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Changing on the Job

Jennifer Garvey Berger

Listen to people in every field and you’ll hear a call for more sophisticated and thoughtful leadership—for leaders who can solve more complex problems than the human race has ever faced before. But these leaders won’t simply come to the fore; we have to develop them, and we must cultivate them as quickly as is humanly possible. Changing on the job is a means to this end.

Leadership discussions often begin with tips and toolkits that take for granted the readiness of our leaders to face the challenges of today. Changing on the Job builds on sophisticated theories of adult growth and development. As opposed to showing us how to play the role of a leader in a “paint by numbers” fashion, this book helps readers to become individuals who are capable of leading and are ready to do so in any scenario. Moving from the theoretical to the practical, it shows how organizations can grow the complex and agile workforce that they need while maintaining and improving performance.

Using real-world examples which bring concepts to life, author Jennifer Garvey Berger invites readers to change the way they think about leadership and adult growth, while offering a set of building blocks, so that readers and the talent that they support can realize their fullest potential.

Coaches, HR professionals, thoughtful leaders, and everyone who wants to support others to grow—or to grow themselves—will find this book good company for their journeys.

Based on the book, Jennifer has designed the Growth Edge Coaching series of courses.

Read the Introduction

Destined to become a classic in the field, this is quite simply the best book on leadership and adult development out there. In addition to offering the clearest explication of adult development theory, this book breaks much needed ground in applying the deep insights of theory to practice, and in offering numerous suggestions for working with leaders to expand and transform their ability to cope with complexity. Managers, HR professionals, coaches, and others involved in helping leaders grow to meet the demands of our day will greatly benefit from reading this book. So will their clients!

William H. Hodgetts, Vice President of Enterprise Talent, Fidelity Investments

People have been asking for years, ‘Where can I go for a rich, practical, and incisive guide to the relationship between adult-developmental theory and coaching?’ Now there is an answer. You are holding it, and when you start reading it, it will hold you.

Robert Kegan, Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development, Harvard University Graduate School of Education, author of In Over Our Heads, and co-author of Immunity to Change

What are the three hardest things in the world to do? How about: 1) transform the culture you’re part of; 2) transform a meeting or conversation you’re in; and 3) transform your own mind? Want to learn how? A great way to begin is to read Jennifer Garvey Berger’s Changing on the Job and begin looking at your own work/life through the lenses she provides.

Bill Torbert, Boston College Leadership Professor Emeritus and Director of Research, Harthill Consulting Ltd

A significant contribution towards re-imagining how we go about developing leaders. Jennifer invites leaders and those of us engaged in developing leaders to be more precise in our support and to think anew about the role that organizational context plays. This book calls on us to become more capable, agile, and better aligned with the increasing complexity of a global economy, while showing us how to stitch together an approach to our work that is fit for this task.

Sally DeWitt Miller, Director, Leadership Development Group, Microsoft Corporation