Think Agile to Create an Agile Culture, With Taffy Williams – PS037

Episode Overview

In this episode, Taffy Williams shares his experience, learnings and insights about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur today.  Mindset is a big part of it.  Having  flexible, positive mindsets are key to playing well in this space.  Organizational cultures that value  optimism, opportunities, possibility, resilience, excitement, interest, imagination and creativity enable entrepreneurial characteristics to flourish.

Episode Introduction

Think Agile to Create an Agile Culture, With Taffy Williams

Taffy Williams, author of Think Agile: How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed talks to Positivity Strategist Podcast host, Robyn Stratton-Berkessel about his new book.   It’s a really good read, featuring real-life case studies, stories, and invaluable tools, and what I found particularly valuable in this book is the Concepts to Action section at the end of every chapter.  Taffy provides great insights into the need and value for thinking agilely or flexibility and why it’s important. The book provides practical know how on issues as such as funding, launch timetables, planning, repurposing  and more.

Taffy is the founder and president of Colonial Technology Development Company, which has helped launch a number of successful, entrepreneurial biotech, software, and pharmaceutical companies. He writes the popular Startup Blog,  as well as articles for Examiner.

Motivation for Writing “Think Agile”

The motivation to write “Think Agile” was a confluence of events. After years of varied professional experiences, and helping companies in turnaround situations, Taffy created his Start Up blog, and then began to contribute to the Examiner. His intention is to be able to help entrepreneurs build companies by sharing lessons learned.
The validation to write the book and its title came from talking to a trusted colleague about the need for a flexible mindset for any entrepreneurial endeavor to succeed.

Defining “Think Agile?”

Think Agile is an amalgam of thinking flexibly, and being prepared.  Some things you can prepare for and some you can’t, so a flexible or agile mindset implies thinking more about where you want to go, how to get there and what you might accomplish after you have embarked on the journey.  It implies you are aware in advance that you may have to pull out alternatives and options in the event of something coming up that you could not predict.  It’s about having a number of “what if”  scenarios.

Five Lessons Related to Thinking Agile

Listen into the conversation to learn more about Taffy’s five lessons related to thinking agile. They all come from his lived experience including being a PdD student, a civilian in the military and ongoing business advisor.  Taffy offers interesting examples and practical know-how around each of his five lessons:

  1. Question the status quo
  2. Take more that one shot on goal
  3. Banish bureaucracy
  4. Accept failure as the cost of doing business
  5. Believe you can do anything

Why “Entrepreneur”?

As you listen in, you'll realize that much of what Taffy talks about is relevant and applicable to anyone who has an idea, a passion, a belief they have something to offer in any field of endeavor.  While the book aims to help young entrepreneurs with Taffy seeking to help people fast-track and learn from the experience of others, the ideas and practices works throughout life.  Think agile is akin to having an entrepreneurial mindset.

Agile Culture and Positivity

In enterprises today, irrespective of size, the attributes of an agile culture are the best bet.  The organizational culture that fosters collaboration, participation, inclusion, diversity, curiosity, openness and many others mindsets and practices, that I would deem positive, strength-based and appreciative is what is most likely to sustain and engage and fit with the ethos that collectively we have the capacity and capability to co-create.

Other cultural strengths that come to mind are inclusive decision- making, adept at change, letting go, and resilience.  When you surround your self with people who are curious, optimistic, look for opportunities and who pay attention to unexpected possibilities joy, excitement, interest, imagination, creativity flourish.

All of us, irrespective of our roles or titles can train ourselves by acquiring skills, changing mindsets and beliefs that integrate all dimensions that produce a quality of work and life for all.

Taffy shares what has worked for him and values about himself. What's worked for him is to cultivate a positive attitude, when you need it most, then you’ll be able to access it.  Having a belief and a conviction about what you can do, and the stick-to-it-ness has served Taffy well in his career to date.  He now works for equity, so he truly believes in his own capability to make a positive difference in the long run.


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Consider Repurposing

Many products and services are repurposed.  They are designed originally for one purpose, and, as times change, the composition, the use can be repurposed for something else. Taffy cites a number of examples, ranging from the drug world, engineering and fashion.

“In a fast changing, technology driven world, relatively few things remain successful for long.”

And, excitingly, we humans have all the ability in the world to repurpose ourselves.

I think about the thread of my life and wow, I love that I have been able to repurpose, reinvent, redefine myself.  It's a continous improvement, and a discarding of what no longer serves.  Being and thinking agile is useful!  If you think about the trajectory of your own life, what number repurpose are you on?  What are your stories?

Links Mentioned In This Episode

Books Mentioned In This Episode

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