There are three kinds of tensions:
- Practical or process tension: the goals of the project are not clear, an unexpected problem shows up causing the timing to shift, (temporarily) not having access to the right tools, etc.
- Personal tension: not feeling able to do what is expected in the new role, low self-esteem, internal resistance against agile working, not being able to voice needs and concerns, etc.
- Interpersonal tension: not getting along with a colleague, customer or supplier; having conflicts with them; not feeling comfortable in their company, etc.
The four phases of the bonding cycle (by George Kohlrieser) are: attach, bond, separate and grief.
For any change (project) this means that people have to separate from the old situation in order to attach and bond to the new one.
On the one hand this means being able to say goodbye to the old way of working in order to embrace agile working. On the other hand this dynamic is at play with every other change. For example when a project ends, when the team composition changes or when flexible (home) working is introduced.
The phase that is usually forgotten is the grief phase. When there is not enough space, time and the proper attention, people can get stuck there. The result is that they are not engaged and committed to the new situation.
When agile working or a new project is started, the following phenomenon often shows up: since most people don’t know how to properly deal with tensions, the vibe goes down and they end up temporarily or permanently in the grief phase of the bonding cycle.
To deal with these underlying causes, we use two ingredients:
- The D.U.E.T. process to transform tensions, which allows the vibe to rise.
- Compassionate Leadership to facilitate this process as Agile Coach, Scrum Master, Product Owner, Lean Consultant, Chapter/Tribe/Squad Lead or Chapter Coach.