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On the Handrail into the Decision-Making Circle – The Application

So, a position in the corporation after all? For him, this was his first real application ever. He previously never had to apply formally, it always happened somehow. One just knew each other. He absolutely needed a cover letter, that’s important for the HR department, according to the Internet. So that one stands out from the crowd and is not immediately sorted out.

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The Court Jester at the Touchline

Servant leadership in general and the misunderstood role of the Scrum Master in particular is mostly underestimated. The effect of this kind of leadership is rather indirect; like a gardener it creates good conditions for successful cooperation. If a Scrum Master, like a football coach, stands only at the touchline during a match, his contribution is easily overlooked. So sooner or later Scrum Masters will be offered “real” work, i.e. the coach will simply be brought in. And those who are not well aware of their actual task and who are trying to avoid conflict will accept this work with gratitude. The much more important long-term work on the system and the continuous improvement of the organization are left behind, but nobody notices this anymore, because everyone is busy with “real” work.

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Life Path Not Career Path

Three years of agile transformation at BMW Group IT have taught me a lot about organizational change and I have summarized it in three principles. But I also learned a lot about myself on this trip. I like change. I want to make a difference and improve the world. I tend towards idealism and I have a dream. I am curious and open. And I don’t like well-trodden career paths, but an indefinite path of life, which is made by walking.

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Three Principles of Effective Transformation

From three years of intensive work on the agile transformation in the BMW Group IT, I see three essential success factors. First, the transformation always starts with the why and the way towards it, i.e. the how and what, is necessarily unclear in the beginning. Second, leadership deliberately does not try to give the right answers immediately but instead provides an environment in which employees as adults and intelligent people can find these answers together. And third, leadership is part of change and questions itself.

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Unboss Instead of Egomaniacs

Times of change are times of uncertainty. A typical reaction to this uncertainty is the call for heroes and strong leaders who bring order into chaos and show the way. On a societal and political level, we are therefore witnessing a strengthening of nationalist tendencies and the increasing popularity of politicians whose contribution consists essentially in unduly simplifying the complexity of the world by dividing it into black and white, good and wrong, us and them and other false dichotomies. In times of digital disruption, fear also increases in companies. And while in many places a strong leader is then desired, really strong leaders like Vas Narasimhan at Novartis do the opposite: “Unboss your Company!”

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