The Open Leadership Network exists to promote the use and further development of Invitation-Based Change™ through the use of Open patterns and practices. Tools include meeting designs like Open Space Technology and in fact any Open Social Technology that promotes an invited approach to new and better ways of working.

The term Open Social Technologies describes a diverse and growing set of protocols, frameworks, and models designed to promote engagement and participation, both in the specific context of change and more widely in the course of everyday work.

Open Social Technology becomes so, if and when it is published under an open source license such Creative Commons Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA-40) or the General Purpose License (GPL.)

Being published Open, these designs are easily and inexpensively transferable, repeatable, and reproducible. As patterns, they work both on their own and in combination; these combinations often inspire innovation. Typically, they are characterized by a sense of invitation and outcome-orientation, both of which we hold are essential also to leadership development.

The term “Open” also means that the Social Technology being published is inviting in nature, rather than imposing in nature. It means the approach is designed to generate more employee engagement. We hold that employee engagement is essential to any genuine and lasting change, the kind of change that supports authentic improvement of outcomes.

The need for both, for the tools and for our movement, arises from the repeated and failed attempts to achieve cultural and process change through imposition. Imposition is an approach that isn’t merely outdated, misguided, or disrespectful (and it is all of these things), but rather: completely counterproductive.

Goals such as excellence, agility, innovation, alignment, and org-level learning can be achieved only through engagement and participation, and in this context we reject imposition and coercion as incongruent both with those goals and our values.

This last point has considerable nuance. The valuable conversation is not in in a binary “either-or” debate about imposition and invitation. The valuable conversation is the one about the many nuanced aspects of outcome orientation, a more inviting style of leadership, and Invitation-Based Change. We hold that workforce engagement is essential for any authentic and lasting change. And also that an Open and inviting approach is the most promising way (and therefore the primary way) to achieve this outcome.

Next: Explore the Open Practices or the underlying Open patterns