The Agile Executive

Making Agile Work

Addition to the Social Contract

with 3 comments

Readers of the post A Social Contract for Agile might recall the recommendations to the executive championing Agile roll-out amidst layoffs: Commit to invest in Agile training ; apply the training to employees who  might be affected by forthcoming layoffs just as you apply it to those likely to be kept with the company.

Having just read The Living Company by Arie de Geus, I am much impressed by his suggestion how to handle layoffs. He proposes the following line when employees must be laid off:

Yes, the institution is in dire times, and we have to so something about it. One of the things we have to do (having taken some care to reshape our cost structure everywhere) is to eliminate some jobs, including yours. Having said this, we still have an implicit contact with you. Are there other ways to develop your potential that do not stand in the way of developing the potential of the company?

These words of wisdom are anchored in an overarching view of the employer-employee relationship in an enlightened  class of companies de Geus calls river companies. I would contentd his words could be effectively used in any company on two conditions:

  1. The Agile executive is 101% sincere. He/she will do his very best to implement this modus within his sphere of influence. 
  2. The company understands and accepts that the benefits of the Agile executive doing so exceed any downside legal risk.

Written by israelgat

April 11, 2009 at 10:41 am

3 Responses

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  1. […] quite relevant to the commitment proposed in the posts A Social Contract for Agile and Addition to the Social Contract: Commit to invest in Agile training ; apply the training to employees who  might be affected by […]

  2. Israel, I am so glad that you have captured your compassion and vision on this topic. I have told several people about it. I wanted you to know that your approach to teams and executive commitment have had a big impact on me.

    Jean Tabaka

    July 20, 2009 at 3:02 pm

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Jean. The blog to me is all about impact. Tricky that it is to measure blog impact, I am immensely gratified whenever a reader indicates he/she found meaningful and/or actionable insights in my posts.

    Thanks again!



    July 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm

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