Today I buried my godfather, Jacques Hanoulle. Actually my second Godfather. When I was four, I lost my Godfather and in the next year I asked Jacques if he wanted to become my Godfather. Although I don’t know why I took that decision at that early age. It was one of my best decisions in my life.

Today at his funeral, I called Jacques a change artist. He was a priest. A priest that made me realize the differences between believe, religion and church. Remembering these differences is something I can use a lot in the agile world.

In the agile world, we have:

  • the agile mindset (believe)
  • XP, scrum, kanban (religions)
  • the different alliances (churches)

They all deserve their place in this world. But it is important to know they are different. (And when I evangelize I focus on the mindset not the tools)

He was a change agent because he was a priest that was a member of the belgium socialist party. One that had a picture of Che Guevara in his office. Because he did crazy new things like inviting Jesus Christ Superstar into his church. (Was stopped by the church)

For twenty years he transformed his church into one big x-mas stable. Every year he added the things that happened that year into the stable: the landing of the moon, lady di’s wedding or the Dutroux affair are the more famous ones. He got a lot of press attention for this. Attention he used to bring up more questions then answers. (what was a recurring theme in his stable.)

Asking questions without giving answers: one of the biggest tools for a change artist.

He was also a pair-coacher, as he worked together with my father to teach. He even pair-coached with someone from the Liberal Union Associastion. A priest organizing a course on palliative care together with a liberal humanist. That’s another reason I called him a change agent.

He was not a saint, far from. But he showed me what it meant to be a change artist. And I guess that watching him preaching, taught me a thing or two about talking in public…

What role model did you have to become a change artist?