During an Agile For All meeting, we were discussing our different strengths. Obviously, I’m not going to disclose the conversation. However, there was one very interesting highlight that I want to share.
People are familiar with “validation and verification” or “inspect and adapt”. When we were talking about this, Jake (@jcalabrese) threw out something along the lines of: well, really what you are talking about it is more “expect and expand”. Immediately, I had that “ooooh…there is something there”. Now the context for our conversation is not really important here. Instead, let me explore the potential publicly…
- Expect: If you are (reviewing/testing/using/etc), there are expectations I have of what will happen. Now sometimes those expectations were known upfront and sometimes my expectations are discovered upon experiencing. In addition, my expectations could be completely wrong and a conversation is essential. Regardless, when I’m exposed to something, I naturally expect (…).
- Expand: If you have experienced the power of The Wisdom of the Crowd (James Surowiecki), then the thought of not collaborating to expand upon the experience/results…just doesn’t make sense. When I give feedback/ideas, it’s with the intent to expand not to correct/fix.
This might just be semantics to some. However, the words we use do have an enormous impact on how successful we are. I could imagine applying this in reviews, retrospectives, testing, editing, brainstorming, etc…endless possibilities of collaboration. Personally, I find this terminology more honest to what happens and specifically what I intend when I collaborate. Let’s compare a hypothetical:
During a training, I’m observing the trainer to provide feedback. I could use the “Great and Gift” approach. Great: You provided clear expectations for the multi-tasking exercise. Gift: You are speaking too fast, which makes it difficult to understand. Is it great to highlight something as great? Sure. Is it technically an gift to be given an opportunity to grow? Sure. Yet, I’m left feeling a little fake and condescending in this delivery. I have to call it a gift to remind you that you should appreciate that I’m giving you this information. Yeah, just doesn’t feel the best.
Instead, let’s try Expect and Expand. A strong expectation of great trainers is the ability to provide clear instructions for exercises. Your best example of demonstrating this today was associated to the multi-tasking exercise. (This is just a great but a great towards the expectations of basic skills of a trainer, I want them to know both parts). There is no expectation of a maximum number of words per minute when training. However, there is an expectation that learners are able to mentally engage with your delivery speed. Do you recall any moments that felt too fast or slow? (This is not a statement of you do this all the time or not, but a setting of expectations and expanding on why experimentation/evolution is valuable specifically associated to the individual). I noticed you were fastest at the start of the course. What were you thinking/experiencing during those moments? How can we expand on how you were doing towards the middle of the day towards the very start? (Now it’s not just you are talking to fast – slow down but a possible cause to help to experiment with what is leading to this issue.)
How might you leverage Expect and Expand?