Robert Quinn’s, The Deep Change Field Guide, is a leader’s do-it-yourself (DIY) manual on how to achieve what he calls a “fundamental state of leadership.” Purpose-centered, internally directed, other-focused, and externally open is Quinn’s primary goal for the serious reader and leader in today’s global framework. He challenges leaders to willingly undergo a radical personal and professional deep change process before attempting to change the organization(s) they may lead. I agree with Quinn’s transformational leadership model and think it integrates well with my situational-servant leader approach. Quinn’s book offers self-help ideas, exercises, questions, worksheets, homework, and action plans for the deep change student. My post will examine his DIY guide and watch for ways to improve my dissertation research and ministry application into the problem with spiritual warfare.
First off, since this is our last review for the year I wanted to thank each of you for increasing my knowledge of God and helping me better reflect the image of Christ. Yep, that’s right. Each of you in your own unique and marvelous ways enriched and inspired my spirit. I know some of you still read and use paper books (I see your impressive libraries on Zoom) or applied the techniques of Adler (how to read), or Roundtree (SQ3R), or Bayard (non-read), or Elder (critical thinking) before you wrote your post for Quinn’s book. I used my smart-phone e-reader while flying a mission! I also know, because of our F2F and FB posts that many of you have been away from work and ministry for vacation, church camp, and flying from here to there for work and ministry before making this last post. Therefore, in the spirit of Quinn’s positivity theme I wish you all a hearty congratulation for “finishing well” on your first year in GFU’s Leadership and Global Perspectives (LGP).
Second, most of you know I was in public safety in a prior life, so I am wired to apply a lot of Elder (critical thinking) to what people do, say, or write. Quinn tries very hard to remain religiously neutral, which is a “tell” for those of you who used to play cards. I found an article on Quinn at https://devotional.byuh.edu/media110301 that helps fill in the theological blanks that I searched for in his book(s). This insight helps me understand and put his work into the proper perspective in my theological paradigm and practice of transformational leadership. For the record, my wife grew up Latter Day Saints (LDS) as are half of my in-laws. So, I know from my family life experiences the theological differences that make a difference and know the “key” words and phrases that look like mainstream evangelical Christianity. All of that to say this, Quinn’s work needs Christ for the full transformational leadership package.
Third, I do find a lot of positive attributes to Quinn’s book, when compared against the other 30 books we have reviewed in the past year! I like his field guide format for the type of personal deep change process he is asking us to immerse ourselves into. Why? Because change can be stressful, disorienting, and destabilizing. His guide, or checklist, can quickly bring the “patient” back to a familiar point or phase in the transformational change process. While I love the abstract and enjoy making sense out of chaos, I think Quinn’s method and model is a very practical and useable tool for all leaders and organizations. My favorite parts in the book are his “Make a Journal Entry” sections in each the eight chapters. Here he asks the transforming leadership student to identify with the statements that most “resonate” with them during the process. Quinn shows his depth of knowledge and experience in leadership theory and organizational change with the quality and quantity of his journal entry statements.
I identified the most with Quinn’s “slow death” principle. I reflected on what that means to me and related my present day thoughts and feelings from Quinn’s work to a book I studied nine years ago as a Mission Aviation CEO about Collin’s “hubris” stage in leadership in his book How the Mighty Fall. Slow death is the leader’s practice of denial that follows a pattern of goal inversion, internal conflict, leadership abdication, self-posturing, personal excuses, and organizational chaos. (pause and reflect)
Knowing that many of us in LGP8 have worked for leaders who are in the slow death category I guess Quinn’s question to us is, “Have you found your fundamental state of leadership, or are you experiencing the slow death?” Wow! That is a very good question indeed.
Looking outside-in I found an early scholarly article co-written by Quinn that was appropriate to link to this post. He describes the concept of “episodic change” as three episodes of inertia, the triggering of change, and replacement. This article about organizational change is a precursor to Quinn’s later work on transformational leadership. In this article, he describes the role of the “change agent” as the prime mover for organizational change. It is interesting to note that this article focused on the inevitability of organizational change and less on the actual leaders when compared to Quinn’s later works that focus on the need for leader-change more than organizational change.
Finally, like Quinn’s growth over time in leadership and organizational change theory I have transformed my external openness to researching how to help people both understand and withstand the influence of spiritual warfare. My deep change started when I was called to serve in Mission Aviation leadership roles in cross-cultural contexts that were influenced by the dark side of the spirit world. Since then, it seems like I continue to change, but in smaller increments.
I think the past year in our Christian leadership journey with GFU and the LGP8 cohort is just the beginning of our life-long, and I think eternal process, of a deeper knowledge of who God is and how we can better serve and lead others by reflecting the image of Christ.
In conclusion, Quinn asks, “do we have a sacred space?” I say “yes.” Thankyou Dr. Clark and the outstanding staff at GFU who have provided us with a sacred space. Our LGP8 sacred space allows us to share feelings, express thoughts, promote ideas, enhance learning, and substantially advance the Kingdom of God in ours and the lives of others.