An Extraordinary Book for an Extraordinary Time

Choice Magazine December 2021

Review of Janet Harvey’s “Invite Change” for Choice Magazine

Change – the only constant in our lives. 

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that change is here to stay. As we transition out of the pandemic and into a new normal, we need new leadership thinking, coaching tools, and personal behaviors to help us adapt, evolve and thrive. 

Janet Harvey’s most recent book – Invite Change – offers precisely that. New paradigms for leaders to think differently about how to help themselves and others evolve. New tools for coaches to help clients adapt to their new world of work and contribute to a greater purpose. New behaviors for human beings to embrace change and thrive post-pandemic. 

Janet offers a clear call to action for the way forward: invite change and respond to it actively, rather than passively. Janet calls on us to bring our highest selves to this watershed moment by asking: “How can we best be in service of others going forward”? 

Neuroscience research suggests that people fear change because it creates uncertainty and loss. Paradoxically, it is precisely this fear that holds people back from greatness. Janet offers a way to lean in instead: “When you restore your personal sovereignty, you have an inside out, artesian resource to transition individual lives, organizations and the planet.”

Drawing on her 30+ years of expertise in helping people transform, Janet shares her powerful “ACAAR” vehicle for generative change. Five key steps to this framework include:

  1. Awareness: Suspend your assumptions, biases, preferences, and habits to achieve awareness.
  1. Clarity: Take time to understand how you learn and how to make meaning of your experience to gain clarity.
  1. Alignment: Create a clear and transparent decision-making rubric for internal and external alignment
  1. Action: Be fully present with others to anticipate context and determine additive engagement
  1. Result: Gain greater awareness and clarity of where you are, identify what’s possible out beyond your comfort zone, and what it will take to close the gap

Janet highlights several key factors that get in our way of working through these five steps and proposes multiple tools to facilitate momentum. Emotional barriers, mental blinders, and acceptance of status quo hinder progress, while a reflective rubric, powerful questions, and additive mindset enable growth and evolution. 

Throughout the book, Janet’s conversational style of writing draws and invites you in. A master storyteller, Janet brings her content alive through personal anecdotes, leadership stories, and examples from her extensive coaching experience. 

This is not a book for passive readers. Janet provokes deep thought with powerful questions and key ideas at the end of each chapter related to self, social norms, systems, social inequities, and status. Three examples to consider:

  • What motivates thinking and evaluating people as more or less than when I make choices about how and with whom to engage?
  • What embedded stereotypes in my mindset and behavior habits unconsciously contribute to inequity without knowing it?
  • What options and alternatives emerge when I perceive clearly through the front windshield versus the blame-game of the rearview mirror?

As Janet says: “Choosing change begins from the inside out”. Her book is the perfect resource for you to begin your personal hero’s journey post-pandemic. If you haven’t yet read this book, I highly encourage you to do so. You will be a better leader, coach, and human being because of it.

Published in, and reproduced with permission from, Choice, the magazine of professional coaching December 2021.

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