Brief Summary of Liminal Thinking

This is a brief summary of the book “Liminal Thinking – Create the change you want by changing the way you think” by Dave Gray.  Dave is the author of books such as “Gamestorming” and “The Connected company”.

According to Dave, Liminal thinking is the art of creating change by understanding, changing and reframing beliefs.  The book goes on to talk about the Principles and Practices of Liminal Thinking.

Here is a brief summary of the book “Liminal Thinking”   Brief Summary of Liminal thinking 1.0


Quick summary of Leadership and Self-Deception

Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute, is a leadership fable which discusses two concepts – “In the Box” and “Out of the Box”.

Once a person is “in the box”, they see others in a distorted way and as a source of their problem. The person “in the box” sees himself as the centre of the world and others as mere objects – whose needs are secondary and less legitimate than their own.  He, more often than not, blames others and finds faults with whatever others do or say. For the person “in the box”, his needs come before anybody else’s and only after they are satisfied, does he look at needs of others. And   a person “in the box” could face issues such as  a lack of commitment, lack of engagement, poor team work, backbiting, lack of trust, communication problems among others. It is because being “in the box” limits our ability to reach our full potential and betrays the basic obligation that we have to see others as they are, as people.

A person “out of the box” sees others as People – as a person who has feelings, hopes, fears and needs.  A person who is ‘out of the box’ places his needs and the needs of others on the same level.  He is a good communicator, tries to motivate people around and can deliver even the hardest messages without any ill feeling.     The motivation for smart people to be smarter and for skilled people to be even more skilled, is for them to be treated in a straightforward manner, and to give them the respect and dignity they deserve.  A person “out of the box” creates an environment of openness, trust and teamwork where people work hard, put in effort for the collective good of the group not for individual accomplishments.

There is a nice summary at the end of the book :

  • Self betrayal leads to self-deception and “the box”
  • When you are in the box, you cannot focus on the results
  • Your influence and success will depend on being out of the box
  • You get out of the box as you cease resisting other people
  • Don’t try to be perfect. Do try to be better
  • Don’t use the vocabulary “the box” and so on – with people who don’t already know it. Do use the principles in your own life
  • Don’t look for others’ boxes. Do look for your own
  • Don’t accuse others of being in the box. Do try to stay out of the box yourself
  • Don’t give up on yourself when you discover you have been in the box. Do keep trying
  • Don’t deny that you have been in the box when you have been. Do apologise, then just keep marching forward, trying to be more helpful in the future.
  • Don’t focus on what others are doing wrong. Do focus on what you can do right to help
  • Don’t worry whether others are helping you. Do worry whether you are helping others.

I particularly liked a 10 minute video by Callibrain summarizing the book  –

Brief Summary of Mastering Leadership

I just finished reading “Mastering Leadership” by Bob Anderson and Bill Adams – a great read on Leadership.  I feel this book along with “Leadership Agility” by Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs covers most of the bases required to understand Leadership competencies, the different levels of leadership and Leadership models to develop great leaders.

Here is a brief summary of the book –>  brief-summary-of-mastering-leadership


Brief summary of “Turn the Ship Around”

Here is a brief summary of ‘Turn the Ship Around” by David Marquet – a great leadership book which talks about how great leaders follow a “Leader-Leader” structure instead of  a “Leader-Follower” structure by giving up control, by being competent by pushing decision making to the lower levels of the organization and providing a clarity of purpose.  A truly excellent read.

Here is the link to the summary  –> brief-summary-of-turn-the-ship-around

Here is a 10 minute video based on his book.


Books .. Books .. Books

These are a list of books compiled from various sources.     Here are a few links to a list of books suggested by Dominic Krimmer for Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Leadership and Developers.

  1. Agile coaching  —
  2. Developers –
  3. Leadership –
  4. Product Owners –
  5. Scrum Masters –


Srl # Book Author/s
1 Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances J. Richard Hackman
2 Leading Self-Directed Work Teams: A Guide to Developing New Team Leadership Skills  Kimball Fisher
3 The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performan ce Organization Douglas Smith, Jon Katzenbach
4 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable  Patrick M. Lencioni
5 Fast Cycle Time: How to Align Purpose, Strategy, and Structure for Speed  Christopher Meyer
6 Revolutionizing Product Development: Quantum Leaps in Speed, Efficiency and Quality Steven C. Wheelwright, Kim B. Clark
7 Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister
8 Software for Your Head Jim McCarthy, Michele McCarthy
9 A Sense of Urgency John Kotter
10 Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation Jez Humble, David Farley
11 Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling Edgar H Schein
12 Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Laura Whitworth
13 The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers and Coaches Roger Schwarz
14 Kanban Change Leadership Klaus Leopold, Siegfried Kaltenecker
15 The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way Your Lead Forever Michael Bungay Stanier
16 Scrumban: Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development Corey Ladas
17 The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox
18 Perfect Software: And Other Illusions About Testing Gerald M. Weinberg
19 The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully Gerald Weinberg
20 An Introduction to General Systems Thinking Gerald M. Weinberg
21 Kanban from the Inside: Understand the Kanban Method, connect it to what you already know, introduce it with impact Mike Burrows
22 Practices for Scaling Lean and Agile Development: Large, Multisite, and Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum  by Craig Larman, Bas Vodde
23 The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization: Second edition Peter M Senge
24 Specification by Example: How Successful Teams Deliver the Right Software Gojko Adzic
25 The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance Josh Waitzkin
26 Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change Kent Beck, with Cynthia Andres
27 Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton
28 Taiichi Ohnos Workplace Management: Special 100th Birthday Edition Taiichi Ohno
29 The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses Eric Ries
30 Running Lean Ash Maurya
31 Scaling Lean and Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum: Successful Large, Multisite and Offshore Products with Large-scale Scrum by Vodde Craig Larman, Bas
32 Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships Eric Berne
33 Nonviolent Communication: a Language of Life Marshall B. Rosenberg
34 The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford
35 Mastery (Plume) George Leonard
36 The Tao of Coaching: Boost Your Effectiveness at Work by Inspiring and Developing Those Around You Max Landsberg
37 Beyond the Goal: Theory of Constraints Eliyahu M. Goldratt
38 Abolishing Performance Appraisals: Why They Backfire and What to Do Instead Tom Coens, Mary Jenkins, Peter Block
39 Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent Joel Spolsky
40 The Coach’s Casebook: Mastering The Twelve Traits That Trap Us Geoff Watts, Kim Morgan
41 The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, Chris Yeh
42 The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey Kenneth Blanchard, William, Jr. Oncken, Hal Burrows
43 Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World Adam Grant
44 Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Daniel Pink
45 Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong Norman Fischer
46 Servant Leadership : A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness Robert K. Greenleaf
47 Agile Coaching Rachel Davies, Liz Sedley
48 Scrum Mastery: From Good To Great Servant-Leadership Geoff Watts
49 Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition Lyssa Adkins
50 Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide to Ending the Pursuit of Happiness Barry Magid
51 The End of Leadership Barbara Kellerman
52 Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness Frederic Laloux
53 Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business David J. Anderson, Donald G Reinertsen
54 Agile Retrospectives : Making Good Teams Great (Pragmatic Programmers) Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber
55 The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be Moises Naim
56 Fearless Change Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising
57 Lean change Management Jason Little
58 Switch Chip and Dan Heath
59 Innovation Games Luke Hohmann
60 Joy Inc Richard Sheridan
61 Essential Scrum Kenneth Rubin
62 The Agile Mindset Gil Broza
63 Flow Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
64 Mindset – the new psychology of success Carol Dweck
65 Turn the ship around David Marquet
66 Team of Teams General Stanley McChrystal and Tantum Collins
67 Creativity Inc Ed Catmull
68 Start with Why Simon Sinek
69 Agile Testing Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory
70 Work Rules Lazlo Block
71 User Story Mapping Jeff Patton
72 Principles of Product Development flow Don Reinertsen
73 Inspire Marty Cagan
74 Agile Product Management with Scrum Roman Pichler
75 Your brain at work David Rock
76 Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose – the Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership John Whitmore
77 Quiet Leadership David Rock
78 Mastering Leadership Robert J. Anderson and William Adams
79 Training from the back of the room Sharon Bowman
80 Thinking Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman
81 Leading Change John Kotter
82 Facilitator′s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making Sam Kaner
83 Game Storming Dave Gray
84 Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise and Other Bribes Alfie Kohn
85 Strategize: Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age Roman Pichler
86 The Art of Agile Development James Shore

Quick Summary of Quiet Leadership – Six steps to transforming Performance at work

This is a quick summary of Quiet Leadership – Six Steps to transforming Performance at Work by David Rock – an excellent book for Coaches and Managers alike.

Link to the Summary  –>  Quiet Leadership



Leadership Agility

Here is a link to the PDF version with the formatting intact –> Leadership Agility

Leadership Agility

Bill Joiner

Why do we need Agile Leaders?

  • Implement Agile adoptions and sustain it
  • Develop organizational agility

Agile leaders currently conceived as

  • Upholding Agile principles and values
  • Using and supporting Agile practices
  • Not being traditional manager

Agility is the ability to achieve sustained success in an environment or accelerating change and increasing interdependencies [due to global economy, new technologies etc] According to a survey by the Economist, 90% of the executives believe that agility is essential for business success and growth and the primary obstacle is organizational culture What is Leadership Agility? Agility comes from the world of sports and it includes being

  • Receptive to change
  • Adapting to changing environment
  • Faster capability in people
  • Faster feedback loops
  • Being responsive rather than being reactive
  • Self organized teams – delegation
  • Embrace change

The essence of Leadership Agility is

  • Focus
  • Step back
  • Gain a broader deeper vision
  • Re-engage and take action

The levels of Leadership Agility correlate with established stages of personal development. Synergist Co Creator                                                                                                                                                              Catalyst Achiever Expert Conformer Operator Enthusiast Explorer The first four stages(Explorer, Enthusiast, Operator, Conformer) correspond to the Childhood stages and the others to the Adult stages of development Expert

  • Holds expertise
  • Acts in a tactical manner
  • Address people as they come up


  • Have a strategy
  • Adapt to change
  • What can I do to make that change
  • How can I make my team more motivated


  • Do everything done at previous levels
  • Vision – not just to reach the top
  • Have everyone on the team super engaged
  • Have every one become leaders in their own right

  Expert level leadership

Key assumptions Leaders are respected and followed because of authority and expertise  
Leadership style Tactical, problem solving orientation. Leader’s power depends on expertise and positional authority
Organizational change  Focus on incremental improvements within one’s unit with minimal stakeholder engagement
Team Leadership More a supervisor than a manager Focus on one to one Supervision vs management/leadership of direct reports as a person
Pivotal conversations low tolerance for conflict –  either strongly assert opinions or hold back to accommodate others.  May swing from one style to the other.

   Achiever level leadership

Key assumptions  Motivate others by making it challenging and satisfying to contribute to larger objectives
Leadership style Strategic outcome orientation, believes power comes not only from power and authority but also by motivating others
Organizational change Initiatives include analysis of industry environment strategies to gain stakeholder buy in – ranges from one way communication to soliciting input
Team Leadership Treats direct reports as a system to be orchestrated as a team
Pivotal conversations Moderate tolerance for conflict Primarily assertive / accommodative with some ability to compensate using other systems Will often accept feedback if helpful in achieving desired outcome

Catalyst level leadership

Key assumptions  Articulate an inspiring vision and empower and develop others to make it a reality
Leadership style Visionary, facilitative orientation
Organizational change Organizational initiatives often include development of a culture that promotes team work, participation and empowerment, proactive engagement with diverse stakeholders – reflects belief that their input increases the quality of decisions
Team Leadership Create a highly participate empowered team that leads change together Welcome exchange of views on difficult issues
Pivotal conversations Greater tolerance to conflict Adept at balancing assertive and accommodative tendencies as needed Proactive in seeking feedback – genuinely interested in learning from diverse new points

  The Co-creator level leadership

Key assumptions Oriented towards shared purpose and collaboration
Leadership style Believes leadership is ultimately a service to others
Organizational change Develops key stakeholder relationships characterized by deep levels of mutual influence and genuine dedication to the common good. May create companies or units where corporate responsibility is an integral practice
Team Leadership Develops collaborative leadership styles where members feel fully responsible not only to their own areas but also to the organization they collectively manage
Pivotal conversations Style reflects an integration of assertive and accommodative tendencies Able to process and seriously consider negative feedback even when highly charged emotionally

The Synergist level of leadership

Key assumptions Wholistic orientation
Leadership style Experiences leadership as a participation in a palpable sense of purpose that benefits others while serving as a vehicle for personal transformation
Organizational change Maintains a deep empathetic awareness of conflicting stakeholder interests including their own. Able to access synergistic intuitions that transforms seemingly intractable conflicts into solutions beneficial for all
Team Leadership Capable of moving fluidly between various team leadership styles Can amplify or shape group energy dynamics to bring about mutually beneficial results
Pivotal conversations Creating a present centered awareness that augments external feedback and supports strong style connection with others even during challenging conversations

    Heroic and Post Heroic Leadership Heroic Leadership

  • Heroic leaders can be highly effective in certain situations.
  • However in complex rapidly changing organization environments heroic leadership over controls and under utilizes subordinates.
  • It discourages people for feeling responsible for anything beyond their assigned area
  • Inhibits team work and implicitly encourages subordinates to use their heroic approach with their own units

Post Heroic Leadership Post Heroic leaders retain ultimate accountability and authority that comes with their role yet they create work environments characterized by high involvement and shared responsibility. 4 types of Leadership Agility   Context Setting Agility

  • Scoping initiatives / Self Direction
  • Leaders use Context Setting Agility to
    • scan their environment
    • anticipate change
    • decide what initiatives they need to take
  • It also includes the ability to determine the optimal scope of an initiative and the outcomes it needs to achieve
  • They have the ability to undertake visionary initiatives that are personally meaningful and beneficial for the organization and its key stakeholders

Stakeholder Agility

  • Understanding stakeholders / resolving differences
  • Leaders use Stakeholder Agility to
    • Identify the key stakeholders of an initiative
    • Understand what they have stake
    • Asses the extent to which their views and objectives are aligned with their own
  • Includes the ability to engage with stakeholders in ways that lead to more optimal alignment
  • They seek input from key stakeholders not simply to gain buy in, but because they feel that genuine dialogue will improve the quality and effectiveness of their initiatives

Creative Agility

  • Creating solutions / analyzing problems
  • Leaders use Creative Agility to transform complex novel issues to deliver results
  • Catalyst leaders begin their initiatives with a keen appreciation of the novelty inherent in the situation they are addressing
  • They conduct their initiatives in a manner that encourages the expression of multiple views and the questioning of underlying assumptions
  • Where they encounter apparent opposites, their willingness to experience the tension between them increases their ability to discover creative solutions

Self Learning Agility

  • Developing new skills / seeking feedback
  • They develop a strong interest in becoming aware of behaviours, feelings and assumptions that would normally escape their conscious attention
  • They are motivated to increase their self awareness and more fully align their behaviour with their values and aspirations
  • For them personal growth fuels professional development

Repeatedly engaging in these competencies allows one to use leadership initiatives to develop all four leadership agility competencies.  Each of these competencies involves stepping back from yoru current focus in a way that generates new insights and helps you make better decisions that reengaging in what needs to be done next.

  • Context Setting Agility – re-examine current priorities in the light of changes taking place in your large environment
  • Stakeholder Agility – consider the needs and perspectives of those who are influenced by your initiatives
  • Creative Agility – develop optimal solutions to the often novel and complex issues you face
  • Self learning Agility – reflecting you yourself and experimenting with new and more effective behaviours