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About: Our mission: Wholehearted

Our mission: Helping organisations grow in wholeheartedness – to become less at war with themselves, their obstacles, imbalances, and contradictions identified and owned, value and meaning created through authentic engagement.

Wholehearted image

Wholehearted describes both a vision to pursue and something we can help you experience right away: people engaging on issues that matter, articulating outcomes in their own words, co-creating a coherent way forward. It’s what we do!

Many and varied are the obstacles that we have helped organisations think and work their way beyond, but these are common:

  • Strategy, objectives, accountabilities, or performance inadequately defined or understood
  • Gaps between demand and capacity or between expectation and capability (often these go together)
  • Customer involvement in the process – whether too little or too much of an unhelpful kind
  • Slowness in bringing forward innovation in product, service, technology, or process

Being both needs-based and outcome-oriented means that we don’t just settle for quick fixes to obvious problems. Neither (and despite our undoubted expertise) do we seek to impose our designs on others uninvited. Rather, we help you identify, articulate, and understand your “ideal best” in the context of what you do now, and vice versa. That way, you find both opportunity and direction, and keep the two connected.

Where we’re coming from: Agendashift’s founders, partners, collaborators, supporters, and champions work at the exciting intersection of Lean-Agile, Strategy, and Organisation Development, are growing into that space, or see its potential for their organisations.

Working at the intersection image

What sets us apart: a fundamentally needs-based and outcome-oriented approach to strategy, development (change), and delivery that helps people to engage meaningfully on the issues that matter, to pay explicit and continuous attention to needs and outcomes, and to energise, inform, and sustain this process through participation.

Image: Things on the right ahead of the things on the left

The challenge that motivates us: When any of these crucial elements go missing, the organisation exposes itself to the familiar risks of solution-driven and process-centric approaches: mediocrity, disappointment, and (most damaging of all) disengagement. Ironically, many change management approaches exacerbate the very problems they are called upon to solve; no wonder then that so many change initiatives fail. Isn’t it time we left those tired old ways behind?

Image: The failings of solution-first approaches

Let’s do this thing together! Inviting us to work with your organisation is a small act of leadership and staff engagement that generates plenty more of both in return. What a great investment!

We’re wholehearted – are you?


The original inspiration for our characteristically needs-based and outcome-oriented use of the word wholehearted is this short paragraph from a classic book, The Timeless Way of Building, by the renowned architect Christopher Alexander:

A thing is whole according to how free it is of inner contradictions. When it is at war with itself, and gives rise to forces which act to tear it down, it is unwhole. The more free it is of its own inner contradictions, the more whole and healthy and wholehearted it becomes.

The Timeless Way of Building>, Christopher Alexander (1980, OUP USA)

On the surface at least, Alexander is writing about the design of buildings and the built environment. However, deeply struck by the metaphor and its application to organisation design, in my 2019 book Right to Left I wrote this:

I love the idea that as leaders and trusted advisers we can choose to be in the business of helping organisations to be more wholehearted ... (If) we improve our delivery processes by removing impediments to flow, then we improve our organisations by removing impediments to alignment.

I choose this! Do you?

Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile
Mike Burrows (2019, New Generation Publishing)

Mike Burrows, with Steven Mackenzie, Dragan Jojic, Karl Scotland, Teddy Zetterlund, and Kjell Tore Guttormsen

Agendashift™ is copyright © 2015-2020 Positive Incline Ltd. All rights reserved. The page Our mission: Wholehearted by Mike Burrows of Positive Incline Ltd is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

Source text maintained at github.com/asplake/agendashift-open/tree/master/about/wholehearted.md (github.com)

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About us

Agendashift™ is brought to you by Positive Incline Ltd, UK-based specialists in Lean, Agile, strategy, and change. Founder Mike Burrows came to prominence in the Lean-Agile community as the orginator of Kanban’s values model, out of which came his first book, Kanban from the Inside (2014). His more recent books Agendashift (2018) and Right to Left (2019, audiobook 2020) bring a resolutely needs-based and outcome-oriented perspective to change, transformation, and the Lean-Agile landscape as a whole, contributing meanwhile a number of popular tools, games, and other resources. He works as a consultant, facilitator, and trainer, and as a keynote speaker at events public and private around the world.

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