Immunity to change

| February 15, 2011

Title: Immunity to change : how to overcome it and unlock potential in yourself and your organization

Author: Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

Publisher: Boston, Mass. :  Harvard Business Press, c2009

Call no.: HD58.8 .K43 2009

From the Publisher:

The core concept of this book is that people and organizations want to change but often fail because they get in their own way. A fundamental mismatch exists between how they attempt to change and what they really need to do. Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey address a problem many people encounter daily, and their synthesizing discussion of learning theory provides a framework for thinking about change and a process for achieving it. The first step: create an “Immunity Map” centered on clear, specific goals. Complete your map by identifying what actions you take that work against those objectives and establishing why you engage in that sort of self-sabotaging behavior. Determine what assumptions underlie your “hidden competing commitments” and continually test those beliefs. The results may help you develop “releases,” phrases that you can repeat to free you from your assumptions, so you can begin to change your behavior.

About the authors:

Robert Kegan is a psychologist who teaches, researches, writes, and consults about adult development, adult learning, and professional development. His work explores the possibility and necessity of ongoing psychological transformation in adulthood; the fit between adult capacities and the hidden demands of modern life; and the evolution of consciousness in adulthood and its implications for supporting adult learning, professional development, and adult education. In addition to his faculty appointment at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Kegan serves as educational chair of the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education; as codirector of a joint program with the Harvard Medical School to bring principles of adult learning to the reform of medical education; and as codirector of the Change Leadership Group, a program for the training of change leadership coaches for school and district leaders. Kegan, a licensed clinical psychologist and practicing therapist, lectures widely to professional and lay audiences, and consults in the area of professional development. “I have been told,” he says, “it may help to know that I am also a husband and a father; influenced by Hasidism; an airplane pilot; a poker player; and the unheralded inventor of the ‘Base Average,’ a more comprehensive way of gauging a baseball player’s offensive contributions.”

Lisa Lahey is Associate Director of the Change Leadership Group at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, a national project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop greater internal capacity for leading organizational improvement in our nation’s public school districts. She is also founder and co-founder and Co-Director of Minds At Work, a consulting group that works with senior leaders and teams in corporations, government and non-profits. She has worked across the educational spectrum, from K-12 to colleges and universities and their boards, as well as with numerous corporations and nonprofit organizations. Lahey is the author of Immunity to Change: How to Overcome it and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization with Robert Kegan (2009), and How The Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work with Robert Kegan (2001). She is also co-author of Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools (2006).