I have to admit Robert Quinn’s text, Deep Change Field Guide, feels like it was written by and for social workers. As I skimmed the book and read reviews, it occurred to me that Deep Change is, at its core, a mix of cognitive behavioral theory, motivational interviewing, self-reflection, reframing and ultimately reinforces my favorite teaching mantra “We can never ask more of our client than we are willing to do our self”. It took me awhile to find Quinn’s curriculum vita…
Professor Quinn is a chaired professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. His area of focus is organizational change and leadership. He is a fellow of the Academy of Management and the World Business Academy. He is one of the co-founders of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship. He has assisted many large organizations in their change efforts, and his Completing Values Framework, which is used to align people, structures and strategies, has been used by organizations all over the world. He has published sixteen books.
But when I did, all of my suspicions were confirmed – he has a social science background. I knew it! Quinn graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in Sociology from Brigham Young University. His PhD is an Interdisciplinary Degree from University of Cincinnati in Organizational Behavior and Applied Behavioral Science. And…he’s teaching business and writing leadership books. His social science background and expertise on leadership decreases any and all of my anxieties of being relevant in the leadership field.
The truth is, Quinn is speaking my language. I understand and agree with his application of theories related to change and cognition and feel like his text is an excellent guide for any leader. How about you? Do you see the same value? Are you willing to do the hard work to become a transformational leader?
I found one of Quinn’s syllabi from his course ‘Becoming a Transformational Leader: A Practicum’ online. In it, he makes this insightful statement “Due to your biological and cultural conditioning, it is normal for you, and everyone else, to be comfort-centered, externally directed, self-focused and internally closed. You, however, can learn to become purpose-centered, internally directed, other focused and externally open. As you do this, your life will change. You will begin to see opportunity where you used to see constraint. You will begin to relate differently. You will bring energy to others and entice them to exceed their own programming. You will begin to become a transformational leader.”
I’m all in. But what does this mean for me, and my own transformation? According to my Enneagram report, I’m a One. “Generally, Ones are conscientious, sensible, responsible, idealistic, ethical, serious, self-disciplined, orderly, and feel personally obligated to improve themselves and their world.” (purpose-centered) I have to admit I feel this is a fairly accurate measurement of who I am – and I believe my family, friends, and colleagues would agree. Of most interest to me is this statement under Recognizing Ones in my Enneagram report – “Most Ones report feeling a powerful sense of mission, a deep feeling of purpose that they remember from their early childhood. They sense that they are here for a reason and, unlike some other types, they have a fairly clear idea of what that reason is. This sense of mission impels Ones to rise to their highest standards, to make personal sacrifices, and to evaluate themselves regularly to see if they are falling short of their ideals. They feel that they must live a balanced, sensible life in order to have the clarity and inner resources necessary to fulfill their purpose.”
I think this statement explains me better than any other. In different “seasons” of my life, I have changed professional specialties or pursued knowledge and education to enhance the work I’m already doing, and the work I feel I am spiritually led to do. The election of President Trump in 2016, and subsequent societal unrest, motivated me to evaluate my own level of advocacy/activism for oppressed and vulnerable people locally and globally (internally directed). I’m passionate and focused on injustice – injustices of racism, sexism, human rights, immigration, refugees, sexual orientation, poverty, ageism, and disability (other focused). My activism is grounded in my faith and belief that every human being has worth and dignity. I find value in looking at large complex systems, determining cause and effect of relationships between systems, and planning for the best use of goods and resources. Webster defines education as “to cultivate and discipline the mind… process of training, knowledge.” I’m a firm believer in the concept of “lifelong” learning. Pursuing my DMin degree through George Fox improves my leadership skills in and out of the classroom – especially asynchronous and synchronous discussions (externally open) – creates opportunities for discipleship in my community and beyond, and accomplishes a personal goal of lifelong learning (including research and a terminal degree). I believe – and trust – that God will continue to place me exactly where he needs me and I am ready to obey. I still have work to do. The key is to keep applying these principles of leadership. It’s easy to do now in an academic setting, but am I prepared to hold firm to these ideals? I certainly aspire to!
To clearly articulate, then, “who am I?” would be to say this: I am a Christian who desires to live like Jesus – “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.