Thursday, February 01, 2018

What is stopping us from embracing Agile mindset ?

Recently I attended an open session at a school and also, had an opportunity to interact with the teachers. One of the teaching techniques this school has been implementing is called "Thinking and Learning." 
Even though "Thinking and Learning" seem like any other common words, but in the context of the conversation with teachers, it had some deeper meaning. The teacher articulated how they are preparing the kids to for the future jobs, which is predicted to be entirely different than what we see around today.
Since the schools cannot teach a particular subject in the context of an unknown job which would come up in two decades, they are preparing the kids to think and learn in a specific way creating a flexible mindset.
The conversation with the teachers reminded me of what Deming (1990) said
We will never transform the prevailing system of management without transforming our prevailing system of education   
In the next 20 or 30 years, there will be new technologies and a new system in place. The new system needs a different style of thinking and management. The past education (Or the current system in many schools) where the teacher's duty is to teach a set of pre-defined subjects, and the students learn just to get good grades won't work. 
According to Deming,
The relationship between a boss and a subordinate is the same as the relationship between a teacher and student   
Unfortunately, the present leaders/managers and of course all of us have gone through the traditional system of education which encouraged us to study for getting good grades. Senge's in Fifth Discipline expands Deming's thinking about the prevailing education system by saying:
The teacher sets the aims; the student responds to those aims. The teacher has the answer; the student works to get the answer. Students know when they have succeeded because the teacher tells them. By the time all children are 10, they know what it takes to get ahead in school and please the teacher – a lesson they carry forward through their careers of ‘pleasing bosses and failing to improve the system that serves customers’    
In the context of agility and Agile mindset, agilists blame a few leaders in the middle-management or the entire leadership for not having a "flexible mindset." But it looks like, one of the root causes for this failure in embracing the agile mindset seems to be the education system. 
Yes, we can't change the past education system, but what levers do we have at our disposal to revers the impact from the past?
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