Alex Kudinov Hello again, this is tenon coaching Academy’s keeping agile nondenominational podcast, and Sheree Silas and myself, Alex Kudinov. I host today. And today we are talking to Alicia McLean. She’s an agile and professional coach. And our topic today is building culture of accountability in Agile enterprise using coaching. That’s a mouthful. Hey, Alicia, so why don’t you start with introducing yourself to our
Alicia McLain listeners? Yeah. Well, thank you so much for the invitation, Alex and Shree, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about this. You know, this is a well, let me, let me introduce myself. So I’ve been around in the Agile space since 2006. I’m an enterprise agile coach, working with organizations that are mostly in the industry of healthcare, medical device. And AI. What else? medical device? Yeah, what else was I gonna say? You know, I’ve been around for a long time. And I really do love this work. And, and one of the things that I’m seeing, especially now with with teams being distributed is this challenge of accountability. And so that’s why that’s, that’s why this topic is, is very, it’s a good one to talk about today.
Alex Kudinov Great. So, yeah, I remember what I was storing credit on an agile drawing this war, accountability kind of jumped out at me in ESL, I had to look it up in a dictionary. And I know that not everybody is on the same page of what the definition of accountability is. So what is it called to build it for Alicia?
Alicia McLain Yeah, you know, very simply, the way I look at it is, it’s this idea of a deuce a ratio, do you do what you say you’re going to do? And do you do what you say you’re going to do more often than not. And so there are whole organizations actually first got that phrase from a student that I had, when I was teaching at the university, I had a group of students that worked into it, and, and that their whole culture was around this idea of a deuce a ratio. And that was part of our lexicon and part of the language. And so I picked it up from there, because I thought it was a great phrase. And, and so I, to me, it really gets down to to that, do you do what you say you’re gonna do? And so is that between peer to peer, is that between team to team is that between manager and employee? It’s all about, do you do what you say you’re gonna do?
Alex Kudinov So that’s not the first time I hear that do say ratio. And it kind of ties in with the whole agile metrics and all that. So what’s the ideal, do say ratio?
Alicia McLain I’m not gonna get into the numbers with metrics. But I will say this, if there is a perception that you do what you say, you’re going to do more often than not, then you’ve got organizational street cred, if you will. And so this also contributes to trust, right? This also contributes to build building and developing a culture of trust. Because if you do what you say, you’re going to do more often than people you become that go to person, you become that person that people know, or trust that they can rely on you to complete the thing or whatever it is that you said you’re going to do. And so if we pivot this off in the direction of coaching, and how does building a culture of coaching, contribute to this, I think about how leaders in an organization managers in an organization, anybody that’s working with, and maybe coaching other people, if you’re using a traditional, I’ll just say arc of a coaching conversation, or if you’re following any kind of ICF, standard, accountability is kind of part of the conversation and it’s not a hammer. It’s really an invitation. And thanks. So, you know, when she you said that you wanted to do X, Y, and Z, tell me, you know, what, do you think you want to have that done? Or what do you need to do that? Or what help do you need? What support do you need to do that? And so it’s part of the conversation. And so when you’re, when you’re constantly having these conversations in your organization, it’s just a natural flow to start building up this way that we hold ourselves and others accountable.
Cherie Silas So when I hear you say that would bring this to mind for me, is this big fear around the word accountability? It’s like when when you say accountability, people start to envision your hands around my throat holding me accountable. But Doesn’t sound like that.
Alicia McLain You mean? Oh, no. And so thank you for bringing that up. Because when when it’s almost like this idea of people just having a perception of this, that that is something that they remember that’s unpleasant about a time in the past where they may have been held accountable, and it wasn’t so pleasant. What I’m what I’m really talking about is, the funny thing is, is, if I think about a coaching conversation and a coaching arc, I’m not really holding you accountable. I’m inviting you to explore what you need for accountability. And I’m inviting you to explore the tools, the resources, you’re coming up with your own thing, so I’m not holding you accountable, necessarily. I’m inviting you to explore what that is for you. And so the way I see it is that this is done with grace, when you have it be part of the normal arc of a coaching conversation. That’s, that’s my experience. And honestly, in all the coaching conversations that I’ve had with executives at the sea level, all the way across to individual contributors in an organization, when I get to that invitation to when I invite them to explore what they need to be held. So they can hold themselves accountable. There’s like nothing even unpleasant about it. They’re like, Oh, well, let me think, what do I need? And what resources do I need? And, and, and when and the funny thing is also on that, when I ask the question, what support Do you need, I always have this feeling in my mind that they’re going to say, they need me to do something. And they don’t, that’s just my ego getting in the way thinking, there’s something I need to do to help them. I don’t need to help them. They have everything they need to get done what they need to have done. Creative, resourceful, and whole. That’s what the coachee is the person that you’re coaching. And so I love that. It just gives me goosebumps. All right, you heard my dog’s lap, he’s in the office with me today.
Cherie Silas Totally. Okay. So I hear you talking about this accountability. Now, as a coach, I’m giving them the option to create their own accountability. And then I also hear you talking about accountability with grace and building a culture here of self accountability. And I’m wondering what the connection is between these leaders and managers, and accountability with grace when they’re talking about their own staff? Yeah.
Alicia McLain Yeah. And so here’s what I here’s what I’ve noticed. And hopefully this is answering the question, but here’s what I’ve noticed, in working with, because the coaching work that I do, as I mentioned, this is across the spectrum, it’s from all the way at the highest level, and all the way to individual contribute in the organization. And what I notice in these coaching relationships that extend for some period of time, is I noticed people starting to pick up a rhythm of the coaching conversation. And I start to see them or hear them asking questions about, well, how can I do this with my teammate or with my, my, you know, my staff member, they pick it up, and they and they, they’d like how they feel in the coaching conversation. So they try to mimic it. And so it’s that idea of I’m taking these ideas that I’m learning in this coaching conversation, I’m experiencing the coaching conversation, but I’m also learning and so now I want to try it on my own. So that’s when I provide resources and tips and, and this kind of thing, you know, if that’s what they’re looking for, but it starts with them experiencing coaching, picking up those pieces that they see as patterns, and then they begin to try it on their own. And that’s what I’ve experienced, and it’s actually been pretty powerful and exciting to watch. Yeah.
Alex Kudinov So it must be that part of invoking awareness of one’s capabilities, abilities, and actual power of doing less and getting more by giving power to the people who do the work,
Alicia McLain power to the people. I love that. I think I put my fist in the air on that one. I love that. And let me just share with you so I did a talk on this subject. A year ago at the international conference for PMI, the Project Management Institute and it was their PMO symposium. I did a talk about this and I was very I felt very grateful to be in an audience of project managers, because I’m a recovering project manager, I have my certification, I’ve been a project manager for years. And there is such a thought that you have to have all the answers, you have to know how to do everything, you have to direct all the people, there’s just this thought that you’re the one that needs to tell people what to do. And this idea of releasing these PMS, from that limiting belief, by putting coaching in their toolkit was just a way to help them almost shift their perspective about how they see themselves showing up on these teams. So it doesn’t matter where this project manager, whether it’s manager, whether it’s fear, all of this, you don’t have to have all the answers, the person coming to you asking you a question. They have what they need, they just need you to sort of help tease it out. So
Alex Kudinov there’s a lot of kind of circling around evoking awareness and giving the ability or capability to ask the question, and to kind of build accountability with individuals. I’m wondering when you’re working with teams, what’s different in working with teams when you design actions and build accountability?
Alicia McLain Yeah, yeah. That’s a great question. And I, I mean, at the end of the day, even though I’m working with a team, if there’s something that needs to be done, you know that the team is agreeing to it, but they all have their individual component that they’re agreeing to, in some way, unless they’ve, unless they still need to figure out what their component is. But I still see teams agreeing together, when the teams are, are jiving together and, and, and they’re, they’re firing on all cylinders, they’re able to make these commitments as a group, and then figure out what their role is in that. And so, but but I almost see, like, on your face, the next question is, well, what if the team’s not jiving? Right? And what if they aren’t firing on all cylinders, and that’s where it just takes, it takes a lot of work to and I don’t mean that in a negative way. I mean, it just takes the the care and the work to help get them there. You know, it takes the care and the help the work to help get them in there. And, and it starts with a foundation of trust. And once they begin trusting each other and trusting you as a coach. You know, it just starts to flow. But but that can take some time. And I’m working with some teams now. In a healthcare setting, and when I first came in, as their as their enterprise coach. You know, these are these are folks that have been on these teams for a very long time, they’ve built up some some organizational habits that no longer serve them. And so to sort of helping to helping them get to where they need to go, starting with a foundation of building trust, starting with building their awareness around resolving conflict, starting with building their awareness around emotional intelligence, these are some of the instruments I use that I work with teams, particularly like this one that I’m thinking of. And so it’s a it’s a whole, it’s a whole, I want to say a whole person model, but it’s not just one person. It’s a whole team model, right? It’s, it’s not just what this part of it, it’s this part and this part, and this part and that part. So we need to take all of it together, and work with it. And that’s what makes the work fun.
Alex Kudinov So just for a record, that wasn’t my question, but it’s a great answer.
Alicia McLain And I missed it.
Alicia McLain tell me the question again, but but it gets
Alex Kudinov me It gets me to the next question. And I appreciate you kind of building the bridge there. So we start with definition of accountability. And sounds like went to the team level. So at which point does the culture of accountability emerge?
Alicia McLain At which point does the culture of accountability emerge? Hmm, maybe I don’t understand your question. Can you ask it again?
Alex Kudinov So when do you know that now I have least cultural account to be able to show you Yeah, those these individual accountabilities and individual actions and individual do say ratios. Start coalesce in something more than just the sum of these individual actions and the culture emerges. Know that it’s showing up.
Alicia McLain That’s such a nice question, you know, for me. So I when I’m working with a team that has kind of evolved to this place, I feel that it’s kind of hard to describe what it is I’m feeling but I feel their ability to commit together their ability to deliver together, I have such a powerful example of that when I was working at a another medical device company, this is when I was an employee and an agile coach. And just the the progress of taking a team from its early stages of building trust and understanding what what it means to do what we say we’re going to do, not just individually but together as a team. And then when we start moving to the place where when we say we’re going to do something together, we actually do it. And we do it on time, against whatever agreement we set. And we keep doing that again, and again. And again, people start puffing their chest up a little bit, you know, there’s just this sort of, I’ll use the phrase swagger, because I can’t think of another word to say, there’s just a swagger of the team flowing together. And it’s, I love that stuff. And so I like to, to work with a team to get them there. And it’s different for every team, because, you know, each team has its own its own thing. So did I miss that one by a mile too? Or was this?
Alex Kudinov I would like to offer an alternative word. Doing it with panache.
Alex Kudinov How many people will dig into the dictionaries? Yeah, right.
Alicia McLain Yeah, go grab your dictionary, Google the word? Yeah, I like it.
Cherie Silas So I’m wondering how you said you were this recovering project manager who used to want to control everything. And now you’re in this place where you want people to control themselves? How did coaching bring you there?
Alicia McLain Yeah. You know, the thing that the way that coaching brought me there was, you know, going through my, my program that I went through, I went through an actual ICF certified training program to refine my skill, and really further develop my skill as a coach. And one of the biggest things that happened in that program, I always say that I met myself in my program. And, and, and what I realized is that I wasn’t as important. So I didn’t, I didn’t need to have, you know, this is just the the, the the witnessing of ego, and how that can get in a way, right. And so what I witnessed for myself, is that the combination of releasing judgment and holding this other person as creative, resourceful, and whole, that’s how I got there. And it, it just is, so it’s so freeing. Even in a peer relationship, it’s so freeing to just release that judgment, hold them as creative, resourceful, and whole, and just be there to witness them stepping into the power of what they’re capable of doing. I just see teams flourish in ways that prior to all of that I, I didn’t see the same way. And so I think that’s the thing that helped me close the gap.
Cherie Silas Yeah, yeah, I can imagine someone sitting at their desk right now listening to this, and saying, Yeah, I can’t go and go to companies and say, y’all hold yourselves accountable, you’re responsible, you do this, my business will suffer. So I’m wondering what the impact to your business and your clients has been, because of the way you’ve now shifted, and you’re working with them?
Alicia McLain Yeah. You know, what’s interesting about that is, is is the progress. So it really starts with trust, you know, all my work comes to me through referral. And so when I’m in partnership with my sponsor of the work that we’re going to do together, it starts with trust, we need to know that we’re going to get there together. And it’s gonna be a little bumpy and it’s gonna be a little rocky and do you have the stomach for it? Because I’m going to ask you that upfront I dry. Do you have the intestinal fortitude to deal with the fact that this is not going to be a walk in the park at times? And are you prepared to to go the distance and so sometimes, that can take a little bit more and so, you know, since all the way work comes by referral, you know, we can have these more. I don’t want to say I don’t know how to describe this, the word intimate comes to mind for me, but these, these, these close to the vest kinds of conversations where, where we really look at what we’re about to do together, and we lay the groundwork so that the initial stages of this because I do assessments on the front end of the world I do with my clients. And so there’s a lot of revealing of their system to them. And so this is when we have this content, I’m trained to love that work as well. And so, you know, there’s a lot of this that we uncover, and we talk about in the beginning, and so they kind of get themselves ready for this journey that we’re gonna take together. And so it’s been positive, it’s been positive, but it’s been positive, because to some extent, they know what to expect up front. You know, I’m not just buying the agile, you know, we’re, we’re literally changing the shape of our organization, the shape, the color, the look, well, not always the color, but the shape, and the dynamics of our organization. And so a lot of what happens on that front end assessment part helps them prepare for that.
Cherie Silas It sounds like upfront in your, your agreement with the company, you’re building accountability for yourself shit, like modeling accountability, to what they shouldn’t be doing. And Oh, absolutely,
Alicia McLain absolutely. And I’m also being clear about and this is a topic for another time. But I’m also clear that I’m bringing, bringing a toolkit of competencies with me, and that I understand that you think you’re buying the agile, but as we continue these conversations, you’ll understand that there’s a time when there’s a coaching hat that’s going to, you know, will determine is the best way for you to get what you need. There’s a time when a training hat is going to be what you need, there’s a time when a facilitation hat is what you’re going to need. So I set those, I want to say boundaries, but I’ll set I set those agreements upfront so that they know what to expect so that when I do show up with my coaching at, they’re not like, what are you doing? They understand that that’s part of what we’re here to do together.
Cherie Silas This makes me think of the way I hear agile coaches respond often, which is what the client expects me to be a consultant. And what do you say to that?
Alicia McLain Yeah, I so that’s the thing. That is that conversation that we could talk about all afternoon. I am very clear upfront with my clients that not only do we have a toolkit of resources, and consulting as part of that, but I’m going to be clear about when we’re moving in and out of these competencies. So that a, you know that these are the competencies that are coming, here’s what they could look like, and be when I’m moving in and out of those, you’re clear so that your expectations are managed. And you are not feeling like well, I paid for a consultant. And I get this person standing around asking questions all the time. And that’s really irritating to me. So I really love to set that up upfront. The other thing I’ll say about the questions is, sometimes when we’re new at this, and we think that just asking questions is the way to coach. We just fire off like almost in an interrogation kind of way, a bunch of questions, and it’s very off putting for the person who’s receiving that, especially when the question start with why. And so there’s this understanding that we get as we move along as coaches and we develop our craft and our skill to where we can ask the kinds of questions that where the person who’s being coached doesn’t realize that we’re actually starting to move into a coaching arc. Back to that, what did you say panache? Is that what it is?
Yeah, there you go.
Alex Kudinov Yeah. So um, yeah, that’s a great conversation to have, that there’s this misconception that coaching is all about asking questions. And there’s so much more to that. And it’s enough just to take a glance at ICF competencies to realize that, yeah, powerful question are important. But they are just one competency out of a welcome, Adam.
Alicia McLain That’s exactly right. And, and, and what I also find, when I see people that are sort of new at this is the biggest component to the coaching conversation is the listening piece. And they’re not doing that, you know, and they’re not, and they’re not listening at a level beyond what am I going to buy for dinner on the way home, you know, level one, right? So they, it’s just it’s spilling competency. This is not, this is not a judgment, because we all have to start somewhere. But I just find that sometimes when people are in their early stages, you know, they just jump right in with the interrogation kind of questioning and then that that’s sometimes where the client can be like, what is going on here?
Alex Kudinov In the end, you know what, I probably would rather them thinking about what I’m going to buy for dinner, because at that point, I just know they are not they’re thinking that they which question Should I ask next? It’s true. So that’s basically like, I have this tool. I have this shiny new tool, and they have, as Claire said the other week, I have this basket of questions and I’m aromatizing Through that basket of questions for the best question to ask, and I’m going to hit you hard with that. Yeah. I want to pull back a little bit. Yeah, kind of back to accountability. And we know that we help the client to build actions and to design actions build accountability. What about the coach, when you get into your engagement? Or when you get in front of the team? What is accountability for you, personally, as a consultant as maybe a team member, or as an Excel agile coach? And how do you design that accountability for yourself?
Alicia McLain Yeah, so I I design. So it’s a few ways. I originally designed my accountability in the early stages of our agreement about the work that I’m going to do. So I, I left all this off in my in my introduction, because I had a complete like brain freeze. But so I am an independent, agile coach, I work mostly at the enterprise level I’ve been at it for this will be my sixth year. And so this is a huge thing for me, like, look at this I got through 2020. That’s amazing. So I am, I start with the conversations of how we’ll work together. That’s the initial conversation. And then when we move to contracts, I’m pretty specific. But with flexibility in a contract, you know, you don’t want to lock it in down to dates and times in a contract. That doesn’t make sense. But, you know, I, I’m clear to stay upfront, you know, what I’ll do. And, and the, the biggest thing about my accountability with my clients, is if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. And and they know that like so for instance, I have a client that a new client, that’s a referral from another client in the same organization. And our agreement is a little different from his she paid for everything up front. Now, she doesn’t know me from Adam. This is completely her coming in off of referral from her peer. And every time I say I’m going to do something I do, I want her to feel like that money she paid upfront that she can trust that I’m going to deliver. And so whether that’s what’s written in the statement of work, if that’s when I say on Monday, I’m going to get you something on Friday. I do that. And so and and if I’m unable to do that, I let them know ahead of time, that’s all people want. You know, this idea of the deuce a thing, it’s not like the world’s going to end if you can’t get the thing done. But if you don’t bother telling anybody that you can’t get it done, or if you need help, or if you you don’t escalate. This is part of some of the culture of Scrum teams, right? I used to call it a thrash limit. If you’ve beat your head against a wall for five and a half hours, and you don’t ask anybody for help. You’ve you’ve exceeded your threshold limit. And teams put that together. When I do work in agreements with teams, we’ve come up with a fresh limit, how long am I going to thrash on this? before I throw up a flare or send out a white flag or release the hounds? Whatever it is I do to get help? You know, I just, you know, I need help and and I’ve created psychological safety to where I can say I need help, and people aren’t going to think I’m a loser. So yeah, there’s a lot that goes into that. There was a question that somebody asked me and I feel like I’ve completely caught up, right?
Alex Kudinov Nope, you’re good. But I’m going to nail you down this time. You weasel out of the first question. So let’s not get into metrics and all that. But you bring bow
Alex Kudinov You bring bags up do say ratio. And now
again, I know.
Alex Kudinov So what’s the deuce a ratio for Alicia? Yeah, what
Alicia McLain is that? Yeah, if I if I were to give it a number.
I don’t even know. I mean,
Alicia McLain if I were to say there’s a percentage of me, and this is not just work, this is me socially. This is me. You know, with family, I would say I’m way in the 90s on. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. And if I if I can’t, I’m going to tell you why I can’t or if I’m going to miss whatever deadline. I mean, this is down to writing thank you notes. I mean, this is this is how I how much I take this very seriously. And this is how ridiculous it gets. If I say I’m going to commit to a social event. I’m not one of those people that like just doesn’t show up or doesn’t you know that? No. I feel like if I say I’m going to do something that you could take that to the bank.
Alex Kudinov Alright, so safe people would approve with their 8% threshold. They have this if you achieve 80% of your whatever that piece goals. You’re great. Yeah. So safe people would approve of Alicia’s threshold,
Alicia McLain they would approve of me. That’s exciting to know.
Cherie Silas So Alicia, what would you I guess what would you say to people just getting out here and figuring out that they want to incorporate teaching into their agile coaching? They want to include this, this professional coaching thing? How would you tell them to get started?
Alicia McLain Yeah, so I have 333 things. So there’s a great book that I think is such a great way to start getting your mind wrapped around the power of the right question it’s in it’s called the coaching habit by Michael bungay, stanier. And I just like that book, I like it in paper form, I like it in electronic form. And for people that are coming in out of the cold, like Alex might say, this is a great book to kind of warm you up to the idea of coaching, the, and the great thing, actually, he’s doing a talk on this on February 18, on his second book, the sequel to that call the advice trap, because that’s the thing that we get into, when we’re not coaching, we’re giving advice, right, and that’s love the title of that book. So I get both of those. So that’s, that’s the first one. And the second thing is to get coaching yourself. Because when you get coaching yourself, you you kind of understand the the dance, and the mechanics of a coaching arc in that conversation. The third thing is, is Oh, four things. The third thing is is I would go to a coaching school, if that’s within the realm of your ability, time, resources, all of that I would, I would go to a coaching program, because frankly, it was life changing. For me, I am a different person, I feel like I am a better spouse, sister, friend, feeling as a result of meeting myself. However, many years ago, it wasn’t my coaching program. And then that and then the fourth thing is, is so so I’m the founder or co founder of the Agile coaching exchange for North America. And we frequently do, I’m saying we it’s actually the Tennessee group, agile coaching exchange, Middle Tennessee, they frequently do coaching dojos. And so it’s a great way to sort of slap on the training wheels and give this stuff a try. So attending a coaching dojo participating in a coaching dojo, that’s another way to build your skill, kind of good in the progression of you’ve already read the book, you’ve got some powerful questions, you kind of get the concept of it. Maybe you’ve had some coaching yourself, maybe you get into the coaching dojo, maybe you take a program, I think all of those things are great. Yeah.
Cherie Silas So I’m, I’m wondering, as I listen to you that will, first I agree, when I took coach training, I, I tell people all the time, I went in one person, and they came out a completely different humans. And and so I agree about the getting training, and mostly about the getting coaching. And so where would the average person who doesn’t have you know, tons and tons of money, a whole company backing them up? Let’s hire an agile coach and bring them in here? Where do they go? How do they get access to coaching?
Alicia McLain Um, there’s a lot you mean, how do they get access to coach training or just getting coaching?
Cherie Silas Either? Like, how do they even connect it into this whole industry? That is?
Alicia McLain Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question. I think there’s, I think there’s a couple ways to do it. Um, and this, to me is almost like the best kept secret. So people that are going through coaching programs need coaching hours, to be able to complete their programs to Excel to their next level of certification. And oftentimes, there’s plenty of people out there that are looking for people to coach and there’s varying ways that you can compensate them to where they can get what they need, and you can get what you need. So if you go to ICF, the International coach Federation or I think it’s called Coach federation.org, that you can see all the different types of training programs, I think your programs on there, isn’t it for sure. 10 of coaching is an ICF. But yeah, so so you can go out to ICF or coach federation.org and, and look up, resources there to find coaching programs, and then app those coaching programs. If you pick a half dozen of those. There’s countless people that are looking for People that coach, I know, when I was looking for people to coach when I very first started, I was like, whoever just want to get started, right. So
yeah, that is
Cherie Silas ideal. And I wish more people would contact us saying we are looking for a coach, Do you have anyone who would help us?
Alicia McLain Yes. Yeah. Yes, yes.
Cherie Silas So so I feel like I’ve kind of taken us off track. And I know you’re your big passion here is around building this culture of accountability. So what have you not said? Because we haven’t asked you?
Alicia McLain Yeah. Well, I think one of the things that and this kind of goes back to a point that you’re making earlier is that, you know, accountability is not a four letter word. It’s not a bad thing. You know, people want to do what they say they’re going to do. People want to hold themselves accountable. People want to be on a team that does what it says it’s going to do. And so, you know, there’s just something magical when a team comes together to do that. So it’s not a bad thing. Yeah, that that part is, I think that part is something that needs to be said. Because when you hear accountability people kind of like what you earlier said people feel like I can’t breathe, right? It’s not that it’s not that it’s a good thing.
Alex Kudinov Yeah, so Oh, would you talked about this accountability, and I have a feeling that we’re talking just really high level and really kind of in, like, you know, in, in Siri, do you have a specific example, when you came in? And let me help the team to build this accountability? And one big lateral result? And that was like, wow.
Alicia McLain Yeah. Yeah, you know, and it’s so funny, because it’s not It starts with, it starts with so many things underneath it before you even get to that piece. But yeah, so a really interesting example, when I was working in a medical device company, when I first started in this division, the division would produce, you know, in terms of releases to production, maybe like two to four releases to production. And there was a real organizational opinion that this organization didn’t have much credit ability, don’t give it to them, they never do what they say. Or they never do it on time. And so that was kind of how we started. And then as we began building our agility, and, and, and bringing this about this culture of accountability, and teams being able to rely on each other, to do what they said they were going to do, and handoffs started getting cleaner, people started trusting each other, that, you know, people felt safe in the organization, see, there’s all these building blocks to get into this, right. So as all these things started to develop, and this culture of accountability started to develop. Now, the general manager is going around talking about how this organization is putting out 114, you know, production releases a year as opposed to two to four. And so, and people are like, oh, give it to that group. We know, they’ll get it done. You know, there’s just this building of credibility. And I saw that happen. This is a pretty big organization, there’s probably about 500 people in this organization. And oh, wait, was it 500 more than that, but it was a business unit, and a medical device company and, and and to watch him just walk around beaming with pride that his organization was able to produce this. Whereas before, he was kind of tucking his tail and not wanting to say much about his team, organization. But But accountability as part of that you don’t we don’t get from where we were to here, and having organizational credibility without us doing what we say we’re going to do. And so that that is a an example of how the building blocks of this lead to a team that’s much more reliable. Yeah. People could rely on us to do what we said we were gonna do.
Alex Kudinov Yeah, there’s a lot of tests there. Reliability, accountability, and all that good stuff. So you mentioned that you mentioned on the coaching exchange, you are agile coach, kind of by yourself. What else is going on with Alicia these days?
Alicia McLain Yeah. So yeah, so the Agile coaching has changed. We meet monthly and this is even in COVID. We’ve just moved to a virtual model. And now we’ve expanded our network to where we’re not just meeting locally because it was the Agile coaching exchange for Southern California, Silicon Valley, Middle Tennessee, Dallas, blah, blah. We just all kind of leverage each other’s work and we just jump on the call with whoever’s holding the So that just you can just know that monthly, the Agile coaching exchange is producing some something somewhere in the United States once a month. And we’re structured around the Agile coaching competency model. So any given month, whatever the topic is, is in one of those quadrants around the Agile coaching competency framework out of the coaching agile teams. So that’s one thing. And then for me, I am still working with my clients. And I am always looking for new experiences to work with individuals and teams and organizations. And my current passion is working with leaders, functional managers, and all the way up in software development in it to build greater agility in and resilience in their own leadership style. So how do I navigate COVID? How do I work with my teams? How do I start to build a culture of accountability? So that’s, that’s my, that’s my jam right now. I’m excited about that. And looking forward to working with ya whoever is whoever was coming my way.
Alex Kudinov Yeah. And those who are coming your way and want to join you in jamming? Yeah, a contact here.
Alicia McLain Yeah. So my business name is operational hyphen, innovations with an s.com. They can go there and find me there. You can find me on Twitter, as agile leader, SD or the leadership coach, you can find me on Twitter. I’m also a part of a cohort in an organization called wise her. And so if you go to wise her.com wehr.com. That’s a group that supports women that are building their small businesses and trying to take their selves to the next level. And I’m also doing some coaching for two organizations. This is pro bono coaching, the gratitude network, coaching social entrepreneurs, global social, social entrepreneurs, and the coaching fellowship. I’m a coach there too. So just doing all kinds of coaching and it’s great.
Alex Kudinov All right, well, sounds like busy, busy, busy. 2021 for you, Alicia. Yeah, we wish you a lot of success in your new year. And thank you so much for joining our podcast today. It was another episode of tandem Coaching Academy skipping, casual, nondenominational podcast with Alicia McLean, and we’ve been talking about accountability and how to build it with coaching. Choice Alison, Alex Quinn of way hosts by now.