How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We WorkSeven Languages for Transformation
Why is the gap so great between our hopes, our intentions, even our decisions-and what we are actually able to bring about? Even when we are able to make important changes-in our own lives or the groups we lead at work-why are the changes are so frequently short-lived and we are soon back to business as usual? What can we do to transform this troubling reality? In this intensely practical book, Harvard psychologists Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey take us on a carefully guided journey designed to help us answer these very questions. And not just generally, or in the abstract. They help each of us arrive at our own particular answers that can solve the puzzling gap between what we intend and what we are able to accomplish. How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work provides you with the tools to create a powerful new build-it-yourself mental technology.
Acknowledgments ix Introduction: What Do You Really Want . . . and What Will You Do to Keep from Getting It? 1 Part One: The Internal Languages: Building the New Machine 11 1 From the Language of Complaint to the Language of Commitment 13 2 From the Language of Blame to the Language of Personal Responsibility 33 3 From the Language of New Year’s Resolutions to the Language of Competing Commitments: Diagnosing the Immunity to Change 47 4 From the Language of Big Assumptions That Hold Us to the Language of Assumptions We Hold: Disturbing the Immunity to Change 67 Part Two: The Social Languages: Maintaining and Upgrading the Machine 89 5 From the Language of Prizes and Praising to the Language of Ongoing Regard 91 6 From the Language of Rules and Policies to the Language of Public Agreement 103 7 From the Language of Constructive Criticism to the Language of Deconstructive Criticism 121 Part Three: Carrying on the Work 147 8 Running the Internal Languages 149 9 Running the Social Languages 187 Epilogue: Toward the Transformation Highway: Transcending the Limits of the Information Age 229 The Authors 235 Index 237
Robert Kegan, Ph.D., is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and author of The Evolving Self and In Over Our Heads. Lisa Laskow Lahey, Ed.D., is research director of the Change Leadership Project at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
"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 "A genuinely 21st century book! Kegan and Lahey create a dynamic alternative to merely 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 "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 "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, contributing editor, Fast Company, and author, What Really Matters
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