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Transforming Complex Concepts into Accessible Strategies | Anton Skornyakov

Transforming Complex Concepts into Accessible Strategies | Anton Skornyakov| 561

Learn How to Build Resilience in Today’s Fast-Paced World

A conversation with Anton Skornyakov the importance of knowledge work and making processes in software accessible, understandable, and actionable in other fields.

Step into the world of thought leadership with host Bill Sherman on the latest episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership. Joining him is Anton Skornyakov, the Managing Director and co-founder of Agile.Coach, who brings a wealth of knowledge from his diverse background in mathematics, physics, and teaching Scrum methodologies. Anton’s journey into the realms of leadership and coaching offers a fascinating exploration of how technical expertise can be translated into accessible language for beginners.

Anton’s multilingual proficiency – with Russian as his first language, followed by German, and English as his third – adds an interesting layer to his ability to communicate complex ideas in a clear and relatable manner. As he delves into the intricacies of teaching Scrum and workplace transformation, he shares valuable insights on the art of moving from highly technical jargon to language that resonates with beginners. His approach is rooted in active listening and attentiveness to the audience, ensuring that concepts are conveyed effectively and comprehensively.

A key aspect of Anton’s teaching methodology lies in the use of metaphors drawn from everyday experiences. One of his favorite metaphors involves assembling Ikea shelves, which serves as an analogy for understanding knowledge work. By comparing the process of assembling furniture to the nature of knowledge work – where the majority of time is spent on cognitive tasks rather than physical labor – Anton provides a tangible framework for grasping complex concepts. Through such relatable examples, he emphasizes the importance of managing knowledge work effectively to drive success in various industries.

When it comes to identifying his target audience, Anton emphasizes the value of specificity. His insights are tailored for middle management professionals tasked with organizing work for their teams, regardless of the industry they operate in. By distilling his expertise into actionable advice, Anton aims to empower leaders with practical strategies for navigating unpredictable projects and fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. His goal is to make his insights accessible and applicable to a wide range of professionals, from software developers to non-profit managers.

Anton’s journey from training to writing his book reflects his commitment to validating ideas through real-world applications. By testing his material through blog articles and training sessions, he ensures that his insights resonate with his audience and offers tangible value. His upcoming challenge in thought leadership involves generalizing his insights even further, drawing on patterns from physics to provide enlightening “A-ha” moments for managers. As he continues to explore new frontiers in leadership and workplace transformation, Anton Skornyakov’s insights promise to inspire and empower leaders across industries. Tune in to this captivating episode for a deep dive into the world of thought leadership and practical strategies for success.


Three Key Takeaways:

  • Effective Communication: Anton Skornyakov’s approach to bridging technical language with accessible explanations underscores the importance of active listening and adaptability in communication. By leveraging everyday metaphors, he demonstrates how complex concepts can be made relatable to beginners, fostering understanding and engagement.
  • Embracing Knowledge Work: Anton highlights the significance of understanding knowledge work in modern-day tasks, where cognitive tasks often outweigh physical labor. Through relatable examples like assembling Ikea shelves, he emphasizes the need for effective management of knowledge work to drive success across various industries.
  • Audience-Centric Approach: Anton’s focus on targeting middle management professionals underscores the value of specificity in thought leadership. By tailoring his insights to meet the needs of this audience segment, he aims to empower leaders with practical strategies for navigating unpredictable projects and fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration.

If you need a strategy to bring your thought leadership to market, Thought Leadership Leverage can assist you! Contact us for more information. In addition, we can help you implement marketing, research, and sales. Let us help you so you can devote yourself to what you do best.



Bill Sherman Thought leadership can often feel like an unpredictable project. You can bounce from one writing project to another speaking project. But where are you headed? It’s really easy to stay busy. But you have to put some thought and purpose around these opportunities. Today I speak with Anton Skornyakov, the managing director and co-founder of Agile Coach. Anton has recently published his first book, the Art of Slicing Work. And in today’s conversation, we’ll talk about his journey and writing the book itself as an outgrowth of his workshop, as a way of collecting and testing stories and metaphors, and as a plan to identify the most confident and most risky parts of the project. Thought leadership may come with surprise opportunities, but it doesn’t have to be a roller coaster. I’m Bill Sherman, and you’re listening to Leveraging thought leadership. Ready? Let’s begin.

Bill Sherman Welcome to the show, Anton. Thank you for having me here. So I’m excited to dive into this conversation. I think there’s a lot of ground to cover on making ideas accessible and making work accessible as well. And since your work and thought leadership has combined the two. I want to start with a little bit of your background from a language perspective, right? First off, this is I believe your third language is English if I remember.

Anton Skornyakov That’s right. My first language is Russian. Second is German. I mean, they’re both kind of first ones, but then there’s English.

Bill Sherman And so then also in your studies you studied mathematics and physics, which they’re both languages of their own, right.

Anton Skornyakov It’s true here, such as mathematics is actually the language of physics and other than nature, science.

Bill Sherman Exactly. So, here’s my question for you. You’ve worked in teaching scrum. You’ve worked at sort of workplace transformation and helping people understand principles of work. I want to focus on shifting from a very technical language, the non-technical language, to make it accessible for a beginner. How do you do that and what have you learned in your career?

Anton Skornyakov Well, to be honest. So, my I don’t if I had a process, there would be, I guess, two components of this. The first part is actually listening to other people whenever they are. So there is great both leaders out there. And whenever, whenever I’ve been to a talk or to a conference or tours, I always notice when they use very simple metaphors, very small little metaphors, and I would note them down. So I have a, you know, file on my computer that has a tremendous amount of different metaphors that are all broken down into, like, this is some good, a great metaphor to show what self-organization is about. This is a great metaphor to show the touch, to talk about transformation of an organism. Or and this is a great metaphor for, you know, for, for a machine, not an organism, and this kind of things. And this is, this is, I guess, the one thing. So to have this and the second one is, I guess once you are in a situation when it’s your job to teach people things, and when you are attentive, you notice when, when they understand or and or when they don’t. And so what I do, I mean, I guess I give, I don’t know, 30, 40 trainings a year at least. So when I have this opportunity to explain things to people, I basically use different metaphors. And when you start to do that, you start looking at your everyday life and identifying things there that are worth telling people. For example, my most beloved metaphor that I actually love talking about is Ikea shelves. So, I took this, that there was this one thing that we need to understand about the nature of work that we are in, is that a lot of work that we as humans are being paid for today, more and more is something we call knowledge work, and that’s a very big term. It could be very abstract, but then look at you going to Ikea and buying two exactly same shelves. So if you do that and you come home and you build the first one, you assemble it. You may use, I guess one hour. So how long is it going to take for you to assemble the second one?

Bill Sherman Fraction of that. Hopefully.

Anton Skornyakov Right. Yeah. It’s going to be a fraction. It’s typically it’s like 20 minutes maybe half an hour. So. So what is the difference. Why is there a difference what you’ve done in the first time when you when you assembled it was you did a lot of knowledge work. You learned how to build it. You read the how it the guide and you made some mistakes on the on your way. Right? So, you had to correct the mistakes and also all the things that you don’t have to do when you do it the next time. So, when you when you assembled the shell for the first time, you did kind of 50% knowledge work, 50% manual work. So, when you do it the second time, you only do the manual work. Now that makes it clear what knowledge work is now. When you apply this, for example, to people building software, these guys come to work. And after they’ve spent eight hours working, they leave the company and they have changed maybe 50 lines of text. Just writing the lines, just typing it is maybe five minutes. Right. So for these guys, it’s 99.9% of their time that they spend at work. That is knowledge work. If they know exactly what it is, they have to do it. The typing of it is just five minutes, right? And then you can think of other things that we humans do in our work, and you will realize all the things where knowledge work is not the standard part. There is also care work that we do. There’s also a lot of that, but more and more of the manual work is automated. It’s automated either by algorithms or AI or robots. So it’s one of the important things to understand once you realize, all right. It’s actually knowledge work that we humans do. You realize that learning. To manage. It becomes more and more important in our, you know, if you want to earn money basically. And that’s just an easy example that I realized once I was obviously assembling to a kit sells well.

Bill Sherman And what I like is a word that you used in early in the description of the story is being attentive. Right? I think one of the roles of thought leadership is to look for those moments, either of metaphor or analogy or example, and then to be able to polish that in a way that you can transmit it easily, quickly, repeatedly, so that people can go, oh, I get it right. And that doesn’t require the specialized knowledge. We didn’t have to go through line by line every step in construction of the shelves. People could listen into this and go, yep, I’ve been there. I’ve grumbled and cursed and had done to do two steps because I put that board in backwards. Right? And so with that, your audience becomes incredibly important to knowing who you’re talking to, right? And so, you’ve talked about delivering trainings. You’ve talked about the book that you’re working on that will be coming out. My question is who is your audience? Who are you trying to speak to and communicate with?

Anton Skornyakov That’s actually a hard part of my book, because, you know, whenever you’re trying to sell a product, whenever you try to attract anyone. The more specific you are, the better that will. Anyone will tell you that.

Bill Sherman And well that’s the paradox.

Anton Skornyakov Right?

Bill Sherman You say the book is for everyone. It’s for no one. Yeah.

Anton Skornyakov Well, yeah. And the book isn’t for everyone, but it’s for everyone who has to organize work for other people. And this is completely independent of the industry. So typical person who would read the book and say, oh, oh, interesting. Now I can change something. Would be the typical middle manager, someone who has at least, say five people to manage a project with. For them, the book will be there is going to be a lot of moments when they read it, and there is a lot of people out there who have very specific advice, who are receiving very specific, great advice, especially in the people, people working in the software industry part. There’s a lot of very refined advice for them, for their project management that involves things that I’m talking about in my book. But there is a tremendous amount of people working in nonprofits and government organizations or in organizations that are commercial, but that are completely independent of anything that has to do with software, like the one of the examples in my book and using is a is a large chain of bakeries that have a problem quality problem with one of their pastries that they’re selling and how they would go about a process improvement project. Right. So that’s sounds very, very technical, but it’s actually very accessible since, you know, everyone can think of a pastry and what it like, how it tastes and what it could mean to bake one. But the idea is that the principles laid out in the book of, they come actually, they originate and they were honed and perfected in the software industry over the last 30 years. But this book is trying to make them accessible and usable and actionable to people who are dealing with projects that have certain amounts of unpredictability inside nonprofits or governmental organizations. So. So this book is for anyone who would be better at such projects.

Bill Sherman And let’s stay there for a moment, right? So if I think about nonprofits specifically, the first word that comes to mind, mind is not necessarily process, but a passion, right? And often the people who are attracted to work in that organization believe in the cause that the organization supports. And they may not, may or may not come from a business background or a technical background, but really sort of a mission and values based background. And so one of the things that you’re talking about is transporting ideas, ideas that are common in software industry, like you said, hey, these have been hammered out for 30 years. But what if we take them to a new audience that isn’t hearing about them? And for them, this may be the first time that they’re hearing about these ideas. And so that’s my question when you’re doing this messaging. Are people responding as if it’s new and they haven’t heard about it at all? Or is it. I’ve heard about that, but I don’t think it’s for me. Where where’s the entry point that you start with?

Anton Skornyakov So that’s interesting. I. So once I’m in a conversation with people. So the question is right. How does the conversation start? How do people exactly find out that it’s maybe something worth thinking about? You know, really dealing with something like agile processes or flexible processes or dealing with unpredictable projects. To be honest, I think most of the people that I speak to that, you know, in my in my trainings, I always have two spots for people who work in nonprofits. So that’s why I kind of continuously talk to them. And I’m exposed to their questions. And you’re completely right that a lot of these organizations are very differently driven. They’re very passionate, driven, that have very different kind of challenges than the commercial organizations that I work with. And so I guess the answer would be it’s the failure. It’s the failure that drives people to listen to this kind of metrics that the failure of project for the failure of the failure of planning. It’s very that’s why those principles are so this is very fundamental. It’s actually not about. So the principles that I’m laying out there are very actually simple and fundamental because whenever we, whenever we are dealing with any kind of project, we want an impact, right? In a commercial organization, we want to make we make money in a nonprofit. We want to have an impact on the society. We want elderly people to get better medical treatment or very, very clear, simple things. Right. And we when we know this is going to be a big project, we kind of try to start and plan a lot. We plan and then if we are in a larger organization, we have to negotiate, because in the end, when the project is going to work, who’s going to be responsible for what? And maybe in the end we’re going to have a new structure and someone is going to be heading this direction. So when that’s not and the bigger the project, the more we plan, but the bigger the project, the higher up the probability that what we plan is just not going to work out as we do, and especially when our project is anyhow. So if when the goal of our project is to affect how people will behave. Change the way we treat the elderly in our neighborhood. When we help them get to a hospital, or change how the market is going to respond to a new product, or change the quality of all pastries in the 1000 bakeries that we own, and how people will bake them and store them in our shops. It’s all about changing how people will behave. And whenever we try to do this, whenever we try to have a project that ends up it being in changing how people behave, it’s unpredictable. Because no matter how well-meaning we are, whenever we change something, people will they turn out to just behave differently. They sometimes they are gaming the system and taking more out of that. Sometimes they just resist change. And whenever we plan something for very long, if we just find in the very end that people are not behaving the way we want it, we end up with a failure because we invested a lot of time, a lot of effort. We maybe rolled out something very complicated, something that took a lot of time. And then we have and then and this is this is how people basically come to listen to my trainings or to talk to my content is the kind of thinking, well, I tried that a couple of times and actually it’s painful. It’s really painful. And maybe there are better ways. And this failure is actually opening. Most of the people that I work with, it’s they are opened up by the amount of failure that they experienced. In fact, this is this is one of the reasons I always have a lot of students asking for like student discounts, but I don’t I don’t give that because I don’t find in my experience, I don’t find that people who have not had experience with work, that they really understand the concepts, they kind of understand them theoretically, but they cannot really connect them to their experience in working and well.

Bill Sherman And I’m staying here on the concept of failure. From moment I can see where after a project that has gone awry, the first thing that I might do would be to look inward and say, what do I know already that I could have done better right then I might go to my peers or colleagues in my field and say somebody else knows something. And then as that sense of frustration and failure builds, I may start looking outside of my field and go, somebody has got to know a way to solve this. And it doesn’t matter if it’s in the not for profit or government space. Who’s got an answer that I can borrow? Right?

Anton Skornyakov Yeah. There is one thing to add, because the normal way of what happens, like the normal reaction of any organization that had a big project went very well. And then in the end, it fails because some of the surprises came up. The normal way to deal with it is to start to think, oh, we didn’t plan enough, right? We did not analyze enough. If we just analyzed enough, we would have seen the failure that ended up failing us. And that is that is a very that is kind of giving you hope. Right? So you have to fail a couple of times to kind of really understand who the failure is, is really not it this one particular project, it’s the way we handle it. You have it kind of digging a hole a little, a little deeper before you understand you are in a hole and you should stop digging.

Bill Sherman And that it’s a systems-based problem rather than a knowledge based problem. Yeah, yeah. I’m sorry. If you’re enjoying this episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership, please make sure to subscribe. If you’d like to help spread the word about our podcast, please leave a five-star review at and share it with your friends. We’re available on Apple Podcasts and on all major listening apps as well as forward slash podcasts.

Bill Sherman So you you’ve mentioned process of writing a book and you have a book that’s coming out. I want to talk about the evolution of that book and how it came to be. Right. So and we’ve talked a little bit about this before. You didn’t wake up one morning and say, hey, my goal is to write the book and I’m going to line everything up, talk to me about that journey of how you went from your work in trainings to it’s time to write a book.

Anton Skornyakov I have to start with the point that what makes it, what makes my perspective, I guess, unique because a certain extent. So, so my, my background is I’ve been a physicist and a mathematician. I studied this especially in particular like statistical physics, which is part of physics where we do not talk about the particles, but it’s about how do huge systems behave, like why is, for example, why do we know with tremendous detail how every atom will behave? But why are we so terrible at predicting how 1 billion particles will behave at the same time? We’re terrible at that. Like when I say we, we mean like the science. And how can we how can we describe, what they do and how can we describe things like temperature and, and stuff and thickness and things and so, so it’s about system. So then. I realize it was too theoretical for to me. Then I became an entrepreneur, then I became a coach for other entrepreneurs. And then I came along, people who do scrum and then became coach and a trainer for scrum. So through this journey, my the perspective that I’ve gathered is a little different from most other people in the scrum world, which is very like I would say, 80% of people there have a background in software which I do not have. I do understand what software is and how it works, but it’s not my background. And so this came, and since I was basically training a lot of people, I realized, okay, my perspective is a little different and a lot of them were asking me to give them something in their hands that would basically combine this perspective that they was they were taught for 2 or 3 days. So that was like when I when I realized, you’re right, I have to come up with something with a book or some booklets away. And now how did it develop? Now, the book is one such project as the thing that I just mentioned, right? It’s so a book is only that is only successful if people read it. So in the end it is trying to change people’s behavior, right? Wouldn’t would be successful if people would read it and apply it. So the question is, so there’s a lot of risks involved with this kind of thing. And like this book project is, I guess, four and a half years in the making, I think two years of very active work and two and a half years of more or less active work before that. And. So I wasn’t sure it was worth writing. So the first thing I’ve done was basically I created, you know, some blog articles, and I’ve looked at the reaction and I’ve seen how right people are reading about what is going there. And then I created a training only for the topic of the book, the Art of slicing work of how to slice work, I think was the was the name of the training then. And I had a couple of participants who basically validated a lot of my ideas, and also many ideas were not validated, like, like a lot of the things that didn’t work. And you won’t find them in the book, but they were there, right? Right. And then and then I realized, okay, so there is there are a couple of things that that don’t work, but some of the things do work, and people are really, really thankful for them. And there is still I still couldn’t point to any other book that I knew of that would take this particular general perspective on work, and especially give people an outlook and inspiration who are completely outside. And would you know, a book is accessible to everyone who is not talking the technical jargon, right? So, so the next step was basically taking. Pieces of the concepts from the book, or that I thought that I would put in the book and include them in my general training, because the one training that I created before that, it was just very specific. It was just specific training for slicing a work. But I included other concepts in the training that I give regularly, and that allowed me to basically test, test, test different metaphors, different stories, different ways to tell the same story. And I have to say, when I wrote the book, I realized, you know, a book is not a training. So things that work in a, in a, in a face to face, format, they don’t work as well in a book format particularly I love. Working with kind of guided storytelling. So when I tell people a story and ask a question every one, 1 or 2 minutes. So to ensure people realize what is, you know, the problem of a manager sitting in a certain situation and how it develops. It doesn’t really work too well in a book. So, you have to, you know, you have to move things around. That’s at least something I learned with my editor.

Bill Sherman Which is another form of translation in a way. Right. Because you’re switching between modalities here and the richer context where you can read nonverbals, you can have a conversation versus one directional communication in a book. You have to fit the medium. Otherwise what worked in one doesn’t work in the other.

Anton Skornyakov Absolutely, absolutely. And, you know, part of book writing is obviously since the first book I’ve written and, you know, part of it is completely new to me, obviously. And, well, I basically hired people who are not new to it. So my editor, if you looked at the book before, they looked at it and at the book after they looked at it, well, it sounds much better, I know, right? It’s right. So obviously obvious and simple truth. But I want to give an example. So basically the book is about, you know, the slicing works. So how do you basically break a large project down into small parts of it that allow you to learn and to weed out the bad ideas and to identify the good ones and hold them and improve them. And, you know, in the end, have the something that works in an unpredictable environment, which is definitely not, an automatic, which is not a given. And but sometimes you don’t have to do that. Sometimes you don’t have to test. Because some aspects of our work, there is a lot of expertise. You can just obviously use expertise that’s not really new. But there is a difference there. The difference is to start identifying where in all of the work that I do, or that we as an organization are doing. Where do we touch things that are new or unfamiliar, where we can expect something unpredictable to happen, some surprise step? And where can we rely on practices that we’ve already introduced? Where do we repeat things many times, you know, and that’s just an example. So you can obviously rely on, on the expertise of people, to help you when you do something that is repeatable, when you know something is definitely done for the first time, however, it’s very important to start identifying all those points when you actually do something new, what for yourself, even if it’s not new for someone else. Like what is the new thing? What is the what is the part that can surprise you? And that’s basically the, the, the key things. And there are different ways of looking at it and different practices of how to do it. And that’s basically what the book’s about.

Bill Sherman Well, and this is something I want to spend a moment on the two questions. And we were talking about this in our last conversation that stuck with me are what am I least familiar with and what is most risky in this project. Right. And I sort of see that from a leadership perspective in a two by two matrix. Right. So what am I least familiar with? What is my audience least familiar with? What is most risky to me and what is most risky for them? And so that part of communication, the art of getting an idea successfully across that bridge and into the hands of people who will use it, you can’t just rely on your side of the bridge. You’ve got to cross that threshold and be able to look with empathy, emotional intelligence, whatever you want to call it, to say, where’s my audience today? Because if I missed that target, I’m not helping them.

Anton Skornyakov Yeah, absolutely. That’s why. And you’re completely right. I just wonder what like, the thing is, how do I address this is basically by telling stories that happened or close to what happened. I cannot really use client’s data, but. Right, right. So talk a little bit. Yeah, yeah. You anonymize the thing is you actually tell stories. And when people read of them, they realize, oh, those are the difficulties. There are definitely some things that I may that that may occur to me. And this is the way how it can move. How can we move past them? Right. And the funny thing is, with surprises is you can prepare yourself. You can immerse yourself into an understanding of the world where surprises happen. And that creates. I guess a security where, you know, you don’t have to know exactly what will happen, but you know, you can react. However, the nature of surprises is that they’re unpredictable. So once you are actually opening yourself up to, you know, that’s the nature of surprises you cannot predict. So you can kind of look into where is the unfamiliar? Where can I expect surprises to happen? But they will still happen somewhere else or somewhere. And you don’t know exactly. But the thing is, if you if when you kind of build, when you prepare yourself and you work in a way that you are okay with surprising happening, you get a different feeling of security. The security comes not from having a plan that is all thought out and where you know all the ins and outs, but it’s the your ability to rely on your responsiveness, basically. And with the book, the book basically tells you stories and you kind of realize how this happens for other people and maybe creates, I guess, inspiration or the idea of other wants to actually try it out on your own. But I wonder, like listening to you, I wonder how well, or how easy it is to actually reduce the risk for a reader. And, I think if you if you can, if you can, master this ability, that would be, you know, that would make you a thought leader. Lot like that in a in a second.

Bill Sherman Well, I think that is a journey rather than a switch that gets flipped. Right. And so that process of being attentive, not only looking in your own daily life, but also listening to the feedback and whether it’s in a workshop or it’s talking and doing coaching or consulting, etc. it’s the gaining that body of knowledge and not saying I have the answer. What helped me understand where you are, right? And generally, while every one when they hit a problem, it feels unique to them for the first time. You do start to see patterns and that synthesis of saying, okay, you’re not the only one who’s hit this problem before. Let’s talk about things that work for some people and where there are challenges, and then you decide what fits for you. But that ability to be the guide in some ways and say you are not the first to walk this path, I think is essential for and that role of leadership.

Anton Skornyakov And I would love to build on that, because there is, especially when you’re trying to become a thought leader when you like, imagine you have a great idea and you know, it’s illuminating. You know, it’s useful with the way that with most ideas is that when you are, imagine you are tremendously successful with conveying your idea and people actually take it and use it. When are you going to get the feedback? When will you know that the idea that you sparked it, that you put into someone else’s head and they have tried it out, they have seen results and then they communicated it back. This feedback loop is quite long, and that’s very.

Bill Sherman And fragile, because there are no guarantees at each step that someone is going to reach out and say, hey, I want to tell you that book was awesome. And here’s what I took from it, right?

Anton Skornyakov Absolutely. Yeah. So I feel like for maybe for a year now, I have started to tell people, you know, you know, in my work, I started to tell them, well, even though you may like this training or you may dislike it, I’m really interested in your feedback right now. However, please, like in couple of months from now, whenever you have this experience of now, something work that I’ve learned here, please come back to me. I would even offer you free consulting. I would, I would offer you a free hour of mine. But I would love to hear the story. I would love to hear what happens to you. How did you apply this ideas? Because. Because the feedback loop and how long it takes this is this is a tremendously important thing to keep in mind. So when you are a listener and you think, well, I am a thought leader for this kind of thought, ask yourself, how long is the feedback loop from your thought being conveyed to you? Seeing the results of the people, applying the thought and then coming back to you with feedback?

Bill Sherman That’s well, and there’s a scale on it, right? Because there is one end where you have an idea, you spend years polishing and perfecting it, but you share it with no one, which means no one has implemented it, right? You can have the best idea on the planet, and still impact equals zero by multiplication. Or you take an imperfect idea out and use almost a fail fast metaphor and keep revising improving. So if you accelerate that feedback loop, you get to a strong idea much, much faster, right? And you find out what works, what doesn’t work, and like your request for feedback, tell me when you used it. I would love feedback, positive or negative. After years of framework. Either it worked or yeah, this failed because dot dot dot. That makes me smarter as I’m putting my ideas out into the world. Yeah, absolutely. So, Antoine, as we begin to wrap up, I have a question for you, which is. What’s the next hurdle that you’re looking to climb? In thought leadership. And this goes with the what are you least familiar with? Where’s the next challenge?

Anton Skornyakov So thank you for this question. So the next the next thing is. Basically, my next idea is to generalize it even further to this whole journey of me breaking down the the techniques that are present in the agile world to just general, software techniques. It led me to identify a lot of different patterns that I know actually, from physics and from nature sciences and to also just, you know, basically bring them into examples, bring them into, moments for people who manage other people, like things like, for example, surface. I’m not sure if we want to wrap up, but, you know, if you think about reality or, nature, reality, almost everything that is anyhow exciting happens with surfaces. For example, if you look at the earth and all of life happens only in the very 1% or even less of the crust of the whole earth, everything else is actually pretty boring. It’s hot and a lot of metal, but a lot of interesting things. Everything that we know is life is happening just on the very outer crust. Everything that interesting happens between people. It happens when people actually get in contact, and we typically do not get in contact everywhere. Everywhere there is, there is, parts of it. And you can apply this to organization. You can apply it to management. You can apply like for example, the principle of surface. There is a principle of dynamics versus statics. There is a lot of things that are very principle that you get to know when you become a physicist. That sounds very jargony when you are, when you’re not. But it’s a lot of tremendously simple to understand examples that when you start to see them, I think they are quite illuminating. When you, when you start to use them in your work.

Bill Sherman So it sounds like the next challenge is taking some of the things that you learned from math and statistical physics and translating them into general business terms that people can apply. That’s a big challenge. I look forward to hearing what stories and metaphors you collect. My last question on this, Anton, is you’ve been on this journey of thought leadership. What advice would you give your younger self in terms of what you know now, with the reason that we have a number of people who are earlier in their thought leadership journey listening in, and they’re curious as to what you’ve learned along the way.

Anton Skornyakov I would say get a community. Because that’s when my thought leadership, when I realized I could be a thought leader, was when I became part of the community of scrum trainers, who most, most of whom are thought leaders. And it was because of two things. First of all, I’ve seen other people do that, and that made it much more tangible. So you can you can identify much easier with people that you see doing things. And you can also realize what is your voice, what is your song in this whole in this whole album of songs, of those thought leaders, what is your voice and what is your message? And so you can basically, you know, sing your song, give, give your, give your taste to the world. You don’t have to be the only leader. You don’t have to be the only voice. But you can start recognizing what is your message, what is the your unique thing that has that comes from your, I guess, journey to this point? The one advice that I could give is look for a community of thought leaders that you can join that is open to joining and start discussing them, interacting with them, join them on their talks, during them, in their in their process that will help you refine who you are as a thought leader.

Bill Sherman I love that it because it’s a conversation rather than one way communication. You’re not bringing answers down from the mountain and providing enlightenment. You’re saying, I wonder if, does this apply to you? Or how do you see this? That intellectual sparring and discussion help. It helps you sharpen ideas so much faster, and also addresses the fear of I’m the only one who cares about this topic or and who is thinking about this, right? It’s easier to keep moving forward when you know there’s a community with you.

Anton Skornyakov Absolutely. And there’s so many intangible things that you can learn from others. Just see that you don’t know you want to learn because there’s people you can emulate afterwards.

Bill Sherman So, Anton, thank you for joining us today to talk about thought leadership. I really appreciate you being here.

Anton Skornyakov Thank you for this. This was a very interesting and great discussion. Thank you, Bill.

Bill Sherman If you’re interested in organizational thought leadership, then I invite you to subscribe to the OrgTL newsletter. Each month we talk about the people who create, curate and deploy thought leadership on behalf of their organizations. Go to the website, and choose ‘Join our Newsletter’. I’ll leave a link to the website as well as my LinkedIn profile in the show notes. Thanks for listening and I look forward to hearing what you thought of the show.

Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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