Nothing comes from nothing - how to cope with the agile working world

"Agile transformation is often seen purely as a process issue. The personality of the executives who are to drive this change is usually neglected. However, executives with an agile mindset are the decisive factor for successful business transformation," writes Prof. Dr. Martin Puppatz, Co-Founder of the LINC Personality Profiler, in an article published in Harvard Business Manager.

My client, a board member in one of the largest US coaching companies, had precisely this insight for himself as well. The situation: for two months, the company where he is responsible for content has had a new CEO, 20 years younger than Craig and a "process-loving agile doer." "He has my utmost respect. It's actually a dream come true for me. For more than two years, we had a CEO who didn't want to change anything. Now we have a CEO who is open and curious, very growth-oriented and agile. For me, this is a completely new situation. But I have to learn to embrace it. I'm used to dominantly implementing my ideas. I'm a leader par excellence - I like to push ahead. That's no longer possible. My specific question is: How can I use the insights from my LINC Personality Profiler (*a personality tool based on the Big Five) to address the challenges, especially in communication, with my new supervisor and develop as a leader?"

What exactly do you want to develop further?" is the first question I ask.

"I need to change my communication and my approach to communication."

"What exactly?" I want to know further.

"I'm very enthusiastic, exude a lot of energy and like to propose concrete ideas. That doesn't really work for this guy. It took me ten days on our first project to figure out what he wanted."

The LINC Personality Profiler leads him to the following findings:


People with a high level of enthusiasm get excited quickly and actively share that enthusiasm with others. In Craig's case, his high level of enthusiasm has so far led him to move very soon into implementation instead of taking the necessary time from the beginning to clearly define project goals and results. Instead of transparent communication, he has so far simply implemented the steps he thinks are right. On the way to the goal, he loses his CEO - so misunderstandings occur again and again.

As a first step toward improvement, he plans to coordinate individual processes verbally and in writing with the CEO from now on. To this end, he wants to create a team folder that will be used for regular exchanges and in which everyone can track each individual step.

In addition, in the future, he wants to focus less on his passion - promoting coaching products - and more on discovering new opportunities in the process.

"How can you succeed in implementing this new approach actively and sustainably in everyday life?" I want to know from him.

"I just have to do it," Craig replies.

"What else?" I ask him. Silence.

"What do you think about taking your enthusiasm and giving it a new direction? Instead of being very passionate about rapid product development and extensive marketing activities as you have been - now embedding your enthusiasm in the direction of agile process orientation?" Craig is excited, "That's exactly the solution! It allows me to be authentic about my new path. I'm fundamentally open and willing to learn. Walking this learning path with enthusiasm is right up my alley!"


"My high dominance is certainly an obstacle! I need to learn to be less directive and communicate less dominantly. Instead of saying, 'I'm going to do this - period,' I should be curious and willing to learn how the process might turn out. I need to learn to engage with the agile process rather than trying to determine the direction." Craig reflects.


Craig's high expression in the imagination facet leads him to already have the big picture in mind while the CEO is still busy with the starting point in the process. Craig's thinking in visions and his great imagination cause him to lose the CEO, especially in agile processes. For him, the vision is already clear while the CEO is still defining it.

"I've lost a lot of time because I've been going by my vision without questioning his. I'm just now realizing that he's developing his vision, not having it in front of him from the beginning. I have to learn to engage in that development process."


"What helps me is my openness. I am interested in new developments and love creative solutions. I also love to question old patterns to try out new activities, even if the previous path has proven successful. In short, I love change and am open to it."

Openness is a perfect prerequisite for agile transformation processes, which helps Craig be a driver of change. His reflection on this was exemplary: "As a top leader, I haven't been in the position of 'learner' for many years. This is now a great and exciting opportunity to not be the expert of the process."


"One of the essential requirements of the agile working world is cooperation," writes Prof. Dr. Puppatz in his article. And further: "Flat hierarchies and teamwork are increasingly replacing the old, entrenched structures. So anyone who wants to be successful here had better be a team player than a lone wolf. This characteristic is reflected in the (character) dimension Cooperation."

Craig's personality profile fits this requirement exactly. His cooperative traits - trust orientation, altruism, humility and empathy - support him in his intention to embark on the agile learning journey. A real booster for him is that the CEO returns the trust he places in him: "He supports me a lot, trusts me, chose me specifically for this position and wants me to succeed. It's a good environment to grow."

Suppose you also want to know in which environment you are offered optimal opportunities to grow or avoid a mismatch. In that case, it is worth looking at your personality traits in terms of the Big Five Model (the predominant model in psychology for describing personality). This way, you can find out which character traits and competencies are a good match for your current challenge and how you can avoid a mismatch or proactively counteract it. Should you need support in this regard, feel free to contact me - together, we will find the optimal opportunities for you to grow!


[Translate to English:] | Elnur