Leadership Is Direction Plus Constraints
Luke Kanies

Hi Luke. I’m a consultant working with a Fortune 500 company on what they call “Breakthrough Performance”. They decided Agile was the way to achieve it, I said no for various reasons, and we now have a “hybrid agile” framework, which is really just agile super light, or incorporating some agile ideas into current process.

Senior leadership has decided that their senior direct reports are not achieving “breakthrough performance” because they’re too focused on constraints. They’ve now been asked to stop execution and ignore constraints to “imagine Nirvana", to “throw spaghetti at the wall” and to “think outside the box”.

The execution layer is very good at transformation, doing an as-is and to-be and figuring out the path between. “Imagine Nirvana" though has them thoroughly perplexed (I imagine as both a nebulous phrase and also few are so passionate about their work that they could pretend anything Nirvana like about it).

My question to you is do you see any way to “breakthrough” or even achieve reasonable growth without defining the constraints? If this was your company to lead, what would you say? Oh, and the mandate isn’t to see what works or is possible, but to produce large, concrete revenue targets. ;)

Not asking you to solve this issue- simply curious about your gut reaction to this construct.