Immunity to Change

Do commitments slip away like New Year’s resolutions?

Do you want to figure out how to get your team ‘unstuck’?

Have you heard of The Immunity to Change model?  Actually it is Overcoming Immunity to Change.

It’s a concept developed by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, from Harvard University. Lately, it’s gotten major press (Oprah, NYT, Harvard Business Review). Unlike dieting, unlike the 10 principles that everyone forgets before they can remember them, the Immunity to Change is quietly and powerfully working a wonder in people’s lives.

Kegan begins by asking the most obvious question about why people say they want to “change” and don’t. Resistance, in his theory, does not imply opposition or inertia, but instead represents a commitment to an opposing goal. The resulting dynamic equilibrium stalls the effort in what looks like resistance but is in fact an underlying goal that protects essential values. This is what Kegan calls immunity to change.

How does this work? It helps people break the code of why their life so obstinately refuses change that they deeply desire. As it turns out, this unexpected and helpful tool doesn’t even break anything. Rather, it simply helps us pull back the curtain a bit on how we think…so we can see how some early commitments could be re-examined. Minds being the powerful engines that they are, that “re-thinking” unlocks the change.

There are several ways to access this program:

  • Work with Sophie Parker & Associates privately, to closely examine a problem you have been trying (and failing) to change in your own behavior. We can coach you through this process and get real results.
  • Bring us in to work with you and your team. The Immunity to Change is very effective with intact teams, especially when you are working to change some part of your organization and are meeting with resistance.

How to know if this model is a good fit for you and/or your team?

Try this test: If you’ve ever made—and broken—a promise to yourself and you want a tool other than discipline to help keep your promises, then come on along. The Immunity to Change is a contender.

“It was a very powerful experience, providing an analytical approach to understanding things that are subjective.  It provides a framework for dealing with squishy things.”

“Perhaps it was the program design, or the unique combination of facilitators, or the setting, or the time of the evening offering a more contemplative look at the theory, or the very clear examples shared by one of the facilitators, but that night I finally saw the shape of what keeps people from changing, and specifically, what has kept me from embracing a particular change. The deep understanding that our own internal, embarrassing, and deeply held fears counteract our better selves’ desires to improve was mind-bending.”