Partnership & Transformation


Partnership & Transformation

Partnership has been on my mind lately: what it is, how it works, when it’s right. And transformation is always in the back of my mind, being my one-word mission in life. Over the course of this year, I’ve begun to see how deeply connected the two are. This blog announces some news, and some connections, about each.

A joint press release with our friends at SolutionsIQ (SIQ) today announces the most important partnership ACI has embarked upon thus far. Under our agreement, SIQ coaches will begin teaching ACI’s core curriculum, The Agile Facilitator and Coaching Agile Teams, plus Agile Coach Bootcamps (which combine the two classes). For SIQ, this move will allow them to bring the best Agile coach training available to the wider market, something only the largest pure play Agile consultancy is in a position to do. We are thrilled SIQ is making such a serious investment in the Agile Coach learning framework stewarded byICAgile, and in developing competency in the transformational learning paradigm that ACI introduced to the Agile world. For them, it represents a serious investment in their people to meet ACI’s very rigorous quality standards.

For ACI, the move allows us to utilize a trusted partner to teach our core curriculum, while we are enabled to expand our impact into further endeavors: a broader and deeper training curriculum on the one hand, and transformational coaching and consulting on the other. It also invites us to take on a new competency: training folks to lead our classes in the transformational, co-leading style that has become our trademark. This training and development process is already well underway, with five SIQ senior consultants having been identified and begun their training, under Lyssa’s guidance. When I say serious, I don’t think it is hyperbole. SIQ people will go through at least six months with us to be fully certified, plus take on a professional coaching and/or leadership program with some of the people that taught us. The full transition will likely take 15-18 months.

So that’s one partnership leading to a transformation for each of the partners. Here’s a transformation that led to a new partnership…

As Lyssa, Michael Hamman and I have worked to develop and hone our training approach and the ACI platform, we have grown hungry to actively re-enter the coaching and consulting world. Imprisoned in a way by our own success, we struggled for a couple of years to start up a consulting group. Then early this year — immersed in Bob Anderson and Bill Adams book, Mastering Leadership — I had a fundamental insight. As the senior leader of ACI, our inability to start something new was most likely a shortcoming in my own leadership. After all, we had a new approach to transformation,  the Integral Agile Transformation Framework™ outlined in my upcoming book, Coaching the Agile Enterprise. We had also developed deep skill in executive coaching, systems coaching and organizational change. The thing that was missing was a transformation of our organization, and my leadership was key to that happening.

A public commitment to increasing my effectiveness started things rolling. The organization responded unbelievably well. My own commitment to be more heart-centered in my leadership (countering my high levels of arrogance, as measured by the Leadership Circle Profile), was met by enthusiastic energy and self-development in everyone else in the system. Perhaps the biggest key to launching a new transformation-oriented consultancy was adding a new partner, one that had not spent the last six years developing a training organization, but had remained immersed in Agile transformations, then built and led a large Agile consulting practice. That partner is Michele Madore, perhaps the most effective, genuine, and humble leader I have ever known. Because of those attributes, and the alignment of our visions, Michele and I decided to co-found the new organization, bringing a different voice and perspective into the launch and leadership of this new practice.

With a combined 40 plus years in the Agile transformation soup — boasting some significant successes but also humbled by some real disappointments — Michael, Lyssa, Michele and I joined to articulate a new approach. Led by Michele’s frustration with business-as-usual in the Agile transformation space, we committed ourselves to “transforming transformations”. We are committed to pioneering a new way, one that begins with senior leadership’s own transformation, as we found was key to our own change.

Throughout 2016, we have prepared for the launch of this new organization, called Trans4mation, a sister-company to the Agile Coaching Institute. Trans4mation is developing a variety of services, from helping develop internal capacity for an organization’s agile coaching, to leadership coaching and development for executives, to strategic transformational consulting to help clients realistically assess what is possible given their organization’s culture, then helping implement a full-scale transformation. All of these services are knit together into a philosophy of change leadership that believes authentic transformation is only possible when it comes from the top, beginning within the hearts and minds of the organization’s senior leaders.

We know Trans4mation will not be for everyone. Frankly, we are not looking to serve traditional clients, since we don’t believe that is where our own working edge is located. Rather, we are looking for clients who want to work at the cutting edge of consciousness, individual and organizational. Working at our own edge leads to the best work we can do. Michele will serve as President of Trans4mation, with Lyssa Adkins, Michael Hamman and I all becoming principals, leading some aspect of the practice.

The idea ofAgile Coaching Institute and Trans4mation being “sister companies” is made real by our common vision: To up-shift organizational consciousness by evolving coach-leaders and organizational-leaders.

For Agile Coaching Institute, that will mean filling out our current curriculum by extending into the full range of our Agile Coach Competency model in Technical and Business mastery, expanding our Enterprise coach offerings, and helping others utilize our Teaching methods. We are excited about how the partnership with SIQ enables us to expand into this new course development, in further partnership with others. Lyssa will remain as President of ACI, and I will be CEO of both ACI and Trans4mation.

We hope all this transformation and all these partnerships will serve you, our constituents. We are learning as we go. So, there’s one more partnership to create: one with you. Whether you’re a potential client, a partner, or an industry collaborator, we need to know what you think, need to hear your visions, to see the world as you see it. Let’s discover where this new transformation path leads.

  • kelly snavely
    Posted at 02:33h, 25 July

    Michael, Lyssa and Michael – I’m consistently enamored and inspired by your vision, dedication and cause to the transformation community. Michelle is a great asset to the team – so happy to see the partnership. Can’t wait to see the greatness that transpires…..

  • Astrid Claessen
    Posted at 04:36h, 22 July

    Thanks Michael, great developments for ACI but even more for the people that are the foundation of this wonderful institute. I love the fact that you were able to identify a shortcoming in your own leadership. Personal change of each individual is the key to each big transformation. Senior leaders addressing their own shortcoming and going through the transformation are a huge part of real lasting organisational change. Wishing you all lots of fun and learning with these new partnerships.

  • Roy Maines
    Posted at 02:45h, 22 July

    Wow – what an exciting development! Congrats on this huge development in the Agile community. I have already benefited so much personally and professionally from the lessons ACI has taught me – by far the most life changing and rewarding professional development experience I have ever had. I looking forward to growing in this space with you all!