"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
Robert F. Kennedy

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 424

Estimated reading time:  3:00 minutes


Last month, I referenced the book, An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. I was enjoying listening to it, as I drove from Brandon to Winnipeg Another trip this past week brought me back to a prairie drive and I was listening to it again, and then a conversation with a coaching client the other day reminded me of their thinking. 


Kegan and Laskow Lahey describe three plateaus of adult mental development. In our early adult years (and these vary from person to person, but mostly in our 20s and 30s), we live with a ‘socialized mind.’ We are team players, faithful followers who seek direction. We show up and do the job. As we mature, perhaps into our 40s and 50s (remember we are all individuals so this may be different for you), we move into a ‘self-authoring mind.’ We have our own agendas, we learn about leadership as opposed to being driven by someone else’s agenda. We learn about getting things done through people, and we have our own compass and time frames. In our later years, we move into a ‘self-transforming mind’, where we find ourselves recognizing our common interdependence. We are more easily able to hold contradictions and view the world through multiple frames.


Each of these plateaus is distinct, representing a different way of seeing the world. While most adults will live within a ‘socialized mind’ plateau, fewer of us mature to being self-authors and fewer still mature into self-transforming minds. 


I believe that the wisdom we need in the coming decade is strongly related to to this third plateau: many more of us need to move more quickly towards self-transforming minds. Such self-transforming wisdom comes from the inner journey. Such self-transforming wisdom comes from connections with each other and from

having the courage to persevere in the midst of challenging and difficult times. Such self transforming wisdom comes from having the humility to keep learning and from recognizing and living into the deep interconnectedness of the universe. 

The amazing thing is that by working together, by learning together, by exploring together, looking at the quantum points between elder and young, male and female, black and white, science and art, socialized, self-authoring and self-transforming minds, we can plug into and build our collective wisdom. 


I wonder what you think?