The Key to Transformation

Managers make conventional assumptions. One of those assumptions is that people will change if they are given a rational explanation of why they should do something. Information will bring transformation. People of transformational influence recognize that transformation requires more than information.

Carl Rogers, the famous psychiatrist, understood this. Yet it took him years to make the discovery. He claims that in his early years as a therapist he asked himself how he could change his clients. As he matured, he came to a new and more effective question. He found himself asking how he could provide a relationship that the other person could use for his or her own personal growth.

Scott Peck, another noted psychologist, described growing into the second perspective. It took him years to discover that his clients tended to transform themselves when he cared enough about the relationship to model the self-change process. Only when he stepped outside the comfort of his defined role, only when he was willing to risk doing new things, did the client seem to change. When he cared enough to do the unconventional thing, the risky thing that enriched the relationship and brought love to the relationship, did other person change.

The leadership lesson is clear. The effective leader places the great value on the good of the community. The leader sacrifices for the collective good. The community becomes enriched. The people put more value in the community and they begin to experiment with making sacrifices for the collective good. As they do, they enter the elevated life state and they are also transformed. The key to change is not seeking to change other people the key is seeking to create a relationship or community in which the other people can better flourish. This means increasing my commitment to the collective good.


  • Why did it take two trained psychologists so long to learn how to help people?
  • What does their discovery imply for leaders?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

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