BONUS: Karin Tenelius, Self-management in practice for Scrum teams and entire organizations

How to help teams self-organize, and why that matters to Scrum teams. Success stories from self-organizing teams.

Karin shares stories from her recent book: Moose Heads on the Table: Stories About Self-Managing Organisations from Sweden.

✋ We are organizing a self-organization masterclass for Scrum Masters. It’s a unique opportunity to talk to Karin and get direct coaching from the author of one of the latest self-organization books. Don’t miss this chance!

Karin’s book’s title “Moose Heads on the Table” is a reference to a method she describes that helps her work with teams towards self-organization. We start this episode by discussing what that metaphor means, and why it is so critical for teams wanting to self-organize. 

Karin refers that it is critical to bring up the hot topics (the Moose heads) and discuss those openly and without judgment. It is not always necessary to have an idea of what a solution would look like, and being open about that with the teams is actually a bonus in the self-organization process!

Being a CEO in a business you don’t know anything about, and succeeding wildly!

It’s often said that Scrum Masters with technical knowledge about the work are more likely to succeed. Well, in this segment, Karin turns that idea on its head in spades! Karin shares a story where she was the CEO of an organization that was in trouble and had been struggling for years. When she came in, she detected a number of problems but did not know how to solve them. 

Turns out, that was a blessing. Karin then proceeded to help the teams self organize, and take ownership of the problems. She did that with a number of practices she describes in the book, and have become part of her training in self-organization for teams and leaders. She shares a critical tip for leaders, including Scrum Masters: turn your doubts and uncertainties into Moose heads! 

Teams that reach self-organization outperform those that don’t

Karin’s book is filled with stories about teams that struggled, and found a new impetus thanks to the change to a new way of working that helped them self-organize. In one of the chapters of the book (the story about Elisabethgården), Karin shares how even seemingly simple things like the open conversation about salaries can destroy the performance of teams and entire organizations. 

In her own personal way, Karin brought up the topic about salaries as a Moose head, and helped the organization take ownership of their own financial sustainability, where salaries (as is usually the case) played a critical role. 

Management is in its infancy, even when managers think they are “coaching”

There’s the widespread acknowledgment that certain styles of management are more effective. For example, it’s believed that a coaching-style of management is better in the long term for the teams in knowledge work industries. So far, so good. However, when Karin works with those leaders, she finds that even the managers that see themselves as coaches, often fall into the trap of being condescending and look down on their teams. She has found this to be true even in seemingly more coaching-oriented cultures like Sweden. 

In this segment, we talk about what she does to help those managers escape the trap of the “parent-child relationship” perspective that even coaching managers seem to take up. 

We are organizing a self-organization masterclass for Scrum Masters. It’s a unique opportunity to talk to Karin and get direct coaching from the author of one of the latest self-organization books. Don’t miss this chance!

About Karin Tenelius

Karin has been working with self-organization as a way to help teams improve performance even before Scrum was in the picture. I met up with Karin in Sweden in 2018 and got very interested in her work regarding the coaching way and self-organizing teams.

Today Karin country-side Sweden enjoying the wonderful fall we have here in the northern latitudes, and we catch up to talk about her work on self-organization, and how that can help us as Scrum Masters

She’s recently written a book about self-organization: Moose Heads on the Table: Stories About Self-Managing Organisations from Sweden. You can get that book on Amazon and other outlets.

You can link with Karin Tenelius on LinkedIn and connect with Karin Tenelius on Twitter.

 

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