Top 10 Kurt Lewin quotes for coaches and change workers

14 May 2015

Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) was a social psychologist who is considered to be the founding father of social psychology.  He was one of the first people to study group dynamics and organizational development.  His work covered studies of leadership styles and their effects, work on group decision-making and group dynamics.

  1. If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.
  2. Experience alone does not create knowledge.
  3. Social action, just like physical action, is steered by perception.
  4. Our behavior is purposeful; we live in a psychological reality or life space that includes not only those parts of our physical and social environment to us but also imagined states that do not currently exist.
  5. A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration.
  6. The study of the conditions for change begins appropriately with an analysis of the conditions for “no change,” that is, for the state of equilibrium.
  7. Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process.
  8. There is nothing as practical as a good theory
  9. Many social habits are anchored in the relation between the individuals and certain group standards.... If the individual should try to diverge “too much” from group standards, he would find himself in increasing difficulties. He would be ridiculed, treated severely and finally ousted from the group. Most individuals, therefore, stay pretty close to the standard of the groups they belong to or wish to belong to.
  10. A change toward a higher level of group performance is frequently short lived: after a “shot in the arm”, group life soon returns to the previous level. This indicates that it does not suffice to define the objective of a planned change in group performance as the reaching of a different level. Permanency of the new level, or permanency for a desired period, should be included in the objective. 

Barefoot Coaching’s innovative 3 day Team Coaching workshop for experienced coaches includes Kurt Lewin’s approach to group dynamics.

If you want to learn more the next course dates are 16th – 18th November 2015