Agile Forest

Find your path to agility with Renee Troughton

When I was in Washington for the Agile Alliance 2015 conference I met up with Craig Smith and Christopher Avery for a podcast (unfortunately for me half way through). It was my first real introduction to the Leadership Gift and Responsibility Model. I had heard Craig talk to about the Leadership Gift a few times but the conversation intrigued me.

Recently I have started to have a look in depth about what a fully comprehensive leadership training program would look like and remembering the conversation in Washington I set aside some time to watch the youtube video on The Leadership Gift.

The following are my random notes that I took as I watched the video. They will likely seem contextually disconnected and out off place but I write the notes in the spirit of Non Violent Communications appreciation – to give clarity of what I give thanks for.

So the basic model is as such:











  • The importance of moving the “inversion layer” eg the layer of management that deals with where teams transcend across coloured layers (as described in Fredrick Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations Book). Eg a green Agile team and amber management – the Scrum Master is the person who is often affected by the inversion layer. The goal should be to NOT have an inversion layer.
  • A reference to complexity and uncertainty (making me think of Cynefin)
  • Accountability does not mean responsibility (resonated)
  • Do we make commitments visible?
  • The responsibility process demonstrates how we use language when things go through (key message)
  • Justify = “that’s just the way it is around here”, “there’s nothing I can do about it” (important classification)
  • Impediments = a conception of elements beyond our control (but are they really???)
  • Responsibility is the place of freedom – of control and power in ones mind (key message).
  • Shame is socially considered a level of responsibility, but it is not (aha moment for me).
  • When we are truly responsible when something goes wrong we acknowledge it but more importantly we focus on what we have done to fix it, to stop it from occurring again and what still needs to be done, or what is outstanding (key message)
  • High performing teams – go beyond their accountabilities, have highly successful outcomes & have a great time doing it
  • Reference to Chris Argyris & Double loop learning (re-hearing what I learnt a few years ago)
  • We weren’t born with perfect knowledge and we won’t die with it either (loved this quote)
  • … but we can learn through experimentation, trial and error (again reinforcing lean startup to process belief)
  • Get off shame by forgiving yourself
  • There is no personal growth when you are living below the line, ie doing obligation, shame, justification, blame or denial
  • What to do? Firstly intention – create a desire to get above the line with free will. Secondly have awareness – a life long pursuit. Thirdly confront yourself – what change is needed based on awareness. (key message)
  • Winning is about meeting an achievement not beating others (similar messaging as Non Violent Communication)

2 thoughts on “The Leadership Gift – The Responsibility Model

  1. Christopher Avery says:

    Nice review. Well done. Thank you Renee.

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