Enabling Organization Agility: A Tale of Two Kristyns

Kristyn Silk
There are two Kristyns.  The first worked at a large, well-respected firm, did her job competently, but nothing extraordinary.  The second Kristyn is extraordinary. She is unemployed, and a volunteer Producer/Director of “The New England Job Show”.  It is a new cable program to help people find work, produced, directed and run buy people out of work.  Articles have been been written about the show and carried by the Associated Press.  Good Morning America, Chronicle and Fox are planning to do pieces on the show.  There is interest in expanding the program to help more people statewide. Kristyn is a masterful networker, connecting people everywhere she goes, always looking for new possibilities.

They are both the same Kristyns, only separated by about 5 months.

So what’s different?   If she were to get a job tomorrow, would Kristyn go back to her cube, keep her head down and do her job?

I doubt it.  I don’t think you’ll ever see Kristyn in a position where she’s unable to make a difference in the world again.  Ever.

I asked her what was different.  In her previous job, she’d tried to make things better, but never got much support to make the changes she wanted to make.  There was a lot of talk about change, but nothing changed. When she was laid off, she realized she had to do something special to get noticed.  And she did.

How many of the keep-your-head-down-and-do-your-job Kristyns do you have in your organization who would do extraordinary things with only a bit of nurturing?

For an organization to be truly agile, it is critical to have people who are enabled to give their best.  The next product idea, the killer customer-service model and the next great marketing campaign are probably out there.  You just need to give them room to come out.

In their book a simpler way, Margaret J. Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers write:

Fuzzy, messy, continuously exploring systems bent on discovering what works are far more practical and successful than our attempts at efficiency … They slosh around in the mess, involve many individuals, encourage discoveries, and move quickly past the mistakes  The are learning all the time, engaging everyone in finding what works.  The system succeeds because it involves many tinkerers focused on figuring out what’s possible.

Go find your Kristyns and let them loose.  They are everywhere. And they will make your organization great.

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3 Responses to “Enabling Organization Agility: A Tale of Two Kristyns”

  • Very interesting look at this, and nicely tied into your overall theme. I didn’t know Kristyn at her old job, but I do know her now. I agree that she has probably been able to create more change in the past three months than the previous 10 years. I can relate to that feeling, and I think it is important for job seekers to keep this in mind in their search. If you love making change, look for companies that embrace that philosophy or you may be disappointed.

    As a process improvement guy, I hope to land somewhere that supports the freedom to change the landscape.

  • And of course you can lead the change too. Have you read Tribes by Seth Godin? If not, I highly recommend it.

  • Kristyn now has a full time job.

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