How Change Really Happens

I worked with a fast-growing company that had made a variety of impressive accomplishments. At one point, I arranged for one of my students to write a case study about the company. I accompanied the student when the CEO was interviewed and recounted the first five years of the company.

It was an impressive story about the unfolding of a clear strategic plan. He described the company as moving effortlessly from phase A to B and then to C. This account did not match my understanding of what had taken place. I interjected and described a very different history. When he was challenged with the actual chaotic learning process that had taken place, he paused and then smiled and said, β€œIt’s true, we built the bridge as we walked on it.”

Organizational and personal growth seldom follows a linear plan. This is an important principle to remember. When people recount a history of growth, they often tell it in a linear sequence, suggesting a rationality and control that never really existed. (Deep Change, pp. 83)


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