Invite Not Impose

What we are calling INVITING LEADERSHIP may be the most important leadership skill of the 21st century.

Especially when the executive leaders are endeavoring to bring change and real improvement to the organization.

Employee engagement is essential to success in achieving a lasting business agility transformation.

Imposing practices enterprise-wide does not actually work long-term, and never actually did.

Everybody knows.

But: don’t take my word for it.

Here’s what other world-class experts have to say:




“The failures resulted from trying to use positional power to impose a process.”
-David J Anderson, management science pioneer and author. From his book The KANBAN Method (page 21)
“…Imposing an agile process from the outside strips the team of the self-determination which is at the heart of agile thinking.”
-Martin Fowler, author and Agile Manifesto signatory
“…You know as well as I do that if the team really doesn’t want to use a methodology, IT WON’T WORK. Let them make their own assessment.”
-Jeff Sutherland, Agile Manifesto signatory & Scrum co-author. From POWER OF SCRUM book, page 31 
I have read several studies. From 70% TO 87% of workers dislike their job/are disengaged. THAT IS A HORRID CONDEMNATION OF MANAGERS/LEADERS. (And of the ineffectiveness of those of us trying to fix the problem.)
Tom Peters, world famous authority on management & organizations. Author, IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE. From his Twitter feed (link)
“…I hope I’ve made clear that imposing agile methods is a very red flag. ”
Martin Fowler, The Agile Imposition (link)
“Transformation occurs through choice, not mandate. Invitation is the call to create an alternative future.”
– Peter Block, world renowned expert on culture and community. From his book COMMUNITY: The Structure of Belonging
“Transformations can’t be accomplished without others helping voluntarily, & people don’t help unless you engage them first.
-Geoffrey Moore, world-renowned management consultant. (Arguably one of the greatest management minds of our time.) From his book ZONE TO WIN. 
“By 2002, I had concluded that prescriptively enforcing processes on a team didn’t work.”
David J Anderson, management science pioneer and author. From his book The KANBAN Method (page 03)




If this is not a complete refutation if what passes for “best practice” in the Agile industry, I do not know what is.

The obvious path forward goes something like this:


Imposing change does not work. It is a complete waste of time and MONEY.

If you are an executive leader: do everything you can to avoid this trap. Stop yourself from listening to those “leading” Agile consultants that are telling you that you can push, you can force. That you can “roll it out.” That you can impose.

Because: it simply does not (and never did) WORK.

Listen to REAL Agile experts. (See below.) Stop listening to Agile consultants who say NOTHING about the essential nature of employee ENGAGEMENT in getting real success with Agile.

You, are invited. You are invited to:

Stop accepting advice from these people: THE AGILE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX (link)

Start inviting.



On social media, follow the hashtag: on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook: #InviteNotImpose

The OpenSpace Agility group on Facebook (link)

Follow and engage THESE people: The REAL AGILE LEADERS HALL OF FAME (link)