- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (June 9, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 157675264X
- ISBN-13: 978-1576752647
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Now Professor of Management at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, William Torbert has earlier served as the school's Graduate Dean and Director of the PhD Program in Organizational Transformation.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
The authors introduce the idea that every action is an inquiry and every inquiry is an action. The premise of the book is that you need to be in inquiry in every moment at different levels to make the best choices and approach decisions with full awareness. This is a useful concept and it is illustrated throughout the book with many real-life business examples.
As a former director in a large company, I can say that these are practical ideas that if applied could be very transformational to an organization. The challenge is to really impliment them and not just pay lip service to the concepts. This must begin with the leaders. If they don't buy into the model, it will be difficult to get other people onboard, but not impossible. The book is about each individual being a change agent through action-inquiry.
What I didn't like about the book is that I found there were too many examples to illustrate the same basic concepts, there was also quite a bit of repetition of concepts and an unnecessary use of jargon where plain everyday language would have done just fine.
I think this book could have been half the length and been just as effective. I also think the author could have presented his ideas more clearly and concisely. In places, he uses different language for the various levels of inquiry and this tends to make the flow more confusing than it has to be. In the next revision, it would be good to see some of these issues addressed.
However, I still recommend this book to business and other leaders. In fact, it is useful for anyone who wants to live with more awareness and choice through tuning into various levels of inquiry in the midst of action. Basically, we are talking about taking a systems approach to life where we have practices that give us access to better quality feedback. This is the essence of the book.
Whether we look at the level of the individual, project, organization, network, or society, we each follow a path of development over time. For example, I think about the world in a different way today than I did when I was 10, 20 or 30. Likewise, my organization sees the world different after 10 years of success than we did as a startup. Based on over forty years of observation in the field, Bill Torbert and his associates find that we often get stuck in early levels of understanding of the world, even as we grow older. While it's obvious that it is appropriate to act like a teenager when you are 16 and not when you are 30, when we apply this same developmental logic to organizational life, the authors find that most organizations get stuck in early levels of development (like the teenager) that were appropriate in the first years and not in later years.
To show us what can be done about this and its implications, the authors provide many examples of how the action inquiry approach helped these individuals and organizations grow to the next level, taking on a broader understanding of the reality that faced them, which led to greater value being created for all.
We can see that the evidence is mounting: those leaders who understand and work with an action inquiry approach to leadership and development create significantly more value for their organizations in the short term for the long term, sustainably. Based on rigorous theory and scientific evidence, this is the art and science of transformational leadership for leaders who can handle the truth.
1) It focuses on individuals, rather than "Leaders". Therefore, you don't need to already be a senior manager, a director, a partner, a VP, etc. to put these actions into place. You just need to focus on your own behavior and how you react to challenges.
2) It explicitly recognizes the fact that most of us go through life spending a large amount of time on "auto-pilot", not really thinking about how we interpret situations and react to them (never mind thinking about how our reactions are going to be interpreted by others!). Therefore, the basic premise that "every action is an inquiry, and every inquiry is an action" will be a challenge for most of us. However if this challenge is taken up, it will be incredibly powerful.
3) It focuses on simple human behaviors/cognitions that we have control over. It doesn't start with the premise that you can generate a jillion dollars worth of revenue for a massive organizational change effort. It starts with the premise that you have control over your brain and consequently how you interpret and react to situations. Therefore, the advice given here is highly actionable.
A great developmental opportunity awaits you!