top of page

Q&A with Kirsten Clacey

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Kirsten Clacey, Head of Facilitation & Co-leading Learning.

How could you describe your career path in a few words?

While my education is in Clinical and NeuroPsychology, I choose not to enter the clinical domain. However, over time my path has wound back to helping professions, albeit in different forms. I currently hold the role of Head of Facilitation, co-leading the Learning and Development division at Automattic.

In my early career I experimented with many different roles and industries, including in retail, the nonprofit sector, human resources, insurance, and recruiting. While working as a project manager at a big Insurance company, I discovered Agile Coaching and felt immediate alignment with my personal values and professional motivations. Over the next few years I transitioned to Agile, Facilitation, and Coaching oriented roles.

I co-authored The Remote Facilitator’s Pocket Guide, published in 2020 and since translated into Korean and Hungarian. Around the same time, I co-founded The Remote Coaches, a company that consulted to and trained organizations, leaders, and teams navigating distributed working. Over the last decade, I have coached and facilitated in various roles for leading global firms such as HSBC, AdBlock Plus, Nedbank, Old Mutual, First National Bank, Automattic, Jumo, and Snapscan.

How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years?

I think we’ve seen an increase in flexibility and adaptability. The norm for many organizations has become one of embracing change (whether it’s in response to changing market conditions, customer feedback, or internal challenges). This can contribute to quicker decision-making and product delivery.

One of the things I’m most grateful for is the shift in employee empowerment. Agile principles emphasize self-organizing teams and resourceful team members. This shift to trusting people has in part contributed to greater motivation and satisfaction. It also has resulted in more creative and resilient teams, capable of achieving greater business outcomes.

Will agile practices continue to generate interest ? What challenges do you see in the context of deploying these practices ?

A macro pattern I observe is that the adoption of Agile principles is no longer in the early adopter or early majority phase. I sense that we are seeing companies in the late majority and even laggard categories turning to Agile. What is being asked of ‘Agile’ is very different to ten years ago If we look at the typical traits of these categories. We begin to understand what their expectations of Agile will be:

  • Late Majority - These people are skeptical of change, and will only adopt an innovation after it has been tried by the majority.

  • Laggards - These people are bound by tradition and very conservative. They are very skeptical of change and are the hardest group to bring on board.”

This is not to say that transformation in these companies is not possible, just that it looks different to what we may expect of Agile. I believe we need to attune to what is emergent in the industry and continue to meet folks where they are, rather than becoming prescriptive in our desire for Agile ways of working.

What are you currently excited/learning about?

I’ve become really interested in the potential for organizations to learn. While this is typically referred to as Learning and Development (L&D), I’ve come to understand it as L&C: Learn and Create. Learning is development and so I’m curious about how we expand the conversation to include the outcome. Learning inspires creation.

I think traditional training and L&D can benefit from facilitation and coaching principles. Where training typically focuses on an individual’s learning, I think that teams, systems, relationships, and organizations can learn if we just create spaces for them to. For example, what if a whole team participates in a learning series together?

I’m also really hopeful that the conversation can shift from seeing people as needing to be fixed or broken in some way to seeing them as deeply resourceful, resilient, and already whole. When we work from this stance, it become less about “people needing to know X” and more about learning with folks to help them identify and action what their context is calling for.

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page