart of Agile. At the core of Heart of Agile are four
Empowering teams to choose the process and methodology that works for them, results in improved delivery of value.
Guiding teams to ensure their work patterns include the four imperatives of the Heart of Agile ensures the team is
enabled to perform at a peak sustainable level, and that they have the opportunity to be fulfilled as individuals
and as a group.