Andreas Kelch is the Head of Sales and Marketing at Vivior for Vision Care in Europe. Under the motto, “better well-being through better health and better vision,” Vivior has developed technology to enable data-driven customization of multifocal lenses.

Previously, opticians just provided eye examinations, contact lens fitting and other services e.g., screenings; with Vivior they can for the first time measure the environment in which the person lives and works. Andreas works with local opticians, chains, buying groups and distributors to present the value of the Vivior approach and integrate Vivior’s system into the opticians’ own sales process.

The PAS Stakeholder Canvas played a key role in establishing a constructive relationship with their customers that was trust-based, goal-oriented and quantitatively measurable.

The Challenge

Andreas Kelch, Head of Sales and Marketing at Vivior AG
Andreas Kelch
Head of Sales and Marketing at Vivior AG

Andreas explained, “We have developed a new technology and a new product for opticians, and in 2020 we successfully acquired 80 customers, mainly in Switzerland and Germany. With the pandemic challenges and the associated online meetings and training, the integration of Vivior into the business processes of opticians has proven to be a problem.”

“Business processes vary from optician to optician. We wanted to understand our customers even better and developed a new customer management process. Integration with pricing models, customer approach and process flows proved to be particularly important. It is essential that the optician recognizes the added value of Vivior and adapts his offering accordingly.”

“As the pandemic subsided, our customers experienced a large increase in business which kept them busy processing orders. They were also confronted with labor shortages and other constraints, so there was little time available to deal with new technologies such as ours.”

Desired Outcome

“We saw potential in strengthening our personal customer relationships.”

“For a startup, the most important goal is traction. Getting eye care specialists and end-customers to use the product and confirm that customers also see value and get value from the product. This is an important confirmation to investors that their money is well spent.”

“We wanted to help the optician integrate our product effectively and successfully into their sales process. We wanted to strengthen our relationships with our customers and make sure they understood the value of what we and they are doing. We wanted measurable goals, so everybody could see that the goals are being achieved.”

Path to Success

“Within the new customer management process, we created a customer on-boarding process with defined steps so we can manage and monitor our own success.”

“The first step in this process is to meet with the optician to understand his situation and help him understand what steps are necessary to be successful with our product. The next step is to analyze the processes in terms of process and price integration within his store. A systematic customer approach also proved to be very important.”

“The next step is to define and commit to a series of additional steps, including training their employees to understand the use of our product and know how to take advantage of it. Together with the customer, we set a measurement target for monthly Vivior usage. We provide an individual action plan for the entire team for easy visualization and tracking of the solutions provided. Upon completion of the customer management process, the optician is certified as a Vivior vision expert. A nice benefit for our customers to celebrate and share.”

“Once the customer agrees to buy our product, we meet and interview them using the PAS Stakeholder Canvas. We tailored the questions to our context. The canvas asks questions about goals and challenges, and the conversation offers us an opportunity to share our insights. Based on their goals, they define their “customer commitment” – what they need to do to be successful.”

Actual Result

“Sometimes the customers are a bit surprised about the questions. They did not expect us to talk about their own concerns. This doesn’t happen very often in a sales process. It was very important to emphasize confidentiality. After that, it was no problem at all. There was never a fear of sharing anything.”

“The customers appreciated that we offered this consultancy service to them. They appreciated that we did not leave them alone and that we cared about their success. The interviews were well received as they were perceived as a service to get their problems solved.”

Defining Measurable Results

“Every active customer now has an action plan with an integrated commitment to concrete usage goals. We can make visible to everyone involved how important the technology is to them. The commitment is important both to the customer and to us. The customer sees the value they get from the product and hot to differentiate themselves in a competitive market. We can define and meet our scaling goals.”

“Our relationship with the customers is now stronger. They understand us and our product better, too. The benefits are more clearly perceived and their commitment to use our product is high. We also have opportunities to learn how our product could be improved to make it easier to use and more valuable for our customers.”

 

 

© 2022 Peter B. Stevens and Maria Matarelli

Extracted from: Personal Agility: Unlocking Higher Purpose, Alignment, and Performance, by Peter B. Stevens and Maria Matarelli.

Katrina is an experienced Project Manager with a Masters Degree in Digital Marketing and a background in Communications. She has successfully worked in a variety of industries from television to advertising and Start Up. Juggling being a mom as well as looking to advance her career, Katrina began using the Personal Agility System to clear the chaos while trying to balance both family and work while working from home during the pandemic. She was able to identify and focus on “What Really Matters” and her story inspires hope for working moms everywhere. Katrina is ready to use what she has learned with Personal Agility to help others clean the chaos on the path to success.

Challenge

“My situation can best be described as I was a working mom striving to do the best I could in work and home life while breaking matriarchal cycles without completely burning out. My life is still a work in progress as there is always room for improvement and new obstacles that I need to navigate, however I am able to see my strengths and weaknesses and more importantly, communicate them to those around me. Applying Personal Agility showed me how to get out of survival mode and into success mode in all areas of my life and stop the burnout before it happened.”

“Prior to using Personal Agility: 

  • I was constantly on overdrive
  • I didn’t understand my triggers 
  • I couldn’t foresee my burnout
  • I couldn’t hold myself accountable in ways that weren’t damaging 
  • I was poorly communicating with those around me – personally and professionally 
  • I felt like I was living in complete chaos 

I knew what I needed to do but could not get myself to actually take action. 

I felt like I was drowning in complete chaos – and I needed to breathe. 

I was perpetuating the same cycles – and they needed to break. 

I was burning out regularly – and I needed to rest. 

Worst of all, I always had a disappointed feeling and was hyper-critical of myself  – and I really needed to let go.”

“This was me on any given day, even before experiencing back-to-back job loss. I just believed this is who I was. A type-A, go-getter, professional juggler of all things, reliable all the time to everyone, never saying no — AND feeling that being exhausted and broken was totally normal.”

“I was constantly struggling to prioritize, taking on multiple small jobs and getting paid far less than my worth, and sometimes not getting paid at all. We were struggling financially because of this. My job loss, right after having a baby, and my husband’s back injury put me in a state of constant survival mode, thus making terrible decisions, really bad career choices and drowning in utter chaos.” 

“I was also struggling with the mental anguish of being a working mom, stay at home mom, or some insane hybrid, because either way, there was a struggle financially, mental, and emotionally and it was consuming me.”  

Desired Outcome

“My desired outcome was to get out of survival mode, get into success mode, live life at a sustainable pace while dissolving my pre-wired cycles and see where and how I was contributing to the chaos to get it under control. I wanted to set boundaries and hold myself accountable in ways that were not damaging. I needed to reset my work priorities, stop working with toxic clients, and refocus my career goals.”

“I also wanted to find space to nurture myself and not feel depressed or guilty or neglectful to my friends and family. And finally, I wanted to see how others around me were contributing to the chaos and to be better at communicating with each other about it and ultimately stop my burn out before it starts.”

Actual Result

“I did achieve this desired outcome and so much more. I found that I was doing it all and not doing it all, at the same time. Teaching those around me to treat me like I did not have a human capacity. That I am everlasting and do not need support and that I will take on all responsibilities at all times. I was teaching people to treat me like someone who doesn’t matter, like a machine who just constantly produces. These realizations allowed me to identify and align with what really mattered to me and recognize what I (and others) were doing to contribute to the chaos.”

“The tools and techniques of the Personal Agility System that most helped you achieve my desired outcome included The 6 Questions of PAS, What Really Matters (WRM), PAS Priorities Map, and PAS Breadcrumb Trail. I also surveyed other working moms and did some ancillary studies on environmental behaviors to gain a better understanding of my full situation and see how others handled similar challenges.”

“The Personal Agility System helped me achieve my desired outcome by having a clear visualization of what is ahead. Being able to see what could complete in a day, week, or month was life changing. It allowed me to see my life and work balance, or lack thereof in real time. It made the chaos clear and communicable. I could understand what actions of mine were teaching people how to treat me, and working to do better so they (and I) can be better to me.” 

“I could better identify what I was doing to create burnout for myself, then I would rearrange my priorities and communicate where I saw the burnout would likely be so that I could avoid it. I was able to remove bad (abusive/non paying) clients and make room for better clients and better pay, and set boundaries with those that I continued to work with.”

“My triggers also became more clear. I could see where something would trigger me to perpetuate matriarchal cycles and I would work to disrupt them in a positive way. As an added bonus, my health started to take a huge upturn, something I never thought I would have time to focus on was now in the top 3 of my priorities. I was able to manage time in a way that allowed a space for me to nurture myself.”

“Professionally, I found toxic impediments and removed them. I communicated my value with current clients and re-negotiated contracts. I reset professional goals using a great strategist who helped me re-build my resume and showed me proper job searching and follow up. I also stuck to my non-negotiable time boundaries.” 

“Personally, I was finding behaviors that would totally derail me and I found better habits to replace them with. I was communicating with my family more effectively about what I needed and where I needed them; while making myself matter in health and happiness – I don’t think I would have even noticed these areas were suffering if I didn’t have it on my Priorities Map. I was able to visualize where I needed my family to hold themselves accountable for the overall function of the household.” 

“I realized that I was the roadblock to my success – How I treated myself and how I showed others to treat me. I was in control of the chaos the entire time – I still am, just in a clearing way as opposed to a creating way. I was too damaged from holding myself accountable for everything, that I couldn’t hold myself accountable for the right things. Working in small increments was the best way for me to get started and then VROOM, I was off, with a whole new perspective on what really mattered and how I was going to make those items my priority.”

Path to Success

“For others that may want to repeat my success, I want you to know that the chaos does not happen overnight and you will not clear it overnight either, but having a system that you trust to support good decisions and encourage processes and communication will help you keep the chaos under control and the burnout off the horizon.” 

“Working in small increments on What Really Matters and then building out your Priorities Map from there will help you take a step back from your current situation and be really honest with yourself – you don’t have to have it all, not right now and maybe not ever. And that is totally okay.”

 

© 2021 Peter B. Stevens and Maria Matarelli. Excerpted from Personal Agility: Unlocking Higher Purpose, Alignment, and Performance

 

Pete Blum is a United States military veteran, an entrepreneur and a professional in information technology, operations, marketing, project management, and business continuity/disaster recovery. He has been a trainer, mentor, and coach to both civilians and military personnel, nationally teaching technology, social media, and entrepreneurship. His passion, mission, and focus is helping others in business and in their personal lives. 

Pete spent 11 years in the U.S. military working in logistics, operations, and information technology. After honorably completing his years of service, he transitioned into civilian life to follow his love of information technology. That first year out, he had 7 different jobs. Eventually he found a great one, but later due to the constant outsourcing, going to the cloud, and transitions that happened in the information technology industry that ended as well. His transition began again.

Situation

Another thing stemming from the military life that sticks with you even after you become a civilian is the engrained traits of sacrifice and service.

“In my case it was a desire to help future transitioning veterans have an easier time with transition than I did. I found myself facing a continuous cycle of work transitions, volunteering, and lack of a positive work-life balance. Most importantly, lack of focus, transitions, and spreading yourself too thin has a hard impact on families, the time they spend together, and finances as well.”

Desired Outcome

“My desired outcome was to either break the cycle of repeatedly transitioning as if I were still in the military by finding a great job or to start a business that fulfilled my passion of helping others while providing the stability to take care of my family and allow me to spend those precious moments with them. I missed out on those moments while in the military and deployed. I wanted to never miss those moments again.”

Actual Result

“In embracing the Personal Agility System I have found time freedom, allowing me to spend more time with the family and focus on those treasured moments.”

“I have become an entrepreneur with the ability to fulfill my passion of helping others. I can now work hard, create, shape, and guide others personally or professionally in finding their own stability and success. Being an entrepreneur has also given me the ability to be financially free.”

“The Personal Agility System absolutely helped me! Starting with what really matters and where do I spend my time, I discovered what was important to me the most was not what I was focusing on. My work-life balance was not balanced at all.” 

“This ties significantly into life in the military as well. As an active duty servicemember or as an entrepreneur you’re always on a mission, a timeline, an objective that has to be completed before everything else. Sleeping, eating, family… who has time for that? Personal Agility is certainly the cure!”

“In my case family has always been a priority, however after annotating my daily life using the Personal Agility System I discovered even I could do better.”

Path to Success

“The Personal Agility Priorities Map is one of my favorite tools that helped me get things where they should be in my personal and even professional life. It helped me with prioritization, lack of focus, the fact that I was volunteering too much and spreading myself too thin. And now I always remember to use the “life is the ocean” metaphor and make those continuous course corrections.”

“I now have the ability to share what I have learned through the Personal Agility System to help transitioning military and veterans find the same personal freedom that I have achieved. Many of them start over in a new career or industry. From the “life is the ocean” metaphor and finding their path, to all the other tools that PAS offers I know from personal experience that they can have the same positive results for their lives, families, and finances as well.”

© 2021 Peter B. Stevens and Maria Matarelli. Excerpted from Personal Agility: Unlocking Higher Purpose, Alignment, and Performance

Michael Mrochern
Michael Mrochern, Chairman Vivior AG

Michael Mrochern is co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Vivior AG, a Swiss digital health start-up. Founded in 2017 by a group of experienced eye care professionals, the company offers a novel wearable device – the Vivior Monitor – to objectively measure visual behavior prior to vision correction interventions.

Michael formulated the problem: “The situation was really frustrating. We were bringing a new type of product to the market in health care. We knew this would be hard, but COVID-19 made our lives very difficult. We tried to position the product in three different markets. We had early successes with each and had secured agreements with major players. Then all these initiatives were put on hold due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

“This made it impossible to get additional funding for our projects, which left us in a difficult situation. We were good at raising money from investors, but the money got spent to keep the company afloat at a time we could not develop the product.”

“We were running out of money but our industry partners could not proceed. As a result, we were not meeting our revenue goals and the cash was burning.”

The PAS Stakeholder Canvas played a key role in enabling everyone to understand the positions of each board member and stakeholder as well create a common understanding of what really mattered. Thanks to this alignment, the board was able to agree on the best strategy moving forward, then implement that strategy effectively.

Challenge

“Our market challenges were compounded by our internal challenges. There was a difference of opinion between the founders and management about how to react to this situation. Two opinions became two camps: On the one side, ‘We have a product, we just need to find the right customers.’ On the other side, ‘No, we have customers, but they don’t seem to want the product. We need to adapt the product.’”

“We had focussed on being ready to ramp up, but information did not flow effectively within the company. We had a ‘my kingdom mentality’. We were set up to address the three market segments, but did not have the necessary strength in any of them. We were not able to say no to any markets.”

“The organization seemed frozen on making decisions. We were able to acquire new customers, but they were not using our product and our revenue depended on usage. We had lots of endless discussions that did not lead to useful results. Personality and ego were getting in the way.”

“There was a mismatch between the internal perspective and the investment perspective. Internally, we believed we were doing everything we could, but there wasn’t any progress to show the investors around our key success measures: usage and revenue.”

“We had a roadmap to enter our markets with strategic partners. The roadmap didn’t work any more, because everything was cancelled. The organization was not equipped to respond to the situation. We had three directions we could focus in. There were huge opportunities, all had challenges, and we need to focus on one of them.”

Desired Outcome

“We needed to get the company unstuck and create the willingness to try something new. I knew, if we kept on doing what we were doing, we would fail.”

“I believe successful companies have a good ear to their customers. We didn’t have that. We had a mindset of ‘we know better than the customers’, and we needed to change that into ’we are learning from the customers’. We needed alignment within the organization about the importance of learning. Individual efforts were not sufficient. Individually we heard, but the organization couldn’t react.”

“We wanted progress on revenue. We wanted progress on activations of our product. Things that weren’t happening. Most immediately, we wanted to create clarity on the need to focus and agreement on which market to focus on. We needed to figure out which opportunity was the right one to focus on and get full support from all the stakeholders on the new direction.”

Actual Result

“We got unstuck. We started really listening to each other.”

“We were able to create a common understanding of the opportunities and challenges. We were able to identify the possible routes forward then create a consensus around the best route forward. We were able to move forward with the full support of the board and no significant opposition.”

“We realized we needed to focus, although initially there was no agreement on what to focus on. We realized we had many opportunities. We chose to focus on one market, where we saw the most immediate potential. We were able to refocus without delay.”

“We began adapting the product and the company to the needs of the market and we sharpened our focus on the most promising market.”

Path to Success

“We engaged an outside coach to interview each stakeholder individually then lead us through a workshop together with the goal of deciding what to do next. The coach used the PAS Stakeholder Canvas to guide the conversation and understand each stakeholder’s point of view.”

“The interviews covered the objectives at hand, challenges, fears, frustrations, definition of awesome, and possible next steps. To conclude each interview, the stakeholder confirmed what really mattered from their perspective.”

“The workshop emphasized storytelling and listening. We made small working agreements, such as listening before we talk, asking before we tell, listening for understanding, and asking clarifying questions. Making small agreements in the morning enabled us to have conversations about real issues later in the day with minimal conflict.”

“The facilitation played an important role. One the one hand, people were worried that this would be a “feel-good, sing kumbaya” kind of event that would not produce any results. Having the authority in the room enabled us to make decisions, while having a neutral facilitator ensured constructive discussions.”

“We had identified a champion for each market segment and they spent the afternoon presenting the alternatives we could focus on. Each champion made their best case and we strove to understand their reasoning and the strengths and weaknesses of each one.”

“At the end of the day, everybody voted, which resulted in a clear recommendation. Even one of the other champions voted for the winning approach. The next day, the board ratified this recommendation.”

“The process of interviewing everyone by an outsider gave us a condensed, holistic and honest view of the situation.The process created transparency and alignment. We were able to see outside the system. We got confirmation about what we were thinking and feeling. It became clear what we needed to do.”

Conclusion

Before considering what to do, the board first built alignment on “What Really Matters”. The Stakeholder Canvas provided powerful questions to enable them to identify what they already agreed on. Finding consensus on “What Really Matters” enabled them to agree on the strategy moving forward.

“We were able to get all of our key stakeholders on board and in agreement on the direction for moving forward. We were able to implement the new strategy immediately with no significant resistance.”

“What made this effort successful? Getting all the key stakeholders and decision makers  involved, listening to them and having them in the room (at least virtually) enabled us to decide quickly.”

“Make the vision visible and ask people what they are doing to make it real. The same applies to activities: make them visible to ensure they are in alignment with ‘What Really Matters’”.

“After agreeing on ‘What Really Matters’ to the company, we wrote the topics on cards and put them on the wall where everyone could see them — it became the first column of our task board, just like in Personal Agility!”

This exercise set the stage to apply agility within the leadership team. We applied the basic principles of cadence, ownership, transparency and a focus on producing tangible results, sooner.

“We became responsive as an organization. Previously, individuals would hear things from the customer, but we were unable to respond effectively. Collaboration and talking to each other on a daily basis solved this problem. The company can now respond quickly to any challenges and problems that emerge.”

“If I had to do this again, I would put even more emphasis on taking away the fear. Several people were uncertain and getting them to voice these uncertainties put everything on the table and allowed us to have real, meaningful discussions.”

“I would also spend more time on how we work together. Just because you have spoken to someone doesn’t mean you are aligned. The difference between cooperative and argumentative discussions is huge. A culture based on dialog makes it much easier to surface difficult issues.”

This is how The Personal Agility System scales to any level of an organization. Leveraging tools like the Stakeholder Canvas, constructive dialogue based on Powerful Questions and a shared understanding of “What Really Matters”, a company can focus on the right things and move forward with the support of their stakeholders.

 

© 2021 Peter B. Stevens and Maria Matarelli. Excerpted from Personal Agility: Unlocking Higher Purpose, Alignment, and Performance

 

“With PAS, the purpose became the focus and the driving force behind it all.” – Gabriel Chiriac

Job search is stressful and  often, people don’t have a plan B. All of a sudden, your daily calendar becomes empty, and you don’t know where to start. Finding a new job aligned with your own values requires hard work, perseverance as well as a positive mindset and openness to change.

Gabriel Chiriac is a Product Development Manager with 23+ years of solid background at high corporate level. After a successful career abroad, Gabriel found himself as many other professionals, laid off during the pandemic. He discovered PAS during his repatriation when he redefined his purpose in his career and rebalanced his life.

Situation

“I have been working for over 23 years in a large multinational tobacco company. Having started my career very young as a Quality Examiner in Romania and worked my way up to R&D as a Product Development Manager in Germany, I have grown during those years, enjoying what I was doing and managing my day-to-day objectives flawlessly. This seemed to be a typical success story until the company decided to close the site in Germany and let us go.”

Challenge

“Suddenly, it became obvious that I was about to face totally new challenges both professionally and personally. The warm comfort provided by years of routine was to be no longer present. To make matters worse, the pandemic came along. Returning to Romania after 9 years in Germany, I needed to readjust myself and align what matters to me and my family. While facing the unknown, the repatriation process proved challenging. I was disconnected from a full-time family life commitment, my former social network, the realities of the job market at home and the inherent cultural differences; all these required readjustment from my side.”

Desired Outcome

“My objective was to have a soft landing, readjust to my home country and family life and secure a new job. I have always been rational, and structured. Though I was very effective, working for so many years for the same company loosened my contact with the job market’s current realities. Additionally, spending so much time away from home and family affected both my social network and my work life balance.”

Path to Success

“With PAS, I was able to identify and spend time on my true priorities, from job searching related requirements through personal development and self-care. The biggest impact created with PAS was the initial coaching discussion with my coach around What Really Matters (WRM). Through it, I was able to set up my priorities and goals, and act upon them. Therefore, the purpose became the focus and the driving force behind it all.”

“With the help of my Coach, Adelina Stefan, I identified my development needs and acted upon them. I redesigned my professional brand to make myself and my skills more visible to recruiters, and secure more interviews.”

“With the PAS tools, I measured my progress on personal life tasks,  self-care routine and administrative challenges of home relocation.”

“Basically, with some very effective tools, you get clarity on your objectives, design your actions and achieve the results.”

Actual Result

“I became highly motivated and focused, and acted upon the identified development needs. I also enrolled myself in other courses such as: Agile fundamentals, Scrum methodology as well as upper-level German language. My professional branding documents and my CV were updated and met the current professional requirements. I was able to apply with more confidence to various new jobs. On a personal side, my self-care received its deserved importance and attention, and thus, improved the life balance.”

Support Tools and Success Factors

“Along with the know-how provided by my coach, the Job Description Canvas was very useful in jobs assessment versus one’s expectations. It enabled me to evaluate the potential roles’ challenges against my own strengths, and the terms of the job offers compared to my attributes.Last, the Stakeholder Canvas helped me prepare for interviews considering the objectives and expectations vs challenges, potential for growth and future steps.”

 

A Personal Agility System Case Study

Adriana Carrano is an experienced HR Operations and a talented multilingual professional working full-time in a large tech organization. She is the single mother of an 8-year-old boy and has been living in Switzerland for over 10 years.

She discovered the Personal Agility System, through which, she was able to discover her inner power to thrive personally and professionally. Her career and life coach, Adelina Stefan, spoke with her about her journey.

The Challenge

Adelina: What was the challenge you were facing?

Adriana: “I am a people person; my biggest talent gift is my altruistic heart that guides me. I love what I do not only as a working professional, but also as an individual. I always want to make sure that everybody around me has all they need, but that leaves me with no energy or time for myself. 

“Life is full of unexpected situations, distractions that can be fun or full of stress. So much to do, and there you go… none of my well-planned tasks seem to get 100% resolved. All the books that tell me how important I am never get opened. I would finish each day exhausted, yet thinking ‘I haven’t done anything today’”.

“I believe I have a blessed full life. I have an amazing 8-year-old son and a full time job that I absolutely adore. And I have the CHAOS that governs all of this!”

“I felt like I was out of control. So many things were running together! I was losing sight of urgent topics, and I was even putting off joyful things “for later.” I wanted clarity. I wanted to be sure that I got important things done and I wanted to have time for the joyful things in my life.” 

Desired Outcome

Adelina: What did you want to change? And what did you like about the Personal Agility System?

Adriana: “I really like the metaphor of the boat journey on the ocean of life. I wanted to take charge of my life, get to my destinations and manage the distractions and headwinds in my life.”

“I have always admired people that seem to have it all under control, whose work hours are productive and whose families get the time they need.”

“I started the PAS program wanting to have more quality time for myself and my son and to make better use of my work day. I wanted to lose the stress of unfinished emails at 11pm or waking up at 6 in the morning with my head already full of the unfinished tasks that have been taunting me for a few days.”  

Actual result

Adelina: Now that you have been applying PAS to your life, how is your situation different?”

Adriana: “The Personal Agility Systems helped me align my daily activities with my projections in time, so I could dance through all the challenges that come along.”

“The greatest outcome was realizing I can live my love for people, respond to the needs of others, and pursue my own needs. I can balance my full-time job with my family time. 

“I learned to have patience with myself, to celebrate my accomplishments, and to never let a day finish without telling myself ‘you did your best!’  It makes me the happiest when I look behind and I see the changes in my schedule, in my own way of handling different tasks and applying what I learned to prioritize. Small steps and patience are vital and lead us to great results, but it takes time to get there.”

“As I am a visual person, Personal Agility helped me immensely to see everything in front of me. I connect the different colors  to specific areas in my life.”

“My ideal day does not follow a fixed recipe; rather, I need to be flexible to accommodate the needs and schedules of people at home, in the office and in our locations around the world.

“Now I get my most rewarding feelings when I see what I have accomplished at the end of the day. At the end of each week I see that I have found the right balance between work and family. And I have time for myself! I didn’t realize this before,  but doing things that make me happy is really important — the most important! — even with everything I have to do for work and family.”

Path to Success

Adelina: How did you achieve all this? 

Adriana: “I discovered the Personal Agility System while working with you!”

“Initially I was very shy about using the Priorities Map, but after a week it became a habit. It was so helpful to see my tasks aligned daily and to check all my accomplishments at the end of the week. The best thing was to see the different colours on cards and be able to check the balance of work and personal tasks at a glance.”

Taking it to the next level

Adelina: After you achieved your work/life balance, what happened next? 

Adriana: “After using the Priorities Map every day for over two months, and seeing how beneficial this is, I set up a  simplified version for my son. Of course, he got to make his own choices about what really matters.”

Creating the priorities map

Customized Priorities Map

“Although he is only 8 years old, he discovered the importance of planning, and how knowing what really matters can influence his life. He also learned about realistic planning by seeing how many things he can get done by the end of the day. We celebrate and choose daily, and every Sunday we go to the cinema, to reward us both for the work we have done! 😊”

Creating the Priorities Map

I have started talking with other colleagues about The Personal Agility System and they were curious to see my planning board, to learn more about the story behind the colored labels. As I started teaching my son Personal Agility, in a similar way, I’ve started to introduce PAS to few colleagues too. It is most rewarding to see how something I was struggling with for so long can be of great help for others. ☺ 

“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.”

Lyssa Adkins is best known as the author of the foundational book Coaching Agile Teams, which connected the Scrum Master role and Professional Coaching to give definition to the profession Agile Coach.

She co-founded the Agile Coaching Institute (ACI), which specialized in coaching agile coaches through their agile transformation. She led the development of the ACI until it was acquired by Accenture.

Challenge

Selling the company gave her a clean slate. “The key challenge I had around that time was how am I going to reorient myself and my business and even my public persona so that I can attract the business I wanted to attract, and so that I can do it in a way that didn’t sacrifice the sustainable pace I had very willingly and arduously crafted in my life?”

Desired Outcome

“I wanted clarity in how I spend my time, and to have more kindness to myself. I often didn’t count the things that were in the category of joy and play and family and community and alone time and recharging as valid or real. And I needed to.”

Result

“I definitely achieved that goal. One of my main categories under what really matters was called ample time. I wanted to have ample time to do everything I’m doing fully and well. I absolutely achieved that. Meanwhile, while the business piece was coming back up and getting reinvented, I found myself at the cusp of launching into new business ideas and new business ventures.”

“I had to constantly bring my attention to know relaxation is part of the job. Rejuvenation is part of the job; you’re actually doing tasks. You’re doing work by attending to your own foundation and the resilience that you will need in the future. This is what was going on in my head.”

“It took a long time to rewire the addiction to work, the addiction to achieving, and the addiction to saying yes to too many things (which meant I had to get them done). Getting past this addiction was a huge benefit. It took me a while to consistently direct my attention to what was really important.

That created a lot more happiness and joy in my own life, or maybe just helped me notice how much happiness and joy was already in my life.”

Tools

“Of all the tools of the Personal Agility System, what really stands out for me is the brilliant naming of the ‘Celebrate and Choose’ event.”

“I was on an addiction-to-work rollercoaster where I was moving from one thing to the next. And yes, I would have moments of recognizing my accomplishments or celebrating, but it was not a weekly ritual of celebrating what actually did happen.”

“Since I was tracking all this in my Priorities Map, I could clearly see what I accomplished.”

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh — I can’t believe I got that much done,’ even though I didn’t feel like I had been pushing myself. This new way of being was both more effective and more relaxed at the same time.”

“Personal Agility reminded me strongly that I do not celebrate enough. I wasn’t noticing enough what I accomplished or the gains I had made. I wasn’t giving myself any breaks or even trying to give myself a break. I had to rewire myself around the ritual of celebrating.”

“The ‘Celebrate and Choose’ event helped me recognize what actually did happen. Good, bad, or indifferent, it represents learning and I know I can choose differently next time. That was huge.”

Path to Success

“I think that the biggest thing about Agility itself is transparency.”

“That’s really it in a nutshell. When I get it all out on the Priorities Map — and I’m working my Priorities Map every single day — I’m seeing what’s going on and I’m seeing what I am not getting done. This allows me to be a more conscious choice maker. When I say I want something, and then notice that I’m making different choices, it’s easier to correct my choices toward what I want.”

“I am so aware that Personal Agility will continue to benefit me because it helps me ensure I have the right things on the calendar. My Priorities Map helps me do things completely and not overbook myself or go crazy with too much work in progress.”

Tips for your Journey

“I love the stories that we have heard from people pulling themselves out of desperate financial situations, to people getting in and out of business partnerships, and just making a lot of very declarative and meaningful changes in their lives.”

“Working with the Personal Agility Institute, I have really loved being involved with the groups that Maria Matarelli and I have led through the process. What I’ve learned is that everyone does it a little bit differently. And I love that. So I think to replicate my success, you just use the tools and follow along the process, and you’re going to do it your own way.”

“You will have different things that matter to you, you will have a different way that you’re charting your course across the ocean of your life, you will have different things that get in your way. My particular ways of getting in my own way will not be your particular ways. But all of this can be revealed and worked with in a really kind way.”

Janani Liyanage is an enterprise agile coach who is passionate about helping people embrace the agile mindset. “I want to support people on the road to their success.” Janani is married with an 8-year-old son and lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka. When she started with the Personal Agility System, she was working toward her certifications as a Scrum Trainer and Enterprise Coach. She wanted to connect her passion more with her profession. How could she feel that she is living her purpose every day?

Challenge

“As a person, I wanted to lead the life of a coach, not just do coaching. I wanted to know which opportunities would help me realize my purpose. I was doing too many things. It looked like many things were helping me achieve my purpose, but I wasn’t actually making any progress. I needed to do some filtering to focus on what really mattered.”

Desired Outcome

“I wanted to be my profession. To me, living the life of a coach means I want to lead an agile life. I want to share my inspiration with more and more people. An agile life for me means I want to do things that are meaningful and not always have to say, ‘I am too busy’. We are living in uncertain and chaotic times. I want to be able to stay calm and evaluate what really matters so I can do the right thing. I want to be open to new ideas and new opportunities. I want to get away from being perpetually busy.”

Result

“Initially, I was not able to accept that there was a problem. I would make excuses for why I wasn’t changing.”

“The first thing I achieved was awareness and acceptance. I became able to take accountability for my actions. I had to do some tough negotiations with various people in my life, like my family and my employer. It became much easier to have these crucial conversations.”

“Before, I was plagued by self-doubt and “inner chatter” that interfered with what I really wanted to achieve. Now I am able to act. I’m not sure if I can ever say that I have achieved an agile life, but I feel I am well on the path.”

Path to Success

Janani used the Celebrate and Choose Event, the PAS Priorities Map and Breadcrumb Trail, and the PAS Stakeholder Canvas.

“The Personal Agility System helped me build awareness and acceptance of myself. I could stop making excuses, face the challenges, and take action on the things that matter to me. Now it helps me to take the steps continuously. The next step is, I want to feel more accountable. The visualization of the PAS Priorities Map with the color codes helps me. Before, I needed someone else to appreciate my efforts. Now, with the Celebrate and Choose event, I realize it is more important to explain things to myself than to others. I can appreciate myself for the things that I did and have accountability for the things that I didn’t.”

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