Changing Others Through Changing Ourselves:

April 28, 2010

The Transformation Of Human Systems by Robert Quinn, Gretchen M. Spreitzer, Matthew V. Brown

Wow, what a fascinating article, I loved reading it. This journal article truly wraps up the ideas presented at all blogs, articles, and case studies we read and discussed in Management and Organizational Behavior class. Why? Simply because most of those readings discussed talk about how organizational systems and behaviors need to change in order to truly undergo a real change in our attitudes, work habits, and lives, and how managers who attempt putting new systems in place everyday fail at it just because they don’t change in their way of thinking, doing, and learning. So to truly experience a change in both the communal and business context, the most important component we must heed is that of personal change, so we can change others through changing ourselves: “we attract others to change when we first change ourselves” the authors pointed out.

The ACT (Advance Change Theory) then challenges managers and leaders to have personal change, as this is the only and exclusive way to truly have systems change. Therefore, below please see the most important learning points I took away from this amazing article:

  • Self-change: requires one to engage in a particular path of action and courage- that is making logical arguments for change; using forms of leverage to force change, using participation and pursuing win-win strategies. Moreover, during this transition we need to be adaptable to change, be open to the learning process, and the best be open for personal growth always. Keeping these core elements in mind will eventually lead us to setting up the foundation of a major breakthrough that will last a lifetime.    
  • Self-evaluation: this calls for a deeper personal evaluation about our body, mind, and soul. Unseen elements that connect us with one another to work together with true meaning and to stay true to that purpose; unspeakable elements that truly foster healing in the corporation that make us throw away the self-interest and lookup for the shared organizational goal and be guided by the right actions and values.
  • Hypocrisy: we need to be able to face it and dissipate it from our ways so that it doesn’t become an impediment toward our individual and collective growth. Therefore, we need to change those patterns, actions, and choices of self-deception into something positive for the betterment of the company and us. We need to see ourselves for who we really are, in other words be authentic leaders!
  • Establish our own values: be it moral or civic values, for instance: integrity, honesty, fairness, self-involvement, etc. we all need to align our behaviors with those values.
  • Once we have established our values and aligned to them, the ACT principle frees oneself from what is prescribed by existing laws, rules, or authorities, relieving with this the tension by external sanctions and our ability to innovate and the capacity to take risks develop. Then we become self-starters, self-directors! And no longer self-centers, as we are always in the lookout for the common good.
  • Put the needs and wants of others before your own. The ACT also develops a vision for common good. Once we set aside our own self-interest, then we become purposeful leaders as we start thinking about the common good.
  • Purposeful leaders are true to themselves and to their values they uphold, and fight for what they think is right and stick to it to the edge of chaos, even if they are seen or sanctioned as an outliers, and even if they have to lose their jobs.
  • Lastly, true authentic leaders appreciate the work of others, as they understand that growing through excellence is a painful path that requires sacrificing things you love to do yet that greatness is reached when you have identified the values that will lead you to success, when you have change yourself then that’s when you start attracting and inspiring others to do the same.

This wonderful article also touches upon the lives of Jesus, Martin Luther King, and Gandhi as role models to the ACT principles who were truly inspirational figures back in the days that put aside their self-interests to look out the common good for both their communities and organizations.

In summary, the ACT, if practiced, can result in a truly personal harm, however for the organizational point of view leads to real positive change in the systems, a change that certainly can impress not only the socks of our customers, stakeholders, employees, but also of those around us.

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