Below are a variety of resources on Leadership and Change, ranging from articles, to tools, and book summaries from interesting authors. This is an ever-growing toolkit, so keep checking back to see what new things we’ve added!
10 Insights From the Field. This white paper captures some of the most important insights on leadership and change we’ve gained after decades in the field. Here’s the link to: Igniting Leadership and Change: 10 Insights from the Field
The Power of Vision. Creating a compelling vision is a critical leadership skill that is hard to develop given the fast changing business environment. Martha provides some practical ideas on the “six golden rules of vision” in her article: Vision The Engine of Change
The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the Twenty-first Century, edited by Carol S. Pearson. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2012.
In her introduction, Pearson notes the gap between the heroic expectations of leaders and the enormity of the 21st-century challenges they face. What follows is a compendium of insightful essays that explore the nature of transformational leadership, an ability to “combine deep self-awareness with real-world savvy.”
The Key: How Corporations Succeed by Solving the World’s Toughest Problems, by Lynda Gratton. Columbus, OH: McGraw Hill Education, 2014.
Based on her groundbreaking and ongoing research project, The Future of Work, Gratton reimagines leadership with a focus on corporate leadership. Both inspirational and practical, Gratton shows how corporations can use their intelligence and capabilities as a force for good and to build “resilience in a fragile world.
Facilitating Organization Change: Lessons from Complexity Science, by Edwin E. Olson & Glenda H. Eoyang. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2001.
Olson and Eoyang rethink the field of organizational development from the perspective of complexity theory. This book, written for practitioners, presents a comprehensive new model for organizational-change consultants. Chock full of tools, exercises, and ideas, it’s an invaluable practical guide.
Images of Organization, updated edition, by Gareth Morgan.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006.
My international colleagues refer to this book as Morgan’s Metaphors. Unfortunately, it’s less known in the United States, where the machine metaphor reigns supreme. Morgan explores in depth eight different metaphors and how they shape mindsets and behaviors within organizations. It’s interesting and enlightening. If you’d rather read an abbreviated version, there are lots of summaries available on the Web. Click here for one good example.
Building the Bridge as You Walk on It: A Guide for Leading Change, by Robert E. Quinn. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
Quinn uses another metaphor – building a bridge – to illustrate how change within organizations actually happens. Instead of building a bridge according to a plan, managers build the bridge with a group of people as they walk across it together. Quinn brings insight as well as sensible guidance to the practice of leading change.
How to Organise a Children’s Party, a video presented by Dave Snowden. Singapore: Cognitive Edge, 2009.
This is a brilliant three-minute video by Dave Snowden, the founder and chief scientific officer of Cognitive Edge. In the video, this leading thinker on complexity theory and new approaches to change uses the metaphor of a children’s party to illustrate the benefits of a complexity approach to organizational change. Fun and fascinating! Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Miwb92eZaJg.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, by Arianna Huffington. New York: Harmony Books, 2014.
No one has been a more ardent advocate for employee well-being than Arianna Huffington, who suffered her own collapse due to workplace exhaustion. Well researched and practical, this is a great guide for the new workplace.
The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed, by Carl Honoré. New York: HarperCollins, 2013.
Honoré says we are hooked on the quick fix – maximum return for minimum effort. He offers a practical alternative, which he calls the “slow fix.”
The Future of Work Research Consortium
The Future of Work is a multipronged initiative launched by Lynda Gratton in 2009. Over the past few years, Gratton and her team have conducted research, written books and articles, and collaborated with a large number of corporations and professionals to understand the evolving needs of business and reenvision “working practices and the design and management of culture and norms.”
Recovering the Rhythms of Rest, by Dave Schrader. The Leadership Circle, October 2014.
In this insightful piece, Schrader says, “We must learn how to rest again. Simple in concept, but emotionally challenging. Slowing down feels risky to me. It feels like playing hooky from school. It feels irresponsible.” He goes on to explore the rhythms of rest and ways to include rest in our lives.
For those interested in finding out more about ongoing research on the intersection of ancient wisdom and modern science, I would recommend the Mind & Life Institute. This nonprofit institute was born in 1987 out of a dialogue between leading neuroscientists and the Dalai Lama. Today, the institute’s programming and research continue to focus on “building a scientific understanding of the mind in order to reduce suffering and promote well-being.” The Dalai Lama maintains his involvement as the institute’s honorary chairman. (https://www.mindandlife.org/)
This app teaches you the basics of meditation and then offers an array of intermediate, advanced, and specialized meditation programs to extend your practice. The first 10 sessions are free, so you can give it a good test – and learn a great deal in the process – before deciding to subscribe. I highly recommend this to everyone! Check it out here.
“Buddhism meets neuroscience.” This inexpensive mobile app describes the benefits of meditation and how it affects our body and brain. Especially useful for those wanting to understand how meditation enhances the neuroplasticity of the brain.
Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing, by Eric Langshur and Nate Klemp. New York: North Star Way, 2016.
I heard Eric Langshur speak at a recent conference on mindfulness in business. He was excellent, and the book is filled with great research and practice tools. As the publisher’s website says, “Imagine being less stressed, more focused, and happier every day of your life. Start Here outlines a program designed to help you do just that by cross-training the skill of lifelong wellbeing”
Ellen Langer – Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness [Podcast]. September 10, 2015.
In this provocative podcast, award-winning journalist Krista Tippett interviews Ellen Langer, a social psychologist at Harvard University. Langer’s approach to mindfulness does not involve meditation. Instead, it centers on the simple act of noticing things, which improves both happiness and health.
Self-Organization and Traditional Change Methods, by Aduro Consulting.
This brief document gives examples of how traditional change activities can be modified to enable self-organization by exposing dynamic tensions, creating containers, and fostering conversations that matter
The Democratic Enterprise: Liberating Your Business with Freedom, Flexibility and Commitment, by Lynda Gratton. London: Financial Times/Prentice Hall, 2003.
I have long been a fan of Lynda Gratton and recommend anything she’s published during her prolific career. In this book she looks at how organizations can benefit by embracing notions of citizenship and democracy. This is a wonderful and detailed exploration of how to create a shared-power organization.
A brilliant must-see that introduces the variety and depth of human emotions. This atlas was inspired by a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and creator Paul Ekman about the science of emotions. The purpose: to help us develop more self-awareness and compassion. To learn more click here.
My Wish: The Charter for Compassion, a TED Talk by Karen Armstrong.
Karen Armstrong, author of The Great Transformation, won the 2008 TED Prize for this TED Talk. On November 12, 2009, with the help of TED.com and a number of other organizations, Armstrong’s wish became reality: The Charter for Compassion – document and organization – was launched.
The document describes a global movement within which religious leaders can work together for peace. Read the charter and then explore the website to learn more about the organization’s work.
Reconnecting with Compassion, a TED Talk by Krista Tippett. November 2010.
Arguing that the notion of compassion has been “deadened by idealistic images,” journalist Krista Tippett offers a “linguistic resurrection” of the way we understand and realize compassion in our lives.
The Artists’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon, by Mark Bryan with Julia Cameron and Catherine Allen. New York: William Morrow, 1999.
Want to master your “inner enemies,” those destructive impulses that steal your energy and highjack your thinking? This book is a personal favorite, a guided journey toward self-awareness and personal freedom based on the work of famed creativity expert Julia Cameron.
Deep Democracy. The Lewis Method Explained. Accessed February 28, 2017.
From the website: “The Lewis Method of Deep Democracy is a practical five-step approach for working with groups and individuals. It is ‘democratic’ because it emphasizes that every voice matters. . . . It is ‘deep’ because it . . . surfaces emotions, intuitions, attachments, and identity issues that make a conversation more honest and real.”
Beyond the Wall of Resistance: Unconventional Strategies That Build Support for Change, by Rick Maurer. Austin, TX: Bard Press, 1996.Maurer’s book is a practical guide that can help business leaders embrace and channel the energy of so-called resisters in organizations. Consistent with the notion of respectful struggle, Maurer sees opportunities where others see problems. One of my favorites.
Jacob Needleman – The Inward Work of Democracy [Podcast]. On Being, June 28, 2012.
Listen to Jacob Needleman’s eloquent discussion on the inner work of democracy. He challenges each of us to consider self-awareness as an obligation of democratic citizenship.
Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling, by E. H. Schein. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2013.
After decades as a consultant, Ed Schein has written a real gem of a book – slim, readable, and practical. His conclusion: “We must become better at asking and do less telling in a culture that overvalues telling.” I challenge all of us to become better at humble inquiry!
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1992.
A wonderful sourcebook for aspiring corporate mystics. Chock full of great exercises and ideas, the books will help you gain insights about yourself and about building self-awareness and resilience.
“Richard Rohr – Living in Deep Time” [Podcast].
On Being, April 13, 2017.
Listen to this conversation with the Franciscan spiritual teacher as he delves into the idea of contemplation and how we can access the mystic’s inner wisdom.
“Managing with the Brain in Mind,” by David Rock. strategy+business, August 27, 2009.
Would you like to learn more about how neuroscience is revealing the social nature of the high-performance workplace? This article by David Rock, a researcher at the forefront of the inquiry, is enlightening and practical.
Maturing the American Dream: Archetypal American Narratives Meet the Twenty-First Century, by Carol S. Pearson. Kalamazoo, MI: Fetzer Institute, Winter 2009.
“Love After Love,” by Derek Walcott. On Being Blog, December 8, 2016.
Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes, by Margaret Heffernan. New York: TED
As Heffernan says, “The paradox of organizational culture lies in the fact that, while it makes a big difference, it is comprised of small actions, habits, and choices.” In this little book, she highlights how seemingly minor changes in many aspects of our work lives can build “just cultures” that “tap the ingenuity, initiative, and sheer cleverness of every single individual.” I love this book!
Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict, by Donna Hicks. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.
If there’s one constant in organizational life, it’s that managers and teams struggle with conflict. Hicks, a leading expert in international conflict resolution, explores this issue through the lens of dignity – one of the most powerful of human instincts. This book will awaken you to the subtle ways in which we violate one another’s dignity. It also will help you see conflict as an opportunity to build connection and strong relationships.
Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World, by Robert Rosen. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2013.
I don’t know anyone who has spent more time with CEOs and top business leaders than Bob Rosen. Most, he observes, are “poorly served by the prevailing paradigm that obsessively focuses on . . . short term-results while sabotaging who [they] are as healthy human beings.” This book combines Rosen’s deep knowledge of today’s business climate with his understanding of how to develop the resilience needed to lead in these challenging times.
The Great Questions of Tomorrow, by David Rothkopf. New York: TED Books, 2017.
Who are we as a species? What kind of social contract will we need to survive? What kind of government, economic models, and markets will help our society thrive? These are among the powerful questions Rothkopf poses. His premise: We are in the midst of an epochal change, and our readiness to respond to that change depends on our ability to ask the right questions. A fast read about the future that will broaden your perspective on your daily challenges.