Sunday, April 26, 2009

Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life--Alan Deutschman

Is it possible to create life-lasting change in greater numbers than the statistics state? According to Deutschman, before beginning this book, expert upon expert pessimistically declared that only 1 in 10 people successfully change--even when life is on the line.

Since the author shed enough weight to make any Biggest Loser contestant proud and managed to keep it off for years and felt that he wasn't outside of the norm, he wanted to explore components of change by looking at groups that achieved a higher rate of transformation than the usual 10%.

He cited three groups who managed a 66% (or higher) success rate: (1) cardiac patients with acute heart disease agreeing to enter a pilot program with Dr. Dean Ornish who placed them all on a strict vegetarian diet, (2) hardened third-strike convicts who became model citizens and employees of the Delancey Street Foundation, and (3) auto workers facing job loss after a Japanese company bought their factory.

The author provides three fundamentals in producing change.

(1) Relate: surround oneself with a community of people who already emulate the
behavior one wishes to imitate.
(2) Repeat: minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year
behavior defines change that lasts. Each small step, coupled with success, walked out over
a period of time that begins with one minute and continues for years characterizes change.
(3) Reframe: create a new set of values to work from, enabling the mind and heart to
cooperate and direct new behavior).

For me, the 2nd example was the most compelling. The Delancey Street Foundation takes prisoners condemned to life in jail, with no hope for parole and changes the lives and behaviors of about 2/3 of those selected for the program. Many of these participants entered Delancey Foundation as third generation gang members, addicted to 2 or more substances and having committed some of the worst of society's crimes. And yet, they became model employees of the Foundation's many businesses.

At a lunch recently, a friend wisely pointed out that as a disciple of Jesus, I gain a new identity, too. I am no longer unclean, condemned, a white-washed tomb; instead, I am clean, righteous, a temple of God. Furthermore, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, fully pleasing to God, completely accepted. My question is this: If people with so many circumstances working against them can step out of an old frame and create behavior based on a new definition, why can't I? And why can't I seem to swallow those last three statements that the Bible makes about me?


  1. Hi, Pen! Love the names!! :-) Well, it will be nice to read about something other than parenting and kid gear for a change...I've added you to my Google Reader as a subscription. If you want to add me, just go to my blog and click on the "follow" button, then you'll get a continuous live feed update in your Blogger Dashboard. Or, maybe you DON'T want to read about parenting and kid stuff! *wink* :-)

  2. Congratulations! I'm so very proud of you for initiating this. :) I look forward to keeping up with you. Much love.

  3. What a wonderful way to start! I've been wondering if you were working on this, yeah for you!!

    Thank you for inspiring me and challenging me - I can't wait to read more! ~~ B

  4. I'm excited to see what else you share. I always love your insights and thoughts!