Pub. Date:
Harvard Business Review Press
Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization

Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781422117361
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 01/13/2009
Series: Leadership for the Common Good
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 249,043
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Robert Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and author of The Evolving Self and In Over Our Heads.

Lisa Laskow Lahey, a Harvard-educated adult developmental psychologist, is cofounder of the consulting group Minds at Work.

Stephen R. Thorne is a professional actor and a member of the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island. He has played Hamlet, Henry V, and Tom Joad, among many other roles. Stephen has narrated over fifty audiobooks.

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Immunity to Change 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Elishka More than 1 year ago
The authors identify two basic kinds of changes a person can make: (1) Technical Change and (2) Adaptive Change. A Technical Change is fairly easy. For example, if I'm always hunting around frantically in the morning for my car keys, I can change that behavior by simply making sure that I hang up my keys in the same place every time I come in the door. Thus, there is no real emotional investment in the change. An Adaptive Change means you have to completely change the way you're thinking; thus, it's harder. Adaptive Change means you have to be willing to explore your own hidden agenda and then tweak it. As an example, a manager might want to delegate more work; however, despite employing available techniques (which are usually attempts to apply Technical Change), isn't successful. If that person looks deeper, he or she perhaps discovers a fear that not being involved with the day-to-day work will make him/her look like a lazy person. Still another person might look deeper and discover that he/she is afraid that if a subordinate screws up the work then he/she (the manager) will be fired. The authors describe this hidden agenda to be a sort of emotional immune system. In real life, our physiological immune system functions to protect us. You get a cut and the immune system kicks in to fight possible infection. However, if you get an organ transplant your immune system will likely fight it. That doesn't mean to trash your whole immune system; it means you have to create a bit of complexity by taking a drug. Thus, you're re-programming your immune system. With the emotional immune system, we have to re-program deep-seated assumptions we've created to protect ourselves. In a way, the authors are presenting a therapeutic model that most people would be more likely to go through with a "life coach" or "career coach" rather than with a therapist, but it boils down to the same thing. It's a clever way of packaging their own coaching seminars, but I think it would be possible for a person to work the program on his/her own. Certainly the insight that a person would gain just by working the exercises would be valuable. To their credit, the authors haven't turned this into a bland self-help book for either weight loss or management philosophy. It's going to require a serious investment of thought just to get through the first section on brain complexity and types of change, and then most of the examples are of people in business who are working hard to change their work habits. And then the authors apply their model to an entire organization. So, the problems aren't new: People need to make changes but don't seem to be able to succeed. But this solution of looking very deeply -- not just to "what am I doing instead of making the changes" and not even "why am I doing this" -- but to deeply hidden assumptions about how a person views him/herself and his/her world.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
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. To learn more about this title, check out the following Web page:
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