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When you have to shoot, shoot !

By Haim Deutsch • 29 Jan, 2017

I’m often asked how I succeed to bring instant mindset changes during retrospectives.

I would like to share with you about my own mindset when I do it.

It was 40 kilos ago (as my wife use to say… :), I was a teenager living in Paris, threatened by Neo-Nazis and violent antisemitism. Synagogues were bombed, but we were guys who decided not to give up and were moving around with a kipa on the top of our head, with no fear.

But we were not fool, we were trained by the best martial arts sensei’s in Paris at least 12 hours a week. But that was only our theory lesson, the practicum was in the streets! when fighting neo-Nazis bullying Jewish kids, beating down old people and tagging anti-Semite tags on the walls.

A street fight is very different then Bruce Lee films, you have about 20 seconds to break your attacker bones and make sure that he will not attack again.

During these trainings I’ve learned a lesson accompanying me throughout the years : You never HAVE to fight, BUT, if you decide so, make sure that you will not have to do it a again. Make sure that your rival will be emerged to the closest hospital and will stay there for three years, at least.

So.. This is where it stands for during my retrospectives. I can decide not to address delicate or complex situations. Not to arise the point at all or not taking the involved guys to a discussion, one-on-one. This is entirely legitim.

On the other hand, I can decide to fix the encountered issue once and for all. After all, the retrospective goal is to improve the ecosystem and the processes, and for you the Scrum Master, to empower the team and the team members. So, you can decide to open the subject and heal the wound. If the wound is bleeding, this can be painful. Painful but salutary.

So, at this point I’m asking myself “should I enter the fight or not?”

When I decide to get in, I make sure that I’ll never have to do it again. Some sessions turns to be very energetic and powerful, full of emotions at the extent that I’m asking participants to cool down for an hour before driving back home.

The point is that you if you want to enter the fight you should better be TRAINED. Martial arts require a lot of training to master one single movement, so there is no need to improvise, just prepare yourself, in front of the mirror since you have to control the scene.

Then, when you feel ready, make your decision whether to dive in or just walk ahead.


Anyway….. When you have to shoot… shoot, don’t talk. But… better be trained before !

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