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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) [Kindle Edition]

Robert Kegan , Lisa Laskow Lahey
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A recent study showed that when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don't change their habits, only one in seven will be able to follow through successfully. Desire and motivation aren't enough: even when it's literally a matter of life or death, the ability to change remains maddeningly elusive.

Given that the status quo is so potent, how can we change ourselves and our organizations?

In Immunity to Change, authors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey show how our individual beliefs--along with the collective mind-sets in our organizations--combine to create a natural but powerful immunity to change. By revealing how this mechanism holds us back, Kegan and Lahey give us the keys to unlock our potential and finally move forward. And by pinpointing and uprooting our own immunities to change, we can bring our organizations forward with us.

This persuasive and practical book, filled with hands-on diagnostics and compelling case studies, delivers the tools you need to overcome the forces of inertia and transform your life and your work.

Product Description

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3551 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (15 Feb. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OEILH2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #78,752 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
There are many reasons why it is so difficult to overcome what James O'Toole aptly describes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." In my opinion, one of the most formidable barriers frequently involves a paradox: Whatever enabled an organization to prosper has become the primary cause of its current problems. To paraphrase Marshall Goldsmith, "whatever got you here may well prevent you from getting there." No one defends failure (except as a source of potentially valuable knowledge) but many (if not most) people will vigorously defend the status quo because "it isn't broken," they prefer a "known devil" to an "unknown devil," or because they have developed what Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey describe as an "immunity to change." In was in an earlier book of theirs, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work (2001), that they introduced what they describe as "a deceptively simple process - distilled and refined over many years - by which people can uncover the hidden motivations and beliefs that prevent them from making the very changes they know they should make and very much want to make" whatever the given goal may be. They have developed what Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton characterize as a "knowing-doing gap."

As with so many outstanding business books, this one focuses on three critically important problems that need to be solved: First, the aforementioned "knowing-doing gap" and our need to understand what it is and how to overcome it; next, "a deep-seated private pessimism about how much people really can change"; and finally, the need for a better understanding of human development (what it is, how it is enabled, how it is constrained) in order to transform the operating system itself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improving Leadership or Life Changing? 8 July 2011
By Mark
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Immunity to Change is a rare gem of a book in the leadership field with an Immunity Diagnostic tool that creates profound personal insight and growth in a short space of time. As the authors state the emphasis of this book is more toward development than leadership techniques or theories and I had not expected to find such a personally challenging book in academia and less so the business arena. The diagnostic, which helps the individual, team and organisation become more aware of their repeated behaviours, is closer to personal development albeit with business based language. With similarities to their colleague Heifitz's Adaptive Leadership ideas we are effectively asked to 'get on our own balcony' and see our own repeated thoughts, behaviours and the impact these have. While we may think these aspects of ourselves (for example the need for control or approval) are well hidden they are in practice easy for those around us to see. Bringing these, often self imposed, limitations to consciousness is the art of this book.

Using the concepts in this book: Rarely have I experienced the thoughtful silence that falls over a group when using the Immunity Diagnostic in training and development sessions. As participants consider the conflict between what they claim to believe in and what they actually do many 'ah ha' moments occur. Four seemingly straightforward questions cut straight to the heart of the variance in out current level of thinking. The diagnostic allows us to identify the 'competing commitment' - or why we behave in ways that undermine what we say we want to achieve. Having identified the competing commitment it's a short step to exposing the assumption we make about how the world works, an assumption which may be self limiting.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guide to overcoming resistance to change 21 Dec. 2009
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
The core concept of this fascinating, important book - that people and organizations want to change but often fail because they get in their own way - is simple and clear. Many of the stories of how individuals and groups have changed are inspiring. However, some are so attenuated that they fail to capture subtleties, such as exactly how the subjects identified and overcame the beliefs that blocked them. That said, Robert Kegan, who teaches at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, and Lisa Laskow Lahey, the associate director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group, address a problem many people encounter daily, and their synthesizing discussion of learning theory provides a useful framework for thinking about change. They are perceptive about the fundamental mismatch between how people attempt to change and what they really need to do. getAbstract recommends this book to managers and executives who must guide their organizations through transformations or crises, and to individuals who want to remain open-minded and flexible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Make a change 26 Aug. 2013
I thought this was a fantastic book. Well before I reached the end I wanted to get going in the organisation I work for and make a difference by implementing the transformative strategies.
Essentially, Kegan and Lahey ask us to think about the subconscious fears that reinforce our sense of self in the workplace. Our perception of effectiveness as leaders and managers becomes a personal ecology for survival. But as Kegan points out, it is exactly this process of entrenching ourselves against threats to the equilibrium of our ecosystem that prevents progress. We become programmed not to endanger the well-being of the system.
This is certainly not a book that solicits some kind of redemptive confession of sins in the workplace or an excuse for another CBT experience. Actually Kegan and Lahey are as unpretentious and direct as you would hope. Their work is based on years of research but it is never promoted at the expense of clarity and accessibility. In fact the case studies used to illustrate stages of the change process are engaging, stimulating and sometimes moving as they describe the experience of individuals and organisations in commerce, education, health and finance.
The book itself is a remarkable hybrid of hypothesis, argument and workbook as the case is made for the immunity to change theory and you are then directly engaged in the process with a sequence of brilliantly simple grids. Having identified targets for improvement in your organisation, you soon find yourself generating the underlying reasons why change has been difficult, even impossible. I found this experience remarkable.
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