Change the dream of people you coach, change the dream of the world

by Lyssa Adkins on February 28, 2011

This is my riff on an open letter to the first Co-Active Summit originally posted by Michael K. Spayd.

The 400 leaders and coaches of the first Co-Active Summit in Marco Island, Florida, representing 22 countries throughout the world, make known the following Promise to our Co-Active colleagues, to friends and loved ones, to our communities, and to the people of the world:

We believe the human community is at the critical time to change the dream of the world, a dream we have created together, a dream that leads to the destruction of the planet through overconsumption, the wasting of our human environment through social injustice, and the loss of spiritual fulfillment through disconnection and fear.

We believe that by uniting together, We can make the critical difference. We are committing ourselves to changing the dream to one that envisions a sustainable environment, spiritual fulfillment, and social justice for all people and beings. We hold that by taking this stand, our decision can provide the tipping point that the world needs now.

Each in our own way, we will help change the dream: in our selves, in our families, with our children, in front of our friends, inspiring our communities. Because we are leaders, we are coaches; because we act inside organizations, we are human activists. Our weapon is love in action.

We have less than four years to take decisive action and to change the dangerous trajectory we are on. And, four years is enough time.  To change our own life, to change our world, to change our collective dream, to alter the Earth’s destiny.  For the sake of our humanness, for the sake of our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

We are the ones we have been waiting for. The time is now.

Four years…Go!

What does this have to do with agile coaching?

Agile coaches are in the best position to affect the course of human history at this critical moment.  We are inside the machines that run the system of overconsumption through the belief that more is better — these machines are our modern organizations.  This is the place where massive change can happen which will positively impact the course we are on.  How do we do it?

  1. Live the agile values. As agile coaches, we simply live the agile values.  Openness, feedback, courage, focus, respect.  These create an interconnectedness and purpose between humans, and because of this, humans change the system.  We let our courageous example show the way.
  2. Focus on “for what?” We know that it’s not good enough to use agile to produce mediocre results faster because that’s not really progress. Instead, we help our teams and organizations focus on the “for what” of it all — for what are we creating this product? … this process? … this offer?  What good will it do, not only for this organization, but for the communities and the world it serves?  This is the beacon of business-value-driven-thinking, and we use it to light every situation we serve.
  3. Unleash the untapped potential. Agile coaches know that the real fuel of the world is the untapped potential of every single person we encounter.  We know that by untapping even a small part of this latent potential just lying around in modern organizations, we unleash a torrent of  brilliant ingenuity and solutions which easily change the direction of the world.  We take on the positive, uplifting and necessary work of untapping this great potential.

These are my promises to you, agile coaches, and to the organizations and people I serve.  Join me.

ps.  At this summit, agile+design thinking was introduced to the professional coaches and leaders present and — guess what? — THEY LOVE IT and see it as an important piece to strengthen their own efforts inside organizations.  Get ready to meet the professional coaches who will now join our agile community.  We’ll all be better for it.

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Chuck Susucheck March 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

This is a rockin way to put it “untapping this great potential.” I wish more people understood the power of people. It’s not about the project, but the bigger picture – growing the people for more projects. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day challenges. I’m going to print out your post and keep it on my wall. Here’s my contribution to the human condition

cuan mulligan March 3, 2011 at 5:25 am


Lyssa Adkins March 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Several of you have asked about 4 Years. Go.

I agree that the 4YG website leaves you hanging. Great video – beautiful vision of a sustainable future world and then…what? What are we supposed to do?

4YG is a campaign to raise awareness about the great work being done by many organizations around this idea: that in 4 years, we can change the direction the Earth is headed. We won’t solve our problems, far from it, but we can positively impact the trajectory because we have not (yet) crossed any irreversible thresholds of damage.

What are you supposed to do?
Here are some ideas I’m trying out and I offer them to you:
— consider declaring your commitment to a new dream of the world so that, together, we can change hearts and minds and make it “normal” to think about our personal and collective impact:
— make personal choices as if the resources of the planet – including its people – were precious
— educate yourself about the state we find ourselves in. I just got my eyes opened by the “Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream” Symposium. I highly recommend it.
— find a 4YG-affiliated organization you align with to offer them your special gifts. (Hint, hint…agile is a great way to help them) Here’s a big list:

Jeff Lopez-Stuit March 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Let’s rock! I’m in.

If I could suggest one more:

“Be fruitful, and multiply”. Actively recreate your work in everyone on your team, so that when you depart, the values, coaching, and results continue.

Chris Chan March 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I.T. is a messy world. I truly believe we all want to do better, but sometimes don’t know how. As Agile coaches we can help organisations to become better. Sign me up! Thanks for the rousing words.

Dan Diep March 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Wow! You continue to surprise and inspire me. It’s because of these initiatives and people like you that inspires me to become a coach. You’re not doing because it’s a job or better for your career. You’re doing it because it’s what you believe in and truly want to make this world a better place. Love it!

Leslie Stein March 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

Love how fast you & Michael moved to action in articulating & spreading your promise. I am in and here to support you!! Love what you stand for & am standing beside you!!

April Johnson March 1, 2011 at 8:52 am

Gerry, I also came away from this conference with a commitment to spend my time more intentionally, with clients whose work deeply matters to me. I’m with you.

Lyssa & Michael, thanks for articulating this so beautifully. I’m with you, too.

Marko Majkic March 1, 2011 at 2:41 am

Dear Lyssa, your words are so inspiring and healing. Just by reading it, I feel connected. Thanks for being “agile healer” of the world!


lyssaadkins February 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Intentional agile coaching work…I’m with you on that, Gerry. It’s exactly the type of work I’m attracting right now and I know I can count on you to be “in” when I land it. The organizations doing good are many and they need what we have to offer. Who else wants in?

Gerry Kirk February 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Michael and Lyssa, truly inspiring words and a call to action. I feel much aligned with this. Exciting, purposeful, challenging work that must be taken up.

I would add that as Agile coaches, we can also be intentional about where we invest our time. Select organizations working on topics/issues that *matter* to you, help them succeed even more.

I want to find ways to help the Agile community embrace this call more. One small way is my Agile 2011 submission . I’d like to do much, much, more however. Who is with me?

Olaf Lewitz February 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Love the goal, Lyssa.
I suggest we live it instead of dreaming it…
Take care

Michael K. Spayd February 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Fabulous! I love it!


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