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Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change [Hardcover]

by William B. Joiner, Stephen A. Josephs
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 20, 2006 0787979139 978-0787979133 1
Leadership Agility is the master competency needed for sustained success in today’s complex, fast-paced business environment. Richly illustrated with stories based on original research and decades of work with clients, this groundbreaking book identifies five levels that leaders move through in developing their agility. Significantly, only 10% have mastered the level of agility needed for consistent effectiveness in our turbulent era of global competition. Written in an engaging, down-to-earth style, this book not only provides a map that guides readers in identifying their current level of agility. It also provides practical advice and concrete examples that show managers and leadership development professionals how they can bring greater agility to the initiatives they take every day.

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Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change + Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization (Leadership for the Common Good)
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Editorial Reviews


"...there is much to learn from this book and I commend the authors for their painstaking analysis" (The Learning Organisation, Vol. 15 No. 1, 2008)


"Leadership Agility is a unique and extraordinarily important contribution to our understanding of what it takes to lead in a world of rapid change and increasing complexity. They show us with vivid real-life examples how leaders grow, that this growth is essential to achieving higher levels of success, and that agility is the new master skill of leadership. I highly recommend this book."
—Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge

"Great coaching on how to develop leadership agility! Probably the most important competency for leaders to have in today's rapidly changing world."
—Marshall Goldsmith, author, Coaching for Leadership, Global Leadership, and The Leader of the Future

"In an era of turmoil and complexity, Leadership Agility is a breakthrough in thinking about leadership competencies. Joiner and Josephs have achieved a creative synthesis of best practices in strategic thinking, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and action learning. Profusely illustrated with clear examples from real-life leaders, this groundbreaking book will be welcomed by both the line leader and the leadership development professional."
—David Giber, senior vice president, consulting and leadership development, Linkage, Inc.

"As executives operating in an often chaotic business environment, we know instinctively that our company's ability to zig and zag is critical. Leadership Agility takes that instinctive understanding and defines it, measures it, and shows us how to develop it in ourselves and others. This is a timely, thought-provoking, and very important book on leadership."
—Betsy Bernard, former president, AT&T

"Leadership Agility gave me the inspiration I needed to respond creatively and decisively to several of my current leadership dilemmas. Many readers are bound to be similarly inspired. The clear, specific guidance it provides makes it a "playbook" that managers and leaders will read closely and return to again and again."
—Bill Torbert, professor, the Boston College Carroll School of Management; author, Action Inquiry: The secret of timely and transforming leadership

"Leadership Agility gives you an insightful, research-based framework that helps you develop as a leader. This book is not about reading and agreeing/disagreeing, it’s about learning and doing."
—Patrick Canavan, senior vice president, of Global Governance, Motorola

"Joiner and Josephs provide a clear, detailed road map that helps pinpoint where you are on your leadership journey and shows you how to get where you want to go."
—Lee Bolman, author, The Wizard and the Warrior; Marion Bloch/Missouri Chair in Leadership, Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, University of Missouri-Kansas City

"Leadership Agility is a remarkable achievement. It will serve as a valuable guide not only for business leaders but for anyone who wants to grow as a person, have more satisfying relationships, and experience greater success in all aspects of life. I heartily endorse this book."
—Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series and coauthor of The Success Principles: How to get from where you are to where you want to be™

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787979139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787979133
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh and integrated view on leadership development December 10, 2006
I just finished reading Leadership Agility and was very impressed with the contents of the book. As a leadership development professional who tries to read everything there in the field, I felt the book offered a very fresh and unique look on leadership development that helped frame many of my experiences with developing leaders. I felt the biggest contribution was showing how the "Outside-In" and "Inside-Out" dimensions of leadership development connected and changed within a leader. Because leadership development books tend to emphasize either an Outside-In (competency-based models) or Inside-Out (i.e. authentic leadership/emotional intelligence) approach, it was so rare to see such a thorough treatment of both dimensions of leadership development. Since reading it, I've given out several copies to my leadership development colleagues.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the first "integral leadership" books December 25, 2006
I met Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs at the 2006 Organizational Development Network Conference and was truly impressed by both. This book is an important contribution to the field of management and leadership development. In fact, it is one of the first (in my significant reading of the literature in this arena) that makes an attempt (a successful one at that!) in bringing developmental stage theory and integral theory to bear on the topic. Many books on management development can (in my opinion) often be distilled into a 1-2 page synopsis as the concepts are just that simple. However, I cannot say that about Leadership Agility as nearly every page has many nuggets of practical wisdom. It is worth reading the whole thing.

As other reviewers have noted, Leadership Agility brings together both Outside-In (competency-based) development theory with Inside-Out (self knowledge, values, authenticity and Emotional Intelligence) understanding.

The core of the book revolves around a 5-stage developmental theory that is reflective of literature research as well as interviews completed in the last decade by Bill and Stephen. In essence, people go through identifiable developmental stages each with their own strengths and liabilities: Expert, Achiever, Catalyst, Co-Creator, and Synergist. Each of the 5 stages is cross-referenced to these 4 competencies:
*Context-Setting Agility
*Stakeholder Agility
*Creative Agility
*Self-Leadership Agility

What I especially appreciate is the naming of both Awareness and Intent as a progressive unfolding skill in the agile leader. At each level of development, the person in consideration is able to increasingly step back and take a broader perspective on both themselves and the context-situation-world they operate in.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I have been working in the field of adult development psychology in various ways since about 1985, having had the privilege to be able to read most of the research that has been published quite thoroughly: Loevinger, Kohlberg, Kegan, Torbert, Lasker, Fowler, Rosenberg, Selman, Cook-Greuter, etc., etc. I have carried out a handful of research projects using adult development psychology to analyze meaning-making in workplace conflicts, security politics and organizational change. I have also for the last few years been leading workshops for organizational consultants, coaches and leaders on adult development psychology.

I have read Leadership agility very thoroughly over the past months and I must say I am still awed by the richness and new insight offered by the authors. This is a most significant contribution not only to our understanding of leadership, but also to the theoretical understanding of adult development in general. The latter aspect of the book risks to go unnoticed because the authors have aimed at reaching an audience of practitioners, using well-chosen case stories and an accessible writing style. The book is very useful not only for leaders, but perhaps in particular for coaches, organizational consultants and change agents. However, it is a veritable goldmine for people like me, who are interested in developing a keener and more differentiated understanding of what adult development really is. The authors could certainly have written a more academic book with a conceptual framework that would more readily appeal to the research community.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and practical guide to developing leadership October 31, 2006
This book is a wonderful and easy read.

Whoever heard of a book that imparts so much insightful and serious content in an engaging, story-driven format! In what I know is a rare achievement, it presents leadership, within a developmental context, and makes it accessible, acceptable, and actionable, for leaders in all walks of life. Anybody who has investigated developmental psychology, even minimally, knows that it is complex territory. What complicates it further, is that many people tend to resist its implications. And often, what drives the last nail in, is the lack of a clear model or framework for action.

Joiner and Josephs have busted all three hurdles, in this great book. They invite us, the readers into the evolution of leadership, not in a dry, academic way, but rather by enabling us to trace our own leadership journey. In the course of doing so, we realize that not only have we understood a fairly complex model, but also identified with it in our own lives. Further, we have in our hands, a highly actionable tool that can continue to shine a light on our leadership journey in the future.

For me, the most compelling aspect of the book lies in its clarity; its ability to explain succinctly, what actually grows within us, when we evolve as human beings.

I am very excited about this work and look forward to having it open new doors for many of us, everywhere.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on leadership self-improvement
I heard about this book at a recent strategic planning workshop, one of the guest speakers referenced it in a dinner talk on leadership. Read more
Published 3 months ago by B. Bullerman
5.0 out of 5 stars an actionable leadership perspective
Provides a great perspective for business leaders to shape their behavior for optimal results in today's workplace. A valuable tool for any leader.
Published 4 months ago by J. Kevin Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Great leadership framework. Better insights
Great insights written in real behavioral style understanding simplifies a complex subject and provides direction and a model of what it looks like and how to get there
Published 5 months ago by Frank Genovese
5.0 out of 5 stars Leadership is no longer stagnate!
This is a great book for leaders who are looking for something that is not the "usual" way of looking at leadership and business. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Judith A. Micale
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tool for coaching leaders.
I started using Leadership Agility as a coaching tool about four years ago and have found it very helpful with many of my business clients. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Suzan Czajkowski
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight
The book is well written and easily digestible but reader will greatly benefit from participating in or having just started leadership training / coaching. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jo Uthus
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Review of How to Handle Leadership Problem from Differing...
"Terrific book with excellent case studies of individuals working different levels of leadership agility. Read more
Published on November 21, 2011 by John P. Courville
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written book, good model of leadership
As an "expert" that was elevated into an executive role, this book certainly helped me understand where I am and how I can improve. Read more
Published on September 6, 2011 by Aeneas
5.0 out of 5 stars Tribal Leadership Fans will Appreciate This Book
The book is a result of an extensive multi-decade study of 600 leaders. The authors found that just as humans develop so do leaders. Read more
Published on December 29, 2010 by Mark A. Taylor
2.0 out of 5 stars The Boy Scout theory of leadership development
Years ago, cantankerous therapist Fritz Perls famously accused psychologist Abraham Maslow of being a "sugar-coated Nazi. Read more
Published on December 27, 2009 by nathan
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