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The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems Hardcover – June 16, 2010
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The book combs a lifetime of the most difficult kind of fieldwork by Jerry and Monique Sternin with a lifetime of teaching and writing by Richard Pascale to create a genuinely good book - one that is good on several levels. Leaders dealing with organizational change of the most difficult kind will find The Power of Positive Deviance to open up a world of tools that go often ignored in over structured change programs. But on an altogether different level it is a story book about remarkable case studies - childhood nutrition, female circumcision, deadly MRSA infections, and others - stories that are all about engagement, leadership, commitment and hope.
But it is not just a book about incredibly difficult problems; it is a book about how leaders can re-think their own organization by "re-looking." Easy to say and hard to do. The irony is that organizations spend enormous resources attacking negative deviance (as in "let's do a root cause analysis and fix the problem") but little or no effort looking for things that are "out of spec" in a positive direction. This is a book about how to do that - how to see what is happening, now to nurture it, and how to build a culture that embraces that kind of stimulus and change. For me that may have been the most powerful take-away: look for what is working - even better than you thought - figure out why and embrace it.
It has already become a lens with which I think about and pursue my work. And it is an easy read, full of real world stories and examples.