The Table of Contents

INVITING LEADERSHIP is your handbook, tutorial and road map for achieving authentic and lasting Business Agility.


You can  order it here , in Kindle and Print formats.




    • A program of leadership study organized as a tutorial and reference guide
    • Over 75 diagrams, tables and figures;
    • An extensive Bibliography;
    • A rich Glossary that includes over 120 entries and introduces over 30 new terms;
    • Over 100 footnotes that link out to additional resources for deeper study and learning;
    • Almost 400 pages in total.

INVITING LEADERSHIP contains nine major sections and is organized in three parts:

1. Authority
2. Boundary
3. Invitation

4. Self-Management
5. Leadership
6. Leadership Invitations

7. Toolkit
8. Guidance
9. Appendices



Foreword by Mike Burrows xxv
Foreword by Doug Kirkpatrick
Preface xxxi
Acknowledgments xxxv
Introduction 39






Chapter 1 – Authority 45

Here we introduce the key aspects of authority and authorization that are essential to Inviting Leadership. We also discuss and explore Decision-making authority.

Overview 45
Leadership 46
Decision-Making That Affects the Whole Group 46
Authority 46
“Structure” 47
Authority Information Is Key 48
Orientation to Authority 49
Responsibility and Authority 49
Formal Authority Distribution 50
Characteristics of Informal Authority Networks 51
Legitimate and Illegitimate Authority 52
The Tyranny of Structurelessness 53
Power – Exercising Authority 54
Personal Authority 55
Mapping Authority & Authorization 58
Formal Authorization
Self-Authorization 60
Informal Authorization 61
Drafting or Nominating Someone Into a Role 62
Dynamic Authorization and De- authorization 64
Responding to Change 65
Delegation and Invitation 68
Invitation 69
Authorizing Emergent Leadership 71
Self-Organization in Teams and Groups 72

Agreements 74
Organizational Physics: The Three Fundamental Ways In Which Authority is Manifested in Groups 74
The Formal Authority Schema 75
The Informal Authority Schema 76
The Participatory and Semi-Formal Value Creation Schema 77
Federation is Essential in the Value Creation Schema 78

Recap 79

Chapter 2 – Boundary 81

Effective boundary design, boundary implementation and boundary management are absolutely essential aspects of the Inviting Leadership style. 

Overview 81

Rules: Boundaries and Constraints 83
Authority Boundaries 83
Regarding Decision-Making Authority 84
Task and Responsibility Boundaries 84
Time Boundaries 84
Territory Boundaries 84
Budget Boundaries 84
Leadership Invitations Have Limits and Constraints 85
Boundary Testing and Boundary Management 87
Boundaries in Living Systems 88
Boundary and Boundary Integrity at the Cellular Level 89
Action and Protocol at the Boundary 89
Attracted and Repelled 91
Transitional Zones In Social Systems: The Ecotone 91
Boundaries in Social Systems: Groups of People 94

Recap 95

Chapter 3 – Invitation 97

Inviting and delegating have several important differences and some similarities. In this chapter we explore invitation in depth and introduce the 4-part invitation structure.

Overview 97

Invitation in the Workplace 97

Invitation Defined 98
Promise Theory 99
The Promising Linguistics of Invitation: “Speech Acts” 101
Invitation and Games 102 Invitation Structure 103
The Sequence of Invitation Events 104
Authority and Leadership Invitations 107
Invite with Curiosity 108
Interpreting Big Data Generated By Leadership Invitations 113
Invitation versus Delegation 114
Volunteers and “Malicious Compliance” 118
Micro-Authorization 118
Accepting an Invitation Establishes an Agreement 120
Belonging and Community 120
Control, Progress, and Membership 121
Control 121
Progress 121
Membership and Belonging 121
Practical Applications of Invitation
Psychological Safety and Respect 124
Identifying and Working With the Willing 126
What If They Decline? 127

Recap 128






Chapter 4 – Self-Management 131

Self-managed teams are high-performing teams. For a team to be self-managed they must be making enough decisions to keep them engaged in the process.

Overview 131

Differentiating Self-Organization from Self- Management 132
Creating the Conditions for Self-Organization and Self-Management 133
Decisions and Leadership 136
Decisions That Affect the Whole Group or Team 137
Great Results 138
Capacity to Sense and Respond 138
Self-Management 138
Employee Engagement 138
Decision-Making 139

Receiving Invitations from Leaders 142

Recap 146

Chapter 5 – Leadership 147

The act of leading always involves being party to decisions that affect the whole group. Leadership invitations are a primary way to sense and decisively respond quickly to challenges and opportunities.

Overview 147

Agreements 151
Authority and Authority Distribution 154
Decisions 155

Example: The Scrum Framework 157
Example: The Kanban Method 157
Value Streams and Decisions 158
Aligning Decision-Making with the Value Stream 159
The Use of Scrum Transforms Decision- Making 159
There’s Only One Problem 161
Your Company Is Not Ready for Transformation of Any Kind 163
Inviting Leadership is the Solution 163
Leadership Semiotics 164
Leadership Is Signaling 164
Signal Broadcasting and Stigmergy 167
Sending Signals with Invitations 167
Storytelling as Signal and Signage 168
Past, Present, and Future 168
Story Generation through Intentional Behaviors 169
Change Greatly Increases Demand for a Coherent Narrative 170
Liminality 171
The Liminal State Demands a Coherent Story from Leaders 171
Executive Leaders Also Find Comfort in a Coherent Story 172
Consultants Tell Stories 172
Invitation, Delegation, Signaling, and Change 177
Design 178
Employee Engagement and Invitational Engagement Models 181
Why You Need an Engagement Plan Based on an Engagement Model 182
The Iterative Approach 183
Whole-Group Inspection 183
Engagement Models are Essential to Inviting Leadership 185
Leadership and Management 188
Management Is A Function, Not A Role 188
What, Why, and How 189
Releasing Authority: All or Nothing? 190
Bounded Containment 190






Chapter 6 – Leadership Invitations 195

This chapter provides a template for applying the Inviting Leadership approach to organizational change. We also introduce and explore the essential subjects of leadership signaling and leadership storytelling.

Overview 195
Summary Review of Key Concepts 195
Invitation, Persuasion, and Manipulation 197
The Abuse of Leadership Invitations 198
Design and Management of Boundaries with Respect to Leadership Invitations 200
Designing and Defining Effective Leadership Invitations 201
Goals, Rules, and Feedback on Progress 201
Sample Leadership Invitations 201
Make a Meeting Optional 202 Invite Leadership Learning 203
Invite Leadership to use the New Approach to Leadership Work 205
Invite Leaders at All Levels to Explore an Issue in Open Space 207
Invite Help and Engagement In Leading The Change 209
Invite the Whole Org to Explore and Resolve an Issue in Open Space 211
Summary 214
Leadership, Experience Design, and Leadership Invitations: Inviting Leadership as Game Design 214

Chapter 7 – Toolkit 217

Inviting Leadership is about the design of experiences that engage and enlist the entire workforce. In this chapter we offer tools for architecting and implementing your experience designs.

Inviting Leadership Applied 217
The Challenges and Opportunities of Organizational Change 220
Whole Group Experiential Learning vs. Classroom Lectures 222
Transformation of the Leadership Group Comes First 223
Transitioning the Wider Organization 224

Costs of Meetings vs. the Cost of Resistance to Change 226
Dialogue And Decisions 227
Composing Whole-Group Events with Meeting Types 228
Using Composition to Design Half-Day and Full-Day Events 229
Predictability + Reliability = Trust 229
Ritual, Prestige, and Leadership 230
Ritual Events Enhance Leader Prestige 231
Engagement Models Revisited 232
Working in Enterprise Iterations 233 Recap 236

Chapter 8 – Guidance 237

Organizational change occurs in context. This context often includes common patterns. In this chapter we list some of these patterns and offer guidance on how to address them with the Inviting Leadership approach.

The Guidance 237
Common Scenarios in Moving Towards Business Agility 237
Scenario #1: Imposed Change Initiative in Flight 238
Scenario #2: Top Executive’s First Transformation 241
Scenario #3: Transform with Current Decision-Making 243
Scenario #4: Transformation Assuming Direct Reports Will Follow 246
Scenario #5: Transformation With Less Than 100% Leader Support 249
Scenario #6: Top Leader New to Iteration and Inspection 252
Scenario #7: Leadership Aligned & Time to Invite Enterprise Support  255


Appendix A – “Ready for Agile” Checklist 261
Opening Notes 261

Step #1: Get Agreement on Key Definitions (Agile, Scrum, Kanban) 262

Step #2: Discuss & Agree on How These Rules of Agile, Scrum & Kanban Will Impact Behaviors, Operations & Decision- Making 264

Step #3: Prepare Executive Leaders for What is about to Happen, and What is Now Fully Expected of Them 267

Step #4: Work in Enterprise Iterations of Agile Transformation, Creating Natural Boundaries of Inspection & Adaptation 270

Closing Notes: 271

Appendix B – Authority CircleTM 273
When and Why to Use the Authority Circle 273
How to Use the Authority Circle 274
Roles: 274
Events: 274
Required Elements: 274
Steps: 274
Sequence of Steps and Time Allocation 277
Tips and Traps 278
Riffs and Variations 278

Examples 280

Appendix C – The Tyranny of Structurelessness 283
Authors’ Notes: 283
Notes on the Essay from the Original Author, Jo Freeman 284
The Original Paper 284

Appendix D – The BART System 303
Overview 303
The Group Relations Community 303
The Original Paper 305

Appendix E – A Brief User’s Guide to Open Space Technology 321

Appendix F – The Game of Scrum 335
Overview 335
Introduction 336
Three Roles 336
Five Events 337
Three Artifacts 339
Some Rules 340
Recap 342

Appendix G – Kanban Introduction 343

Appendix H – OpenSpace Agility Introduction 347

Appendix H – Additional Tools 351

Glossary 353
Bibliography 369
Contributors 373


INVITING LEADERSHIP is your road map for achieving authentic and lasting Business Agility.

You can order it here in Kindle and Print formats.