Inviting Leadership and Invitation-Based Change™

Forcing change seldom actually works. The problem is that real change requires engaged people:

Transformations can’t be accomplished without others helping voluntarily, & people don’t help unless you engage them first.-Geoffrey Moore, noted management consultant and author, CROSSING THE CHASM and ZONE TO WIN.

Inside the OLN, we hold that it is the willing people who power almost all the improvement, while the unwilling people power most or all of the impediments.

We hold that the primary way to affect rapid and lasting organizational change is to invite everyone who is affected into the change process.

Receiving an invitation from a leader is very engaging.

And engagement is essential to the success of any change program.

We therefore advocate for Invitation-Based Change.

Invitation-Based Change™ in The New World of Work

We define Invitation-Based Change as a change in the way of working, a change that is at once a) inclusive and inviting, and b) respectful and open to the concerns of those affected by the change. Invitation-Based Change (IBC) assumes that employee engagement in the change is absolutely essential to success, and to good outcomes overall. A primary goal of IBC is therefore to engage as many employees as possible in developing positive and productive changes in ways of working.

The Eight Patterns of Open Business Agility

We hold that a primary tool for achieving this goal are the Eight Patterns of Open Business Agility. An emphasis on practices and frameworks can lead to brittle strategies and mediocre results, while a focus on patterns can and will lead to stronger strategies and stronger outcomes.

The Power of Patterns

Focusing on patterns can avoid the many problems associated with a focus on practices. For example, a focus on practices may lead to inflexible, dogmatic thinking and less (rather than more) agility. Patterns allow real choice and freedom of expression: Any one pattern can be expressed by any number of practices. For example, the pattern of Empirical Approach can be expressed by a wide range of “agile” practices. The pattern of Whole Group Approach may be expressed through the use of All-Hands Meetings, or Open Space events, or Product Increment Planning, or some combination of these. How you apply the patterns depends on your context.

The Pattern of Inviting Leadership™

Importantly, we hold that all IBC approaches have one thing in common: they are fundamentally invitational in design and execution. We hold that forcing participation as a strategy is fundamentally flawed and we cite the scientific research in personal and positive psychology to back up this assertion. Operationally, IBC manifests itself in the ways in which formally authorized leaders conduct themselves. These leaders focus on improving employee engagement in organizational change by using an invitational approach to leading change.

All of our courses teach practical steps and approaches for implementing Inviting Leadership™ and Invitation-Based Change™. Each of the courses addresses one or more of the Eight Patterns of Open Business Agility.