How the ‘we’ works in a complex changing world

The byline of my new website is: ‘How the ‘we’ works in a complex changing world’. I hope I can explain why I picked this topic and why my blog is called Adaptive Collaboration.  It may take me several posts to elaborate fully.  I have to start. That is the main thing.

For years, I thought it was all about ‘me’. I have spent 20 years in IT in various positions supporting the U.S. Federal government.  I worked hard at my various jobs, woke up each day proud that I could manage raising a family and holding a decent job with pay raises that allowed me a decent living. I didn’t look beyond the immediate needs of the projects, the immediate needs of the family.  I did bring the stress home with me. There wasn’t one project that I didn’t complain about. Some were better than others. Most issues were related to the people on the teams, the teams themselves, or the barriers that kept people from communicating.  None of these teams had a coach. None was agile. All struggled with complexity, technical debt, and separation from the end-customer.  I was a bystander to the larger systems dynamics at play. I simply did not see the larger issues very well, I did not hear the grumbling as a message to do something.  I just went home stressed.

After I went to Amplify Your Effectiveness Conference in 2010, and 2011, I began to see and perceive system dynamics more clearly.  I began to read. I read a lot. I learned about Virginia Satir and human interactions.  I read Gerald Weinberg’s Quality Software Management series and most of his other books.  I added the booklist on Yves Hanoulle’s website to my reading list and just kept absorbing. More importantly, I started connecting with a lot of people in the agile community and started using Twitter.  Right before my last contract ended, I went to AgileDC 2011 and met a lot of dynamic leaders in the DC community who are now encouraging me to live my dream.  I know I can do this. I know who will support me. And I know why I want to do it too. It is a perfect time.

To inaugurate this new website, I have decided to come straight out in the open. The journey I am embarking on to become a coach is one I can’t do alone.   I will ask for help and I will give a lot in return.  I will also invest in me so that I can help the ‘we’ and the future collaborations. I have hired an awesome coach Siraj Sirajuddin.

This will take time, connections, belief, and persuasion. It will take, reading, training, blogging and practice. I know others who have done this. I have been inspired by the stories I have read in the ‘Who Is agile?’ book that I am editing with Yves Hanoulle.

The future perfect has started to form, and I want this blog to show how I get from here to there. Thanks to all of my supporters everywhere, especially these people:

Paul Boos – supporting volunteerism for a worthy cause (GLASSCon)

Siraj Sirajuddin – reminding me to consider my whole life, not just work, not just now; pulling me forward, not letting me slip.

Peter Stevens – teaching me community building and commitment to one’s ideas and ideals (by example)

Yves Hanoulle – teaching me how to accept being completely trusted while editing ‘Who Is agile?’

Johanna Rothman – teaching me how to accept praise (with Yves)

Gerald Weinberg – reminding me to stop mind-reading and stay congruent.

Before I end my first blog post, I have to add one more thank you and recognition. Without the support of my husband, Adam Chiou, who has sustained our small consulting business for over 10 years, I would not be where I am. The ‘Adaptive Collaboration’ name for this website is not just about how teams and projects can improve. It is also represents the fact that couples that share a business and a business that shares a couple must adapt as they collaborate as well.  It is sometimes messy, but it cannot be ignored.

And, by the way, nothing can shake that up more than one person wanting to switch tracks mid-career.  Thank you, Adam, for your support and patience.

Explore posts in the same categories: Coaching, Personal Growth

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3 Comments on “How the ‘we’ works in a complex changing world”

  1. iamyourhost Says:

    Congratulations Andrea on your bold and brave new step. We met at AYE and I hope you remember me. I will support and help you on your journey in any way I can. Your blog is very inspiring. Best of luck.

    Stephen Allott


  2. Hi Andrea!

    Wow, it seems like you are making a great turning point in your career. I already see that one becoming more rewarding inside.

    I envy you have discovered many great teachers already.

    I wish you enjoy your journey not only the goal.


  3. Hello Andrea,

    I’m very impressed by the way you set about with this new venture and by the very good use you make of your time!

    All the best wishes (und viel Erfolg!) from this side of the pond.



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