immunity to change

Immunity to Change

Undo the shackles you may have put on yourself...  Helping you get out of your own way.
Organisational effectiveness is predicated on individual effectiveness. It is a great temptation and a great trap for leaders to believe “I’m OK, it is everyone else that needs to change/ improve.” For leaders interested in improving the effectiveness and productivity of their organisations, working on their own effectiveness, and then supporting others in their organisation to do the same is foundational to delivering the potential of any enterprise. Working to understanding how you get stuck, and how you stop yourself from moving towards what you really want is the single greatest action you can take to radically improve your effectiveness and happiness.

Since the early 2000’s, Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey have developed a simple yet powerful process for helping individuals understand their individual ‘Immunity to Change’ [1]. Thought leaders including Peter Senge, Daniel Goleman and Manfred Kets de Vries have supported and endorsed their work.
We have adapted their thoughts to provide you with a process to unlock your potential for mobilisation and excitement in yourself and in your work. Combining their insights with Gestalt principles of human experience, the linked steps set out a structured process for people to follow over subsequent days to help them understand how they get themselves stuck in situations they find frustrating or disempowering.
Following this sequence of reflections and practices, either alone, or more powerfully, with a trusted colleague or two (see guidelines for workplace reflective practice triads), will help people understand how they keep themselves stuck in situations that are unhelpful or unproductive.
Understanding your immunity to change can be a life-changing experience for many people. Such awareness has often been reported as a pivotal ‘AHA’ moment, after which people feel and behave fundamentally differently, that somehow the awareness alone was enough to shift the patterns they were in that kept them immobilised and frustrated, ineffective in their organisational life.

Sometimes too, this initial expanded understanding fades, and a more familiar pattern of feeling frustrated and blocked returns, feelings of personal  effectiveness decreasing over time. The previous pattern reasserting itself.

For these reasons, we strongly recommend that undertaking this process of reflection and self-examination not be a one-off activity. We recommend it as a key skill and leadership practice to complete regularly.

Initially this may mean scheduling weekly sessions with colleagues, to practice the reflection techniques and familiarise yourself with yourself and the many clever and creative ways we must keep ourselves safe. Eventually, it may be a practice that becomes ingrained in you, one that you can do in-the-moment when you are triggered by a colleague or situation, or when you realise you are feeling frustrated, blocked or immobilised in a situation.

This is the goal of this leadership practice, to integrate it into your way of operating with yourself and others. This will make you a much more powerful leader, operating at a much higher level of complexity with effectiveness and ease.

Key Steps to Overcoming Change Resistance