Did you know that there is a website that boasts it has 5240 quotes on leadership! Five thousand, two hundred and forty! Why is that?
Why is it that we need quote after quote and book after book to realize first, that leading is important and second that everyone wants to lead. Did you just say, everyone? Certainly, not everyone wants to lead. Some want to be followers. Look at people! Most people can’t lead and others refuse to lead. In fact, many even get in the way. Not everyone is a leader, and not everyone wants to lead.
I’ve heard these statements throughout my life. They do have validity, however, based mostly on the view of a “doer-leader.” The “doer-leader” are those who would say, “lead, follow or get out of the way!” That actually might not be leadership but bullying. But I digress. Getting back to my main thought, I do suspect that everyone wants to lead. At least they want to lead their own life. Why would we have the phrase “he has control issues?” Why would people state, “I want to be left alone to do what I want to do?” Or what about the statement, “You can’t tell me what to do, I make my own decisions for my life.”
If you read between the lines, each statement is a cry to be a leader. Making decisions—good and bad—is the heart of leadership. I do believe that God has placed in each of us not only the desire to lead but the ability to lead. We are all born to lead.
Organizationally speaking, some will lead at the top, some will lead at the middle and others will lead at other levels. However, in life, everyone must lead. We all know what happens when people refuse to take leadership in their own life. I only need refer to the many cults that are able to exist because people allow others to lead their lives. The Deep Change Field Guide, it is the one book that I have come across, so far, this helps a person understand first that they are leaders, second that leadership can be developed and then show you how.
For staunch leadershipites (is that a word?) this books can seem rather reductive. The “Think About It” sections may be a little too much for some who don’t want to think about it, they just want to do it: the doer-leader. But, leadership takes thoughtful reflection; ergo the Journaling and Memo sections. Even the film suggestions have a reflective component. Quinn points out that whether someone is leading an organization or their own life, thinking and reflection are critical to good leadership.
However, it is the topic of failure in leadership that most demonstrates the transformational aspect of this book and informs us of the need for thinking and reflection. For example, when I read Bill’s description of the pine tree that he drew, the tree looked familiar to me too. Upon reflecting on his work, he said, “I realized that I was that dying old pine tree and that I was denying my need for nourishment for self.” As Quinn so aptly explains, the harder we work, the less we accomplish. The more we push, the less forward we move.  Consider the following statement.
“Psychologists tell us that as our stress level increases, our attention span tends to diminish. We seek to solve new problems with the same methods by which we solved old problems. Instead of responding creatively, we increase our commitment to old patterns. At the very moment when innovative action is most needed, we implement our most ingrained response.” 
My initial reaction to that statement is the same response that Bob gave to Dr. Leo Marvin in the movie What About Bob?. Bob responded to the Dr’s analysis by saying, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow! Dr. Marvin, you can help me. For the first time in my life, I feel like there’s hope. I feel like I can be somebody.” 
Though I don’t say it about many books, I got that feeling through most of Quinn’s book. I can express it only in that there is something that rings true here. Of course, some will say it’s dribble, merely psycho-mumbo-jumbo. Real leaders don’t write journals or reflect. They just lead! Okay, but the sharper the ax, the less effort it takes to get more done.
Admittedly, this book is not religious in nature. It’s not intended to be. However, as I read The Deep Change Field Guide, I often paused to consider how the Holy Spirit might use a book like this to challenge leaders in the church to find and better understand the leader within. Furthermore, I think this book can help inform the Christian leader on how to see the deep changes that are needed, making way for the for the Holy Spirit do the work of that deep change. The is a field guide worth reading.
1. Robert E. The Quinn, Deep Change Field Guide: A Personal Course to Discovering the Leader Within, 1 ed. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2012.
2. Ibid., 16.
4. Alvan Sargent, Laura Ziskin, What About Bob? Film Directed by Frank Oz, Los Angeles, CA: Touchstone Pictures, 1991, 11:04.