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Change. Chapter One. by Simon Powers
“When the rain falls, it won’t fall on one man’s house” — Bob Marley
Why read this book?
“He who has a ‘why’ to live for, can bear almost any how.” Friedrich Nietzsche
On a cold September night in 2014, I lay in bed and listened to the wind blowing through the forest trees. It was a frustrating time, I was not enjoying my job, the Scrum Alliance had turned down my application for the Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), and I wanted to meet more people who were trying to make the world a better place to find inspiration, new skills and bounce ideas off.
I was wondering whether to create a meetup group. It was a daunting task. I had never spoken publicly, I had never arranged an event. I didn’t even know anyone who might want to speak or anyone who might want to come.
I did know though, that something was not right with the world. Something was not ok. Something somewhere needed changing. A rot had set in and someone needed to address it.
I had been an independent contractor consultant for several years. This was good for money, and good for experiencing lots of different organisations in different sectors and sizes. I could get good high-profile work easy enough, but the trouble was; I wasn’t happy.
The work always started off well enough, but sure enough, after a few months, the same old feeling of frustration, disappointment, and disillusionment came back. After about 6 to 9 months I started thinking about moving on, and about the year mark, I would find another role. This cycle had repeated itself for a few years with varying durations.
I did a lot of soul searching as to why this might be, especially looking for factors which I might improve about myself.
I thought perhaps I had got fed up of working with technology. However, I believe the internet and related technologies is a modern wonder of the world and loved being part of building it.
I thought perhaps it was the people I had worked with, and that I had been unlucky in that respect. However, a quick review showed I had many friends, that were long lasting, and many good people in every role.
After many months, I finally realised where the problem lay. It was in the organisation’s cultures. The organisations were so dysfunctional, so sterile, and so authoritarian, that I simply could not be me. I brought half myself to work and left the rest behind. No wonder I felt incomplete.
I realised on that stormy September night I had a big choice to make. I was at an existential crossroad in my life. One path would be to leave corporate life, and perhaps become a sadhu in India, the other path was to improve organisations and the working lives of those who spend their time in them. I decided to stay and see what I could do.
I created that meetup. I called it Adventures with Agile. I created it because I wanted to find out and fix what was wrong with the world. I wanted to make things OK again. I wanted make a change that would shape the way we do business to bring back values such as honesty, transparency, and the courage to have an opinion, and most of all, I wanted to make people’s working lives better.
Since 2014, Adventures with Agile has hosted over 200 events in London, and more in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Czech Republic, South Africa, and many more locations around the globe. We have helped thousands of people learn about themselves, their organisations and about Agile. We have connected industry thought leaders, business leaders, practitioners, trainers and coaches with each other and with the knowledge to make a difference.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
― Mother Teresa
Adventures with Agile is now one of the fastest growing agile communities of practice on the planet. In 2016, I won the agile awards for the person who has done the most to promote agile globally, and the best agile conference speaker.
Clearly, there are other people who feel like I do. Clearly, there is a thirst for something better.
This book is for people who want to make a difference. This book is for people who are not happy with the status quo. This book is for people who want to build better products and services, for people who want better organisations, and most of all for people who want to make their and other’s working lives better.
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