13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2005
I've just finished reading this book and here's what I think.
Among the reviews of the book on the dust cover, Warren Bennis writes, "This is a gem of a book." I humbly agree with him. I think its up there in my top ten business books.
I'd read Quinn's earlier book, "Deep Change", where he explores the choice for individuals and organisations between 'Slow Death' and 'Deep Change', and where choosing the latter it is courageous and feels like 'walking naked into the land of uncertainty'.
This new work picks up this theme and explores what Quinn calls 'The Fundamental State of Leadership'. There were several aspects of Quinn's thinking that I found very helpful. He threads his argument throughout with stories, most of which illustrate ordinary people entering this heroic 'Fundamental State of Leadership' in different circumstances. From these stories the author shows how all truly effective change must start within the leader themselves; that this state means putting the good of the organisation before themselves, and how, in some stories, the leader 'loses' but their influence goes on to infect successful transition in the organisation.
From this Quinn develops his model of the Fundamental State of Leadership as something that:
1. Has ever-increasing integrity at its core, with its corollary of reducing our hypocrisy - our 'integrity gaps'. (Quinn asserts that we are all hypocrites(!).)
2. Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership can be through living any one (ultimately all) of eight paradoxes: Grounded Vision, Reflective Action, Responsible Freedom (as opposed to Foolish or selfish Freedom), Detached Interdependence, Appreciative Inquiry, Authentic Engagement, Tough Love and Adaptive Confidence.
For me, this all has the ring of truth about it. Quinn argues that one cannot distil leadership to a superficial list of behaviours, tools and techniques, as so many of us have tried to do. Ultimately it is about the inner struggle of courage and honesty that so often communicates itself non-verbally to those we are seeking to influence.
I will be recommending this to all in Change Leadership, particularly to those in MSP programme management and to those taking up the role of Business Change Managers.