Agile Zone is brought to you in partnership with:

Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The 60 Percent Rule

  • submit to reddit
Multiple identities colorFor a shared identity to work, it is useful to know who is, and who is not, part of the group. This is sometimes quite clear, but quite often it isn’t. It can happen that people have different definitions of what the identity is and who belongs to it. This need not be a problem, as long as people know this of each other.

Even more, the fuzziness of boundaries, and conflicting ideas of membership, can actually help a group be creative. (Dare I mention ProductOwner-in-or-outside-team?) As long as people are aware of different perspectives and opinions, and know how to deal with it, the fuzzy boundaries can be turned into an advantage.

However, when a person is a member of multiple groups where the identities appear to be of the same kind, and on the same level (two teams, or two departments, or two organizations), it is probably smart for her to choose one primary identity. For example, it is hard to be a fan of two football clubs in equal measure. And people with two nationalities usually lean more towards one than the other.

This reminds me of the famous question:

“If you have two nationalities, which country will you cheer for, when the two national teams play against each other?”

I live in both Brussels and in Rotterdam. But I call only one of those cities my real home. (I will let you guess which one.) I like both Star Trek and Star Wars, but when it comes to a head-to-head between Data and C3PO I know who gets my support. For people in organizations it is the same, they prefer to have one team to cheer for.

60 percent color

I’ve heard some coaches suggest a 60% rule: everyone should spend 60% of their time on the same team, the same department, or the same organization. The rest of their time they can spend working for others.

How about you? Do you have one team (or one home city) to cheer for?

Identitysymbols-front-frame-miniThis text is part of Identity Symbols, a Management 3.0 Workout article. Read more here.
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)