Author Archive

Do I need a Leadership Coach?


The ride is not always smooth for company CEO’s as the journey they have embarked on is full of challenges. They need lots of courage, resilience, perseverance and grit in order to survive and captain the ship in the rough waters. The new leaders has another challenge as they are increasingly operating in the VUCA world today. They need to not just be Servant Leaders, they are expected to demonstrate a Fluid Leadership style. The good news is, they have help in hand. All they have to do is, be willing to seek guidance and support from Leadership Coaches.

Here are some tips for when and why you or your organization needs Leadership Coaching;

Tip 1: When your organization is undergoing radical (transformational) change, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip 2: When your organization has a new leader, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip 3: When your organization need to bring about a cultural change, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip 4: When your organization has witnessed a merger or acquisition, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip 5: When your organization is missed your quarterly earnings, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip: 6: When your organization’s customer complaints have exceeded your threshold limits, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip 7: When your organization’s senior leaders lack listening skills and lack empathy, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip 8: When your organization needs to thrive in the VUCA world, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip 9: When your organization’s leaders fail to see the big picture, you need a Leadership Coach.

Tip 10: When your organization does not figure in the Top 5, in your industry, you need a Leadership Coach.

Hope this helps you decide on hiring a leadership coach.

P.S. Vasanthan Philip is an enterprise leadership and change coach with over 30 plus years of experience having worked with Fortune 500 companies around the world. You can visit his website at 


Finding your Purpose

We are besieged by the daily grindd of balancing our act between, home, work, kids, society, commitments, etc., and forget the fact of why we exist. If only we know the true purpose of our existence, our life would be much easier to navigate. Rarely do we ask this question to ourselves to find our purpose. Maybe subconsciously you already know what your purpose is, but just too scared to claim it. If only if you could live your purpose, you could be revealing the next version of yourself. Barbara Myerhoff, an anthropologist of yesteryears, often considered as a “woman of valor” once said, the self is made, not given”.

We are two versions of ourselves. One, our authentic self, that is, who we truly are, and another what we project as who we are to the world. That is, what we have become. Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach once said, the greater the gap between your true nature, and who you have become in order to please and fit into the world around you, the less your professional life, and the last your personal life will work. He calls this gap as the “Integrity Gap”.

So how do we find our true purpose, and make our lives meaningful? According to an article in the Success Magazine, there are six questions you can ask.

  1. As a child, and back in my younger days, what experiences were the most memorable.
  2. Who is my idol, and why do I admire this person
  3. What are my core values and beliefs.
  4. What causes are near and dear to my heart? And how can I use my professional credentials to help those causes
  5. What goals should I set for myself, and
  6. What do I want my legacy to be.

Here is a wonderful template the renowned psychotherapist Tina Tessina suggests by writing down a list of descriptions about yourself in each of the following categories.

Personal qualities (e.g. friendly, intellectual, a good communicator…)

Your talents (e.g., painting, public speaking, coaching, mentoring….)

The circumstances that tend to repeat in your life (e.g., working with technology, working with children, teaching others, listening to peoples problems…)

Your desires (e.g. travelling, cleaning up the environment, running for political office….)

Then take the answer that is most important to you in each category and complete the following sentence.

I ________________ (your name) am designed to be a ________________ (insert personal quality) who can ________________ (insert talent) and I find myself ________________ (fill in recurring patterns or circumstances) often, because I am supposed to ________________ (desire).

That could be your mission statement as well.

Hope this article has made you think of your true purpose in life.

Have a cheerful day.

Your friendly coach,

Vasanthan Philip

I help individuals and organizations to become more successful, and become world-class.

Emotional Leadership

Read my article on Emotional Leadership published here in an Global HR magazine’s Jan-2018 issue.

Scaling Scrum

Worth reading on Scaling Scrum from the founders….

Ken Schwaber's Blog: Telling It Like It Is

Jeff Sutherland and I have helped hundreds of organizations scale their projects, enable their entire product development, and thread Scrum through their organizations. For sure, none of them were easy, and each had its own unique challenges. Each had its own structure, culture, goals and strategies, challenges, current practices and infrastructure, domains of competence, existing software, and people.

We assert that only a systematic, emergent, managed initiative to scale succeeds. Every initiative to scale is unique. Nobody knows what your organization needs to scale Scrum. And, nobody knows what your organization will look like as you scale.

To get a good feel for what scaling Scrum feels like, I refer you to Eliyahu Goldratt’s “The Goal” (or any of his later books), or Gene Kim and Kevin Behr’s “The Phoenix Project.” You will see the difficulty of teasing through symptoms to root causes, the effort to find solutions, and the…

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Another one on calculating an Initial Velocity

This is adapted from

Velocity is a very simple method for accurately measuring the rate at which teams deliver business value. To calculate velocity, simply add up the estimates of the features successfully delivered in the last sprint or iteration. What about the initial iteration?

Terms to understand when calculating initial velocity:

[1] Number of Developers – How many developers will you have doing actual work?

[2] Capacity – What is the maximum amount of work one person can accomplish in an ideal situation during the iteration?

[3] Number of Iteration Days – How many work days are in the iteration?

[4] Load (Capacity) Factor – The ratio of the actual work output over a period of time and the output if the developer had operated at full capacity over that time period. e.g. 1/3 = 2.4 Hours , 1/2 = 4 Hours, 1/1 = 8 Hours

[5] Velocity – How much Product Backlog value a team can deliver in one iteration.

Because you don’t know team velocity for the first iteration, plan initial velocity at one-third of total capacity in order to account for coffee breaks, design, email, meetings, rework, research, etc. As an example, with seven (7) developers and at one-third (1/3) capacity, a total of 2.1 ideal developers are available. Multiply the number of ideal developers by the number of work days to arrive at the total of ideal work days. These ideal work days will be applied against your estimated features, to arrive at an initial velocity.

(7 [Developers] * 1/3 [Load Capacity Factor]) * 21 [Work Days] = 44.1 [Ideal Work Days]

Happy Scruming….


Initial Velocity

There are occasions when one needs to predict team velocity when there is no historical data available. Here is a good example of how we can establish an initial velocity. This has been adapted from Crisps Blog pages.

“This is how you can get started. Take a well known task/story as your standardised benchmark. If this a rather small story, set it to two story points so you have room for smaller stories. Estimate the rest of the stories relative to this.

Before our first planning meeting we need to know our velocity so we know how much we can commit to. But we don’t have that since we don’t have a history.

To get an initial velocity for our first sprint, we estimate the selected standard story in ideal man days. Let’s say the story is 2 story points and 4 ideal man days, we then know the team can handle 1/2 story point per ideal man day. Use the focus factor to convert ideal man day to calendar days. The focus factor is typically between 50% and 70% depending on the amount of support and interruptions. If the focus factor is 50% we can handle 1/4 story point in a calendar day (1/2 * 50%). If the team consist of five people and the sprint is 14 days we have 70 calendar man days in the sprint. 70 * 1/4 gives that we should be able to bring 17 story points into the sprint. Finally we have our initial velocity.”

Hope you liked it.

Cheers!!! Happy Scrumming.

Adaptive Leadership

December 12, 2013 Leave a comment

What is Adaptive Leadership? Today we talk a lot about Agile, the buzz around it, and how it is helping organizations transform. It is Agile that introduced the term Servant Leader, right? In the context of leadership, these terms are used interchangeably. Lets look at Adaptive Leadership.

1. Adaptive leadership is the practice of mobilizing people to tackle touch challenges and thrive.

2. Adaptive leadership is specially about change that enables the capacity to thrive.

3. Successful adaptive changes build on the past rather than jettison it.

4. Organizational adaptation occurs through experimentation.

5. Adaptation relies on diversity.

6. New adaptation significantly displace, reregulate and rearrange some old DNA.

7. Adaption takes time.

Good leaders should distinguish between technical problems and adaptive challenges. Adaptive challenges can only be addressed through changes in people’s priorities, beliefs, habits, and loyalties. Technical problems can be solved through the application of authoritative expertise and through the organization’s current structure, procedures and ways of doing things.

The adaptive leadership process consists of 3 steps, Observe, Interpret and Intervene. One must be willing to experiment and willing to take smart risks. The adaptive leader shall also engage above (intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical) the next, and below the neck (mind, heart and body).

Finally the adaptive leader is connected to purpose, choosing among competing, legitimate purposes, sacrificing many in the service of one or a few, in doing so making a statement about what you are willing to die for, and therefore what you are willing to live for.

Have a great day.

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