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Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization (Leadership for the Common Good) Hardcover – January 13, 2009
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About the Author
Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, coauthors of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, have been research and practice collaborators for twenty-five years. Lahey is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. Kegan is the Associate Director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group and a founding principal of Minds at Work, a leadership-learning professional services firm.
Top customer reviews
This book will help on detecting the underlying reasons that stops us from changing, checking them out "counciously", make experiments to know if they are true or not, and finally and maybe gradually change.
With experiments, guidance to how to and advises on details, change is now more ours. Definitelly a good way to know ourselves and even misconceptions we have on the world, that uncounciously stops us from a positive change.
"We had been studying the evolution of mental development from the outside, as it were, seeking to describe the structure of each way of meaning-making, why it created the reality it did, what changed in a structure when it evolved. But now, without our quite realizing it, we were finding our way into the inner dynamics, in particular a sort of “master motive” that keeps us on our current plateau. We uncovered a phenomenon we call “the immunity to change,” a heretofore hidden dynamic that actively (and brilliantly) prevents us from changing because of its devotion to preserving our existing way of making meaning."
How do we destroy this locked in way of thinking and create innovative thinkers and doers is what the book focuses on in way that will help you continually improve yourself as an individual and your organization.
The process they illustrate shows why change is difficult for many. One reason is that there's a distinction that many of us are blind to, namely between change that could be easy--- a technical challenge--- and an adaptive challenge which is resistive to change. Treating an adaptive challenge as if it were a technical challenge leads, if at all to change, then to change we don't sustain. The distinction is so clear, that once we see it, we don't make that mistake again.
It could be said that we must first see ourselves as we are before we can become as we want to be. It is so darn difficult to see ourselves clearly, and that's another reason change is so challenging. The Immunity to Change to the rescue! That's precisely the gift Kegan and Lahey give us through their mind-mapping process. In regard to our improvement goal we see ourselves exactly as we are. It gives us a real and honest starting point. It's a point of power.
What we see once the fog lifts (substitute team for we or I, because this can be done with individuals or teams) is that we have competing or hidden commitments that act as a brake to any improvement goal we haven't been able to attain. The Immunity to Change shows us how to surface those hidden commitments. We get to see that we actually have one foot on the accelerator (our improvement goal) and one on the brakes (our hidden but competing commitments). We are guaranteed to not succeed. Or if we succeed, for example, with our goal to delegate more, then three weeks later we're doing it all by ourselves again! It's maddening!
But once we see it, we are no longer powerless. And we get to see it quickly, because the process outlined in the book is exquisitely designed and the culmination of 20 plus years of honing. A masterful dancer makes the dance look effortless. The mind-mapping process is a masterful dance.
What we get to see in a step-by-step, organized fashion is that our goal- impeding actions make perfect sense in the paradigm we are presently inhabiting. So instead of attacking the actions, which is where we go in our first knee-jerk reaction (after all, they're impeding the path to goal!), we get to examine from a safe distance the thinking that generated the actions, the thinking that makes those actions "the only way to go." Once exposed we're ready to generate the big assumptions that give rise to our hidden commitments, and we get to design some safe, modest tests to see if those assumptions are really true or bogus.
What's fascinating and delightful is that in this process people generate their own data one small, sweet step at a time. They own the data. Because the mind-map is exquisitely designed, the persons generating the data come up with high quality data that surprises even them. And they have it in black and white, so to speak. As a coach, consultant, or leader, we all know the value of great data which the client or team member "owns." Enough said!
If I only had one paragraph I could write about this book it would be this: The Immunity to Change illuminates our resistance to change and gives us a clear and simple pathway to give it up. Fueled by powerful insights we generate ourselves and that permit us to challenge the reality we've constructed, we can create a new reality based on expanded thinking. Kegan and Lahey are experts on adult development . They reject the unexamined assumption that people don't or can't change much after adolescence. They share Einstein's assertion that we can't solve problems at the level of thinking that created them in the first place. And they help us to move from mind-sets we can't afford (a socialized mind-set) to higher levels of thinking that depend on self-observation and the lessons we learn from it. Everyone who wants to change what they never could change before, or leaders who see themselves as catalysts for change will use this book again and again. Or they'll attend workshops or contract for services
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