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Most books on change posit the concept that the leader has to change herself or himself before the organization or community can improve. This book sets a high standard by encouraging ordinary people to follow the examples of Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. I heard Norman Schwartzkopf speak once about leadership. He said, "Be the leader you would like to have." That's the essence of this book. Each principle is established by showing a quote from each of the three models, and then is followed by stories of ordinary people as well as those in major organizations. The principles expressed here entail going several psychological levels lower into the human psyche than I have seen in other leadership books. "Envision the productive community" is important as a first step, because chances are no one else sees the way that the people could cooperate to create much more. Human beings have trouble imagining what they have not yet seen, so those who are good at this can provide very valuable guidance to the others. "First look within" is a good second step because it concentrates oneself on why one wants to change. It is very easy to want the change for the wrong reasons (pride, self-esteem, or misdirected ego). You have to purge that and focus on selfless reasons for changing. "Embrace the hypocritical self" was very impressive to me as a concept. Almost every leader I know is actually partly driven by hypocritical motives. Even the Stephen Covey books show examples where he seems to have been operating hypocritically. I sense this issue in many of my consulting projects, and find that it is difficult for people to address this. "Transcend fear" is good advice, too, because trying to make such large changes will undoubtedly encourage unusual levels of fear. Working through the fear is good for the leader and those who will benefit from the change. "Embody a vision of the common good" is essential inspiration to carry the vision forward both internally and by drawing support from others. "Disrupt the system" is based on complexity science. By creating disruption, you create the largest potential for self-organizing solutions to be generated. "Surrender to the emergent process" is a follow-on application of complexity science. You have to trust what is working, because it will lead to other self-organizing improvements. Trying to "manage" this process at this change will simply shortchange its potential. "Entice through moral power" is something that needs to permeate each of the earlier stages. There is a compelling quality to moral power that draws attention and commands respect and action. Here, the leader must be clearly acting from beyond self-interest to attract the collective support of those who respect the same moral tenets. I found this combination to be a unique synthesis of how change leadership can be accomplished. I can recognize the model from cases I have seen that worked and missing elements from the model in cases that did not work. I think the author has made an important step forward with this thinking. My only quibble is that the ordinary person reading this book may still have a conflict between the original reasons for seeking a change and the realities of how to pursue such a change. Almost everyone is attracted to making a difference initially because of a desire for self-aggrandizement. Early in the process, people may not be able to abandon that ego-based need for a selfless one. I suspect that more help is needed in this area than the book provides. Overcome your disbelief and misconception stalls about making beneficial changes!
Hopefully, you have already read some (if not all) of Quinn's earlier books, especially Deep Change which serves as an excellent introduction to this one. In the Preface, he explains that this book "is about changing the world. It is about coming to a deep understanding of human beings and human relationships." He then adds, "The book focuses on vision, unconditional confidence, and profound impact. It is about the mastery of human influence, transformational power, and the capacity to accomplish extraordinary things. It argues that everyone of us is a change agent." It is important to add, that Quinn advocates "deep change" as opposed to "incremental change." Moreover, no organization can achieve deep change unless and until those within that organization achieve deep change. So as I understand it, each of us must assume full authority as well as responsibility for (and have control of) our personal development. "There is a language of transformation. Yet most of us are cut off from that language. All our lives we have been explicitly taught to see human influence as an exercise in domination." Even the most sensitive among us is shaped by this paradigm or worldview. But this outlook prevents us from seeing more deeply into the actual workings of human systems. This book demonstrates an alternative system." Quinn recalls the remark by Oliver Wendell Holmes that he placed little value in simplicity that lay on this side of complexity but a great deal of value on simplicity that lay on the other side. The framework within which Quinn presents his material comes from the "seed thoughts" of people who have mastered "the language of transformation." By "seed thoughts" Quinn means some of the "core notions that masters of transformation hold in common, the simplicity they send us from the other side of complexity." Specifically, Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Quinn focuses on eight (8) "seed thoughts" (eg Envision the Productive Community, First Look Within, Embrace the Hypocritical Self), providing brief quotations from each of the three "masters of transformation" which he correlates with each of the eight "seed thoughts." His objective is to explain how Advanced Change Theory (ACT) can enable individuals to achieve deep change in their own lives and then within their organizations. The title of this book (Change the World) may be somewhat misleading. I wholeheartedly agree with Quinn that "ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary results", both individually and as members of a group. I also agree that Jesus, Gandhi, and King were "masters of transformation" within their respective spheres of influence as were Carnegie, Edison, Ford, Morgan, and Rockefeller within their own. Quinn's basic idea is sound. He and I may differ only when defining terms such as "change" and "world." I urge you to read this book, to consider very carefully what ACT offers to you (personally) and to your organization, and then to select whatever is most appropriate. Quinn provides an eloquent and convincing argument in support of his concept of deep change; better yet, he suggests all manner of strategies and tactics to achieve and sustain it; even better yet, almost anyone who reads this book already has the resources required. If you need help to organize and allocate those resources, and truly powerful encouragement to support your efforts in process, look no further.
This book is an action guide providing organisation leaders, managers, parents and everyone else with the creative power and revolutionary impact to change the world. The idea that inner change makes outer change possible has always been part of spiritual and psychological teachings. Change the World presents eight principles that each of us can follow to make individual and organisational change happen. These principles were inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.-three historical leaders who successfully used personal change to change the world. Author Robert Quinn introduces each principle with inspiring quotations from these three leaders. He then uses stories from everyday life to demonstrate his message. Every thought-provoking chapter is imbued with ideas and information that can help us step out of our old roles, approach the world with a sense of enlightenment and adventure, and live a more empowered and empowering life. Faced with the complexities of today's world, it's all too easy to view ourselves as passive observers or powerless victims. We want to change our realities, but lack the motivation to do so. This book is for ordinary people who have the ordinary need to have extraordinary impact. It is written for everyone of us who want to use personal transformation to make a positive impact on our families, organisations, businesses, and the world at large. Indeed, this is the central message of the book. Ordinary people have the need to be profoundly effective change agents, and ordinary people can be extraordinary change agents. Robert E. Quinn is the M.E. Tracy Distinguished Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management at the Michigan Business School and the author of a number of books including Deep Change and Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture. His research focuses on change.
"Typically a top management team goes off for three days," writes the author Quinn. "They hole up in a room with lots of flip charts and go to work." Then he says that when they're through they typically write words on small cards and pass them out to employees. Sadly, he observes these cards are "ignored and things go on as before." The premise underlying this book is that Quinn would have us care enough to change this way of thinking. The key, he says, is to stop doing things out of self-interest and start identifying and going after the shared goals of the group. He does a nice job of working good examples into his text. He also points out how risky it is to be a true leader since it involves overcoming a fear of failure when trying something new. He also does a nice job of making clear that hierarchy in itself is not a bad thing; it's only bad when they're perceived as mechanisms that result in getting nothing done. "Hierarchies become frozen bureaucracies due to the failure of human courage." He makes a compelling case for why it's crucial to skip the hollow words and dare to lead toward change. Only then can organizations hope for real change.
Robert Quinn is a great man, and I'm always anxious to read anything he writes. This book was no exception. I was excited for it's publication and quickly read it. I was so impressed with the content. Robert Quinn has once again inspired ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
As the blurb says - "the idea that inner change makes outer change possible has always been part of spiritual and psychological teachings. But not an idea that's generally addressed in leadership and management training". Quinn looks at how leaders such as Christ, Gandhi and Luther King have mobilised people for major change - and suggests that, by using 8 principles, "change agents" are capable of helping ordinary people to achieve transformative change. These principles are - * Envisage the productive community * Look within * Embrace the hypocritical self * Transcend fear * Embody a vision of the common good * Disturb the system * Surrender to the emergent system * Entice through moral power
The book is an excellent antidote for those who are still fixated on the expert model of change - those who imagine it can be achieved by "telling", "forcing" or by participation. Quinn exposes the last for what it normally is (despite the best intentions of those in power) - a form of manipulation - and effectively encourages us, through examples, to have more faith in people. My only reservation about the book is that it does not emphasise enough that such processes require careful structuring and catalysts (see Brown; Isaacs; and Wheatley)
This book is fabulous! It uses the examples of Gandhi, MLK, Jr. and Jesus to illustrate a business model that is people centered and still effective. You do not have to be religious or have any kind of savior complex (thinking you are as wonderful as any of the three men used in the book) to benefit from this book. It is not a new book, but the lives and examples of these three men are timeless. I don't think this book can possibly be outdated.
Compelling about Quinn's book is his emphasis on personal transformation. Quinn stated, "This book is about developing as a person with increased potential for growth" (p. 7). The Advanced Change Theory (ACT) is put forth as a means for "engaging emergent reality and transcending self" (p. 13). Quinn draws upon the examples of Jesus, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King to illustrate his thinking. In effect, this book is about the power of personal transformation to yield collective impacts - who we are and our orientation towards others, the planet, our work matter....a great deal.
I found this book to be one of the best books I have ever read. This author has a profound and very deep understanding of what it means to be a change agent and the challenges that each individual must face, if they are truly interested in making a difference in the world. I have the eight seed principles of change on my wall, and often refer to it. The thinking represented by Quinn is for the courageous person, who is willing to disturb their own protected thought process in order to create a meaningful contribution. Highly recommend.