Invitation to Deep Change
That’s what deep change is all about: the renewal and the replenishment of self and the enlargement of others. Robert E. Quinn
Leadership is influence, and influence is not determined by hierarchical position.
Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.I John 3:18
Robert Quinn wrote this guide to help leaders apply the principles of Deep Change from his many previous books. His workbook approach gives readers a chance to engage with the key concepts of Deep Change by reading a brief explanation of the concept, followed by illustrations from the lives of other leaders and then reflecting on those by writing down brief points to remember. Next, the really important (and fun) part of the work is to watch a movie that illustrates the ways that people transformed themselves and then were able to transform others. Journaling and writing Memos reinforce the concepts. And finally, readers are urged to put the lesson into practice.
Throughout the book emphasis on personal transformation as the beginning of the process of leadership was maintained. This fit in well with the many other leadership books we have read in this course on Leadership and Global Perspectives. Max De Pree taught that a leader is the “servant” of her followers enabling them to reach their full potential. Chris Lowney stressed the four pillars of success – self-awareness, ingenuity, love, and heroism. David Livermore’s approach also emphasized examining ourselves first and caring genuinely for those we are leading. Livermore maintained that unselfishness is key to good leadership. Jim Collins pointed out that the “Level 5” leader has humility, channeling her ego needs away from herself and into the larger purpose of the company. All of these are reflective of the Lord Jesus who reminds us that “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 20:25).
We need to be changed deeply, and to be agents of change as well. We do this so that we can pursue the privilege of lovingly encouraging others to grow with us. Spirituality is never about me alone. Love is never a solitary pursuit.
With this in mind I set out to discover the main concept about deep change in each chapter of Quinn’s book and reflect on it. I have seen most of the movies and I look forward to having a good excuse to watch the rest of them.
Here are some nuggests from each chapter that I will attempt to fit into my life:
- An Invitation to Change: Adaptive confidence gives one the assurance that she can grow more positive and influential as a leader.
- Experiencing Slow Death: Quinn says, “Yet transforming conflict into collaboration is the essence of leadership.”We will always have conflicts. Management is not the same thing as leadership. A leader makes the first move and tries to get positive results from disputes by being a peacemaker.
- The Power of Self-Change: Effective leaders are willing to change themselves if need be. I need to remove the many planks from my own eyes and open myself to transformation on the deepest levels — my attitudes, demeanor, and character.
It was in this section that I particularly focused on the accompanying movie – “The King’s Speech”. Though some critics say that it is good story but somewhat historically inaccurate, King George VI was exactly the right man for the time. “The stammering that defined him, and the courage with which he tried to beat it, came to symbolise the vulnerability of the British people as they stood alone against the Nazi tyranny that had the rest of Europe in its grip. A certain solidarity between monarch and subject emerged.” “Bertie”, King George found himself thrust into circumstances not of his making. His brother abdicated, putting him in the spotlight, and the radio was invented. They didn’t have all the modern technology to cover up speech defects they do now, but the king rose to the occasion because his people needed him. (And he had a great wife helping him!!!) The lesson is to have the courage to “reinvent myself as often as need be to bring increased clarity of purpose, increased integrity, increased concern for others, and greater awareness of and openness to the potential that surrounds us.”
- Personal Change and Positive Organizing: Using reflectiveness that I have learned in this course, I will strive to develop what Quinn calls developmental readiness. I may need to change some of my assumptions to do this, and I pray for the humbleness for it.
- The Fundamental State of Leadership: I will try to take the journey from “managing” to leading by “influence”. Fitting in with a key concept in this book and others we have read – I will strive to become more “Purpose-centered, internally directed, other-focused, and externally open.”
- Moral Power: Where I can I will create a more principled future and not settle for less than my integrity calls for. A deeply changed leader has moral influence.
- Leadership and Positivity: “Positivity helps us make deep personal change and transform ourselves and our organizations.”
- Inviting Others to Deep Change: The chapters are intertwined with and also build on each other. If the leader has experienced transformation in her own life she can then invite others to experience growth in their own lives.
In conclusion, it takes courage to put others’ needs ahead of our own. It takes courage to “enter the creative state, to live in ever-increasing integrity. …. enter the fundamental state of leadership…. experience exponential growth… become living attractors, create sacred space and engage in a social movement … and become a productive community continually striving to adapt to emerging reality.”
Robert E. Quinn. The Deep Change Filed Guide: A Personal Course to Discovering the Leader Within. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2012. 158.
Nigel Farndale. “The King’s Speech: the real story”. January 5, 2011. The Telegraph, UK. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/8223897/The-Kings-Speech-the-real-story.html
5 responses to “Invitation to Deep Change”
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I enjoyed your post. I too am drawn to the idea of reflection in leadership and the importance of influence over power in leading. I’ll be writing about it in my research on middle leadership. You also mentioned the importance of courage a leadership concept reminiscent of Lowney’s Heroic Leadership. You are right, It takes courage to be a leader and the greatest courage may be needed when it comes time to put other’s needs before our own. Thank you, Mary.
Your statement, ‘courage to put others’ needs ahead of our own’. I find this to be true in those who are self-sustaining. In other words, they view themselves as the victim and they need to protect their territory.
I have found, as a person who put others many times before themselves to be perceived as weakness and my giving heart has been taken advantage of.
It is a conflict when you want to be giving but do not to be taken advantage. Being in Christ is required. I remember saying to God, I was tired of my giving heart being taken abused. I said to him, you asked us to treat others as we wanted to be treated, but people are not doing that. His response: I never said the world. Ouch.
Thanks for the write-up
“The lesson is to have the courage to ‘reinvent myself as often as need be to bring increased clarity of purpose, increased integrity, increased concern for others, and greater awareness of and openness to the potential that surrounds us.'” Mary, it has been delightful to watch through your blog posts and our times together at Advances and chats how you have embraced that courage and leaned into your God-given gifts. I feel like we’ve seen you grow more confident through this process, as you’ve recognized creative ways to influence and shape your environment.
Great main points Mary. I thought of you on this: “Moral Power: Where I can I will create a more principled future and not settle for less than my integrity calls for. A deeply changed leader has moral influence.” This is what you are doing for your church. Honoring your personal integrity to promote women as equal leaders and teachers. Everyone is better off – the individual and the organization when they learn to live with integrity to who they are. So, your church should be thanking you for the moral and spiritual growth you are offering the body. Have they done that yet?
Courage. In every one of those movies the leaders had to display great courage to overcome their own issues and create deep change! (I am so with you that the movies are the funnest part of this book.)
You beautifully summarize the essence of Quinn’s thoughts, Mary. Leadership and change require sacrifice and, yes, courage. I have to say that you have been an excellent model of this in the time I have come to know you. Thanks for that!