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“With PAS, my vision of life changed: from a frustrated jobless, I became a highly motivated person thirsting for life, eager to uncover new opportunities and willing to change.” – José Albuquerque

Whether it’s about starting a job, moving to a different country or a change in our relationships, change can be hard to accept, and many of us spend a great deal of effort trying to avoid it. Coping with change can be challenging and overwhelming, and although we are used to exit our comfort zone, a sudden job change is jarring. Jose was able to meet both challenges and find a new job that advances his career.

Jose Albuquerque is a Senior Key Account Manager who has worked in a large high-tech organization for over 20 years, and living in France, near the Swiss-French boarder. After a successful career, José found himself out of the labor force during the pandemic. During his time off, he discovered Personal Agility System (PAS) and working with his PAS Coach, he could transform his challenging situation in new opportunities, spend more quality time with his family, and transition to a new job opportunity.

Situation

“I have been working for 21 years in a high-tech company and I’ve grown within it. I started my career as Applications Engineer in France, then I moved to Portugal and finally, I served Swiss customers. I’ve learned a lot and I was enjoying every day this job, assisting outstanding customers and achieving objectives.

This was great… until the company decided to implement a new strategy during the pandemic without me. This was a shock: I have always been active and suddenly, I felt stuck. It was like being on the edge of the mountain, with no more new challenges to take on.”

“I was looking for a new adventure, a personal one. During my introspection, I figured out that I needed a new life balance and at the same time, I was looking for a way to align what I do with what matters to me and my family.”

Desired Outcome

“My objective was to achieve and maintain a new life balance, with an exciting new job, focus on what really matters to me, and satisfaction that my time is spent on what is important. This could also lead to serious change such as moving to Switzerland or relocating closer to my new job. At the same time, I was searching for a way to better organize my personal life and business life. In business, I am an expert at getting things done efficiently. However, I was missing the bridge between the personal and professional life.”

Challenge

“Being a job seeker is always challenging. My special situation as a commuter living in France, looking for a position in Switzerland, made things even more complex. I had to prove that my location would not negatively impact my effectiveness at work. I had to define clearly my added value to an organization and demonstrate my strengths that help me stand out against the competition on the job market. When you are used to working hard, you do not see your achievements immediately – therefore, looking inside out to communicate confidently how I can create value in my target role, was crucial to me.”

Path to Success

“With PAS, I was able to identify and spend time on my true priorities, and I was able to say “no” to the less important ones. Suddenly, I had more time for self-education, interview preparations, and networking. At the same time, I’ve prioritized self-care. I do sports daily, and I’ve engaged in learning German, taking classes twice a week. My habits changed, and now I spend more time reading and share precious time with my family.”

“One of my supportive elements in dealing with the job search challenges was my Coach, Adelina Stefan. She understood rapidly that my agile methodology used at work could also benefit my personal life. In one of our discussions, she introduced me the concept of Personal Agility System. Once I decided to try it out, I found out an amazing way to set up objectives and measure progress weekly in all aspects of my life. To me, having a single page view containing every component of my life, tied to what really matters to me, was amazing: in one view, you get the expected results at work and personally, you get both the objectives you want to attain, and the actions related to those objectives.”

“An important tool of Personal Agility was the weekly Celebrate and Choose, when I reviewed all my achievements of the previous week, picked the most important one and shared my success with friends, colleagues, and family. This was crucial to keep my motivation high and enforce my self-esteem!”

“With PAS, my vision of life changed. From a frustrated jobless, I became a highly motivated person, thirsting for life, eager to uncover new opportunities, and willing to change.”

Other Success Factors

I had the chance to receive 2 books from my very good friends, that were a revelation. The first one, “Who moved my cheese” by Spencer Johnson is basic, simple, yet efficient. It explains an amazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life. This captivated also the attention of my 11 years-old son also, who read it in 1 hour. I highly recommend it to anyone! The second book was “The big five for Life” by John P. Strelecky. What stroke me was the following concept: One’s lifespan is on average 28200 days, which means approximately 4000 weeks. If you measure that in days, you may not see the value of life itself, but counting it in weeks, it is enlightening. At my age, this means 2000 remaining weeks! When you start measuring your progress in life by the actions you have achieved weekly, you get a better grasp on how fast (or how slow) you are attaining your core objectives.”

Taking It To The Next Level

“During my journey, I’ve applied to many positions, and I had numerous interviews. PAS helped me stay focused and keep my motivation high when faced with rejection. Currently, I am preparing to enter a new job: a role directly connected to my skillset and my aspiration, which takes my career to the next level.”

“I have also taught PAS to my 11 years old son. He was overwhelmed by his school homework and complaining about the lack of time to play. With PAS, he stopped procrastinating and understood that the more efficient he was with his homework, the more time he would have to play, and have fun with his friends and family. On top of that, the weekly Celebrate & Choose Event improved his self-confidence and made him feel better about himself.”

 

Karina Schneider was an experienced Human Resources professional working in a large, global organization and living in Zurich with her young family. After her parental leave, she went back to work, into a new job, excited to make an impact. Roughly 10 months later, in the height of the pandemic, she burned out. During her time off, she discovered the Personal Agility System and, working with her PAS coach, she was able to find energy to meet the challenges of work and motherhood.

Portrait Karina SchneiderWhile it seemed at the time like it came out of nowhere – that I suddenly was physically & mentally unable to go to work from one day to the next – I now see the trail of clues that led to this struggle. Surviving the first COVID-19 lockdown with my husband and I working more than full time, with a 1-year-old at home, with no help, was just the last push before I finally crashed.

Desired Outcome

“Very early on in my recovery process, I knew my life needed a massive re-design. Clearly, whatever worked for me in the past wasn’t going to take me forward anymore. I realized I needed to live a more coherent life – it wasn’t one thing to fix. My days should be to be reflective of what really mattered to me. Everything I do personally and professionally ought to be aligned to my values. I wanted to be able to confidently walk away from the wrong opportunities without feeling guilty or ungrateful. I was carrying around too many responsibilities that were truly not mine to carry — I wanted to let go! All of this, ultimately, meant I would have enough energy to fuel a rich, purposeful life. Not only were all of this defining my desired outcome – but they are also central to my burnout recovery.”

Actual Result

“The most tangible result I’ve experienced is feeling significantly less stressed and overwhelmed, as compared to before. As I write this, I do not know what the next 6 months will look like for me. Burnout has placed many things in question that my family and I are still figuring out together. However, I am most at peace and my life is the richest it’s been today after a very very long time. While still in recovery, I have gained clarity about my goals (and already achieved some of them), I am able to volunteer to causes that are dear to me, I have forged deep relationships with others, and I have energy to entertain an active toddler. I can now make well-guided decisions and focus my actions because I have a functioning compass that helps me navigate the upcoming weeks, months and years.”

Path to Success

“The Personal Agility System keeps me honest and kind to myself everyday. The Celebrate and Choose event every Sunday evening has given me back self-compassion and empowerment. I look at my Priorities Map for the week and I can immediately determine if I’m living in coherence or not. The most important contribution of PAS is where it all starts: answering the question “What really matters?” Everything else flows from there. My experience of stress and overwhelm has dramatically reduced because, no matter how many things need to get done, I get my peace of mind knowing 2 things: if they truly matter, (1) they will get done; and 2) there is more than enough time, space and energy that they don’t need to compete for my attention.”

Tools: PAS Priorities Map, PAS Forces Map, What really matters?, Celebrate & Choose, Kindness

Support

“One of the many supportive elements to my recovery was my coaching engagement with Adelina Stefan. I had a couple of goals in mind linked primarily to career goals. However, in one of our discussions, she introduced me to Personal Agility. I was initially hesitant to get on board. I wasn’t in the right mindset and Adelina was great at acknowledging that. As soon as I was ready, she committed! She walked me through it, encouraged me to try it out, and celebrated with me. I was hooked as soon as I got through week 1!”

What else

“I also had a therapist who helped me to re-frame my recovery: it’s about gaining back what I had lost. Engaging in activities that I used to enjoy, but no longer had the time for, was essential to my recovery. It allowed me to get to know myself again and to get re-acquainted with my values. As I like getting things down to the concrete, tangible and actionable, PAS is able to provide that framework for me to guide my choices everyday.”

 

The Scrum Alliance hosted an interview series where they invited Peter Stevens and Maria Matarelli to talk about Personal Agility and how people can apply this simple approach in their life to do more of What Really Matters. Here, Peter and Maria discuss how to resolve relationship conflict using powerful questions which are a core staple in Personal Agility.

Read the full article: https://resources.scrumalliance.org/Article/resolve-relationship-conflict-powerful-questions-agile-coaches

 

A match made in heaven, so I was to discover when I fused together the Metrix & Chill framework I created to coach teams with the Personal Agility System!

As a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador (PARA) based in the UK, accredited by the Personal Agility Institute, I had already been enjoying over the last 7 months consciously applying the Personal Agility System to the way I live my life and the choices I make about how to spend my time.

I used the Personal Agility System Priorities Map and Breadcrumb Trail to achieve this. The link for this fantastic tool is available at https://trello.com/b/97G3ANs3/my-pas-priorities-map-and-breadcrumb-trail

The impact so far I have achieved directly from applying the Personal Agility System to my life during that time includes:

  • Succeeding in spending more time on my ‘What Really Matters’ I identified through using my Priorities Map – which is ‘To Relax More’!
  • Pivoting my music tuition and consultancy business during the COVID-19 pandemic to not only sustain my income but increase it through the various dimensions of my portfolio career.
  • Feeling fulfilled and joyful every day through spending time on the things that really matter to me.
  • Even more brilliant time spent with my 3 children through me feeling more relaxed and fulfilled during our time together, which has brought us even closer as a family.
  • Rapid career progression in my ‘day job’ as an Agile Coach to the point of speaking at international events on initiatives I’ve created through performing optimally in various aspects of my life.

A great example of that last impact of me using the Personal Agility System by speaking at events includes being invited by a colleague PARA Dr. Gail Ferreira to present at The Silicon Valley Agile Project Meet-Up on 13th April 2021.

It was a terrific opportunity to highlight the synergies between agile ways of working; the Metrix & Chill framework I designed to help teams and individuals articulate the value they drive and identify their What Really Matters and the opportunities to explore measures for gauging impact!

Through real-time interactive activities with participants I encouraged them to consider the metrics they use to gauge their own personal agility, progress towards what really matters to them and to consider synergies between the way they live their lives, insights the Personal Agility System offers them and methods they use to quantify their impact/progress.

Watch the full session here:

Metrix and Chill cover

To discuss any aspect of synergies between the Personal Agility System and the Metrix & Chill framework or to discuss accessing Personal Agility System one-to-one coaching or group training with me please feel free to reach out to me at Susannah.chambers35@gmail.com for a no-obligation discussion.

A powerful question I’d like to share with you as a takeaway from this blog is as follows…

How do you know whether you’re spending your time doing what really matters to you?

Best wishes, Susannah

 

A year ago, Maria and I upped our game by focusing on the Personal Agility Institute. Why? Because we saw the potential, based on our first case studies, of positively impacting millions of lives. Today, we are pleased to share release candidate 1 of our vision and mission for the PAI. It’s not new, but never have we stated it so clearly.

 

We envision a world where people live and work according to things that really matter
We envision a world where people live and work according to things that really matter

 

Our mission is to enable one million people and companies change their situation for the better
Our mission is to enable one million people and companies change their situation for the better
 

The Scrum Alliance hosted an at-home agility interview series where they invited Peter Stevens and Maria Matarelli to talk about Personal Agility and how people can apply this simple approach in their life to do more of What Really Matters.

Watch the video interview: https://resources.scrumalliance.org/Video/high-impact-agile-practices-partnerships-families-friendships

Read the full article: https://resources.scrumalliance.org/Article/high-impact-agile-techniques-partnerships-friendships-families

 

At today’s Personal Agility Lean Coffee, I was asked for a simple explanation of PAS. Here is how I explained it:

The Personal Agility System is a simple coaching-based framework to help you be or become who you want to be.

At the heart of PAS you find:

  • Purpose – Align what you do with what really matters.
  • Celebration – Celebrate what you got done, even if it was different than what you planned or intended.
  • Choice – Choose how to spend your time. You probably have too much to do, so choose things that matter first.
  • Emergence – Ask questions and really listen to the answers. Together with others you can become something bigger.
  • Kindness – Be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can, given the situation at hand.

Thanks Sakthi Chandrasekar, Has Razwi and Jyoti Dandona for the invitation and to Ipsita Mishra, Susannah Chambers and Adelina Stefan, for bringing and sharing your experience.
 

 

Lyssa Adkins and Maria Matarelli discuss how Personal Agility is a powerful framework for leaders and organizations.
Listen in to the discussion and see the conversation summary below:

 

Maria Matarelli

What does this mean for leaders? Why would an executive want to use Personal Agility?

Lyssa Adkins  

I think it’s amazing as an opportunity for executives to use Personal Agility because, for example, well, let’s just talk about the benefits they’ll get in their own lives. The same benefits we’ve been talking about, if there are any people in the world that are running around like crazy, its executives; and if there are any people in the world who need to make conscious, clear decisions, it’s executives, right. And so this framework allows for information that supports all of that. But also, many executives are working in organizations where Agile is present, they may have brought Agile in themselves, or it may have just sort of grown up and then all of a sudden, they look around and go, “Well, this thing called Agile is here”. And here’s the thing is that Agile is operating from a completely different values set and belief system than any other way of working that we’ve had before. And in order for that belief set to flourish, in order for the benefit of Agile to really occur in organization, it requires all of us, all of us to move toward living these values and principles in our own lives. Personal Agility is a way that executives can do Agile on themselves, and learn the same lessons teams learn just in their own context.”

 

Maria Matarelli  

How do you think that that translates, because a lot of people will say, “Oh, it’s Personal Agility. This isn’t in the workplace, this isn’t for a leader or it isn’t…”

Lyssa Adkins  

Oh, my gosh, well, I use it to run my business. I mean, I’m a serial entrepreneur, I use it to start businesses, I use it to make all kinds of decisions. And I use it for managing my own energy. And what’s possible, in my, in the whole sphere of my work and life, you know, just like an executive would need to decide like, how much energy am I going to put into x? What am I going to delegate over here to y? What businesses do I need to start up? How will I know when that business needs to be either funded or put off to the side like, all of those things are things that show up in my Priorities Map on a weekly basis?

 

Maria Matarelli  

Could using Personal Agility help someone be a better team member in an Agile environment?

Lyssa Adkins  

I think it could. And I think it will go a long way to work here. And one of the biggest things I see in organizations at the team level, which is that people don’t ask for what they need to do the job they’ve been asked to do. And so once people become conscious choice makers, when people value themselves in their own time more than I think that they will be more willing to, number one, have clarity about what they need. And number two, be willing to ask for it.

 

Maria Matarelli 

At one point you made the statement that you believe that Personal Agility could shake the foundations of the industry at its core in the Agile community. Could you expand a little bit more on that? What did you mean by that?

Lyssa Adkins  

So here’s what I was imagining when I said that, I was imagining a bunch of people at all levels in an organization that have used Personal Agility that they have used it for all the things we’ve talked about to achieve more in their working life, to be conscious choice makers to celebrate what they what they actually accomplish, on and on and on. If they’ve done that, then when Agile comes into the organization, they will have already learned and grokked at a really deep level, the main mindset shifts that agile needs in order to really flourish in an organization. So if Agile comes in the door later, they’re going to be in a much better position to use agile in a way that fulfills Agile’s full promise.

 

Maria Matarelli  

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your thoughts or experience with Personal Agility?

Lyssa Adkins  

Personal Agility is continuing to be a really important force in my life 111 weeks later. And I can tell when things in my work life, in my entrepreneurial life, in my life-life, I can tell when I need to shift because I can no longer operate my Priorities Map as well as I did a month ago. The things I’ve said that matter don’t seem to fit as well anymore. And I have to go to the next fine grain level to find out Hmm, what is the flavor of that now. And so I love how it’s a sub source of information and even wisdom that informs me.

 

 

 

The Personal Agility System helps people and organizations identify What Really Matters while providing a simple system to aid in achieving these goals. In addition to helping individuals and organizations gain clarity on What Really Matters, we go one step further to help people identify and create alignment. This could be alignment with the people in your life or in a work context, alignment with stakeholders and other teams throughout an organization.

Stakeholder alignment is important for any company using Agile. Having a clear vision for the teams to support clear initiatives that create a positive return on investment (ROI) for the organization.

We recognized early on how important it is to ensure that we create alignment with the people around us and alignment with the initiatives in an organization and we have created a tool at the Personal Agility Institute to help with just that.

Introducing the Stakeholder Interview Canvas. We have discovered this canvas can be a powerful tool when talking to stakeholders to uncover what is most important to them. The first column has questions related to “Who”, the second column has questions related to “Why”, and the third column has questions related to the “Desired Outcome”.

A powerful question at the core of Personal Agility, is “What Really Matters?” though we don’t immediately jump in to asking that question. We recommend going in the numerical order and jumping around the canvas. This encourages you to flow with the conversation and you can jump in and out of different questions as you go.

Begin with the first column with the questions related to “Who”. This is where we ask questions about the main goals or objectives.

Next, we go to the middle column and ask the questions related to “Why”. Here, we explore the challenges and impediments along with risks, concerns, fears, and frustrations.

As we approach the third column, we want to focus on the desired outcomes. This is where we ask about their definition of awesome and how we can support them in creating that outcome.

Next, we loop back around to summarize what really matters to the other person. You can summarize the top 3 areas of focus that emerged from the conversation or you may want to ask if they can clarify what the top 3 areas of importance are and identify any follow up steps.

Give it a try! Download a free copy of the Personal Agility Stakeholder Interview Canvas under the “Free Tools” section of the website here: https://personalagilityinstitute.org/freetools

We would love to hear how this tool works for you. Please give it a try and reach out to Maria (at) PersonalAgilityInstitute (dot) org to share your experience on how it helped!

 

 

 

Maria has been working with Alistair Cockburn, creator of the Heart of Agile Framework (HoA). According to Alistair, the essence of agility can be summed up in four words: Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect, and Improve.  This led me to wonder, what is the heart of Personal Agility? I think we can sum it up as follows:

Ship's wheel

Personal Agility is…

The Personal Agility System is a simple coaching framework to help you spend more time on what really matters and create alignment with yourself and those around you.

Purpose

What really matters gives you clarity of purpose. That gives you context for making decisions. If life is an ocean, you are the owner and captain of your boat. It’s your boat, you get to decide where it goes. What really matter is also the focal point for creating alignment with people around you, like your family, your customers, your manager, or their managers and other stakeholders.

Celebration

Life happens faster than you can plan, so decide as best you can and celebrate whatever you got done. Be kind to yourself and remember the retrospective prime directive.

Choice

It’s normal to have too much to do, so you choose what you want to do, based on what really matters and what will make you happy.  Choice puts you in charge of the boat and puts your hand on the rudder, even when you are in a storm.

Emergence

It’s your boat, but no man is an island. Who you are is a reflection of what you do, and vice versa. How you are perceived and what you can achieve depends not just on your own skills and abilities, but also on your interactions with other people.

 

I believe every element of the Personal Agility System can be mapped back to one of these four elements. This is a first draft. How does this resonate with you?

 

P.S. As previously announced, the Personal Agility System is an HoA-compatible framework. Our training materials are now recognized by HoA.