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INTERVIEW: D. Ray Freeman – February 2020

We are really happy this year to have welcomed to our US head office,  D. Ray Freeman as our Project Lead.
D. Ray Freeman

Ray has worked in the Agile industry for nearly 20 years with clients from Fortune 100 to start-ups.  In celebration of black history month, we sat down with Ray to get to know him and ADAPTOVATE a little better from our US office perspective.

Q. Hi Ray, Welcome aboard! Thanks for your time. We hope the winter in LA has been treating you more kindly than our bushfires in Australia.

A. Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to speak with you. LA winters have something for everyone. Warm, sunny beaches to freezing temps and snowfall, all within an hour drive. I empathize with those impacted by the bushfires. Unfortunately, it’s something we deal with often in California.

Q. We are so excited to have you join ADAPTOVATE in our ever growing team in the US, can you tell us why you decided to make the change personally?

A. When I heard that ADAPTOVATE was using Agile to drive business value at the C-suite, I was like, “sign me up”! I’ve been an advocate for “business agility ” since before we were calling it business agility. There are a lot of companies out there who offer coaching. But, instilling values and principles at scale is a whole different beast. I’ve spent most of my career as an independent, but I like what ADAPTOVATE is doing and I wanted to be a part of it.

Q. What figures have been influential in your life’s journey?
Ray with his Mom
Ray with his Mother

A. My mother Sonja. I get my work ethic from her. She raised 3 kids as a single parent. She was self-taught, self-motivated and capitalized every opportunity to improve the lives of others. I watched her thrive during a time when women and people of colour had little opportunities. Still today, she’s a positive example and mentor to me and dozens of extended family and friends. Through her, I’ve learned two key lessons: Energy and persistence conquer all things. And, doing what’s right is better than doing what’s easy.

[bctt tweet=”Through her, I’ve learned two key lessons: Energy and persistence conquer all things. And, doing what’s right is better than doing what’s easy. Interview with D. Ray Freeman #blackhistorymonth” username=”adaptovate”]

Q. What makes ADAPTOVATE different for you? (besides the people- we have the best team don’t we??)

A. Well of course we’ve got the best team in the world! What’s different for me is that I truly feel that we make a real difference. We’re not just delivering training and checking the box. We’re not just dropping off coaches to fill staffing slots either. What we are doing, is helping companies deliver in days what once took months. That’s pretty cool!

Q. What kind of clients are you working with in the US? Do you think that will change over time?

A. Most of my clients today want to accelerate decision-making. They want cross functional teams, collaborating on the high value work. I believe that over time, more and more business functions will adopt Agile ways of working. The need for business agility will continue to grow at a rapid pace.

Q. You’ve been in the business for a while. What changes have you seen with AGILE and NEW WAYS OF WORKING of the years.

A. Going Agile is not easy. The industry is rife with inexperienced coaches and staffing firms posing as transformation consultants. A lot of companies have hired these folks, tried to go Agile and failed. It’s made them skeptical about whether Agile really works or not. Today’s Agilist has to prove his or her value right away. If you’re not moving the needle, you’re out.

Q. How do you balance life in Agile consulting? You’d joined us a Project Lead and you clearly have lived the life of travel being in our industry? Have you learned ways to stay focused over time?
Ray and Tahonie
Ray with his wife, Tahonie

A. Technology has made my travel life easier over the years. I use dozens of phone apps to manage flights, hotels, ground transportation, banking, meals, expenses… meetings, documents, email…. I even have apps for mindfulness, meditation and keeping up with home and personal goals. My wife Tahonie, my dog Spency and I have built a high-performance team together. Our life goals are pursued through Agile ways of living. Transparency, communication, inspection, adaptation and continuous improvement are core values we live by daily. Tahonie and I both travel for work. We stay in sync by sharing a cloud-based calendar (managing time), an online Kanban board with to-do and in-progress tasks (managing scope), and a shared financial system for personal budgeting and forecasting (managing money). Having a common way of working is a great way to #teamathome.

Ray and Tahonie at a Dallas Cowboys game.
Ray and Tahonie at a Dallas Cowboys game.
Q. We know you have written a book which we will link to at end of this interview. Any plans for more? Can you give us a hint at how AGILE changed your life?

A. Hey thanks for the plug! I’m an introvert who loves to talk, uninterrupted. So, writing is my thing. I’m working on my next self-help release for 2020. I want to create books that fix fixers and help helpers. After dealing with the tragic loss of my brother Howard, I used Agile to turn grief into growth. I set a goal to uncover better ways of working and helping others do it too. Then I focused my efforts on helping individuals improve interactions — both at home and work. I started training leaders on Agile mindset and inspiring people to welcome change instead of following outdated plans. Since then, Agile has propelled my career to new heights. It’s given me the ability to travel the globe and work with some of the most brilliant people ever. I have a framework for making important decisions and getting through tough challenges. I’ve poured my heart into Agile. In return, Agile has changed my life for the better.

Q. Finally, this is something we always ask in most of our interviews which is sort off topic but not. We love music at ADAPTOVATE. We have our own Spotify workshop playlist, (which anyone can follow and use in their own workshops). How about giving us a couple of recommended tracks we can add to the ADAPTOVATE playlist.

A. I like to play instrumental music in the background with audiobooks. It helps me retain and recall the book material better. Check out a song called Ketto by Bonobo on his ‘Days to Come” album. 
There’s also some great instrumentals from artist J. Dilla such as this.   You’ll be surprised. Try blending some chilled out hip hop beats over Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’. It’s a pretty dope learning experience!

Thanks Ray – fantastic chatting with you and again, welcome to ADAPTOVATE.


D.Ray Freeman’s book: Agile Changed My Life, is available from Amazon

https://read.amazon.com.au/kp/embed?asin=B015HSY492&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_jUkrEbMQ2T5HT


ADAPTOVATE: If you are in the US and want to reach out to ADAPTOVATE or Ray to discuss bringing Agile into your organisation, we are happy to chat. Reach out to Ray on LINKEDIN, or contact us through our website at www.adaptovate.com

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