- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; Reprint edition (December 13, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 078796378X
- ISBN-13: 978-0787963781
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation Reprint Edition
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Language is the primary tool by which we communicate. Kegan and Lahey argue, though, that the words we use do more than represent feelings and attitudes. The very choice itself of one word or expression over another can determine feelings and attitudes and--most importantly--actions. Kegan is a Harvard professor of education; Lahey is a psychologist specializing in adult development. In order to demonstrate their complex concept of the role of language in transformational learning, they offer this book, in part, as an instruction manual for collaborative exercises in self-assessment. They identify seven languages that one should adopt to overcome both internal and organization resistance to change. Four of the languages are internal or personal. For example, one should use the "language of personal responsibility" to replace the "language of blame." The other three languages are social. Here, for instance, the "language of public agreement" supplants the "language of rules and policies." The authors conclude with examples of ways "to deepen [the] practice of all seven languages." David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A genuinely 21st century book! Kegan and Lahey create a dynamic alternative to mere coasting on the momentum of the information age. Why do we know so much and yet so little lasting change actually occurs-in ourselves and in our organizations? This book doesn't just answer the question. It shows us a way out of the problem." (Michael Murphy, founder, Esalen Institute and author of The Future of the Body)
"Lucid, accessible, and immensely satisfying, this provocative book is plainly the product of a very deep understanding of why people behave the way they do. . . . an approach to change that is at once systematic and humane. . . . breakthrough thinking. . . compelling and inspiring." (Tony Schwartz, contribution editor, Fast Company, and author, What Really Matters)
"A minor masterpiece. . . .In this simple brilliant book, Kegan and Lahey not only deal with the how of transformation. . . . they deal with the most central issue of all: how and why people (and organizations) are committed to not changing. . . . a must-read for all individuals and organizations that truly wish to grow into their own greater possibilities." (Ken Wilber, author, Integral Psychology)
"By providing extraordinary practical wisdom, this book enables us to move from organizational frustration to collective achievement. An invaluable gem." (Ronald Heifetz, author, Leadership Without Easy Answers)
"Maps both a personal transformative experience for the reader and the social arrangements that support this significant mode of adult learning. A unique and invaluable resource for adult educators, leaders in organizations, and every adult learner." (Jack Mezirow, emeritus professor of adult and continuing education, Teachers College, Columbia University)
"Leaders trying to 'drive change' miss the deeper forces that might naturally enable it, forces which Kegan and Lahey reveal powerfully and practically." (Peter Senge, author, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization)
"This is a how-to-do-it book for reflective practitioners. Step by step, it teaches educators and leaders how to build highly collaborative, creative, and caring communities." (Mary Field Belenky, coauthor, Women's Ways of Knowing)
"New, practical, and effective strategies for today's core leadership challenge: how to transform behavior in ourselves and others—without the debilitating crisis that is usually needed-by seeing and transcending the forces that hold us back." (Michael Jung, director, McKinsey & Company)--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Throughout the book, they examine what they call "Seven Languages for Transformation" and suggest how to gain fluency in each. Four are Internal Languages: Commitment, Personal Responsibility, Competing Commitments ("Diagnosing the Immunity to Change"), and Assumptions We Hold ("Disturbing the Immunity to Change"). Fluency in these four enables us to build "The New Machine." There are also three Social Languages: Ongoing Regard, Public Agreement, and Deconstructive Criticism. Fluency in these three enables us to maintain and upgrade "The New Machine."
It is important to keep in mind that we communicate with others as well as with ourselves in three primary ways: body language, tone of voice, and content (ie what we verbalize). Decades of scientific research reveals that, in face-to-face contact, body language has the greatest impact, followed (at a significant distance) by tone of voice and then content. In voice-to-voice contact (eg during a telephone conversation), tone of voice has perhaps three times greater impact than does what is verbalized. I mention all this by way of suggesting that HOW we communicate with others and (especially) with ourselves has a major impact on behavior. Hence the importance of replacing a negative attitude. with a positive attitude. For example, to replace the Language of Complaint with the Language of Commitment.
What the authors provide is a cohesive and comprehensive process by which to recognize, understand, and then eliminate various barriers to personal and then to organizational change. In recent years, organizations throughout the world have invested hundreds of millions (billions?) of dollars in the improvement of systems of various kinds. What is sometimes overlooked or at least underestimated (at great cost in terms of hours as well as dollars) are the negative attitudes of those involved in change initiatives. Kegan and Lahey eloquently and convincingly suggest specific strategies to transform those attitudes through fluency in seven "languages" within the curriculum of what they view as a "new technology" of learning. Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out O'Toole's Leading Change and Senge's The Dance of Change.
Overall, the book is a very easy read, whether you do it in order to seriously implement its suggested methodology (and it is one serious set of ideas it carries) or just as a mirror to help you laugh at your so-called professional commitments.
In this well-written and well-thought-out book, the authors present a new way of getting through any necessary change, by introducing the "Seven Languages of Transformation". We learn how the resistance to change is really a fundamental process of our personal "immune" system, and changes in individual behaviors are necessary to overcome this obstacle. The book is laid out in a step-by-step method to achieve these behavioral changes through seven new "languages" that we must learn to speak to ourselves and those we lead and coach.
For example, the first new "language" they discuss is learning to take a "complaint" about something going wrong as actually a reflection of a "commitment" to a better way. The person making the complaint is asked to restate the complaint in the terms of the positive commitment that is implied. A negative situation is thus turned into a positive, transformational one that gets things going in the right direction for a change. The positive movement achieved by the application of each new "language" leads to the next mental hurdle, for which the authors provide another new "language" to handle. The book includes many step-by-step worksheets for the reader to use individually or with a partner, to apply the principles to a real-life problem they may be working through.
The authors are developmental psychologists working chiefly in academia, so their examples are a little top-heavy with educational situations. The examples are universal and transferable to the business world, however, so this is a minor complaint. The book as a whole is quite free of psycho-babble and mumbo-jumbo, and can bring the reader to an exciting and novel way of changing the way we do business, and changing something fundamental in ourselves. I recommend it most highly. How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The very interesting aspect that changes does not come from you having to suppress parts of yourself or in gimmicking...Read more