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Its Okay To Work Things Out For Yourself

During their November 2020 appearance on Mark Graban’s podcast, Lean Blog Interviews, Mary and Tom Poppendieck explored the ideas of lean practice at work. During the final minutes of their appearance Mary explained her opinions on learning from others and the importance of doing exactly that. She stated that “The ideas from twenty, from ten years ago are pretty much obsolete this decade” and therefore, “we need to start taking some leads” from “kids [her] grandkids’ age”.

Although the above is a paraphrased version of her full quote, it does sum up the general point of her closing statement. With the nature of the world constantly evolving, life expectancy only getting greater, and retirement age being further along the line, you find yourself in a situation where people in their sixties and some even in their seventies are contributing to the workforce. As Simon Sinek explored in his online talks; leadership comes from an individual that is willing to go out of their way to assist the person to their right, and their left. Therefore, there needs to be more space for older members of the workforce to learn from their younger colleagues.

Think about it this way, many of the fresh-faced graduates from university would have grown up around mobile phones, and they are only going to be more and more well-versed in mainstream technologies which may baffle the older generations.

Surely there are still people you know that refrain from existing in the digital world; perhaps a grandparent that still has a basic phone from 2006, and has never needed to get it replaced, as it performs its essential functions; meanwhile they sit awed by their grandkids capacity to send wordy messages with haste, without looking at the keys as they clack clack clack on their screens. It’s a similar process. Teaching an elderly relative, the basics of Facebook is obviously different to explaining to a colleague how they use new software, but, it is in essence, a very similar experience, often lead through observation and follow-the-leader exercises, with an absence of jargon wherever possible, to avoid confusion.

When you are in this process, it may prove tempting to ask people around you, in the same positions elsewhere for help, tips and direction, and as much as that is fine, you should not be afraid to swim these murky seas. You are capable of figuring out how to navigate this on your own, and work out what works for you. It’s okay. After all, you know yourself, and your team better than other experts will. Take what they say with a pinch of salt. It’s okay to figure things out on your own, at your own pace. Implementing practices in the workforce is not a race; you can’t just make your organisation agile overnight. You need to open your eyes to a new perspective; fumble, fall, and learn.

After all, you learn more from one failure than you do a lifetime of successes.

Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (, is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.

He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.

The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.

To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address:

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