Shaking Up The World Of Soft Skills

My adventures of the last few weeks have left my head spinning. I’m awash with new ideas after my keynote slot at ALE17 in Prague, and the conversations which have spun out from that.

I love how the Agile community “gets” Clean Language. It instantly resonates with them, and they find it profoundly useful. It seems to neatly fit a space in their toolkit.

Here’s what ALE17 organiser Silvana Wasitova kindly said about my session: “Judy’s Clean Language keynote session at Agile Lean Europe 2017 (#ALE17) unconference was beyond well-received, several people were still quoting from it the next days. Particularly useful was Judy’s directing the content to the present audience: Agilists, change agents, and people who need to communicate ideas and visions, clearly, and cleanly. Judy gave examples of how that can be, how to formulate wishes and aspirations, and how to request for clarifications in constructive manner. The Clean Language topic can be a great tool for many change agents, that is why we invited Judy to ALE2017, and I continue to recommend Judy and her topics, they are relevant for any audience.”

Agile and Clean Language presumably go together because of the shared values underpinning both approaches. Up to now, I’ve been thinking in terms of shared trust in the ability of people to take their own initiatives, to self-organise in pursuit of shared goals, that kind of thing.

But there’s something else, I realise. Both Agile and Clean Language are disruptive methodologies. We’re both in the business of transforming how things have always been done.

Agile can transform how projects are organised. Clean Language can transform how people communicate with themselves and with others; how people work together; how people experience their world.

We both shake things up, I realise.

Which reminds me of James Geary’s excellent TED talk, in which he argues (among lots of other things) that “Cogito ergo sum” should be translated as “I shake things up, therefore I am. He adds, “Metaphor shakes things up, giving us everything from Shakespeare to scientific discovery in the process.”

Is the distinctive role of Clean Language to shake up the world of “soft skills”?

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