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The “why” behind a career in adaptability and change

I was asked by someone recently about what it takes to have a career in organisational change.

The question challenged me a little because it made me think about my own reasons for choosing to work in this area. Adaptability and change is a very ambitious, complex and demanding path to follow.

And anyone who chooses this line of work has to be prepared for rapid learning and study. It requires patience and a the ability to look behind the surface behaviours of those individuals and organisations you are trying to help.

One has to intuitively know when strategies have to shift in response to unexpected obstacles, opinions and behaviours. Add to this a combination of diplomacy and honesty that is necessary to forge productive working relationships and alliances.

Many times it feels like you are jumping from the plane without a parachute. So you have to be courageous because you leading from a position of literally no power other than your expertise and reputation.

I’ll say it now, you can’t truly manage change. The only change you have any power over is in how you respond to situations. And sometimes that means being brave enough to change your mind  – even if it means losing face.

Change is overcoming your fears using new knowledge and experimentation. If others are not changing then we must change ourselves to create opportunities and set examples for them to follow. When you lead from within you touch, move and inspire others to be courageous and make their own choices, choices you have made clear to them through your own leadership.

I can’t say that what I told the person who asked the question helped them make a decision about getting into the field. But I reminded them to keep asking questions. Because those lead to better questions and yes, better answers as well.

To talk to me about making your organisation adaptable and profitable, please get in touch.


Scam caller stopped dead by one question

We’ve all heard the stories about devious callers trying to fool us to give up our precious credit card numbers. Who does these sorts of calls? What scum would try to scam people out of their hard earned money?

If my wife’s recent experience is anything to go by, the reality is that they’re actually deeply religious people. Yes, there are limits to what they will do in their ‘professional’ lives.

She got a call the other day from an Indian man informing her that someone in her household had been recently involved in a car accident or some such.

She told the man that she was the only person in her household, and oh, by the way, she doesn’t have a car.

Then she did something remarkable. She turned the tables on him.

She simply asked him for his phone number. He read her own number back to her.

“Uh no”, she replied. “That’s my number. I want to know your number.”

He giggled a nervous laugh and asked why she wanted his number. She responded matter-of-factly that since he’s got hers, she should have his. Makes sense, right?

He said he couldn’t give her his number. She replied that she couldn’t talk to him unless he did.

He then mumbled a number, something like 4433222345. She pointed out that it didn’t sound like a real phone number. He insisted it was his real phone number.
That’s when she went for the jugular. Presuming that his Indian accent was an indication as to his culture, she asked ‘Do you swear to God, to Allah, to Ishvar that this is your phone

After a short pause, he mumbled that he couldn’t do that.

She asked why. Silence.

“Because you’re lying?” she added.

She asked again: “Swear to your god that the number you gave me is yours”.

He said no he couldn’t and hung up.

We may have discovered a new tactic in dealing with unwanted callers. Ask them to tie their personal beliefs to their ‘professional’ demeanor.

Expect them to hang up before you do…

Do we need an Ethical Framework in the Software Development and IT Business?

Stephen Parry 1st Grant Rule Talk Transcript


The Grant Talks

Even though many of us work in a world of analysis, data and detailed measurements, Grant never forgot what it was all for, he challenged everyone to help people do better work, improve themselves along with their companies and societies, to realise their human potential to create possibilities for a better life.

So how do we respond to his challenge? How can we influence companies who are simply concerned with shareholder capital without respect for human capital starting with the software development business?

The Grant Rule Trust. The Trust will be seeking to promulgate the insights into effective business practice discovered or inspired by Grant through a series of “Grant Talks”


 By Stephen Parry

Author of Sense and Respond

Grant Rule Memorial Talk Number One    

UK Software Metrics Association 23rd Annual Conference: 21st Century Metrics


Do we need an Ethical Framework in the Software Development and IT Business?

Social Capital

I want to make this notion of ‘social capital’ and changing the lives of people by changing the work environment, particularly software development and IT environments, the main theme for today.

When discussing software development, Grant talked about issues like technical debt, he worked very hard to reduce it by creating and teaching methods to produce software products that worked with little or no rework, that meet the needs of customers and the business.  When he did so, he kept stressing that the work climate needed to foster respect for people, create a blame-free approach and even eradicate fear in the workplace.  This way, software developers could become creative, innovative and adaptive.

Purposeful measurement

Unfortunately, software and IT measurement and development methods in the hands of a particular management style and approach, ones that tend to treat knowledge work as if it were a commodity, is sadly all too common.  Often there are well-intentioned managers who use software and IT measures for the wrong purposes, applying them in order to create work intensification, to assign blame and target under-performing staff.  The wrong measurement applied for the wrong reasons in the wrong way often results in the wrong people being placed in the wrong……. read more….

Download the full transcription here.Stephen Parry 1st Grant Rule Talk transcript