Building the Bridge As You Walk On It
IN THIS SUMMARY
"Building the Bridge as You Walk on It" is Robert Quinn’s final book in the trilogy focusing on personal change and organizational leadership that began with "Deep Change" in 1996. In "Deep Change," Quinn teaches that anyone can become a leader of change—but only by transforming oneself first. "Building the Bridge as You Walk on It" takes this concept one step further to develop a new model of leadership based on entering “the fundamental state of leadership.” People, no matter what their position, spend most of their time in the normal state. In the normal state, people are comfort-centered, externally-driven, self-focused, and internally closed. However, anyone can enter the fundamental state of leadership by engaging in eight practices that are centered on ever-increasing integrity: reflective action, authentic engagement, appreciative inquiry, grounded vision, adaptive confidence, detached interdependence, responsible freedom, and tough love. In this fundamental state of leadership, people become purpose-centered, internally driven, other-focused, and externally open. In this state, the question is not “What do I want?” but “What result do I want to create?” When people clarify what result they want to create and commit to move forward without knowledge or control—one of the key characteristics of the fundamental state of leadership is giving up control—they enter a state of elevated attention and exponential learning. Leadership development is, therefore, not a matter of learning concepts or strategies, but of immersing oneself in the process of deep change and inviting others to do the same. Once this process is in motion, people transform themselves into leaders. In developing a better self, a better world results.