Becoming a Catalyst

Becoming a Catalyst

Becoming a Catalyst


Low employee engagement and morale have placed many workforces in a tenuous position.
Good, hardworking people are finding alternative places of employment as their tolerance for dysfunctional organizations is evaporating. This is happening for a variety of reasons, but demoralization from poor management and a lack of vision, direction, and purpose are typically cited as the primary causes.

Excerpt from the Introduction

Len Lagestee has been really building a following over at Illustrated Agile.  He blogs about many topics that Agile enthusiasts are interested in.  When I saw Len had written a book I knew I wanted to get a copy of it.  Becoming a Catalyst: Using Everyday Interactions to Accelerate Cultural Change was released last June.  As you can see from the excerpt from the Introduction Len begins by detailing The Glaring Need for change.  Len tells us why we need Scrum Masters to lead change for many organizations.

The Journey

He uses the analogy of a journey to show how the Scrum Master can lead change.  Len starts out the first two chapters preparing Scrum Masters for their journey.  He motivates us to get started and encourages us to complete the task with a lot of energy.

The Need for a Catalyst

 A Catalyst is needed to overcome the employee disengagement and low productivity.  We need to become the Spark that accelerates the cultural changes needed.  As a coach comes in and begins the process of change some will jump on board but, many others will resist.  The initial spark has to build into something greater to take over the large amount of inertia from the status quo.  We all know that change is difficult.

Catalyst Defined

Len shows us what he is talking about by defining the term Catalyst.  The right person needs to be inspired and bold to begin the process of leading the change.  We can’t just have any Scrum Master lead the change, they need to be passionate and active advocate for the change the organization wants.

Finding your Spark

As we start Chapter 2 Finding your Spark we begin with an assessment to find where how strong your spark is.  Some of us as Len describes are “A Fading Ember”, while others are ready to be an agent of change.  We answer some questions here to get our “Catalyst Pulse”.  Leaders of change need to be ready for the many obstacles that will come our way.  If you don’t have the tenacity to stick with it the organization will not change one bit.  “Without a spark, movement cannot begin.”

 The Spark of Possibility

The initial courage you have must help you step outside of your comfort zone and imagine what is possible for your team and organization.  This might be uncomfortable to begin the process of change, but as you get moving it will become easier with time.  You have created new momentum to propel the group forward.  Len suggest we use the Seven Attitude Shifts to make the changes possible.
  1.   An Attitude of Renewal
  2.   An Attitude of Serving
  3.   An Attitude of Building Confidence   
  4.   An Attitude of Creating Connections
  5.   An Attitude of Constant Collaboration
  6.   An Attitude of Keeping the Beat    
  7.   An Attitude of Continuous Learning
 Overall, Len gives us Agile practitioners advice on how to become ready to lead change and persevere through the many obstacles we will face.  In Chapter 3 The Necessary Fuel he describe the 8 foundational traits we need to build upon.  Building The Fire is next in it he covers the everyday activities we have and how to make them part of the process of change.  Finally, in Chapter 5 Keeping the Flame Alive we learn how to be a healthy Catalyst by not taking things personally and other practices to keep perspective.
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