Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Don't let your company kill you!
Listen to this book at your own risk. It contains ideas that may lead to a profound self-awakening. An introspective journey for those in the trenches of today's modern organizations, Deep Change is a survival manual for finding our own internal leadership power. By helping us learn new ways of thinking and behaving, it shows how we can transform ourselves from victims to powerful agents of change. And for anyone who yearns to be an internally driven leader, to motivate the people around them, and return to a satisfying work life, Deep Change holds the key.
|Listening Length||6 hours and 2 minutes|
|Author||Robert E. Quinn|
|Audible.ca Release Date||July 09 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #115,355 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#295 in Organizational Change (Books)
#914 in Workplace & Organizational Behaviour
#1,298 in Organizational Behaviour (Books)
Top reviews from Canada
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According to Quinn, "Incremental change is usually the result of a rational analysis and planning process. There is a desired goal with a specific set of steps for reaching it. Incremental change is usually limited in scope and often reversible. If the change does not work out, we can always return to the bold way. Incremental change usually does not disrupt our past patterns -- it is an extension of the past. Most important, during incremental change, we feel we are in control." Does all this sound familiar? Has Quinn described accurately how change occurs within your organization?
Now consider a second brief excerpt: "This book explores a much more difficult change process, the process of deep change. Deep change differs from incremental change in that it requires new ways of thinking and behaving. It is change that is major in scope, discontinuous with the past and generally irreversible. The deep change effort distorts existing patterns of action and involves taking risks. Deep change means surrendering control." Decades ago, David Riesman made the helpful distinction between "inner-directed" and "other-directed" people. The same can also be said of organizations (communities of people) when determining the nature, extent, and location of control. Quinn believes that "one person can change the larger system or organization in which he or she exists." If I understand Quinn correctly, his central assertion is this: If and only if enough individuals achieve deep change individually can their shared organization then achieve deep change.
This is a very dangerous concept. Unlike incremental change, deep change poses a very serious threat to the status quo of an organization and, especially, to those who (you can be certain) will steadfastly defend it. There will also be perils for those who seek to achieve deep change in their individual lives. Cherished assumptions, premises, values, and beliefs will all be called into question and many of them will be found inadequate, if not false. As Quinn describes it, those undergoing deep change will feel as if they are "walking naked into the land of uncertainty." He acknowledges "This is usually a terrifying choice, often involving a ' dark night of the soul.'" In Riesman's view, that person becomes inner-directed. For Quinn, that person is "internally driven...more capable of leading under conditions of continuous change...more organic."
What is the alternative? Quinn's answer: "slow death." I am reminded of a relevant insight expressed by Ernest Becker in The Denial of Death. He acknowledges that no one can deny physical death but there is another death which anyone can deny: the death which occurs when we become wholly preoccupied with fulfilling others' expectations of us. A slow death indeed. If you wish to achieve deep change in your life, and are now involved in an organization which can only tolerate incremental change (if any change at all), I urge you to find another organization.
He gives us hope that perhaps things can change. In any case he helps us to learn to be the transformational leader, if we look inside and if we are willing to face the pain of change.
Another reviewer pans Quinn for concentrating on the pain of change, but I have seen few people change without pain of some sort motivating them and even fewer organizations. I am a life coach and therapist and helping people change is my business, but there usually is a motivator for the change and with most people and organizations it is pain of some sort.
This book, while not a difficult read causes thought and is therefore a great read. Highly recommended. Thank you Dr. Quinn for being real with us.
"Karl Weick tells a story about a military unit that was operating under difficult circumstances in the Alps during Word War II. The commanding officer had sent a reconnaissance squad to scout out the surrounding area. A day passed, and the squad had not returned. It was feared that it was lost. Three days later, to everyone's relief, the squad returned. It had become lost and very discouraged when one of the men remembered that he had a map in his pack. This discovery brought a surge of hope and renewed energy. The squad leader took the map and led the squad safely back. The story was recounted to the relieved commanding officer, who summoned the squad leader to his tent and commended him for his fine work. It was not until later that the commanding officer noticed the map and realized that it was not a map of the Alps at all but one of the Pyrenees.
"Weick points out that a good outcome can result from a flawed map. In this case, the map was a symbol that raised hope and energy. It allowed the squad leader to organize his men and get them to believe in a common strategy of action. The fact that the squad was again moving allowed the men to begin to calculate and think about where they were going. Even though their basic assumptions were wrong, the process of acting and calculating allowed them to learn and resolve their problem.
"Deep change works in a similar way. Once we have our sense of direction, we need to get organized, pack our gear, get motivated, and move on out. This process introduces new information and allows us to make choices and progress and grow our way forward. The process also transmits signals to others, and they are attracted by courage and motivation."
If you are interested in change, you must read this book.
Top reviews from other countries
The concept of slow death at work, frustrations and desire for flight identified in the book has been covered before but not with such intelligence or the delicate encouragement that asks what it is you need to do for deep change to occur, before looking externally to blame, criticise or the eternal wait for leadership from others. On an organisational level, the book articulates many common frustrations such as resistance, yet defuses them with an authoritative wisdom. The book finishes with empowerment delivering the final challenge of increasing your own sense of self-determination to deliver deep change in oneself and those around you.
An excellent book on change, but one that is perhaps more for personal consumption.
Interestingly this is not an authoritative guide to better management or special actions; rather a guide that pushes the reader to become self-aware of one's situation within the context of business.
Why then the high recommendation?
In my opinion, this is one of the best books I have encountered. Why? Becuase it takes the simple premise that one must change yourself to change a company and details the implications of that change in perspective in beautiful and exacting detail.
Let me explain my position through the use of a book quote:
"If you perform beyond the norms, you disrupt all the existing control systems. Those systems will then alter and begin to work to routinize your efforts. That is, the systems will adjust and try to make you normal. The way to achieve and maintain excellence is to deviate from the norm. You become excellent because you are doing things normal people do not want to do. You become excellent by choosing a path that is risky and painful, a path that is not appealing to others."
The above made the book worth reading for me.
Thus, Robert Quinn (for me at least) has captured the inherent conflict of business change in the above quote. A key tenet of management is self-awareness of yourself, your team and the hurdles that you will encounter. One hurdle that is oft forgotten is the ability of an organisation to normalise an individual's actions. The book provides great insight in this context and has an excellent list of book references that I am working my way through.
Stagnation runs rampant. We become enveloped in repetition . . . repetition that is poisoning us. So why not change it? Because people fear change. They fear it because it is risky. What this book does is take the reader through the process of change and not just simply developing or dropping habits. This is a deep change, to the person's very core. It is life-changing.
This book is written with business in mind but it is applicable on a personal level as well as a professional level. You do not have to be top management to invoke change. Bringing about the change that you want to see is an internal process. Change within to change without (which can be an unpopular notion as people look to external forces for safety and indicators). But true change in your work and in your life does not come from taking the safe road.
This is a great book for your own development or even for those who follow the transformational leadership research. Though it has a somewhat academic tone, it is a relaxed one and the book is easy to read (it doesn't read like a textbook or anything). Check it out.
The tendency towards incremental change over deep change is also true on an organizational level. Rarely do organizations, including the church, make deep major changes. While it may be argued that leadership needs to be mindful of bringing people along in the midst of change, there are certainly times that organizations need to experience deep change to survive. Quinn is correct in stating that without deep change, routine patterns move organizations increasingly toward decay and stagnation. This is true in the life of the church today. The church has grown comfortable with the patterns of ministry from years past and as a result has lost much of its influence in the changing culture.
One of Quinn's foundational themes is that personal deep change must precede deep change within a system or organization. While most of the time organizational change is seen as a top-down process, Quinn argues that it can also happen from the bottom-up. He states that deep change requires a personal evaluation of the ideologies that under gird the organizational culture. This is a refreshing insight that has application to other relational contexts. As people desire to see change in the lives of others, whether in parenting, marriage or work relationships, they first need to examine what changes need to occur in themselves. It is true that we do not easily recognize the part that we play in the problem. This thought is consistent with the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:3, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"
Another topic that is very applicable to numerous arenas of life is Quinn's discussion of the logic of task pursuit. Most people, under the pressure of task completion, have no opportunity to consider routine maintenance. This is true in the life of the individual on multiple levels. If a person does not take time to experience physical renewal through rest and exercise the body will experience exhaustion. This is certainly true with the spiritual life as well. People need to carve out time from the pursuit of tasks to spend time alone with God. The logic of task pursuit is also true in the life of the church. Each church needs to set aside time to revisit its mission and to ensure that the work of the church is in alignment with that mission.
Other helpful insights are found in Quinn's discussion on why organizational change doesn't take place. He states that the dominant coalition in an organization is seldom interested in making deep changes. Therefore, deep change is often driven from the outside. This has been true in the life of many organizations. Furthermore, there are pressures within most organizations to conform to the prevailing structure. Quinn does an excellent job of identifying the barriers of bureaucratic culture, embedded conflict, and personal time constraints. It is helpful to recognize that in most cases people do not need new skills and competencies, but instead they need a new perspective that allows them to act as empowered leaders in a changing organization. While this section on overcoming resistance to change was helpful, it would have been strengthened with practical examples of how individuals brought about significant change.
There is also much to appreciate with Quinn's emphasis on the transitions from the technical, the transactional, and the transformational paradigms. Quinn's description of each paradigm and the paradigm's representative would prove to be very beneficial to any organizational leader's attempt to understand those that they lead and the unique perspective they hold about the organization.
Finally the culmination of Quinn's emphasis on empowerment and ultimate transformation of an organization is what he refers to as the transformational cycle. The cycle is a helpful visual reminder that deep change does not come to a point of completion. It is a cycle that will itself become routine and stagnate if there is not a time of reinvention and realignment of self and the organization.
While written from a business perspective, Deep Change is applicable for anyone who desires to bring about change within an organization. The book is structured in an easy to follow format and includes reflection and discussion questions at the end of each chapter to provide further assistance to the reader in taking steps towards deep change, on both a personal and organizational level.