Seems like every month or so deserves its latest publication on self-management. Books, articles, offerings …. Most of them rather from an outside perspective. Stories collected from the outside, a little bit better or worse researched.

Usually not real news, but new interpretation, resulting in:

  • you should do A,
  • you should avoid B,
  • accompanied with some bashing on C.

Interesting? Well, maybe if you are interested in fake news. Helpful? Usually not.

Self-management has some theory and there are a lot of stories. But you can’t learn from these stories told by outsiders. You hardly can even learn from the insiders. Because usually the relevant part sits very deep on the inside.

The relevant part, is usually not, what people do (practices, artifacts, behaviors). It rather is, what people think and believe in. And what makes it hard to trace from the outside: its the multiplication of thoughts and beliefs from many people inside.

This is the same repetitive story, which happened at Toyota, whom it took decades to develop their own system, copied by many, published as “Lean” and failing heavily as such. because not being of any difference. It took most Western companies a decade to understand, that Toyota’s success had not been about their practices, but about their way of thinking and deeply ingrained beliefs.

There are many tired and frustrated people out there, longing for „new ways of working“. They are hungry to hear fresh stories about different ways, some unmet desire. These stories can be an inspiration. But reality gets distorted, the essence is not really met, as long as stories don‘t come from the originators. And finally such stories finally can just not be copied. You have to invent your own, tell your own, shape your own path.

Conclusion? Simple. Blue pill or red pill. Keep on reading the war stories from those, who were not at war. Or better start conversations on your own thoughts and beliefs. Because before it comes to self-management, its starts with self-awareness.

You decide, which is the red and which is the blue pill.

Mike Leber

Mike Leber

Executive Consultant, Enterprise Agile Coach and Trainer at Agile Experts
Agile is my passion and Adaptive Organizations are my focus. I coach organizations, leaders, teams and help my clients to grow their own capabilities, making them fitter for the future. I am an Enterprise Agile Coach, a Scrum trainer (also for Scrum in Hardware), an Accredited Kanban Trainer (LKU), a Management 3.0 and Lean Change facilitator.
Mike Leber
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