We must want to want 

 30 October 2020

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The amount of feedback to my last column has shown me how much the topic moves. Many thanks for that. Most of the feedback dealt with the question of the starting point - the momentum of change. I would like to devote a few thoughts to this today.

From system maintenance

Yes, such a system, in the sense of a definable entity such as a company, a group, a team, etc. - does not have it easy. You get together, form a stable system and then the trouble starts. Individuals want to break out, are changed by other systems, impulses and impacts come from outside. And so a system has a lot to do to stay stable and save energy.

And we experience this every day. A new employee in the team, a changed instruction here, a new tool there and a dynamic market out there. And actually, you just want to stay the way you are.

Now such a system per se does not have the drive to change. So new things and innovation don't have it so easy. It becomes even more difficult when things are going well both internally and externally. Then the inertia is great and the away-from-motivation small. And this is usually stronger than a "towards" motivation.

And that's the trap we're in right now. If we look at the world like this, we are doing well. Few unemployed, successful industries and medium-sized companies, great prosperity, maybe a bit of complaining on a high level, but actually everything is fine.
So why change? Exactly - the pain is not big enough.

The fatal thing is: this stability and perceived security is very fragile. And the impacts are getting louder and closer, but they are still so far away that it does not generate any movement on a broad basis. But the economic areas that generate stability and prosperity can quickly be over. A look at the world's startup hotspots here gives a sense of what's possible in the future.

get things moving

So how to get started now? If you're waiting for a government incentive program to disruptively change your business, you're in for a long wait. Because even more than anyone else, the political system is not interested in change. Stamp on it. After all, the pitiful digitization initiatives in the government agencies themselves already attest to that.
Even the big corporations are having a hard time with it. Those that have recognised this are happy to outsource these initiatives to sub-units, digital hubs and the like. This is the right step, because change and innovation like to grow on a small scale: in teams, projects and with each individual. But the challenge remains: How do I get what has been created back into the system. Because even if lateral thinking and change are demanded, the system still resists change.
So the question is: How do we create a framework that makes the momentum of change stronger than the efforts to keep everything stable?

Attitude: Want to want

In my experience, one solution is to establish an attitude of wanting to work, i.e. to increase self-drive and self-responsibility so that it becomes a need to drive change.
An attitude or mindset does not fall from the sky, it takes time and patience to establish it. More than that, we can't just dump it in, push it in, pretend it's there - it emerges from within people and teams. And it is based on our needs, values, beliefs and filters. Thus, in order to change an attitude, personal development is needed above all.

Personality and software development

What does all this have to do with software development? I am convinced: a lot!

  1. Software has become the most important factor of value creation in companies. Whether data, interfaces, applications, etc. - it is often the core: Amazon, Uber, Airbnb live from software as a platform, transport companies from navigation and utilization algorithms, etc... and this trend continues to grow.
  2. In software development with agile methods, we created a basis early on to take care of the development of the people in the teams. Whether boards, retros, dailies, iterations, fun elements - at the core it is always about strengthening self-organization, promoting courage and communication and inviting people to think and participate - and to strengthen the will to want.

Software development thus has the ideal prerequisites to become a nucleus for change. To resolutely continue on the path to Digitalization and to further develop people.

And maybe you also want to focus on putting more energy into wanting to in your team and company these days - see what happens!

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