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People Won’t Change It’s a psychological dynamic called a “competing commitment,” and until managers understand how it works and the ways to overcome it, they can’t do a thing about change-resistant employees. by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahe yEVERY MANAGER is familiar with the employee who just won’t change. Sometimes it’s easy to see why- the employee fears a shift in power, the need to learn new skills, the stress of having to join a new team. In other cases, such resistance is far more puzzling. An employee has the skills and smarts to make a change with ease, has shown a deep commitment to the company, genuinely supports the change-and yet, inexplicably, does nothing. What’s going on? As organizational psychologists, we have seen this dynamic literally hundreds of times, and our research and analysis have recently led us to a surprising yet deceptively simple conclusion. Resistance to change does not reflect opposition, nor is it merely a result of inertia. Instead, even as they hold a sincere commitment to change, many people are unwittingly applying productive energy toward a hidden competing commitment The resulting dynamic equilibrium stalls the effort in what looks like resistance but is in fact a kind of personal immunity to change. When you, as a manager, uncover an employee’s competing commitment, NOVEMBER 2001
You find out that the project leader who’ NOVEMBER 2001 .behavior that has seemed irrational and ineffective suddenly becomes stunningly sensible and masterful-but unfortunately. on behalf of a goal that conflicts with what you and even the employee are trying to achieve.
Take the case of John. On the contrary. and this is enormously frustrating to managers. Or you find that the person who won't collaborate despite a passionate and sincere commitment to teamwork is equally dedicated to avoiding the conflict that naturally attends any ambitious team activity. The process may sound straightforward. painful. Massachusetts.mindsatwork. we’ll look at competing commitments in detail and take you through a process to help your employees overcome their immunity to change.The Real Reason People Won't Change sdragging his feet has an unrecognized competing commitment to avoid the even tougher assignment-one he fears he can't handle-that might come his way next if he delivers too successfully on the task at hand. not to find flaws in their work or character. And it requires people to admit to Helping people overcome their limitations to become more successful at work is at the very heart of effective management. Massachusetts. some people will opt not to disrupt their immunity to change. even embarrassing. they must understand that their revelations won’t be used against them. The goal of this exploration is solely to help them become more effective. Indeed. but first let’s look at some examples of competing commitments in action. choosing instead to continue their fruitless struggle against their competing commitments. you may at times feel you’re playing the role of a psychologist But in a sense. In these pages. managers are psychologists. It asks people to call into question beliefs they’ve long held close. a consulting firm based in Lexington. feelings that they would not ordinarily disclose to others or even to themselves. As you support your employees in unearthing and challenging their innermost assumptions. 2001) and the founding principals of Minds at Work (www. helping people overcome their limitations to become more successful at work is at the very heart of effective management. Shoveling Sand Against the Tide Competing commitments cause valued employees to behave in ways that seem inexplicable and irremediable. it challenges the very psychological foundations upon which people function. After all. Robert Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development and Lisa Laskow Lahey is the research director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Cambridge. a talented manager at a NOVEMBER 2001 5 . They are the coauthors of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work (Jossey-Bass/Wiley. but it is by no means quick or easy. you must guide people through this exercise with understanding and sensitivity. perhaps since childhood.com). We’ll describe this delicate process in detail. If your employees are to engage in honest introspection and candid disclosure. As a manager.
while John was genuinely committed to working well with his colleagues. we’ve constructed composite examples. At a deep level. In short. In some cases. So when people gathered around his ideas and suggestions. although we have altered identifying features. When her boss.) John was a big believer in open communication and valued close working relationships. she had a naccompanying. John was a person of color working as part of an otherwise all-white executive team. yet she was spinning her wheels. inevitably (and effectively) returning himself to the margins. acknowledging that she had been stalling in pulling together the team. Moving too close to the mainstream made him feel very uncomfortable. would be ultimately accountable for the results of her 6 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW . Helen still hadn’t launched the team. she came to an unexpected conclusion: Although she truly wanted the project to succeed. Andrew. and Andrew assumed the problem was resolved. But three weeks after the meeting. a promotion would mean that she. it would threaten his sense of loyalty to his own racial group. he reverted to his old patterns.The Real Reason People Won’t Change software company (Like all examples in this article. he’d tear down their support with sarcasm. realized that an important deadline was only two months away and she hadn’t filed a single progress report. a manager we’ll call Helen. Underneath it all. too. unacknowledged commitment to maintaining a subordinate position in relation to Andrew. his personal style was holding him back. where he was more at ease. yet his caustic sense of humor consistently kept colleagues at a distance. not Andrew. When he went through an exercise designed to help him unearth his competing commitments. But at the same time she showed a genuine commitment to making the project a success. he called her into a meeting to discuss the project Helen agreed that she was far behind schedule. The two developed a detailed plan for changing direction. lohn’s experiences are real. Consider. Helen was concerned that if she succeeded in her new role-one she was excited about and eager to undertake-she would become more a peer than a subordinate. John believed that if he became too well integrated with the team. John was counseled on his behavior. he had an equally powerful competing commitment to keeping his distance. and he readily agreed that he needed to change the way he interacted with others in the organization. his boss wondered. a rising star at a large manufacturing company. But time after time. did John continue to undermine his own advancement? As it happened. he made a surprising discovery about himself. And though he wanted to move up in the organization. She was uncertain whether Andrew was prepared for the turn their relationship would take. Why. Worse. Why was Helen unable to change her behavior? After intense selfexamination in a workshop with several of her colleagues. Repeatedly. as if he were becoming“one of them” and betraying his family and friends. Helen had been assigned responsibility for speeding up production of the company’s most popular product.
The Real Reason People Won't Change work . It can be very powerful to guide people through this diagnostic exercise in a group-typically with several volunteers making NOVEMBER 2001 7 . employees examine these commitments to determine the underlying assumptions at their core. In our work. they’re frustrating to employees as well. We’ll walk through the process fairly quickly below. employees start the process of changing their behavior. we've developed a three-stage process to help organizations figure out what’s getting in the way of change. Diagnosing Immunity to Change Competing commitments aren’t distressing only to the boss. The process of challenging competing commitments and making real progress toward overcoming immunity to change unfolds over a longer period-weeks or even months.as long as the employees believe that personal and potentially embarrassing disclosures won’t be used inappropriately. is shoveling sand against the tide. These stories shed some light on the nature of immunity to change. you can draw them out by asking a series of questions . And finally. Based on the past 15 years of working with hundreds of managers in a variety of companies.and Helen feared she wouldn’t be up to the task. Uncovering Competing Commitments Overcoming immunity to change starts with uncovering competing commitments. Just uncovering the competing commitment will require at least two or three hours. People with the most sincere intentions often unwittingly create for themselves Sisyphean tasks. Any manager who seeks to help John communicate more effectively or Helen move her project forward. but it’s important to note that each step will take time. we’ve found that even though people keep their competing commitments well hidden. The inconsistencies between John’s and Helen’s stated goals and their actions reflect neither hypocrisy nor unspoken reluctance to change but the paralyzing effect of competing commitments. the discovery offers hope for finally accomplishing the primary. Even though uncovering a competing commitment can open up a host of new concerns. Next. But just getting the commitments on the table can have a noticeable effect on the decisions people make and the actions they take. because people need to reflect on each question and the implications of their answers. And they are almost always tremendously relieved when they discover just why they feel as if they are rolling a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down again. Employees are almost always tremendously relieved when they discover just why they feel as if they are rolling a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down again. without understanding that each is also struggling unconsciously toward an opposing agenda. stated commitment. managers guide employees through a set of questions designed to uncover competing commitments. First.
” This complaint yielded the statement. and they complain the loudest about the things they care about most. “I believe in open and candid communication. unproductive tone. People complain only about the things they care about. The next step. in our experience.” A line manager we’ll call Mary lamented people’s unwillingness to speak up at meetings. so that you could be more effective or so that work would be more satisfying? Responses to this question are nearly always couched in a complaint-a form of communication that most managers bemoan because of its negative. genuinely their own. is to invite people to consider the consequences of forgoing the behavior. but clearly both Tom and Mary were engaging in behavior that was affecting the people around them. her complaint implied a commitment to shared decision making. To get there. For example. We do this by asking a fourth question: If you imagine doing the opposite of the undermining behavior. The purpose is to understand why people behave in ways that undermine their own success. What would you like to see changed at work.so people can see that others. uninspiring gripes into something that’s more likely to energize and motivate them . had grumbled. that is keeping your commitment from being more fully realized? Invariably. the purpose of this exercise is not to make these behaviors disappear . people can turn their familiar. the third question is: What are you doing. The first question we ask is. there may well have been other circumstances contributing to the shortfalls. worry.” Indeed. do you detect in yourself any discomfort. you need to ask a second question: What commitments does your complaint imply? A project leader we worked with.The Real Reason People Won’t Change their own discoveries public. Most people recognize this about themselves right away and are quick to say. or not doing. I tend to shoot the messenger. “I need to stop doing that. or vague fear? Tom imagined himself listening calmly and openly to some bad news about a project and concluded. then.” And Mary? She considered allowing people more latitude and realized that. something that I can’t do anything about. people can nearly always identify some way in which they are in part responsible for preventing them from being fulfilled. people can identify these undermining behaviors in just a couple of seconds. But complaints can be immensely useful. Tom admitted: “When people bring me bad news. Tom had repeatedly vowed to listen more openly to potential problems that would slow his projects. Thus. 8 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW .at least not now.” And Mary acknowledged that she didn’t delegate much and that she sometimes didn’t release all the information people needed in order to make good decisions. However. With little effort.a commitment. even the company’s star performers. we’ll call him Tom. have competing commitments and inner contradictions of their own.“My subordinates keep me out of the loop on important developments in my project. In both cases. While undoubtedly sincere in voicing such commitments.“I’m afraid I’ll hear about a problem that I can’t fix.
was protectingherself-inher case. most people can call them up fairly easily. “I assume that if I did hear about problems I can’t fix. big assumptions are woven into the very fabric of people’s existence. For Tom (“I am committed to not hearing about problems I can’t fix”). especially once they’ve identified their competing commitments. against the consequences of bad decisions. The final step is to transform that passive fear into a statement that reflects an active commitment to preventing certain outcomes. Returning to our earlier story. While primary commitments nearly always reflect noble goals that people would be happy to shout from the rooftops. critically examined. see the sidebar “Big Assumptions: How Our Perceptions Shape Our Reality.”) But with a little help. a perfectly natural and reasonable human impulse. quite simply.The Real Reason People Won't Change quite frankly. she feared people wouldn’t make good decisions and she would be forced to carry out a strategy she thought would lead to an inferior result. we first ask people to create the beginning of a sentence by inverting the competing commitment. Competing commitments arise from these assumptions. if ever. the big assumption turned out to be. competing commitments are very personal. But competing commitments should not be seen as weaknesses. john’s big assumption might be. These assumptions put an order to the world and at the same time suggest ways in which the world can go out of order. Examining the Big Assumption People rarely realize they hold big assumptions because. he prevented them from delivering bad news. By engaging in this undermining behavior.“l am committed to making sure my group does not make decisions that I don’t like. We ask. what are people protecting themselves from? The answers usually lie in what we call their big assumptions deeply rooted beliefs about themselves and the world around them. reflecting vulnerabilities that people fear will undermine how they are regarded both by others and themselves. The question is. Little wonder people keep them hidden and hasten to cover them up again once they’re on the table.” By intimidating his staff. They represent some version of self-protection. “I NOVEMBER 2001 9 . To do this. if competing commitments are a form of self-protection. (For more on the grip that big assumptions hold on people.” Such revelations can feel embarrassing. which lies at the very heart of a person’s immunity to change. protecting himself from the fear that he was not in control of the project. people would discover I’m not qualified to do my job.too. Often formed long ago and seldom. they accept them as reality. Mary. Tom admitted.” Mary’s big assumption was that her teammates weren’t as smart or experienced as she and that she’d be wasting her time and others’ if she didn’t maintain control.“I am committed to not learning about problems 1 can’t fix. what worrisome outcome are you committed to preventing? The resulting answer is the competing commitment. driving behaviors unwittingly designed to keep the picture intact. and then we ask them to fill in the blank.
such as deep-seated fears or insecurities. highly discouraging or simplistic views of human nature. and it doesn’t happen all at once. Questioning the Big Assumption Once people have identified their competing commitments and the big assumptions that sustain them.A Diagnostic Test for Immunity to Change 10 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW . because admitting to big assumptions makes people uncomfortable. which can be frustrating for high achievers accustomed to leaping into motion to solve problems. Let’s take a look at the steps in more detail . or perceptions of their own superior abilities or intellect. to the detriment of his or her “official. not action. albeit unconsciously.” stated commitment. Unquestioning acceptance of a big assumption anchors and sustains an immune system: A competing commitment makes all the sense in the world.The Real Reason People Won’t Change assume that if I develop unambivalent relationships with my white coworkers. I will sacrifice my racial identity and alienate my own community.” This is a difficult process. Only by bringing big assumptions to light can people finally challenge their assumptions and recognize why they are engaging in seemingly contradictory behavior. most are prepared to take some immediate action to overcome their immunity. and the person continues to engage in behaviors that support it. But the first part of the process involves observation. The process can put names to very personal feelings people are reluctant to disclose.
Below we’ve listed the responses for six people who went through this exercise.The Real Reason People Won't Change The most important steps in diagnosing immunity to change are uncovering employees'competing commitments and unearthing their big assumptions. making sense of a previously puzzling dynamic NOVEMBER 2001 11 . we ask a series of questions and record key responses in a simple grid. To do so. including the examples described in the text. The grid paints a picture of the change-immunity system.
We specifically ask people not to try to make any changes in their thinking or behavior at this time but just to become more aware of their actions in relation to their big assumptions. leading them to systematically (but unconsciously) attend to certain data and avoid or ignore other data. Because big assumptions are held as fact. they actually inform what people see. John.The Real Reason People Won’t Change .Step 1: Notice and record current behavior. saw that he had missed an opportunity to get involved in an exciting. highprofile initiative because he had mocked the idea when it first came up in a meeting. for example. 12 HARVARD BUStNESS REVIEW . Employees must first take notice of what does and doesn’t happen as a consequence of holding big assumptions to be true. who had assumed that working well with his white colleagues would estrange him from his ethnic group. This gives people the opportunity to develop a better appreciation for how and in what contexts big assumptions influence their lives.
He also had to admit that when he had been thrown onto an urgent task force the year before. When John looked around him. for instance. Understanding the circumstances that influenced the formation of the assumptions can free people to consider whether these beliefs apply to their present selves. Step 3: Explore the history. especially when they see that these ideas have accompanied them to their current positions and have been coloring their experiences for many years.American manager in another department had strong working relationships with her mostly white colleagues.The Real Reason People Won’t Change Step 2: Look for contrary evidence. Just as commonly.) After conferring with a partner. This reflection usually makes people feel dissatisfied with the foundations of their big assumptions. almost always to times before their current jobs and relationships with current coworkers. leading them to systematically (but unconsciously) attend to certain data and avoid or ignore other data. volunteered to join a short-term committee looking at his department’s process for evaluating new product ideas. John. he considered for the first time that an African. yet seemed not to have compromised her personal identity. he would be able to extricate himself fairly quickly if he grew too uncomfortable with the relationships. Each employee should come up with a scenario and run it by a partner who serves as a sounding board. we invite people to become the “biographers’’of their big assumptions: How and when did the assumptions first take hold? How long have they been around? What have been some of their critical turning points? Typically. a CEO expressed astonishment as she realized she’d been applying the same self-protective stance in her work that she’d developed during a difficult divorce years before. Because the team would dissolve after a month. Next. he had worked many hours alongside his white colleagues and had found the experience satisfying. we help them see that they have been filtering out certain types of informationinformation that could weaken the grip of the big assumptions. Step 4: Test the assumption. employees must look actively for experiences that might cast doubt on the validity of their big assumptions. Because big assumptions are held as fact. people tend to create tests that are either too risky or so tentative that they don't actually challenge the assumption and in fact reaffirm its validity. This is the first time we ask people to consider making changes in their behavior. as was the case for John. In this step. By asking people to search specifically for experiences that would cause them to question their big assumptions. or friends. Recently. But the experience would force him to spend a significant amount of time with several of his white colleagues during that month 13 HARVARD BUStNESS REVIEW . This step entails creating and running a modest test of the big assumption. this step leads people to earlier life experiences. they actually inform what people see. he had felt none of his usual ambivalence. people trace their big assumptions to early experiences with parents. siblings. (Left to their own devices.
by engaging in volunteer efforts within his community outside of work.” says one of the children."it’s turtles all the way down.“! think from then on. When we went through this exercise with her boss. 14 HARVARD BUStNESS REVIEW . he made sure that his ties to his racial group were not compromised. we assume. It is worth noting that revealing a big assumption doesn’t necessarily mean it will be exposed as false. design and run new tests.employees evaluate the test results. At the same time. and eventually question the big assumptions. evaluate the test itself. an implication that this is what distinguishes children from grown-ups. two youngsters had been learning about Hindu culture and were taken with a representation of the universe in which the world sits atop a giant elephant. As one story goes. This is easiest to see in children.” says the other. Returning once more to Helen’s story. John found a way to support the essence of his competing commitment . it turned out that he was harboring some contradictions of his own. even if a bit eccentrically. remember that managers are every bit as susceptible to change immunity as employees are. Their meaning-making is subject to youthful distortions. Andrew.The Real Reason People Won’t Change and would provide him an opportunity to test his sense of the real costs of being a full team member. Step 5: Evaluate the results. But even if a big assumption does contain an element of truth. "t wonder what the turtle sits on. He was unintentionally communicating this lack of confidence to his subordinates-including Helen-in subtl eBig Assumptions: How Our Perceptions Shape Our Reality Big assumptions reflect the very human manner in which we invent or shape a picture of the world and then take our inventions for reality. and your competing commitments and big assumptions can have a significant impact on the people around you.to maintain his bond with his racial group-while minimizing behavior that sabotaged his other stated commitments. an individual can often find more effective ways to operate once he or she has had a chance to challenge the assumption and its hold on his or her behavior. Uncovering Your Own Immunity As you go through this process with your employees. In the last step. Indeed.” But deep within our amusement may lurk a note of condescension. While he was committed to the success of his subordinates. and the elephant sits atop an even more giant turtle. and as a result he was laboring under a competing commitment to maintain absolute control over his projects. Andrew at some level assumed that he alone could meet his high standards. The delight we take in their charming distortions is a kind of celebration that they are actively making sense of the world. this meant signing up for other initiatives and making initial social overtures to white coworkers. For John.
groups are just as susceptible as individuals to the dynamics of immunity to change. too. If we know what our company."Not only do you drive on the wrong side of the street over here.” she continued. and I got into the right side of the car. 1994). departments. and even companies as a whole can fall prey to inner contradictions that‘'protect” them from significant changes they may genuinely strive for. that our maps don't match the territory? The answer is clearly no. we are unlikely to look for it some place else. boss. why should we look for countervailing data -even if it is just an arm's length away ?Getting Groups to Change Although competing commitments and big assumptions tend to be deeply personal. Face-to-face teams. In Over Our Heads. They knew which markets to target. for instance. each of the principals would take responsibility for aggressively overseeing a distinct market segment The members of the leadership team told us they came out of this process with a great deal of momentum. A woman we met from Australia told us about her experience living in the United States for a year. only to discover I needed to get out and walk over to the other side. we’ve discovered that adults must grow into and out of several qualitatively different views of the world if they are to master the challenges of their iife experiences (see Robert Kegan.why should she look? Our big assumptions create a disarming and deluding sense of certainty. team members had undertaken a planning process that led them to a commitment of which they were unanimously in favor: In order to ensure that the company would grow in the way the team wished. but-and this is the main point. But does it? Are we really finished discovering. I n our 20 years of longitudinal and cross-sectional research. Harvard University Press. once we have reached adulthood.the countervailing evidence was just an arm's length to her left. largely flat organizational structure. I would routinely pile into the right side of the car to drive off. enjoyed a highly collaborative. The leadership team of a video production company."your steering wheels are on the wrong side. and was prepared to drive off.The Real Reason People Won’t Change Ours represents an accurate map of reality. department.‘My God. they had formed some concrete plans for moving forward. If we know where a steering wheel belongs. took out my keys. A year before we met the group. I looked up and thought to myself. they are even stealing steering wheels!'" Of course. here in the violent and lawless United States. and 15 HARVARD BUStNESS REVIEW ."! was thinking about six different things." she said. "One day. or subordinate can and can't do.
we thought we could do new things and still have time to keep meeting our present obligations. The team’s big assumptions?"We assumed that pursuing the target-market strategy. as the group came to discover. despite the enthusiasm. On behalf of this commitment. without their knowledge. This may seem like a small step. and cocreati ve spirit of our corporate enterprise. In the end. But by seeing the team's explanations as a potential window into the bigger competing commitment. would create the 'silos' we have long happily avoided and would leave us more isolated from one another. We also assumed the strategy would make us more competitively disposed toward one another” Whether or not the assumptions were true. "Can you identify even the vaguest fear or worry about what might happen if you did more aggressively pursue the new markets? Or if you reduced some of your present activity on behalf of building the new business?" Before long. "We now realize we are also committed to preserving the noncompetitive. in fact. a different discourse began to emerge. they would have continued to block the group's efforts until they were brought to light. mutually reinforcing. Andrew’s and Helen’s competing com. and the other half of a striking groupwide contradiction came into view: The principals were worried that pursuing the plan would drive them apart functionally and emotionally.The Real Reason People Won’t Change they had clearly assigned accountability for each market. but 16 HARVARD BUStNESS REVIEW . We asked. the team members had to commend themselves on how“noncompetitively" and "cocreatively” they were finding ways to undermine the strategic plans they still believed were the best route to the company’s future success. we were able to help the group better understand its predicament. intellectually rewarding. with each of us taking aggressive responsibility for a given segment. Helen and Andrew are still working through this process. there were a variety of moves that would allow the leadership team to preserve a genuinely collaborative collegiality while pursuing the new corporate strategy . Yet a year later." they concluded.I mitments were. the group had to admit it had accomplished very little.”"We didn’t pursue new clients aggressively enough. keeping Helen dependent on Andrew and allowing Andrew to control her projects. There were lots of rational explanations: "We were unrealistic.’’“We tried new things but gave up too quickly if they didn't immediately payoff” Efforts to overcome these barriers—to pursue clients more aggressively. for instance-didn't work because they didn't get to the cause of the unproductive behavior.ways. but they’ve already gained invaluable insight into their behavior and the ways they are impeding their own progress.
^ Reprint ROIIOE To order reprints. It allows managers to see. It’s not about coaxing or cajoling or even giving poor performance reviews. To further explore the topic of this article. at last. It’s not about identifying | unproductive behavior and systematically making plans to correct it. h br. and helping them cope with the inner conflict that is preventing them from achieving their goals. what’s really going on when people who are genuinely committed to change nonetheless dig in their heels.org/explore 17 HARVARD BUStNESS REVIEW .The Real Reason People Won’t Change bringing these issues to the surface and confronting them head-on is challenging and painful -yet tremendously effective. as if treating symptoms would cure a disease. see the last page of Executive Summaries. It’s about understanding the complexities of people’s behavior. guiding them through a productive process to bring their competing commitments to the surface. go to www.
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DOSSIER CHANGE POINT OF VIEW: Immunity to Change Based on the book by Robert KEGAN and Lisa Laskow LAHEY. February 2009. Wealth Management International. UBS AG (Switzerland). managing director. 1 9 7 JUNE 2009 . Harvard Business School Press. the UBS AG case Interview with Juerg HERREN. INTERVIEW: When Growing People Helps Change Succeed. 19B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O .
a paradoxical short-term self-defense mechanism. claims Abigail Jenkins. sales director of MedImmune (United States). INTERVIEW: MedImmune. while a member of Pfizer.” authors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey show that even the most willing will never truly change unless they come to understand how sometimes unconscious behavior prevents them from achieving their change objectives. Juerg Herren has combined individual and group methods to counter resistance to collective change. In 2004. Jenkins testifies to the positive impact of the experience on the rest of her career JUNE 2009B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . June 2009 . he has been leveraging the ITC (“immunity to change”) scheme as well as group coaching to drive the achievement of common objectives. The ITC approach requires a long-term investment. Overcoming Personal Issues to Improve Team Performance Interview with Abigail JENKINS. Herren is general manager of Wealth Management International (a division of UBS AG). MedImmune (US). she took part in a change initiative where the ITC method was used to transform a disparate group of people into a tight. Key Ideas Immunity to change. he has seen six people overcome previously powerful personal obstacles to change. effective team.June 2009 . As a result. Since 2007. Chesapeake area business manager. In “Immunity to Change. is a fundamental hindrance to organizational transformation. 1 9 7 20 .
Even when it’s a matter of life or death. the authors provide scientific evidence that the adult mind evolves in complexity well beyond the age of 30. inadequate incentives.Change or die. despite the plethora of literature.DOSSIER CHANGE . the ability to change remains the greatest challenge for most individuals. the problem is not a lack of will. Immunity to Change Based on Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization. Given these daunting odds. Yet. In Immunity to Change. Common explanations—lack of urgency. That’s the choice that doctors give at-risk heart patients. Yet. even passionately want and what [they] are actually able to do. programs and training materials. according to Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. most people don't seem to know why. and only one in seven is able to make the necessary life-style changes.” In other words. Harvard Business Press. 1 9 7 JUNE 2009 . people (and organizations) may desire to change. February 2009 . most struggle to bring about change in themselves and others. they show how individual beliefs and the collective mindsets of organizations interact to create a powerful “immunity to change”—a paradoxical safety defense that protects people from change. but they are incapable of doing so! While frequently attributed to age. but rather the “inability to close the gap between what [people] genuinely. how can leaders get their people to change in order to stay competitive in a fast-paced world? Most leaders would agree that improvement and change are core organizational priorities. lack of discipline—all point to insufficient motivation as the main barrier to change. by Robert KEGAN and Lisa LASKOW LAHEY. By identifying the root 21B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . The problem is.
g. self-authoring.” On the other hand.1 The authors note. “The challenge to change is often misunderstood as a need to better ‘deal with' or ‘cope with' the greater complexity of the world. They identify three qualitatively different plateaus. human capability will be a decisive success factor for companies in coming years. RECONCEIVING THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE According to Lahey and Kegan. whose research shows that the adult mind is capable of development throughout adulthood. personal-development programs. According to the authors. leadership trainings) seldom engender long-term change and result in slight or temporary behavioral adjustments at best. ■ “Technical” versus “Adaptive” Challenges Why are these efforts so ineffective? Because. while proposing technical solutions to adaptive challenges— which can only be met by a mindset shift. “Skillful as . and self-transforming mind— interpret the world in different ways. self-authoring mind. or self-transforming mind strongly influences how one sends and receives JUNE 2009B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . according to the authors. In sum. They note.causes of these immunities.” not necessarily developing people. And while coping and dealing are valuable skills. managers may be. ■ Understanding the Development of Mental Complexity But can you really teach old dogs new tricks? That is. adaptive change. Many senior executives are already aware of this and thus invest precious financial and human resources to improve their people's capabilities. 1 9 7 22 . employees. say Kegan and Lahey. leaders often ask people to make changes that go beyond their current level of mental complexity (see below). they are inadequate for accomplishing long-term. the better one performs (because one is better able to meet adaptive challenges). missions. Coping and dealing involve adding new skills or widening our repertories of responses.. such costly organizational efforts (e. “But leaders who seek to win a war for talent by conceiving of capability as a fixed resource to be found ‘out there' put themselves and their organizations at a serious disadvantage. These three systems—the socialized mind. and themselves will create a sustainable competitive edge and boost bottom-line results. current levels of complexity of mind— which typically hover between the socialized mind and the selfauthoring mind2 in adults—are insufficient to meet the demands of today's business world. “Each successive level of mental complexity is formally higher than the preceding one because it can perform the mental functions of the prior level as well as additional functions.” explain the authors. can adults after the age of 30 really change? The answer is yes. Yet. individuals can overcome obstacles to change and move their organizations forward. and Three Plateaus in Adult Complexity Having a socialized.. or levels in mental complexity. their abilities will no longer suffice in a world that calls for leaders who can not only run but reconstitute their organizations—its norms. leaders who develop their teams.. the higher one's mental plateau.
DOSSIER CHANGE information. They are coauthors of “How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work” (Jossey-Bass.. “immunity mapping” is an extremely effective tool. mapping gets at the root causes of the 23B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . The self-authoring mind • People are able to step back enough from their social environment to create their own personal framework or agenda for judgment and action. The Authors have worked as research and practice collaborators for 25 years. but also make space for modifications.” ■ Understanding Immunities with Mental Mapping Unlike traditional diagnosis techniques (which simply identify bad behaviors to be avoided).e. the second is an adaptive solution (i. individuals who are able to make choices about external expectations. but why they are this way. and create boundaries to advance a mission or agenda.. The socialized mind • People are shaped by the definitions and expectations of their personal environment. • People send information that is likely to advance their own mission or agenda. Robert KEGAN and Lisa LASKOW LAHEY culture—in an increasingly fast-changing environment. The question is. companies need workers who are at (or beyond) the level of the selfauthoring mind. set limits. and what will actually need to change in order to bring about any significant new results. take stands. • People are loyal to the group with which they identify. and a founding principal of Minds at Work. • People communicate and make sense of information in relation to these loyalties. how can companies accelerate the development of mental complexity or how can they meet an adaptive change through adaptive means? The first requirement is an adaptive formulation of the problem (i. It helps people “see not just how things are at the moment. Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. how the problem runs up against the limits of an individual’s mental complexity). 1 9 7 JUNE 2009 . a leadership-learning professional services firm. 2002). UNCOVERING THE IMMUNITY TO CHANGE To understand how a challenge brings an individual to the limitations of his or her mental growth. how the individual must adapt).” In other words. and thus capable of carrying out adaptive solutions— that is. • People prioritize information that may reveal limits to their current design or frame.e. people not only advance their agenda and design. Lahey is the Associate Director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group. • People filter out information that does not have obvious relevance to their particular agenda. The self-transforming mind • People can take a step from and reflect on the limits of their own framework.
Until these competing commitments have been brought to the surface. using plans or strategies for eliminating obstructive behaviors) to solve adaptive problems. it can threaten an individual’s health by rejecting new information “that the body needs to heal itself or to thrive. an immunity can be a source of strength.. 1 9 7 24 .” •• JUNE 2009B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . On the other hand. individuals will continue— in vain—to apply technical means (i.” The authors use the medical metaphor of immunity to highlight the duality of an individual’s resistance to change.underlying commitments that make obstructive behavior effective yet prevent people from achieving their goals.e. The end result of the mapping process is a clear portrait of an individual’s “immunity to change. On the one hand.
but general guidelines will remain the same: diagnosis (creating an immunity map). CEO of a multibillion-dollar financial services company based in New England. They started working with him after he had acquired two competitors in different parts of the US. the biggest error leaders make is when they use technical means to solve adaptive challenges. a small percentage (approximately 7%) has gone beyond the self-authoring mind.3 According to Kegan and Lahey. the approach will differ slightly. How can organizations foster a culture of change and personal growth? By adopting a development stance. Provide safety for people to take risks and explore new behaviors. Make the distinction between technical and adaptive learning agendas. Depending on the scenario (overcoming individual and/or collective immunities to change). the authors led Peter through the mapping process . Two separate studies of mental complexity.Mapping an immunity to change: an overview To illustrate the immunity to change. well-known skill set. In particular. 7. and follow-up. 2. Recognize that adulthood is a time for ongoing growth.DOSSIER •• •• CHANGE ■ Overcoming Immunities: Different Situations. Technical challenges require a specific. This acquisition meant melding different corporate cultures. testing new behavior. Recognize that changing mindsets needs to involve the head and the heart. and shifting to a more distributed leadership model—a particularly difficult challenge for Peter. 6. one using the Washington University Completion Test and the other the Subject. According to Heifetz. 3. the authors use the example of Peter Donovan. who was used to a more hands-on. they need to send the message that they expect adults can grow. working with new senior players.down leadership style. 4. To help him meet this adaptive challenge. 1998). that is. show an identical result--that the majority of people (58%) have not attained the level of the self-authoring mind. please refer to the two interviews in this dossier . top. leaders and organizations that master the immunity to change will be more effective in accomplishing their own goals and will have a higher level of employee commitment. ■ 1.197 JUNE 2009 . Recognize that changes in mindset or behavior do not necessarily bring about transformation. 2. Assume that a change in mindset takes time. individuals and groups are prepared to meet the challenges of adaptive change. they must: 1. the Same Approach With immunity X-ray in hand. he identified a list of personal change goals: be more receptive to 25B U S I N E S S D I G E S T NO.Step 1: Identify a set of personal commitments or improvement goals First.Object Interview. For more details on this process. Adaptive challenges can only be met by advancing to a more sophisticated mental state. 5. Recognize and cultivate an individual's motivation to grow. Ronald Heifetz makes the distinction between “technical” and “adaptive” changes in “Leadership Without Easy Answers” (Harvard University Press.
managing director. being too quick to give my own opinions when that may not be what people are asking for. He uncovered various commitments that were competing with his change goal: to have things done my way. he can see how his commitments are contradictory to his change goal. Since joining 26B U S I N E S S D I G E S T NO. not asking open-ended questions or genuinely seeking out others' opinions. and be more open to delegating and supporting new authority. Step 2: Identify obstructive behaviors (that work against the goals) Peter then looked at what he was doing to prevent him from achieving these goals.197 JUNE 2009 . please refer to the job aid section on page 27 . Wealth Management International. I is managing director. to feel the pride of ownership. the one who always knows best . to place myself in the position of super problem solver. be more flexible in my responses.According to the authors.DOSSIER CHANGE new ideas. to experience myself as having a direct impact. He responded: giving curt responses to new ideas. this X-ray can help Peter “uncover and address his problem as an immunity to change. UBS AG (Switzerland). For a more detailed explanation of how to map immunities to change. a way that he protects himself from accomplishing his goal in order to ‘save his life'. Wealth Management International at UBS AG (Switzerland).” In particular. Peter looked at the reasons why he persisted with his obstructive behaviors. he is in a better position to transform his immunity. By understanding this opposition.I N T E R V I E W When Growing People Helps Change Succeed The UBS AG case Interview with Juerg HERREN. Step 3: Identify competing commitments Finally. June 2009 .
the team rolled out the program to select European markets. Wealth Management International at UBS. we would spend another two to three coaching sessions on how to approach these people. for example. and identify particular needs.197 . you look at reality—what is the situation right now? Next. a strong coaching culture. To spread this best practice to the rest of the organization. “We worked with local management to identify various focus areas (usually three) such as prospect management and acquisition.In the early 2000s. “GROWing” the Organization Juerg Herren. BIOGRAPHY After running in-house performance coaching programs for business units across the globe for several years using the GROW method. we would spend two to three sessions talking about how to successfully close deals. best practice sharing. you look at all the options you can think of—how can you address or overcome challenges. After a kick-off meeting with all line managers. Herren •• JUNE 2009 27B U S I N E S S D I G E S T NO. Senior management worked with consultants to identify best practices and found that high performance teams across the company had developed. he leads a unit of wealth management client advisors.e. we would spend one to two sessions discussing how to get new prospect names and how to effectively manage a prospect pipeline.? Lastly. focusing on a particular goal.. we met with managers individually. client needs analysis. Then. one to three weeks—to achieve your goal?” In 2004. he has been using the “immunity to change” (ITC) method as part of individual performance coaching programs . Finally. “We chose the GROW method.1 This was especially true in cases where the talent had the will but couldn’t find the appropriate solution path for the desired change. you decide what to do next—what are you going to do to in the short term—i. was involved in program design and implementation. etc.DOSSIER CHANGE the company in 1975. client development. In the case that a (client-facing) team's objective was to acquire new clients. It's based on four steps. managing director. He explains. among other things. and most important. senior leadership at UBS AG was looking for ways to increase growth. This culture seemed to make these teams more agile and better able to cope with change. what have you seen other people do in similar situations. First. build rapport. Since 2007. he has held various positions In private banking and product/market management. Juerg Herren identified the need to drive change further. you identify your goal—what specifically do you want to achieve? Then.” GROWing Pains During these projects. a relatively simple approach that is very effective when people are motivated to explore additional approaches. We then started the first phase of the coaching process. In his current position. leadership launched an organizational coaching project in 2004. and specialist cooperation.
and ITC coach—if the coach was someone from outside the organization. handpicked by Herren. as is often the case. Herren included. GROW is insufficient. he easily shifts between conversations of art. they often had difficultly achieving the desired change. co-author of Immunity to Change. ITC is in the “test phase” and has been used for a select number of employees (six in all). it was easy for him to casually discuss with prospects and clients. and upon their return. I found that when people had competing motivations or beliefs. It's another to be able to do so. it might be more tempting for participants to be less engaged or quit. “All participants have achieved significant progress.” So far. which has contributed to increased business results and client satisfaction. “Unless individuals are motivated to change. “Several years ago. and identifies.” he says. and have the tools to do so. which typically lasts from two to six months. page 6) and learned how to overcome one or more of their own immunities to change. i 9 7 JUNE 2009 . Applying the method in a series of coaching sessions (once every one to two weeks for a period of three months) enabled him to successfully manage this transition. leader. the individual coaching programs have been highly effective. It is not something you need to do constantly. Afterwards. a former corporate banker and consultant made the transition to wealth management. and business. they brought in Robert Kegan.” In light of these limitations. However. literature. to better understand the dynamics of (individual) change and explore alternative approaches. introduced ITC in individual coaching programs. questions. “Unlike group coaching. provides a diagnosis of the person's competing commitments. During the fourmonth project. participants became familiar with the ITC method (see book summary. participants felt they had made progress towards their individual change goals. Having a background in business and liberal arts.” According to Herren. ITC is designed to address and overcome an individual's specific barriers to change. and tests his or her big assumption(s). Nowadays.” The process. it wasn't until August 2007 that Herren and another colleague took things further. Rolling Out ITC ITC in Action Herren provides the example of a wealth manager's behavioral transformation to illustrate the success of ITC.DOSSIER CHANGE •••• identified certain limitations to the GROW methodology. In 2005. His coauthor Lisa Laskow Lahey set up a pilot program with a dozen individuals. They set off to Cambridge to work intensively with Kegan and Lahey. Herren and his colleagues started looking for new ways to take individual coaching to the next step. “I owe this success in part to the fact that I'm the manager. It's one thing to want to change. However. he had a hard time shifting to concrete business discussions and deal negotiations.” Two Peas in a Pod: GROW and ITC 28B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O .
So what do companies need to succeed? “In addition to clear goals.” answers Herren. FACTS AND FIGURES: UBS AG Established: UBS has its roots as a Swiss bank. “When you have a group culture that supports change (e.200. Sector: UBS AG is a diversified financial services company. those crazy. getting better as a team). Options/Opportunity. and has a major international presence. Switzerland. It helps liberate people from something that has been holding them back from achieving organizational goals.” Currently. people are less afraid to try new. These four steps can be applied to most any coaching situation . ■ The GROW (Goal. ITC is being considered as a complementary approach. such as increasing quarterly sales. Reality. International presence: UBS AG is headquartered in Basel and Zurich. and sometimes quite creative things. a former race car champion and coach in the United Kingdom. INTERVIEW MedImmune Overcoming Personal Issues 29B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . Modern UBS was formed through a merger of the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corporation in 1998. ITC is more useful when someone has an inexplicable resistance to change.g.” And in today's ultra competitive markets.. “GROW works when everyone has a common goal. usually due to subconscious goals. Still in its trial phase. i 9 7 JUNE 2009 . Full-time employees (1Q 2009): 76.DOSSIER CHANGE Herren emphasizes that GROW and ITC are by no means competing approaches. you need to have strong leaders setting an example and encouraging people to embrace change and overcome their limitations or immunities to change. a change culture is at the heart of competitive advantage. Venturing into the Unknown to Achieve a Competitive Advantage According to Herren. creative ideas can make or break a company's success. Will/What Next) model of coaching was developed by Sir John Whitmore. founded in 1747. with offices in 50 countries. GROW is the base methodology of all coaching programs at UBS AG.
MedImmune (US).In 2004.DOSSIER CHANGE t o I m p r o v e Te a m P e r f o r m a n c e Abigail JENKINS is the Chesapeake area business manager at MedImmune. However. To improve sales. The goal was to transform a group of diverse individuals. In 2004. She joined the company in 2006 in a marketing role. Previously. thrown together by reorganization. team members became frustrated and anxious. we all feared that we would lose our jobs. Pfizer1 was optimistic about the success of a new hybrid product containing two of its high-selling cardiovascular compounds.” The leader of the new unit realized that if she did not do something fast.” thereby preventing optimal teamwork. an original member of the anti-hypertension product marketing team. while working at Pfizer. “From the start. i 9 7 JUNE 2009 . Abigail Jenkins. Interview with Abigail JENKINS. responsible for marketing one of the anti-hypertension drugs contained in the new product. So she enlisted Lisa Laskow Lahey2 and her colleague Bob Goodman to help with the transition and to turn the newly 30B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . displaying a natural tendency to “stay with their own. the group would fall apart and the product would continue to fail. senior management decided to merge the ineffectual launch team with a high performing team. the situation was very tense. she held sales and marketing positions at Pfizer. After the yearlong process. since the company was not likely to keep 10 people working on the product. the product failed to meet expectations post launch. Following the merger. the biotechnology arm of Astra Zeneca. Chesapeake area business manager. into a high performing team. June 2009. Abigail Jenkins took part in a change process using the “immunity to change” or ITC approach. the five members from the launch team and the five members from my team were seemingly in ‘survival mode'. participants felt as if they improved on both an individual and group level . She obtained a bachelor's degree in biology from Indiana University and a master's degree in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. says. On top of that. The pressure to immediately make the new product successful was immense.
I was able to understand my ‘big assumptions' (basically internal truths a person creates that sustain immunities to change). Overcoming Individual Immunities for Group Success “Through a series of exercises. “All of us grew and became more effective. as well as our individual contribution to the function or dysfunction of the team.” The five remaining members made an “individual commitment” and presented it to the group for input/validation. I realized that this behavior was having a negative impact on others. “Given the pressure from the top of the organization and the tension within the group. She says. they were more detrimental than protective! Once these issues were on the table. contributed in turn to improved group 31B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . and finally disprove them.' I learned that my emotional reactions were actually part of a subconscious self-preservation mechanism. I would have to tackle the problem from its very core. After the formal team-building project ended.DOSSIER CHANGE composed entity into a high performing team.cooker environment—five team •• •••• members inevitably left along the way. This process provided much greater insight into how each teammate was wired." “The advantage of ITC is that it helps you identify and deal with the root causes of obstructive behavior. these habits are deeply rooted. I really wanted to change. each person met separately with Lisa or Bob about once a month to work on his or her commitment. and developed techniques to diffuse my emotions. i 9 7 JUNE 2009 . I became more aware of the triggers that caused me to over-react. to focus on controlling her emotions. As it required a significant level of commitment to both personal and group change—while still in the pressure. we diagnosed the team's strengths and weaknesses. along with everyone else's. yet it was difficult for me to simply ‘control my emotions. But in truth. During the group discussion on my individual commitment. Lisa taught me that to accomplish my change goal.' As anyone who has ever attempted change knows.” The Difficult Road to Change During the year-long process. everyone made progress on his or her individual commitments. This enabled me to let go of my worries and actually change my behavior. the coaches continued to check in for about three months. These changes. truly enabling long-term change. The group also came together to discuss its collective progress three or four times. for example. so change is never as simple as it sounds. test them. Jenkins decided. I would get frustrated and react very emotionally to things. This involved taking an inventory of the things I was doing that were working against my goal as well as my hidden fears associated with letting go of this ‘protective behavior. According to Jenkins.
Yet.for the individual. I also feel like this process gave me tremendous perspective on how to effectively build a high performing team. if it's problematic in one job. most cohesive teams in the company. One of the authors of Immunity to Change (see book summary. ITC: Long-Term Value For Jenkins. it will be problematic in another.” In 2006. ITC teaches you that while the path to change is difficult. Whatever the issue. and the company.” Thanks to these newfound insights.” Being able to head off emotional outbursts has certainly had a positive impact on the rest of Jenkins' career. This requires leveraging individual strengths and working on individual and group weakness. we were able to revise forecasts and set appropriate sales expectations. Getting Over Learned Behavior “Behaviors are learned very early. the main value of the ITC method is its long-term success. the rewards are undeniable . A research-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in New York.” ■ 1. when Jenkins left the company. they're survival mechanisms. it is more important to fix a weakness than to leverage a strength. if people do not identify a weakness and commit to working on it. you have to create a high level of individual commitment. So unless you change. they often avoid talking about weaknesses or unproductive behaviors. you have to establish a strong foundation of trust and foster open dialogue. To do this. there's no reason to change. page 2) 32B U S I N E S S D I G E S T N O . “Some issues can be career stallers and some can be career stoppers. i 9 7 JUNE 2009 . While many people—especially Americans—may believe that to improve performance. they need to let go of them to become more successful. sales had increased 10-fold in two years.DOSSIER CHANGE performance. Once the communication channels were restored. But at some point. dysfunctional team into one of the highest performing. We were also able to reposition the product and improve its performance. Since last fall. it's hard to change. Until someone tells them there's a problem. “I don't feel as if I could effectively lead my team if I had not fixed this issue. it will likely follow you around wherever you go. truly enabling long-term change. Most people have been successful using these skills. I learned firsthand that it is not enough just being experts in the business or having the right functional skill set. The advantage of ITC over other change methods is that it helps you identify and deal with the root causes of obstructive behavior. she has been managing a team of her own. To make a team successful. Jenkins has been able to transform a low performing. with nine direct reports. the team.
but out in the field where I have spent the last fifteen years working with leaders in a variety of business settings. not only in my office. address a problem many people encounter daily. Kegan teaches in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. They are perceptive about the fundamental mismatch between how people attempt to change and what they really need to do.that people and organizations want to change but often fail because they get in their own way . some are so attenuated that they fail to capture subtleties. and some of the latest gizmos in my toolbox come from Kegan and Lahey's book. and Lisa Laskow Lahey. Boston: Harvard Business Press.. important book . My job is to help individuals and groups to get unstuck. and their synthesizing discussion of learning theory provides a useful framework for thinking about change. 2009 You will be glad to realize that you already know exactly when to apply the “learning platform” that Kegan and Lahey have presented in this book. Robert Kegan. such as exactly how the subjects identified and overcame the beliefs that blocked them. and to individuals who want to remain open-minded and flexible. That said. who teaches at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. and How We Get Unstuck: A Review and Muse A Review of Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey’s Immunity to Change. getAbstract recommends this book to managers and executives who must guide their organizations through transformations or crises. About the Authors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey are co-authors of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work. . However. “Stuck” has been an annoying challenge. the associate director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group.Why you should read Immunity to Change The core concept of this fascinating.is simple and clear. Book Reviews: Immunity to Change Download article as PDF Review: How We Get Stuck. Lahey is associate director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group. I've been a Marriage and Family Therapist for thirty-five years and I've bumped up against “stuck” more times than I'll ever remember. Many of the stories of how individuals and groups have changed are inspiring.
And sixth. 2000) about the significance of Kegan's contribution. because he so clearly elucidates the nature of embedding (identifying) and deembedding (transcending). some of the key principles underlying the learning platform. Kegan's approach is especially important. founder of the Integral Institute and author of numerous books.This is the book. 1. 6. The second work enhanced that reputation even further. Take a look at what Ken Wilber. 3. sensitivity. which marks each major wave of self . Third. 2. 5. Lisa Laskow Lahey is the Associate Director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group and a founding principal of Minds at Work. and care. Fifth. some context around Kegan and Lahey. a very brief overview of the learning platform itself. The first work established Kegan as a significant scholar and contributor to the field of adult human development. First. Second. et al. a leadership-learning professional services firm. Here is a six point outline for my review and muse. and In Over Our Heads in 1994. wrote in his book Integral Psychology(Wilber. First. Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. Feel free to skip to the section that grabs you. in my view. Robert Kegan. including why they wrote this book. exactitude. Harvard Business Press. He discusses a broad range of developmental issues with insight. a quick overview of the potential benefits from integrating the Immunity to Change learning platform into your life and practice. 2009. including why they wrote this book. Lisa Laskow Lahey. plus notes and index. 323 pages in length. Robert Kegan (chart 4c) seems to be everybody's favorite developmentalist (count me in). Kegan authored The Evolving Selfin 1982. some stories about my efforts to apply the learning platform to my own practice. 4. was published in 2006. some musings on the book's challenges. Fourth. Robert Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools was co-authored by Tony Wagner. some context around Kegan and Lahey.
the subject in one stage becomes the object in the next. from stage to stage. My world view is “adapting” as I look back and see how I then looked at life. not forgetting it. As we evolve stage-by-stage. and on.development. which enlarges our self. 2000. (Wilber. It is Kegan's book. the way I gave meaning to my self and the world in which I lived. Today. For now. let it be simply noted that as we evolve .and on. through six stages. but I am clearer about the lenses through which I looked in the past. In response to some evolutionary impulse. Let me put this developmental process. Again. His books The Evolving Self andIn Over Our Heads show why a developmental approach is so important (and why Kegan is everybody's favorite son). in the first person for a moment. we gain the capacity to look at the “Big Assumption” that is associated with earlier stages. In it. the authors write that there is a difference at each stage between “looking at” versus “looking through. we grow in our capacity to observe our self. Thus. that remains his best known contribution. An important concept presented by Kegan is that the subject in one stage. but the lenses through which I am looking are different somehow. and I wonder what the world will look like as I transcend to the next stage and look back on the world view that I have today. of transcending and including through six stages. I'm not clear about the lenses of today. I seem to be able to look back and observe my self as I was at an early stage of my own development.” As we evolve. he presents a model of adult psychological development that moves from one stage of equilibrium to the next. to a larger world view.. The Evolving Self. I've done this a few times. and continue to adapt. In How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work. who have been collaborating for twenty-five years. as Kegan would put it. This cultivation of the ability to witness our self enlarges our capacity to observe life. This unfolding process of adult identity has fascinated me for decades. as Wilber would put it. p 42f) Kegan and Lahey. and will be referred to below. I have transcended my past view of the world. co-authored How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work in 2001. I have adapted. I live in much the same world.. Kegan writes of the adult development of consciousness as the process. The concept of the “Big Assumption” is critical to the learning framework presented by Kegan and Lahey. which enlarges our capacity to observe life. and now Immunity to Change in 2009. becomes the object in the next. I am observing the blooming of my self. but including it now in my new view of the world. as I understand it.
of enlarging one's world view. This cultivation of the ability to look at.0 of Kegan and Lahey's work with helping people to evolve. insight alone was inadequate to bring about deep change. Back to the ubiquitous and annoying stuck challenge. In How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work. and that includes the “Big Assumption” held by the self at earlier stages.stage-by-stage. Today. in spite of the greater insight gained through mapping out one's immunity to change. and Lahey the lead researcher. Their observation was that this whole process of blooming. and is clinging to her son in a way that is creating enormous stress for the whole family. You can plug in your favorite developmental model from the charts in Wilber's Integral Psychology. This is the orderly process by which our human consciousness develops. So why did Kegan and Lahey write Immunity to Change? Their explanation is that. is the challenge. they observed that many people did not evolve a whole new world view after adolescence. insight alone is not leading to change. For example. and if they did evolve. She has the awareness and the label of “unfinished grief. Stuck. not long ago I worked with a woman who never adequately grieved the loss of her father when she was young. When unstuck. Immunity to Change is Version 2. Stuck. Insight alone failed to get folks unstuck. but unequally or unevenly from person to person. as I have noted. it is . Yet. Mom cannot bring herself to practice good selfmanagement. to witness our self. she understands that she has unfinished grief. followed an unfolding pattern in all humans. Kegan and Lahey uncover our “immunity to change. How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work appears to be Version 1. This client of mine has enough insight to understand that she is so frightened of losing her son that she is clinging out of desperation. we grow in our capacity to observe our self. and with each one you run into the same phenomenon.0 of their collaborative work. it became clear that. Her son has asked his mother to “take care of herself” and yet. the unfolding flow of human evolution has its way. and that that unfinished grief is severely hampering her ability to cope with the reality that her own adult son has recently been diagnosed with cancer.” In doing research on their model. of adapting. In fact. any of them. and getting unstuck. after identifying the stages through which adults evolve. It seems that Kegan is the lead theoretician.” but she is still horribly anxious. it wasn't very far up the spectrum. develops over time. and to observe our self.
2. 4. and for the whole family. into levels of consciousness where it is possible to handle greater levels of complexity. You can get into “stuck” and work toward “unstuck” with a degree of intentional skill. after more years of experimentation and research.2) So. Further. real deep and lasting change. 2009. 1.” ( Immunity to Change. working the learning platform presented in Immunity to Change will help an individual or group to evolve. the kind of change that will permit a whole range of new abilities. can be a tool that can be used by oneself for personal development. . Closing this gap is a central learning problem of the twenty-first century. “It is so clear. Second. You can absorb the learning platform from a technical standpoint. assuming that some level of integration and mastery of the learning platform occurs. stage-by-stage. p. Now. real adaptive change seems not to happen. It is possible for me to imagine that a reader of Immunity to Change could gain one. want and what we are actually able to do. The same can be said for your work with groups.even passionately. Kegan and Lahey would say that it is the “immunity to change” that keeps one stuck. You can lead a facilitation process that will help your group to adapt to new realities.leading to a great deal of frustration for her. p. and apply it to your own “stuckness” in ways that will develop your own adaptive. the authors state that their research supports the claim that their learning platform will “promote advances in mental complexity. You will have a mental model for understanding the process of change into which you can plug your own creative artistry as you facilitate the evolution of adaptive functioning in individuals. 1This model. Why won't Mom change? What happened to her faith?” In spite of what appears to be adequate insight. 2009. 3. Kegan and Lahey present us with a “learning platform” that helps with diagnosing and overcoming our immunity to change. a quick overview of the potential benefits from integrating the Immunity to Change learning platform into your life and practice. Use your imagination to come up with even more.” ( Immunity to Change. the authors identify their goal and motivation in these bold words: “The problem is the inability to close the gap between what we genuinely . or more of the following four benefits. when worked. capacity enhancing stages of consciousness. This model is especially helpful in fostering insight and real change into those apparent dilemmas where change is thwarted. they say. xiii) Further. not just meeting the single initial improvement goal.
sometimes consciously. but my common sense tells me I would be a lot healthier. but most likely it was months in duration. My 85 year old mother would think I was emaciated. and something that others around you would affirm as a goal that is very . Ideas about Potential Improvement Goals Commitment (Improvement Goals) Doing/ Not Doing Midden Competing Commitments + Worry Box Big Assumptions E x ni t th 0 As You have gone through a process that has landed you on this one particular Improvement Goal. That period of contemplation may have been years in duration. As you sit there comfortably. sometimes unconsciously. and spirit as they work together with this challenge. I'm interested in losing about 50 lbs. It will make this brief overview more relevant if you imagine yourself stuck with some personal goal. a very brief overview of the basic learning platform itself. There will be a story about each of those three further in the fifth section of this review and muse. Losing that much weight would get me to a weight that I haven't enjoyed since graduate school. how you can understand your stuckness. you are invited to identify the Improvement Goalto which you are Committed. You are sitting comfortably in the big leather chair. I want you to observe your own self. As I worked through the book. It has helped me to target a real personal stuck. And. Here is how it might go. to witness your own body. something that you have a high level of passion about. and I am at the whiteboard. I also began using the model with a client in therapy. As you share the process that you have gone through to reach your Improvement Goal.Third. soul. You played with the idea. 4. 3. imagine the two of us sitting together in my office. and that was a long time ago. This has to be something that you really want to achieve. In column 1. until you finally got to the point of commitment. you might find that the very process of sharing opens you to even more possibilities. As you ponder your own stuck. I am using it with a large group change effort. You and I might brainstorm some more as you Generate Ideas about Potential Improvement Goals. and how you can get unstuck. You spent some time contemplating the need for change. 1. Generating 2. step-by-step. Let me draw a table on the board that outlines for you. I self-referenced a lot. mind.
This is the real substance of the change process. This adaptive change. mind. and spirit around these big . Your values must shift. The goal must implicate you. and the outcomes of those experiments. soul. Here is where you will observe your self. probably weeks and months. They can be used to direct you toward the deeper competing commitments. witnessing your own self. and spirit fail to support your commitment.defeating behavior. In column 2. These column 3 competing commitments are literally in competition with the commitments you have made around your improvement goal. You will observe how your body. Along the way you will come to identify your self-defeating behavior as “self-protecting behavior. you probably haven't nailed it yet. that undermine your column 1 commitment.” When you get to column 3 you will record the Competing Commitments that must be behind the behaviors you recorded in column 2. you will work your way up and out until there has been a change in your body. is a critically important concept in the learning platform present in Immunity to Change. honest and objective inventory that you will make of all the behaviors that you Do. which was referenced earlier in this review. The identification of the Improvement Goal is more challenging than one might think upon entering into this process. Starting with some small and relatively safe test. believe it or not. the big assumptions that give meaning to your life must get unstuck.worthy of your commitment and work. you have commitments that are in competition with each other. you can see that this is where the really big change has to occur. you will record the Tests and Experiments that you have created to test the validity of your big assumptions. The Worry Box is where you can log in those more obvious worries you have. You are going to have to spend some time. The goal is critically important to the way the core of you defines meaning and value. Here is where the basic way in which you give meaning to your life must be modified and enlarged. In column 4. It must be connected to your inner being. you are invited to identify the Big Assumptions that lie behind your competing commitments. If your Improvement Goal doesn't touch something that is profoundly deep in you. For you to get unstuck. and Don't Do. And in column 5. By now. Here is where what is referred to as “adaptive change” will happen. mind. Yes. you will record the results of a fearless. soul. to that part of you that is your real and truest self. and it will take some time for you to witness your self and identify these competing commitments. the ones that surface rather easily.
but it also happens in discontinuous ways as one works back and forth from . running. I just summarized the core of the authors' learning platform in 763 words.” We get unstuck as we test the Big Assumptions and demythologize them. Without going into a great deal of detail. understanding that upon reading the book. Sure. There is. Barbara helped me to appreciate that the change facilitation work that is provided by Minds at Work is rich with substance and craft that goes beyond that which is in the book. and have witnessed its enormous impact as a practitioner. always more to know than we have learned. middle. Immunity to Change is 323 pages long. Let me offer up some of my musings about key principles.” EMDR is a brief therapy technique that holds powerful potential for helping people to shift away from the emotional attachment they have to trauma. EMDR. Fourth. change does happen. “Shift Happens.mindsatwork. Barbara Rapaport. I'm reminded of a phrase repeated by Francine Shapiro when I had my training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. and some people start and stop. You can. It happens both in the linear continuous steps of the learning platform presented by Kegan and Lahey. and should go to www.” Here. as they say. I have experienced its benefits personally. back in 1996. you might highlight a different set. While working through Immunity to Change. the authors present an opening.comto learn more about the services they are offering. I often reflected on how my EMDR clients have zoomed through the process. desensitizing to the emotional trauma that had them stuck. Change happens. some musing around the key principles underlying the learning platform. and interpreting tests of the Big Assumptions. Yes. But. and end-game sequence for working their learning platform. is designing. Chapter 10 in Immunity to Change is titled “Overcoming Your Immunity to Change. That there is much more to the learning platform and the whole Immunity to Change process was brought home to me by my good friend and neighbor.assumptions. who happens to be a Senior Associate with Minds at Work. 1. some of us do evolve to larger and deeper levels of consciousness. Kegan and Lahey's consulting firm. The heart of the process. after all. People do evolve. some people don't. and reprocessing their big assumptions in ways that opened them to new commitments and new possibilities.
and didn't live long because of it. as we all know. 2009) In technical change. in meaning-making. or the adaptive change. as was noted above. for clarity around this distinction. Grashow. two years younger than me. as it were. For example. The big assumptions upon which our challenges are built must be outgrown.column to column. The adaptive challenge will only be met when the patient changes her mindset by advancing to a higher and more sophisticated stage of what the authors refer to as “mental development. he knew that most patients didn't make the big decision. He gave new meaning to food. Linsky. must occur. and to his life. and that happens as we grow-up. A technical change occurred as the patient moved from ignorance to knowledge. When my current business partner made what he called “the big decision” to radically alter his diet after he had a stent put in an artery in his heart. However. Heifetz is on a roll right now with a new book. July-August. It seems that regardless of the orderliness of the sequence. and the difference is enormously significant in theory and practice. The Practice of Adaptive Leadership (Heifetz. which leads to the next point in my review and muse. never made the technical change. each step in the process must happen for adaptive change to occur. I was also integrating Kegan and Lahey's learning platform into the framework presented by Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs in their . and an article in the Harvard Business Reviewtitled “Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis. 2. While technical change is critically important.”(Heifetz. a difference between “adaptive” change and “technical” change. A shift in consciousness. In other words. one acquires new proven technical competence. new technical knowledge does not lead to lasting change. The authors reference their colleague. Ronald Heifetz. 3. a patient would go to a dietician and acquire the necessary knowledge to eat properly. when confronted by a physician's recommendation to change dietary intake in order to address coronary artery disease. gaining insight alone doesn't lead to the capacity to adapt.” and what I would refer to as a higher level of consciousness. There is. without the adaptive change. according to Heifetz. While reading through Immunity to Change. deeply integrated change will remain incomplete. A former business partner. 2009). holding fast to his macho identity right up to the day he dropped dead. Grashow. Linsky.
When I stand at the whiteboard in my office and lay out the six column “Immunity Map” to a client. developing in ways that correspond with adult development. The outcome of that was that I became Certified in the Leadership Agility 360. absorbed its model. (Yes. I recognize that most of the material written on leadership development is long on the technical-capability side. Achiever. I like their framework.” and I am as attracted to models that organize common sense as I am to anything. 4. Debra Whitestone. they get it quickly. It seems. This process of observing is critical in the development of consciousness.” This is similar to Heifitz's distinctions between “adaptive challenges” and “technical challenges.com. The Evolving Self. that this imbalance is being addressed more directly by an emerging number of practitioners. Wilber's AQAL integral model being the mother of all maps in my mind. You can see how the learning platform in Immunity to Change enhances my ability to coach leaders in their effort to move from one level to the next. I have made some effort to discern the general level at which their consciousness is clustered.) Based on their research. and Synergist. 2006). got some correspondence going with Bill and Stephen. addresses this point. is wonderfully useful. their own immunity to change as they face challenges that require adaptive-capacity building changes. Kegan's book. I purchased the book. Leaders may move through 5 Levels: Expert. and then to the big assumptions. Leadership Agility (Joiner and Josephs. My task as a therapist and coach who practices out of an integral framework is to create opportunities for my clients to take one-half-step toward a larger level of . Over the years I have so appreciated the models and maps that organize common sense. Co-Creator. I call it “organized common sense. and then worked my way to a workshop conducted by Bill Joiner and his wife. though. My clients move into selfwitnessing immediately as they stare at the whiteboard and become the subject looking at the object. The links between self-defeating behavior and competing commitments. Catalyst. Joiner and Josephs refer to the differences between “capacity building” and “capability building. 5.award winning book. By the time I begin to work with a client.” In reflection. and short on the adaptive-capacity building side. It makes sense. After reading about Leadership Agility at wwwIntegralLeadershipReview. Joiner and Josephs write that leaders grow. Kegan and Lahey report the same results in their book.
Those are truly sacred moments.consciousness. Behind a cognitive distortion is a big assumption that needs to be challenged. and then a development plan to match. Simple as it sounds. of course. In their application of the change process to groups. They are. Time. reframed. Reframing is changing the big assumptions at a deep. It opens the process of reframing. some stories about my efforts to apply the learning framework to my own practice. writing and drawing pictures on the whiteboard enhances objective self-observation. deep level. The support groups will be organized around an integration of the framework in Leadership Agility and the learning platform in Immunity to Change. and integrated into a larger consciousness. it seems like common sense. and it is requisite to deep and lasting change. 7. The support group might be one other person. They will identify both technical-capability challenges and adaptive-capacity challenges. Fifth. I have provided more than a couple of dozen sessions over some months to victims of horrible abuse. In a one hour session I have seen enormous emotional releases and reframes occur. it can happen in a moment. a concept I was first introduced to by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in 1977 when I learned some Neurolinguistic Programing from them in a number of seminars and workshops. My current thinking is to create “Leadership Development Groups” made up of motivated leaders from within the company. The most powerful and quickest changes I've witnessed have been through my work using EMDR. I purchased Immunity to Change shortly after it was . Those familiar with Cognitive Therapy will see its applicability. they have learned of the efficacy of having individuals do the work first around personal goals before working on corporate goals. And. 8. I'm in the process of creating a leadership development program for a 450 employee family owned business. Kegan and Lahey tell us that it takes months to work through the process. available in the book for the discerning reader. Admittedly. 6. then again. I think they are right. But. This all takes time. Again. There is a great deal more substance to this book than I've outlined in my musings around these eight key principles. The change process works best when one is part of a support group of people who are also working on their own change process. This takes time.
There just isn't enough passion behind that aspiration. He. He made adaptive-capacity building changes that encouraged . Thus. Being healthy enough to live long enough to enjoy my grandsons might do it. Another motivator might be the desire to be healthy enough to fully engage in some of the weekend physical labor that I so enjoy as I continue to build out our Shack in the Woods. and as a therapist. This is because they haven't made an adaptive change at a deep level. That's true for me when it comes to enjoying food. step-by-step. was willing to take the book and work the learning platform with me and his partner. or their lives will be in jeopardy. it is perfectly clear to me that technical-capability challenges have been met. And. emotionally enmeshed romantic entanglement. I've spent about six weeks on the generation of potential improvement goals. I've begun to work the process. and I have committed to doing so on countless occasions. Time will tell. strictly on Robert Kegan's reputation. because “losing 50 lbs” isn't working. that explains the steps of my own process of transcending and including. While reading Immunity to Change the first time through. they note. but I do recognize parts of my own journey in each of the six steps. By that time I had been testing its applicability personally. It was the deep change that needed to happen. He used email to share his “immunity map” with me and over a period of eight weeks he changed.published. Until I work the learning platform. with one therapy client. I'll stay stuck. I found myself working with an adult male client who was stuck in an undifferentiated. being a smart professional. In looking at the six steps in the learning platform. He and his partner were engaged in the drama of ambivalence that is so common to people who are threatened by abandonment depression. and I do value the process of spiraling through embedded meme levels toward a more sublime appreciation of Life. The Evolving Self was important in my early development as a person. and make the necessary adaptivecapacity building change to my big assumptions. But then. Integral Leadership Review's editorial board member in the United Kingdom. I would say “Yup. that people who diet regain an average 107% of what they lost. I know how to eat correctly. Let me share something of each experience to date. step-by-step. and then reflecting back on the changes in my own life as I've moved along.” I'm not going to slide into some sloppy autobiographical account at this point. She never got on board. The invitation to write this review came some months later through Debby Hallett. do actually change. I know how to eat well. there are these 50 lbs! Kegan and Lahey note that 1 out of 7 people who are told by their physicians that they must change their behavior. and in my work with a large group change effort.
1. The nature of the engagement will not permit me to do the recommended individual work with the learning platform. he disengaged from the control dramas that had him stuck. The organization is. Part of the process is movement through all six columns. Here are all the “Yes. back and forth.. A workaholic before this. Using the six columns. Unilaterally. Ideas about Potential Improvement Goals Lots of individual and group meetings. He created the freedom to redefine the relationship and gave that to his partner. About six weeks ago. Maybe this assumption will be . and he did it alone. He took a bike trip for a week to Vancouver. and is not happening in each of the departments of the business. I began working with a nonprofit corporation in our town that has a 30 year history of effective work. 4. it has been easy to listen to the worries of the people in this wonderful enterprise.Generating 2. and then moved on gracefully. He looked at the big assumption that he could not live without her (or a special woman in his life). The degree of honesty here sets the stage for the next column. and what might unfold . tested it. He was a larger person for the process. Some Big Assumptions Deep dialogue will uncover the Big Assumptions that are underneath the commitments that drive the doing and not doing behavior. as the organization objectifies itself.” competing commitments that keep the organization stuck. but. and moved beyond the assumption. When it wasn't picked up. 3. but it will inform my facilitation of the formal strategic planning process. he became a more balanced person and his support staff at work was grateful. my client entered into an appropriate period of sad grieving. all meant to uncover the real issues around which change should happen in order to assure sustainability of the Commitment (Improvement Goats) We are winnowing down to a list of select goals.. This is the fearless inventory of what is. let me identify what seems to be happening.his self-differentiation. in effect. and the work Doing/ not Doing Hidden Competing Commitments + Worrv Box * From day one.
I am very frequently pulled into . and with a lot of illustrative material. Leaders of all sorts would benefit from having a working knowledge of the learning platform that is presented in the book. I'll likely fashion just such a tool. Polarity Management (Johnson. Very few of the people in my clinical and consulting practice would never tackle it. 1982) has been worth its weight in gold to me. so that the targeted improvement goals are the goals that. it is a book that not enough interested souls will work through. More selfexamination is happening as pieces of the puzzle are turned over and evaluated for effectiveness. In my consulting work. Uncovering the hidden competing commitments is a challenge.organization which is being seriously impacted by increased change and complexity in the external environment. I am using it to “lead” clients who come to me for therapy. someone else will. it seems that the change process would be enhanced if the benefits where fleshed out as well as the column 2 self-defeating. challenged: We must have alternative streams of revenue from sources that are not connected to our core mission if we arc to surv ive financially. I also want to say a word about three other books. While recognizing the futility of reinforcing benefits alone. some musings on the book's challenges. too. I know I have referenced that number before). In fact.” And. Barry Johnson's book. looking at itself. We are surfacing the truth along the way. because each informed my thinking as I worked through Immunity to Change. Immunity to Change should be boiled down to a 50 page workbook. it is a book that I wanted to “hurry up. I have to admit. in fact. and I mean that quite literally. I wonder. J- And sixth. about the choice to not identify the potential benefits to achieving the Improvement Goal. that at 323 pages in length (yes. in reality. most involve systems. Again. self-protecting behaviors. ahead. If the authors don't do that. should be targeted. Ideally. if I can find the time. Transparency is being enhanced. involve personalities. and I am using it to “lead” a strategic planning process that is very much like a turnaround. Managing anxiety seems necessary.
J. Kegan. A. Joiner. How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation. and Linsky. M. Then there are the books by William Bridges. A terrific 8-step model that is amplified when integrated with all the other references noted in this review. The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development. (2006). and Josephs.. Amherst: Human Resource Development Press Kegan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.com. Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes. it is said that “the proof is in the pudding. 62-29. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. A. M. (1996). The one I reference most often is Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. (2009). (1998).. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Again. Number 7/8. R. here is a tool that integrates with the other two in a way that has utility for facilitating a change process. Leading Change. Hoboken. (2006). The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. R. Revised 25th Anniversary Edition. 1996).” Harvard Business Review.L. Cambridge: De Capo Press. R. Heifetz. L. (Bridges. B.. Kegan. there is my desire to lose these 50 lbs. Change is upon me! But. Kotter. W. in an unsolvable problem that needs to be managed rather than solved. Grashow.situations where people are stuck in a dilemma. (1992).andyatwood. Johnson. And finally. Robert K. Boston: Harvard Business Press. Volume 87. and Linsky.” In this case. Time will tell. (2002). Heifetz. A______ A Bridges. 2003). the proof will be in the comfortable ease with which I allow the pudding to pass me by as I embrace a healthier Self. Grashow. San Francisco: JosseyBass/Wiley. et al. S. Wagner. (2009). and Lahey. NJ: Wiley. Lahey. T. I'll report back on my website at www. R. Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change. R.. Right now I am unstuck. The third book is John Kotter's classic book Leading Change (Kotter. In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. . Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems. (2004). W. “Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis. (1982). San Francisco: JosseyBass/Wiley. Change Leadership: A practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools.
even as they hold a sincere commitment to change. constant learning. the stress of having to join a new team. The Real Reason People Won’t Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey • Comments (0) RELATED ALSO AVAILABLE Buy PDF Every manager is familiar with the employee who just won’t change. of the nonprofit Fountain Hill Center for Counseling and Consultation in Grand Rapids. inexplicably. his clinical and consulting practice. nor is it merely a result of inertia. to the work of consulting with Family Owned Businesses. Andrew D. (2000). Professional Partnerships. has shown a deep commitment to the company. Boston: Shambhala. we have seen this dynamic literally hundreds of times. Andy's life centers around his family. You can email Andy at andy@andyatwood. and Executive Coordinator. such resistance is far more puzzling. he shares office space with his wife. Integral Psychology: Consciousness. and get ahead. he is actively engaged in leadership coaching. An employee has the skills and smarts to make a change with ease.Wilber. He has been a pioneer in making the transition from the professional discipline of Marriage and Family Therapy. Spirit. Starting in 1974. the need to learn new skills. does nothing. and our research and analysis have recently led us to a surprising yet deceptively simple conclusion. Psychology. many people are unwittingly applying productive .com. and the Shack in the Woods that he and his wife have built so that they have a place to go on the weekends where their souls can catch up to their bodies. After 33 years there. who served for nine years on the State Licensing Board for Marriage and Family Therapy. Always. Instead. Atwood. Andy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Resistance to change does not reflect opposition. Jan. Doctor of Ministry. and Nonprofits. with three graduate degrees. genuinely supports the change—and yet.” He is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. Andy was the cofounder. Sometimes it’s easy to see why—the employee fears a shift in power. he did a succession process on himself. In other cases. Therapy. who is a Master Reiki Practitioner and Intuitive Healer. Ken. What’s going on? As organizational psychologists. practices in West Michigan with an office in Grand Rapids. Today. “Helping people to get along.
In these pages. perhaps since childhood. Indeed. Shoveling Sand Against the Tide Competing commitments cause valued employees to behave in ways that seem . As a manager. as a manager. If your employees are to engage in honest introspection and candid disclosure. but first let’s look at some examples of competing commitments in action. When you. Or you find that the person who won’t collaborate despite a passionate and sincere commitment to teamwork is equally dedicated to avoiding the conflict that naturally attends any ambitious team activity. uncover an employee’s competing commitment. you may at times feel you’re playing the role of a psychologist.energy toward a hidden competing commitment. we’ll look at competing commitments in detail and take you through a process to help your employees overcome their immunity to change. it challenges the very psychological foundations upon which people function. feelings that they would not ordinarily disclose to others or even to themselves. but it is by no means quick or easy. even embarrassing. The goal of this exploration is solely to help them become more effective. We’ll describe this delicate process in detail. behavior that has seemed irrational and ineffective suddenly becomes stunningly sensible and masterful — but unfortunately. you must guide people through this exercise with understanding and sensitivity. After all. As you support your employees in unearthing and challenging their innermost assumptions. helping people overcome their limitations to become more successful at work is at the very heart of effective management. not to find flaws in their work or character. managers are psychologists. You find out that the project leader who’s dragging his feet has an unrecognized competing commitment to avoid the even tougher assignment—one he fears he can’t handle— that might come his way next if he delivers too successfully on the task at hand. they must understand that their revelations won’t be used against them. It asks people to call into question beliefs they’ve long held close. On the contrary. But in a sense. choosing instead to continue their fruitless struggle against their competing commitments. some people will opt not to disrupt their immunity to change. The process may sound straightforward. on behalf of a goal that conflicts with what you and even the employee are trying to achieve. And it requires people to admit to painful. The resulting dynamic equilibrium stalls the effort in what looks like resistance but is in fact a kind of personal immunity to change.
he reverted to his old patterns. Already an HBR subscriber? Activate your free archive access now. we’ve constructed composite examples.mindsatwork. while John was genuinely committed to working well with his colleagues.) John was a big believer in open communication and valued close working relationships. Massachusetts. But time after time. In some cases. inevitably (and effectively) returning himself to the margins. And though he wanted to move up in the organization. He is the coauthor of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work (Jossey-Bass/Wiley. Massachusetts. although we have altered identifying features. So when people gathered around his ideas and suggestions. he’d tear down their support with sarcasm.com). his personal style was holding him back. Repeatedly. John’s experiences are real. a consulting firm based in Lexington. Moving too close to the mainstream made him feel very uncomfortable. Become a paid subscriber for full uninterrupted archive access. yet his caustic sense of humor consistently kept colleagues at a distance. register now or purchase a single copy PDF. as if he were becoming “one of them” and betraying his family and friends.mindsatwork. Why. When he went through an exercise designed to help him unearth his competing commitments. She is the coauthor of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work (Jossey-Bass/Wiley. John believed that if he became too well integrated with the team. 2001) and the founding principal of Minds at Work (www. Massachusetts. a talented manager at a software company.com). HBSPRESS SUMMARY Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in . and he readily agreed that he needed to change the way he interacted with others in the organization. his boss wondered. Underneath it all.inexplicable and irremediable. Take the case of John. he had an equally powerful competing commitment to keeping his distance. To continue reading. Lisa Laskow Lahey is the research director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Cambridge. Massachusetts. (Like all examples in this article. a consulting firm based in Lexington. it would threaten his sense of loyalty to his own racial group. Robert Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Cambridge. did John continue to undermine his own advancement? As it happened. In short. John was a person of color working as part of an otherwise allwhite executive team. he made a surprising discovery about himself. 2001) and the founding principal of Minds at Work (www. where he was more at ease. and this is enormously frustrating to managers. John was counseled on his behavior.
the associate director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group. The first step: create an "Immunity Map" centered on clear.COM | LIFE WISDOM 148 By Jessie Sholl / May 2011 Most of us have changes we'd like to make in our lives. and finally make the shifts that matter. 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. So. despite years of effort. address a problem many people encounter daily. what's standing in our way? . specific goals. from our work and finances to our health and relationships. Robert Kegan. EXPERIENCELIFE. Determine what assumptions underlie your "hidden competing commitments" and continually test those beliefs. so you can begin to change your behavior. and their synthesizing discussion of learning theory provides a framework for thinking about change and a process for achieving it. Lisa Laskow Lahey 5 pages. who teaches at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. we don't get very far. #: 5722ES-PDF-ENG Write the First Review The core concept of this book is that people and organizations want to change but often fail because they get in their own way. Publication date: Feb 15.Yourself and Your Organization-A Harvard Business Press Book Summary in Partnership with getAbstract by Robert Kegan. A fundamental mismatch exists between how they attempt to change and what they really need to do. 2009." phrases that you can repeat to free you from your assumptions. How to Overcome Immunity to Change Two prominent researchers share a step-by-step plan that can help you break through old patterns. The results may help you develop "releases. and Lisa Laskow Lahey. But often. Prod.
which guides people through a process of self-examination. to protect us from the psychological trauma and danger that sudden changes can bring. And as Kegan and Lahey explain in their book. The Making of an Immunity Map Column No. too — as long as you're willing to see your own entrenched patterns through a fresh lens. She stays at the office every night long after others go home. A Change of the Guard Kegan and Lahey see our resistance to change as an immune system of sorts. Kegan and Lahey have also trained dozens of psychotherapists and personal coaches who now use the system with clients. Kegan and Lahey have found that shifting our behaviors typically requires first instilling a more conscious and constructive set of beliefs. Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Your-self and Your Organization (Harvard Business Press. and they note that our “immunity to change” has a positive purpose — namely.m. Their systematic method for accomplishing that work. concrete behaviors that will be required to achieve your goal. not just behavior. Even the mere prospect of change can be enough to trigger our inborn defense mechanisms. this same system that's meant to keep us wary of negative and disruptive changes can also inadvertently dissuade us from making significant positive changes in our lives. and Lisa Laskow Lahey. PhD. believe they have cracked the code. identify specific. EdD. has now been successfully used by a number of organizations. from medical practices to government agencies. Because our immunity to change is so often rooted in unexamined beliefs.Two Harvard researchers. 2009). And they've used their discoveries to develop a process that helps people overcome ingrained obstacles and successfully make what's known in psychological circles as “adaptive change. and for overcoming our inherent resistance to it. The foundation of their methodology for this work is a fourcolumn “immunity map” (PDF). when she leaves. causing us to sabotage our best efforts almost before we've begun. and they note it can work for motivated laypeople. she takes work with her and some nights stays up working until 3 a. Unfortunately.” Adaptive change requires a shift in mindset. Here's a hypothetical example: Simone is a perfectionist. thereby helping them identify and adjust assumptions that may be holding them back. write your goal — something with a big payoff that you're motivated to achieve. She . Below your goal. this sort of change necessarily involves a certain amount of self-inquiry and selfexploration.1: Your Goal At the top of this first column. Robert Kegan.
below). as she loads reports into her briefcase to work on at home. then I'd just be average. “Aha. we have no way of knowing for sure.” she'll say. Column No. will do that. until we challenge them (more on that. lies when someone offers to help her. I'd cease to be special. She might also worry that if someone else does do the work. 3. 3: Why You Do It Typically.” You'll know you've hit on a big assumption. Behaviors essential to creating a positive shift might include delegating and easing up on work. for example. it's well past midnight. A technical change — simply changing the behavior — won't get at the root of the problem.. but when she looks up from her spreadsheet. and voilà. she worries that the results won't be as good.m. the perfectionist. I'm done!” But don't give in to that temptation. One way to uncover our big assumptions is to apply “If . Only an adaptive change. You might be tempted to simply say. when . 4: Assumptions The competing commitments listed in column No. These are typically rooted in the fears that arise when you read through column No.” These are ideas we hold to be true even though. when you're not doing something you believe would benefit you. 2: What You Do This is where you list the behaviors that prevent you from achieving your self-improvement goal. 3 are typically the result of some “big assumptions. Column No. she'll become less essential or less respected at work. Simone's assumption might be something like: “If I weren't admired and seen as essential. Or perhaps she tells herself she'll stop working at 10 p. Her competing commitments? To be necessary. Column No. it's because you have “competing commitments” that are holding you back. So Simone's “worry box” would reflect these fears. Perhaps Simone. indispensable. what is the most uncomfortable or worrisome feeling that comes up for me? What makes not doing column 2 feel so scary?” When Simone imagines delegating part of her workload to a coworker. which the next two columns address.doesn't ask her colleagues for help because she doesn't trust anyone else to do the job as well as she can. She knows she's working too hard and wants her life back. “I'm almost done. it won't change your mindset and soothe your subconscious fears. then” thinking to our competing commitments in column No. respected. but she can't seem to change. 2 and ask yourself: “If I imagine myself trying to do the opposite of this. I'll just alter those behaviors. Simone's primary goal might be to relax her perfectionist tendencies. say Kegan and Lahey.
too. it's time to begin experimenting with and evolving your big assumptions.J. Which one. Simone will find herself being more effective. but don't devise a test in which the end result could get you fired or badly hurt) • Modest (start with a small test and work your way up) • Actionable (make the test one you can undertake. not just think about) • Research-based (you're gathering information here. Next step: Design a test of your assumptions — one that can help you get unstuck. Obviously. not less. a test of her big assumption could involve selectively delegating a relatively low-value task to a qualified team member. and thus better respected. a psychotherapist in Montclair. Does the delegating really result in disaster? Do her coworkersreally view her with less respect? Does her value and specialness actually drop the way she feared? It's quite possible that nothing noticeable at all will happen — even if the delegating itself doesn't go perfectly. retraining your psychological immune system requires both . N. Kegan and Lahey suggest that you play it SMART. It's also possible that over the course of similar experiments. Ask yourself which assumption gets most in your way.. or immediately trying to change a behavior) • An effective Test of your assumption (one targeted toward gaining better insight into the accuracy of your beliefs and how they do or do not serve you) Keep in mind that “the goal of the experiment is not to prove your assumption wrong. and whether the behaviors you've been engaging in to protect yourself from your imagined worst-case scenarios are actually helpful — or ultimately counterproductive. this is why I'm stuck” — even if part of you can see the assumption as flawed or at least questionable. She could then see what happens. Start with a single assumption.you feel a sense of “oh. would make the biggest.” Your experiment will allow you to better understand how accurate your assumption really is. Experiment With Assumptions Once you've developed your four-column immunity map (Kegan and Lahey's book goes into great detail on how to do that). it's likely that both her beliefs and her behaviors will continue to shift in healthier.” says Jonathan Sibley. For Simone. as the result of delegating and setting better boundaries. if changed or acted against. as the result of her experiments. Either way. not trying to prove a point. most positive change in your life? When testing big assumptions. Your experiment should be: • Safe (many experiments will involve a certain amount of risk. “The goal is to gather data. more rewarding directions. who trained under Kegan and Lahey and who uses the immunity map with his clients.
time and willingness. The authors suggest dedicating 30 to 60 minutes a week for several months to practicing your new habits. And you may want to consider working with a partner or a coach to maintain your momentum. But as you continue to test a limiting assumption and begin the process of change, says Lahey, you'll find that your assumption “will start to morph. It won't have so much control over you. You'll start understanding where it's valid and where it isn't valid at all.” Download your own “Immunity Map” (PDF). Jessie Sholl is the author of Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother's Compulsive Hoarding (Simon & Schuster, 2010). She lives in New York City. Weighty Assumptions While Many people share the same obstructive behavior, such as overeating, Kegan and Lahey note, the individual motivations and assumptions behind such behaviors can be quite different. “The column 1 s and column 2s for people trying to lose weight might look very similar,” they write. “Column 1 could include reasons such as health, vanity, so clothes don’t feel tight, etcetera. And when asked to identify behaviors that work against this goal, most of us get around to seeing that the problem has something to do with the way we are eating — we eat more than we should; we eat when we are not hungry; we eat food that is too carb-rich, and so on. As widely shared as the first two columns might be, though, everyone's adaptive challenge will be different. “One person might discover that his overeating is a solution for unwelcome feelings of emptiness and boredom. Another person might describe her feelings of being part of a food-loving family, and eating is a way of showing love. A third person might have a competing commitment to appear unattractive as a way to keep romantic interest at bay. “For each of them, losing weight will be an adaptive challenge, but for each a different adaptive challenge. None of them is likely to succeed by dieting. “The route to success for each will be different because each person's immune system is unique.” 2 COMMENT TO HOW TO OVERCOME IMMUNITY TO CHANGE • Lance Mcclure says: June 25, 2011 at 12:00 am I thought this was interesting Reply • Wendy Earley says: April 25, 2011 at 12:00 am I have been using the Immunity to Change map with my wellness clients and it is an amazing tool. The work Kegan and Lehey have done is right on and I have led many clients through a shift of their assumptions. Great article for your readers! ReplyGuest post by: Ben Nash
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The McGraw •Hitt Companies eImmunity to Change Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey Imprint: HARVARD
Pub Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781422117361 Format: Hardcover Subject Area: Management Pages: 272 Price: AUS$ 50.00/ NZ$ 60.00 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 organisations? In Immunity to Change, authors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey show how our individual beliefs along with the collective mind-sets in our organisations 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 moveforward. And by pinpointing and uprooting our own immunities to change, we can bring our organisations forward with us. This persuasive and practical book, filled with hands-on diagnostics and compelling case
Human Resources those responsible for learning and development programs. Senior managers leading change initiatives. coauthors of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work. Key Features: • Unique approach to change that focuses on the issue as a crucial element of individual learning and development • Filled with hands-on tools. a leadership-learning professional services firm . Academic and Higher Education practitioners. delivers the tools you need to overcome the forces of inertia and transform your life and your work. Author Biography: Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey.PMS: Executing Innovation Harvard Business School Press Imprint: HARVARD Harvard Business Press POCKET MENTO R INNOVATION Orff« y*ur Vision • Stan ftesourccs • Sustain Excitement . Lahey is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. have been research and practice collaborators for twenty-five years.The McGraw •Hitt Companies studies. you put the ideas into practice immediately • Expert authors that know this field inside and out Market: Followers of Kegan and Lahey. Kegan is the Associate Director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group and a founding principal of Minds at Work.
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“If wanting to change and actually being able to are so uncertainly linked when our very lives are on the line. Based on the work of Kegan & Lahey this session highlights potential reasons why. even passionate. organizations. 3. fulfill their dreams. They want to live out their lives. and schools seeking to build leadership capacity in their employees. watch their grandchildren grow up—and. Ph.(1) The Little Book of Leadership: 50 Tips to Accelerate Leader Potential in Others (Moonlight Publishing). and his son.bringing to light hidden barriers . Scott J. they cannot make the changes they need to in order to survive. and services to businesses.” Kegan asks. Ohio with his wife. Immunity to Change helps participants better understand their competing commitments and truly begin to understand the motivation behind behavior and why change.php. members or students.” (http://www. Will . despite our best intentions. These are not people who want to die. can be so difficult to master.. According to Kegan and Lahey the primary objective to the Immunity to Change exercise is to: Create insight into why change is so difficult . but find that we are unable to do so? Why is change so difficult even when everyone and everything is aligned around the goal? The reason is that most of us have built-in immunity to change. 4. Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey have developed an innovative teaching methodology and activity called Immunity to Change. Based on their research in adult development theory.edu/impact/stories/faculty/kegan. “A recent study concluded that doctors can tell heart patients that they will literally die if they do not change their ways. According to Kegan. still. we need a better understanding of the change process.harvard.Why is it that we often want to change. 5) This activity is an awareness-building exercise that makes explicit that which is currently implicit.edu 216-224-7072 John Carroll UniversityWhy is personal change so difficult? If we hope to develop leaders. and still only about one in seven will be able to make the changes.D. He lives in Cleveland. Jessica.. Allen. and more understanding of the “immunity to change. personal change and development do not occur. sallen@jcu. intentions to change.” he says.gse.0Immunity to Change: An Exploration in Self-Awareness Presentation Track Scott J. para. an organization created to provide resources. (2) Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for College Students (Jossey-Bass). with all of the best intentions. “We think we have discovered a powerful dynamic that tends to keep us exactly where we are. despite sincere. tools. says Kegan. “why should we expect that even the most passionate school leader’s aspiration to improve instruction or close achievement gaps is going to lead to these changes actually occurring?” What this implies. Come and find out some reasons why. Allen Bio Scott is a visiting assistant professor of business at John Carroll University and founder of the Center for Leader Development. Scott is the co-author of two books slated for publication in 2008. Assistant Visiting Professor John Carroll University 3541 Radcliffe Rd. is that more knowledge is needed about the change process itself.
How individuals interpret a situation or an event is dependent upon their life construct and developmental level. this is a subjective process. Rather than time. asserts that individuals may never develop past certain ways of being. and approach the enterprise of leading” (p. an individual’s ways of knowing guide his lives and actions. 650). social and personal environments. According to Kegan & Lahey (1984) this does not link to age. According to Kuhnert & Lewis (1987). “Individuals at higher levels of development are able to use a greater number of knowledge principles to construct their experiences (differentiation) and to make more interconnections among these principles (integration). p. Kegan. because three different adults could experience the . According to Day (2004). The authors suggest that “understanding the process through which people construct meaning out of their experiences may advance our knowledge of how leaders understand. 286). 43). experience. Therefore. constructivist personality theories posit that people differ in how they construct and make meaning of experiences in their physical. This results in a broader perspective on how things are interrelated (inclusiveness)” (p. This work has been applied to the leadership literature and a brief description is provided below. the individual is the agent of development and programs that aid in this process are worthwhile.regardless of age. a stage theorist. Kegan & Lahey (1984) suggest that development is the ability to make meaning of experiences ..Theoretical Background The Immunity to Change exercise is rooted in Kegan and Lahey’ s work in Constructive Developmentalism. 1989. Constructivist/developmental theory gives attention to how “individuals perceive or make meaning of the world around them” (Avolio & Gibbons.
Kegan’s theory outlines five distinct stages of development but. & Felix. interpersonal (stage three) and institutional (stage four). Subject is immediate. We have object we are subject. individuals make different meanings of leadership depending on their level of development. n. handle. take control of. ‘subject’ refers to those elements of our knowing that we are identified with. relate to each other. I highlight three: imperial (stage two). Kuhnert & Lewis (2001) describe it this way: “What is subject for some is object for those at higher stages of development” (p. 32) For example. leaders who have little awareness of their emotions and how they affect others are subject to these behaviors. Souvaine. the ability to reflect upon their actions. The imperial stage (stage two) finds individuals focused heavily on individual needs and goals.p. An example offered by Kegan (1982) is that if individuals at this stage do something wrong. object is mediate. All of these expressions suggest that the element of knowing is not the whole of us. As a result. or embedded in. Kegan and his colleagues developed the “subject-object” interview to help determine an individual’s epistemology (Lahey. According to Kegan ‘object’ refers to those elements of our knowing or organizing that we can reflect on. in control of. 651). they are likely filled with worries of “being caught” rather than guilt. they do not have control or in some cases. tied to. fused with. define development as “a process of outgrowing one system of meaning by integrating it (as a subsystem) into a new system of meaning. Kegan.same event and interpret the happenings in three different ways. internalize. within the context of this discussion.). what was “the whole” becomes “part” of a new whole. it is distinct enough from us that we can do something with it. according to Kegan. . Kegan & Lahey (1984). Goodman. We cannot be responsible. (p. 1988. Kegan (1994) calls this the “subject-object” relationship. or reflect upon that which is subject. assimilate and otherwise operate upon. be responsible for. look at.
This selfidentity and reliance on personal standards and commitments is the hallmark of stage four.g. stage three leaders sacrifice their personal goals in order to maintain connections with their employers. leaders focus on personal needs and the needs of others. 652).these leaders rely heavily on organizational rewards and punishments to influence employee performance). 652). They are more likely to connect with those around them and experience increased levels of trust. . Leaders at this stage do not have the capacity to reflect on their agendas. developing their own identity. obligation and rewards” (p. mutual respect).Kuhnert & Lewis (2001) posit that leaders at this stage only have the capacity to work out of the transactional leadership style (transactional leaders focus on task completion and compliance . the key transactions for the stage three leaders are mutual support. Although still working out of transactional leadership style. connectedness and commitment to others. team spirit. According to Kuhnert & Lewis (2001). “whereas the stage two leaders negotiate with their employers to satisfy personal agendas. Kegan (1982) suggests that individuals at this stage have developed a consistency across arenas. They can hold their own interests and the interests of others simultaneously. At the interpersonal stage (stage three). stage three leaders are moving away from their own needs to an interconnection between their needs and the needs of others. but from the perspective of cognitive/developmental theory they have not developed the organizing processes (subject) necessary for understanding or participating in mutual experiences and shared perceptions” (p.. Stage four is the institutional stage. The authors go on to suggest that “Stage two leaders may say that they aspire to higher order transactions (e. expectations. Thus. They are their agendas.
“this is not a wrong way to construct leadership. Helping leaders understand and examine where they work from develops selfawareness and provides additional tools for success. 1984). but it is inherently limiting because an individual leader is expected to act as a sort of hero” (p. 100). According to Day (2004). Kuhnert & Lewis assert that transformational leadership begins at this level. “unless leaders have progressed to stage four personality structures. A more sophisticated level of leadership requires interpersonal influence. They work through what Burns (1978) may call “end values. leaders may make their decisions out of a strong set of values and principles rather than goals or relationships. it is here where an individual acts holistically out of a place of transformational leadership. 653).Stage four leaders. they move from “I am my relationships” to “I have relationships” (p. beliefs and goals of followers” (p. According to Kuhnert & Lewis (1987). Day (2004) suggests that individuals at lower levels of development will likely construct leadership out of a place of dominance: a transactional place. 653). Kuhnert & Lewis (1987) assert that “transforming leadership is made possible when leaders’ end values (internal standards) are adopted by followers. Because of this. in a sense. the individual has the capacity to reflect and modify these values (Kegan & Lahey.” At this stage of development. Moreover. thereby producing changes in the attitudes.” As Kegan (1982) puts it. they will be unable to transcend the personal needs and commitments of others and they will be unable to pursue their own end values” (p. . 44). The constructive/developmental view of leadership has a number of implications for the study of leadership and leadership development. Although pieces exist in stage three. First. “stand on their own. which may be more inclusive and allow the leader more flexibility.
one size simply cannot fit all. a leader who views the world from a developmental level that is not understood by his or her followers will also have difficulty transforming followers to his or her way of thinking” (p.Second. VanVelsor and Drath (2005) exemplify this notion through the following suggestion: “what he learns will be framed and limited by the ways in which he can make what he learned meaningful. The concepts of stage four may be a jump. If surrounded by a number of competitive stage two team . 294). Conversely. The leader may need to be aware of how followers make meaning and approach the conversation or relationship from their level. but those at lower levels cannot understand the thinking of those at higher development levels” (p. Each person views the world through a different lens depending on life experience and developmental level. 396). because leadership development initiatives should meet people where they are. This concept alone can help leaders make better sense of their situation and the environmental context. For instance. “A leader who operates at a lower developmental level than his or her followers cannot transform followers to a higher level than his or her own. A third implication for leadership development is the concept of meaning-making and perception. according Avolio & Gibbons (1989). 14). Day and Halpin (2003) agree and suggest “there is an inherent asymmetry in the development process in which those at higher levels of complexity can understand the thinking of those at lower levels (if motivated to do so). leaders who work out of stage three may begin to understand why some have a difficult time understanding them literally and conceptually. Everything learned will cohere within that developmental framework” (p. A program developed and constructed at stage four may sound and be completely foreign to an individual at stage two. This is an important piece of the puzzle.
family members or loved ones who know you in many contexts. it will be a challenging task to work together and truly develop a sense of team. The exercises moves quickly and each individual “constructs” their personal map. Ground rules are established for the partnerships and participants are told that they can choose whether to go “deep” or “shallow.members. These are people who know you well and wish good things for you. The basic flow of the exercise is that participants are asked a question. These could be co-workers. Finally. invited to check in with a neighbor and have a discussion as a group. These are people who know you well in the context of work (or not). The exercise takes (at a minimum) two hours to complete. Leadership development initiatives that intentionally assist participants in perspective transformation likely have a greater effect on participants. team members will be too busy thinking about their own needs. Then the next question is asked. Description of the Practice The Immunity to Change is one way to help participants move through the different stages of development. This is the focus of the Immunity to Change activity. given time to think.” A sample warm-up question may be: • Imagine you were to invite 5 or 6 people who know a lot about you to an unusual kind of meeting.” The exercise itself uses a four column Immunity Map (See Immunity Map following References Section) which participants complete in response to a series of questions. In essence. Kegan’s thinking can increase the self-awareness of the leader. Learning about this and other theories allow leaders an opportunity to reflect on their own developmental stages and how this affects them and their associates. They are on your . its goal is to move that which is “subject” to “object.
would lead you to be even more effective.side. Results to Date Kegan and Lahey have conducted the exercise hundreds of times and experienced great results.assumptions that may limit personal change or block development. In the end. competing commitments held by participants and those “big assumptions” that drive behavior . Based on the feedback. what would they say? In other words.” In addition.Reaction) on one occasion. You have asked them to come to this meeting to tell you one thing: If they were to name the single thing they think would make the most difference if you were to improve.therefore how to be a better leader • A great tool by which is gauge my weaknesses and improve • A great introspective technique for self improvement • Self awareness and its importance in developing leadership skills • Learn what drives me/behavior A lot of insight into the reasons behind my personal weaknesses and how to improve • Learn about yourself before you try to lead others • How to "look under the hood" that is myself • A better process for evaluating myself • . 16 of 18 reported that the program was “excellent” while the other two marked the experience as “good. if you were to improve. below is a sample of comments received to the question: What did you gain by attending this session ? • I learned why I do certain things • A better knowledge of what my weaknesses are none • Learned about myself and my goals . the map clearly outlines why certain behaviors do/do not occur. What would their “frank” feedback be? As participants move through the process the questions complete the Immunity Map which outlines some of the motivators behind commitments held by participants. what are one or two optimal arenas for improvement for you that they might suggest? This is an arena that. add even more value to your life and/or organization. I have conducted this exercise twice and gathered data (Kirkpatrick’s Level I .
Avolio 2005. 2008. Cacioppe. Boyatzis and McKee. Leadership development in balance. In Conger. CA: Sage. San .gse. 2002. Conger. New York: Harper and Row. B. R. Carroll. Avolio. 1992. (1989). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.). (1978). Avolio & Gibbons (1989) assert that. B. Personal Growth Programs (e. 285). & Gibbons. An integrated model and approach for the design of effective leadership development programs. 19(1). References Avolio. 45-46). J. (Eds. New Jersey. Burns. Overcoming the Immunity to Change: Robert Kegan. T. B. Conger (1992) suggests that four organizations/movements spawned the growth of these types of programs . R. Avolio. (1992). Essentially. B.Conclusions/Recommendations The Immunity to Change exercise is an excellent resource and could be an integral aspect of any leadership development program. Personal growth programs are “based. Thousand Oaks. and Kanungo. Goleman. (2005). Full leadership development. Conger. 1999. Outward Bound and The Peace Corps. Avolio. Retrieved from http://www.php on February 22. on the assumption that leaders are individuals who are deeply in touch with their personal dreams and talents and who will act to fulfill them” (Conger. generally. Leadership. 1992. J. Popper & Lipshitz. (1998). B. J.harvard. 1998. “after getting their own personal shops in order. 4453. Charismatic Leadership: The Elusive Factor in Organizational Effectiveness (p.edu/impact/stories/faculty/kegan. Leadership and Organization Development Journal. (2007).g. Developing transformational leaders: A life span approach. 276-308).Personal growth and self-awareness permeates the literature on leadership development. Cacioppe. Mahwah.. the humanistic psychology movement. Learning to lead: The art of transforming managers into leaders. 1993) . (1999). p. the purpose of these programs is to increase self-awareness and emphasize selfexploration. Lawrence Earlbaum Associates. charismatic/transformational leaders are free to look outward and beyond the time period in which they operate to solve significant problems” (p. The theory is that the self-aware leader will be better prepared to work with others.National Training Laboratories.
Kegan. C. & McKee.). E. R. R.. Sorenson. Boston. A lifelong developmental perspective on leader development. D. G. Souvaine. Cambridge. (2002). Kegan. (2005). 383-414). Boyatzis. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. L. D. P. Thousand Oaks. B. Popper. R.. S. (2001). R.Francisco: Jossey-Bass. E. Volume 2. Leadership development.. & Drath. J.. (1982). L. (Eds. H. In Kellerman. CA: Sage. 1111).. 14(7). How the way we talk can change the way we work: Seven languages for transformation. The center for creative leadership handbook of leadership development (p. & Lipshitz.). K.. Leadership: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (p. . Academy of Management Review. Day. Fort Leavenworth. The evolving self: Problem and process in human development. In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Leadership development: A review of industry best practices (Technical Report No. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.. & Lahey. Putting leadership theory to work: A conceptual framework for theory-based leadership development. San Francisco. Kegan.). 199229). Cambridge. Primal leadership: Realizing the power of emotional intelligence. 648-657. CA: Jossey-Bass. E. Cambridge. D. et al. & Lewis. R. (Eds. In McCauley. In Goethals. The Encyclopedia of Leadership. (Ed. D. (1984). Lahey. Transactional and transformational leadership: A constructive/Developmental Analysis. MA: Harvard Business School Press. Adult leadership and adult development: A constructivist view. M. W. & Halpin. Day.. Massachusetts: Harvard. (1987). Burns. Van Velsor. (2001). KS: Army Research Institute. & Van Velsor. G. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs. Massachusetts: Harvard. 12(4). The subject-object interview: its administration and interpretation. Massachusetts: Harvard University Graduate School of Education. (1994). L. Goleman.. Kegan. R. (1988). and Lahey. New Jersey. A. Kuhnert. (1993). 23-27. (2004).
Underneath the surface torrent of complaints and cynical humor and eye-rolling. I listen very hard and ask myself. “If we want deeper understanding of the prospect of change. who said.i n t e r v i e w with ROBERT KEGAN and LISA LAHEY “We believe that people wouldn’t complain about anything unless they cared about something. “The leadership idea is that we are not able to effect any significant change until we recognize the dynamic immune system by which we continuously manufacture 78 National Staff Development Council JSD Summer 2002 . Then you write. we must pay closer attention to our own powerful inclinations not to change.” — Robert Kegan INNER CONFLICTS.‘What does this person really want — and what will they do to keep from getting it?’ ”Dennis Sparks is executive director of the National Staff Development Council. so do our greatest opportunities By DENNIS SPA R K S SD: In How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work.” Still later you write. you cited William Perry.“Whenever someone comes to me for help. there is a hidden river of passion and commitment which is the reason the complaints even exist. INNER STRENGTHS The greatest barriers to change come from within.
you help readers identify these genuine commitments by asking them first to consider their complaints. that work against that very commitment . we ask people a set of questions."’ How do you help people find the “transformative element or seed" in their complaints? Kegan: Complaints are a tremendous resource to help people determine what we call their first. our method asks people to engage in a four-column exercise (see chart on p. It’s never hard to get people to tell us what bothers them. We ask participants in our workshops to turn to their complaints to learn about their commitments. Leaders can invite the expression of complaints. You point out that complaints are passionate and that “where there is passion there are also possibilities for transformation. these commitments are sometimes revealed by their complaints. participants in our workshops list commitments about which they feel passion.” Identifying those commitments is the first step in a multistep process. participants identify competing commitments they hold that are the basis of their column two behaviors. not for the purpose of wallowing in them or even trying to make them go away too quickly. there is a hidden river of passion and commitment which is the reason the complaints even exist. Lahey: Yes. They are typically forms of self-protection. As Bob (Kegan) just noted. like wanting to be liked or to feel in control. Kegan: Some examples might help. we ask educators to note things they do or don’t do that undermine their first-column commitments. We ask people to assume that each competing commitment has a theory embedded in it about how the world works and how we work in the world and to ferret out what we call the big assumptions. But from our perspective. most recently. The usual explanations about the difficulty of change say that people aren’t sufficiently motivated because they aren’t genuinely committed to the change. often unmindfully. and even in schools or school systems that are working well there is a continuous channel of complaining and wishing and hoping that can be converted into commitments. There are all kinds of evidence the principal really feels this 79 National Staff Development Council JSD Summer 2002 .COMMITMENT IN COMPLAINTS JSD: In your book. To do that.” What is that immune system and why is it so powerful? Kegan: Your question puts a finger on the essence of what we’ve discovered in 15 to 20 years of working with individuals.i n t e r v i e w nonchange. schools. Underneath the surface torrent of complaints and cynical humor and eye-rolling. and. those explanations don’t get to the heart of the matter. Let’s say a principal has a sincere first-column commitment to having a free flow of information to him from everyone in the school so that he has a good sense of what’s really going on. These competing commitments are often held with little or no awareness. In the first column. START WITH COMMITMENTS JSD: A moment ago you used the term “first-column commitments. The idea of the immune system is our way of making sense of the fact that educators often have very genuine and powerful commitments to improving teaching and learning and yet at the same time operate in ways. school districts. We believe that people wouldn’t complain about anything unless they cared about something. 68) that helps them identify the immune system we just briefly described. In column three. In the second column. but as a way to gain insight into the commitments that lie under them.column commitments. each digging deeper.
One way is that she makes herself available to teachers’ direct petitions...” Lisa Lahe yi n t e r v i e w 80 National Staff Development Council JSD Summer 2002 . She then identifies the ways she is operating that unwittingly work against that commitment..i n t e r v i e w “Let’s say a superintendent has discovered .. a . which opens up a separate channel of influence that undermines the authority of the principals. commitment to empowering her principals.
He notes that he’s not out in the school enough to pick up on things and to reach out to various constituencies. because they do not walk their talk. So he’s aware that he’s doing things contrary to his first. At the same time.i n t e r v i e w way. 81 National Staff Development Council JSD Summer 2002 . Lahey: Here’s another example.. Kegan: When people espouse a commitment to something and then act in ways that are contrary to it.. he identifies in the second column a number of ways in which he works against this commitment.column commitment. He’s aware that he sometimes shoots the messenger. Let’s say a superintendent has discovered through this process a first-column commitment to empowering her principals. When people bring certain kinds of news to his office they leave wishing they had never told him these things. She then identifies the ways she is operating that unwittingly work against that commitment. One way is that she makes herself available to teachers’ direct petitions. which opens up a separate channel of influence that undermines the authority of the principals. we often think of them as hypocrites .
i n t e r v i e w Our experience is that when people are acting in ways that are contrary to what they espouse, it is usually because there are other forces at work. It does not necessarily mean that they are insincere about their first-column commitments. So where do these undermining second-column behaviors come from? We next ask participants to consider what would be lost if they altered the behavior in the second column — were the principal not to shoot the messenger, were the superintendent not to solve problems and respond to pleas that should be referred to principals. People are usually able to identify the problem, often expressed in the form of a fear or worry. The principal realizes that although he wants to get all this information, he is worried about getting information he cannot do anything about. He is concerned that if everyone knows that he is aware of the situation and is unable to do anything about it, he’ll look like a less effective leader. These worries, in turn, are translated into a competing commitment — he’s committed, without ever having named it, to not having people in his school see him as an ineffective leader
National Staff Development Council JSD Summer 2002
i n t e r v i e w .Lahey: The superintendent who keeps her door open to people who should really be referred to principals may be operating from a host of third-column commitments. It could be that she likes to be where the action is, to have her hands on everything — or that she enjoys the appreciation she receives for providing teachers with things they want. If the superintendent were to say to a teacher that the matter should be taken up with the school’s principal, she would be depriving herself of being the person who doles out the goodies, which she realizes is a big part of the pleasure of her work. These commitments are just as real as her first-column commitments and create the inner contradictions that we call the immune system. Kegan: The content of the first two columns is typically discussed in any kind of change process. People identify their goals and the barriers that prevent them from moving ahead with them. Column two is really an inventory of those barriers. Where we part company from accepted wisdom is in what happens next. The usual practice is to go to work eliminating the barriers, a brave and logical approach. We believe, however, that you cannot address the barriers in traditional ways because they come from a very powerful source inside us, and that until we get to the generator of these behaviors we aren’t going to be able to change them. WE UNDERMINE OURSELVES JSD: When people discuss barriers, they are usually talking about things outside of themselves, like not having enough time or money, or the resistance of other people to change. What seems unique about your approach is that you ask people to look inward to identify barriers in the form of competing commitments and the big assumptions that most people have not considered before your invitation to do so. Kegan: That’s right. Many people are familiar with the SWOT analysis — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. An examination of weaknesses usually does not include an introspective search for how we undermine our own intentions. We don’t see how our weaknesses are also a kind of strength. Threats are viewed as only external in origin. Our work invites people to understand how it’s a natural feature of human existence to be pulled in multiple directions, both individually and collectively as organizations. We help educators see that the very same second-column behavior that can be viewed as ineffective from the perspective of the first column is powerfully effective when viewed from the third column. Another feature of our approach is that it respects and honors the brilliance and effectiveness of column-two behaviors relative to the third-column commitment. That’s what tends to keep everything in place. Our work has helped us better understand the forces that keep change from occurring. These forces are less well understood when they are simply regarded as resistance and better understood in light of the competing commitments that create an immunity to change. Lahey: The concept of the immune system enables us to see that part of us is moving in one direction and another part is using just as much energy moving in another direction. So it’s a stalemate. It would be pretty depressing to leave things there, though. When we move to the fourth column to identify big assumptions, we find the lever for disrupting the immune system. Once we name the big assumptions that anchor the immune system — the things we hold to be true without question — we take them outside of ourselves to ask whether they are true, and if true, under what conditions. People often identify two or three big assumptions related to a competing commitment. JSD Summer 2002National Staff Development Council 83
i n t e r v i e w BIG, BOLD ASSUMPTIONS JSD: Let’s return to your examples. Kegan: The principal’s big assumption might be that if he received information that he didn’t know how to handle he’d be overwhelmed, that it would be an entirely negative experience, and that he would fall into a pit from which he would be unable to extract himself. Or he may assume that his faculty will see him as ineffective because he was unable to immediately solve the problem. The big assumptions of the superintendent who undermines her principals might be that if she doesn’t have her hands on all parts of the organization things will fall apart, or if she is not the one giving out all the goodies her job will no longer be deeply satisfying. In these ways, big assumptions set the terms for the reality in which we operate. BAD CONCLUSIONS JSD: The examples you use are stated as absolutes and contain predictions of dire consequences should they be violated. Kegan: That’s right. Big assumptions always have what we call a BTB conclusion to them — big time bad. People believe that something cataclysmic will happen to them or to their organizations. The consequences are never trivial. Big assumptions set the terms for what you can and can’t do within your world. The surfacing of these assumptions and the ongoing exploration of them creates a royal road for a reflective stance towards one’s work. As a result of this reflection, the person may then alter his or her map of how the world works, which then permits other choices and actions. Lahey: Big assumptions not only exist in the psyche of an individual, but also operate at collective levels within departments, schools, or districts. We worked with a district with several schools at each level. We clustered principals by levels so that all the elementary principals were together and so on. Each group came up with something that was repeated in different words by principals at all the levels. They agreed that one of their most important collective commitments was to having all students achieve at higher levels. We then asked all the principals what they were doing or not doing collectively that ran counter to that commitment. They said that they were not providing the professional development, time, or other resources necessary to meet that goal. They also said that they didn’t confront mediocre teachers. Next, we asked the group to identify the competing commitments that would help us better understand those behaviors. The principals said teachers would react negatively if mediocre teachers were confronted and if they were asked to participate in more professional development. They also said as a result of those things, teachers would complain among themselves about the principals, which would upset the apple cart within their schools. When we probed this issue, they added that they assumed that teachers’ complaints would reach the superintendent and the school board and that their jobs would be at risk. So here we have a collectively held contradiction, an organizational immune system. Kegan: The change process becomes quite different when you recognize and attempt to overcome organizational immunities. Ordinary change plans address the barriers, but they neglect the greater powers at play that are giving rise to these behaviors and making them intelligent and sensible. It’s like treating the symptoms rather than their sources. We ask leaders to consider how the barriers at an organizational level are brilliant and effective and consistent expressions of a hidden collective third-column commitment. Only then will leaders have a deep understanding of why change is so diffiJSD Summer 2002National Staff Development Council 84
They couldn’t believe that principals didn’t feel that central office would back them up. But the assumptions are so generalized that the principals in this example become afraid to take any action that could lead to any complaint. they almost always find that the assumptions are too globalized. people don’t have to completely give up their big assumptions to produce significant improvements. but that there are a host of other circumstances in which they are not true. We have a series of questions and a set of exercises that we use to help people unpack it. “It is very hard to lead on behalf of other people’s changes in their underlying ways of making meaning without considering the possibility that we ourselves must also change. Lahey: There is an element of truth in most big assumptions. A very small change in principals’ thinking in which they differentiated those complaints about which they ought to be worried from those that need not concern them would be very powerful. They were blown away by what they heard and needed our time to If you want powerful ongoing changes in teaching or leadership. They realize that their big assumptions are absolutely true in some respects with some people in some situations.” Why is meaning making so important. THE POWER OF BIG ASSUMPTIONS JSD: The dire consequences described by the principals in your example may seem very valid and real to some of our readers. principals become aware that there are some types of complaints for which they would be fired and others that would even be received as good news by their superintendent. they were just a given. I guess that’s why big assumptions are so powerful. Lahey: One of the things that happens when we unquestioningly hold our big assumptions as truths is that we pay attention only to that which confirms them. Until then. you have to get at the underlying beliefs and conceptions that give rise to behaviors. In our experience. But when we give people an opportunity to explore their big assumptions in actual practice. BEHAVIOR WILL FOLLOW JSD: You wrote in your book. Kegan: We always tell people that surfacing and making big assumptions explicit does not presume that the big assumption will prove false.i n t e r v i e w cult at an organizational as well as individual level. We don’t seek out counter examples to our big assumptions because we are so sure they are correct. the superintendent and other district leaders were also in the room with the principals. Kegan: In the example we just provided. — Robert Kegan work it through. and why must leaders change if they desire others to change? JSD Summer 2002National Staff Development Council 85 . It simply allows us to examine them. In the example we just used. BIG CHANGES FROM SMALL ONES JSD: Some people believe big changes are required to achieve big results. but you are saying just the opposite. Even small changes in big assumptions can lead to big changes in people’s actions and sense of possibility. Lahey: We don’t expect that by simply naming the big assumption something magical will happen.
Heifetz says that one of the biggest errors leaders make is addressing adaptive challenges through technical means. “I have to admit I also seem to have a commitment to maintaining more unilat eral control!” When leaders make public their engagement in the difficult processes of change they become extraordinary teachers. He actually told them. Adaptive challenges. tionship with at least one good problem — one good problem that no one is expecting to be solved too quickly. The design itself is never in question. Lahey: This doesn’t mean. require creating new knowledge and new ways of thinking. In fact. we believe leaders will be more successful in leading school change. on the other hand. We’re saying something similar — that the challenges school leaders face are adaptive and require transformational learning. though.” They change us. which after all are first and foremost about learning. Leaders need to be willing to do the same. we make it clear that how the superintendent is operating affects how others approach change. It may be important for them to experiment with new behaviors. When leaders create the kinds of opportunities we describe in the book and encourage others to talk about their column-three countercommitments.and third-column lists as well. Kegan: We think change in leaders is important because they play a large role in creating the culture in which everyone operates. And they need to be clear that there will be no punitive consequences for those who participate. you have to get at the underlying beliefs and conceptions that give rise to behaviors. for example. Our friend and colleague Ron Heifetz makes the distinction between technical and adaptive challenges. Informational learning is an important part of professional development.i n t e r v i e w Kegan: In the first part of your question. Major change requires alteration in some of our basic. ■ Lahey: We believe that leaders lead language communities. For example. but cope within the worlds of our assumptive designs. underlying beliefs. If you want powerful ongoing changes in teaching or leadership. or even visible.” Kegan: We make a distinction between informational and transformational learning. which subordinates hear from leaders all the time. It changes the learner. and the adults in the school need a good curriculum no less than the kids! That is particularly important in schools. “When we solve a problem quickly. Leaders who themselves model learning support a much more powerful learning organization. but by its very nature it goes into the existing form of our minds. LEARN WITH A GOOD PROBLEM JSD: You wrote. This is what a good curriculum does. In our work with districts. “Much of what goes under the banner of professional development amounts to helping us develop more skills or capacities to cope. That is transformational learning. the good problems — the ones we can learn from — are the ones we don’t solve at all so much as they “solve us. the one thing we can usually be certain of is that we ourselves JSD Summer 2002National Staff Development Council 86 . you put your finger on a key assumption of ours — that the most powerful driver for behavioral change is a change in how one understands the world. but his second. LEARNING TO DO MORE THAN COPE JSD: In your book you observed. we worked with a superintendent who was committed to a much more collaborative relationship with his district’s principals. that you don’t ask people to try on some new behaviors as a way of changing their ways of thinking. A critical turning point came when he shared with them not just his first-column commitments. Technical challenges require harnessing already existing kinds of thinking and knowledge.
Kegan: Absolutely! Leaders are continuously faced with problems. That’s the managerial side of leadership. are the same people coming out of the problem as we were going into it. some problems are actually lessons from which we can derive important learning.com).” In your view. a consulting firm specializing in enhanced capacities for organizational and individual change. And leaders can also invite every teacher and administrator to have a learning rela JSD Summer 2002National Staff Development Council 87 . But we suggest that leaders select a few good problems from which they can learn. 2001) and co-founders of Minds at Work (www. many of which have to be quickly resolved.i n t e r v i e w Highlights: Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey are co-authors of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation (Jossey.mindsatwork.Bass/Wiley.
However. I was enthused to see how they applied the core principle of making what we are subject to an object of reflection in a simple and straightforward manner. My first introduction was in a doctoral class where we were assigned his (1994) In Over Our Heads. SOME RIGHTS RESERVE INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. First. No. I found myself wanting to find ways to apply them in the work I was doing. having a position that allows for curriculum development around leadership. or Kegan’s earlier work. however. mastering the understanding of it takes time. for myself it grew to take a central place in my work as an educator and consultant. as it was the only book in our course work that we could not skim! There was a richness to the descriptions and stories that required detailed attention in order to begin to grasp the depth of meaning being conveyed. While the concepts of subject object relations and adult development are rich in their descriptive power. As the distinctions Kegan presented in his work began to take root in my perception of the underlying structure of consciousness in individuals. and set out to test how well their process worked in a class of mature students studying leadership development. More recently. there was a consensus in our class that we were somewhat annoyed. as well as his collaboration with Lisa Lahey. teaching through an intellectual presentation of concepts. I recall that as we discussed it. While for many of my classmates the world of adult constructivist development did not “stick” so to speak. I then ordered their latest work. (2009) Immunity to Change. 1 . My goal was to create activities that were informed by a developmental understanding. 5. however the circumstances of my life did not provide much in the way of opportunities to do this at that time. From there I will describe my experience of testing out the work in the two contexts mentioned. as with anything of real substance. but to provide a quick summary of its core points as context for those not yet familiar with the book or Kegan and Lahey’s. How To Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization and read through it in anticipation of being able to apply what further insights it might have in a two day consulting assignment. I must say that my early attempts were typically crude.-Immunity to Change: A Report From the Field Jonathan Reams Introduction Many of us have long been fans of Robert Kegan’s work. I finally got around to reading Kegan and Lahey’s (2001) How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work. I present an overview of Immunity to Change. the question still remained for me: how can they be successfully applied in practice? In this article I will present a description of my experience starting to answer this question. Seven Languages for Transformation. My goal here is not to review the book in a traditional sense.
brain scientists still held the belief. Reconceiving the Challenge of Change. they begin by noting that leaders who view capacity as a fixed resource will fall behind those who work to enable the growth of capacity in their organization. These examples show the development of their four column map. assumption. citing dissertation research by Keith Eigel (1998) that shows a clear correlation between stage of cognitive development and leadership effectiveness. about the research on neuroplasticity) of the possibilities for adult development. Kegan and Lahey situate their work in the context of the past 25 years of work in the field of organizational change.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 89 DOverview of the Book Introduction In opening this book. (1982) The Evolving Self and (1994) In Over Our Heads. 5. identifying the gap between the mental demands on leadership today and the capacity generally available. moving from the density and complexity of Kegan’s earlier works. It is this task that Kegan and Lahey take on in this book. INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. 1 . While neuroscience has begun to revise its understanding (see books like Begley’s (2007) Train Your Mind Change Your Brain. and they use detailed examples from the “laboratory” of their work with leaders over the past few years. which is that they did not take adult development into account. Part One. Kegan and Lahey present and illustrate their notion of the immunity to change. They note that when Senge’s (1990) The Fifth Discipline. Chapter 2 In Uncovering the Immunity to Change. Uncovering A Hidden Dynamic in the Challenge of Change Chapter 1 In chapter one. In addition. to a succinct one-chapter summary that gets the essential points across in a simple and accessible manner. They then introduce the understanding and model of adult development that has now had over a generation to mature. Specifically. Finally. showing that Argyris has long been proposing a model of leadership wherein the leader is implicitly being asked to have a self transforming (or fifth order) mind. the implications of that finding for organizational learning and leadership have yet to be realized. They frame this by making a distinction between leadership development (implying developmental change) and leadership learning or training. or to them fact that there were no mental or brain changes after adolescence. No. they draw on the distinction by Ronald Heifetz (1994) between technical and adaptive challenges to show that most of the challenges leaders face today are adaptive in that they ask us to adapt our level or stage of mental complexity rather than simply apply technical solutions. They cite their own (using the SOI/Subject Object Interview) and other studies (using the WUSCT/Washington University Sentence Completion Test) to show the percentages of leaders at the various stages of development. The first step is to learn how to formulate challenges as adaptive. The misapplication of technical solutions to adaptive problems is seen as a major source of dysfunction. they link adult development with effectiveness in business. The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization came out. They then examine the gap between the level of cognitive capacity present in society and the demands being made by leadership literature such as that of Chris Argyris. they comment on one of the critiques of the literature and work around learning organizations.
Third. They close the chapter by looking at three dimensions of the immunity to change: change prevention systems. Overcoming the Groupwide Immunity to Change takes a collective approach to the immunity to change work. Chapter 3 “We Never had a Language for It” or Engaging the Emotional Life of the Organization is the title of chapter 3 and here Kegan and Lahey share. Second. they also show how the underlying structure of immunity is the same even if the particular challenge or issue is different. The authors then reveal how their focus on individual development has been supplemented by learning from clients who have a much better understanding of how to look at things systemically and organizationally. Optimal conflict is made up of persistent experience of frustration. that overcoming it does not mean needing to get rid of all our anxiety management systems. again through examples. but also of the emotional life of the organization. Some of these groups began with individual immunity maps. that anxiety is produced not merely from the onset of change. feeling systems. No. Part 2. or to have the leader truly committed to acting on this work. while others applied the process on a longer term scale by making use of surveys to get input into commitments. that allows us to feel the limits of our current way of knowing in some area of life we care enough about and that we have sufficient support to avoid being overwhelmed by the conflict. This enabled their work to not only address the adaptive growth of individual’s meaning making systems. This is called the “one big thing” that each person identifies (with the help of feedback from others). how they learned from their clients the need to put the right issue in the first column. 5. 1 . this chapter presents three brief and three more detailed examples of how groups of various sizes and from various sectors of society were able to make use of the four column process to create organizational learning. and knowing systems. It is the revealing of these big assumptions that allows for the complete picture to emerge.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 90 work first outlined in their previous book (2001) on Seven Languages for Transformation. First. They also describe the need to have a champion at the top. Overcoming the Immunity to Change in Organizations. In line with the concepts of learning organizations. This leads them into the fourth column or the “big assumptions” that are seen to hold people. and Teams Chapter 4 Chapter 4. that the immunity systems we have developed can actually be changed. integrating the three dimensions of the immunity to change. The need to link personal and organizational development becomes clear through further illustrations. They link this to how it shows up in the stages of development. and then identify the concept of optimal conflict as the condition that best supports the kind of development being sought. This is designed to include people’s private lives as well. Individuals. but from feeling defenseless in the face of it. Through showing contrasting maps of the immunities to change. and pilot projects to test out the big INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. They then make three premises about overcoming this kind of immunity.
are good illustrations of common issues teams everywhere often face. trust and communication. the critical insight that allows shifts to happen come when those involved in reflecting on the challenges faced realize they are actually sustaining the very system they wish to change. her story shows that sometimes a very intense experience can test our big assumptions to the core all at once. Chapter 6 In Cathy Can’t Contain Herself. which can prove the most challenging. Beyond this rich and instructive illustration. and the successful outcomes are detailed. In both descriptions. Rather than a step by step process. and the use of various survey and assessment instruments enabled the team to make significant progress on their goals. and then trying out actions that tested the assumption. Kegan and Lahey bring together the power of doing the individual immunity work within a group context. Three workshops over six months. In moving from individual to group work.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 91 assumptions that emerge. the additional complexity of the dynamics involved becomes clear. The use of some further tools to support this process are introduced. An additional benefit of this chapter is that the example used also illustrates some of the core issues facing leaders as they face challenges of building capacity in teams they are responsible for leading. They go into depth on the processes they used with the team that Cathy was a part of. but a dialectic interplay that takes the explicit challenge being faced and uses working on it to facilitate development. The coordination INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. The chapter provides a second example of the many forms this work can take. This central proposition of moving from being held by assumptions to self authoring a new relationship to them is well served by the illustration in this chapter. and the emotionally unsettling insight that the true barrier to change come from within the system” (p 118. 5. Chapter 5 David Doesn’t Delegate goes into depth of the story of one leader’s work of using the immunity to change process to actually change behaviors. we hear the story of how Cathy worked through her immunity map. individual coaching. Kegan and Lahey make an important distinction that the third column work. and at the same time the core pattern that runs through the immunity work. emphasis in the original). These goals. the authors show how the question of changes of mind and or of behavior is not a chicken or egg which comes first question. This is similar to what Scharmer (2007) describes as third stage or reflective dialogue. The tendency to avoid bringing personal issues to the group setting because of tendencies to pathologize individual problems is nicely dealt with through the use of framing and processes that enable each team member to see the strengths that are one end of a continuum related to those weaknesses. This is accomplished through taking his initial big assumption and seeing an even bigger underlying core value and assumption about it. “simultaneously provides a cognitive awareness of a change prevention system at work. 1 . Chapter 7 In The Case of Nascent Pharmaceuticals. In this way the immunity process is used along with our work and life challenges to help us see the picture of what has been authoring us. No.
They begin by stressing the importance of generating the right first column commitment. power. The power of doing something that reveals the assumptive nature of our deeply held beliefs is what can enable us to take a perspective on them rather than being held by them. Over to You: Diagnosing and Overcoming Immunities in Yourself and Your Organization Chapter 8 Unlocking Potential describes three necessary ingredients to successfully take on the work of unlocking your immunity to change: a vital energy source of motivation for change. Part Three. the need to describe specific. It provides the benefit of adding clear criteria by which you can evaluate if your column entries are sufficient to the task of helping create a robust x-ray map of your immune system. Kegan and Lahey describe how they learned over time how to help the people for whom the original four column exercise was only interesting and not deeply moving produce a better map. But now what to do with the insights gained? INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. at least the first four chapters. it will uncover an immunity system that does not really matter to us. 1 . In the second column. The simplicity. The gut level. the timing of the work and the importance of the leader setting the tone and acting as an example are all well illustrated. Finally. They protect us from venturing into what is assumed as unsafe territory. and more to the point. something that aims at a personal adaptive change.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 92 of the various tools used to support the process. to feeling it is absolutely necessary to address the adaptive changes revealed. It is a combination of “thinking about our feelings and feeling our way into new thinking” (p. If it is not something sufficiently important. or vital energy is required to help us go beyond feeling that something is important. 216) simultaneously that moves us along in the adaptive or developmental work. action must be taken. and that our immune systems have acted as guardians of. both cognitive and emotional aspects working together and action or behavioral work. Chapter 9 Diagnosing Your Own Immunity to Change covers the territory of the Seven Languages book. wasting the potential the exercise has. criteria are provided to enable you to evaluate if you are getting sufficient depth in your entries here. Again. concrete behaviors is stressed so that later on you will be able to better see why you do these things. The third column is generated through the simple question of what is at risk if I do the opposite of these behaviors? These “worry box” fears are then reframed to make the competing commitments of the third column. The power of this is that it reveals territory that we have previously been subject to. 5. The fourth column big assumptions are generated next through a simple process of imagining what must be held as “true” for the third column competing commitments to make sense. as also no amount of emotional effort by itself will either. Engaging the thinking and feeling together is required as no amount of thinking about the work will get it done. No. and elegance of this process comes through quite clearly in this one chapter summary of four chapters in their previous book. the hand put to the wheel so to speak to generate the experiences and experiments that can test our assumptions and move the insights into reality.
Our tendency to take immediate action to solve the problems identified in column two leads to thinking that if we can simply do something that goes against our competing commitments or big assumptions. All of these are shown to be repeatable. that INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. No. Here they make an important distinction between an event focused approach and a process or learning focused one. we will have overcome them. They strongly advise not going straight for this approach. They again provide helpful criteria for guiding the design of the test. they say that mental growth continues after adolescence. and as one might imagine. In addition. and how they can help evolve and even develop new immunity maps over time. they show how to consolidate the learning by identifying how you get hooked into activating the big assumption and entire immunity system. They emphasize directly observable data. Once these steps are completed. Chapter 11 Surfacing Your Collective Immunity to Change applies the same four column process to a group. or How to Lead so People Develop. that there is a distinction between technical and adaptive learning. The second step is running the test you have designed. or more nuanced than we imagined. The third stage is the actual interpreting of your test. Conclusion Growing Your Own. Summarized. and begin the process of constructing a new one. and examples of how it might look. They take the immunity map. First is designing a test. Kegan and Lahey point out that the point of the test is to learn something about our big assumption . both about how you felt during the test and how others responded or acted. doing it as a collective adds a certain degree of complexity that then requires an appropriate amount of time to go through.to see if and to what degree it might be true. pulls together the core themes of the book and makes it clear that what will enable organizations of any kind to succeed in the 21st century is taking a developmental stance and being able to master the immunities to change. false. you learn how to identify new practices you develop that help release you from the grip of the immunity system. They again lay out criteria and steps for groups running this process together.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 93 Chapter 10 Overcoming Your Immunity to Change is where Kegan and Lahey take this work beyond where the Seven Languages book went. step by step process for allowing you to experience the limits of this identity. but to run individuals through the individual process first to get a real feel for it. The brilliance of this work shows through here as the authors lay out a careful. 253). and here again examples illustrate the points made and a guide sheet keeps us on track. and frame it very succinctly “You can see the very good reason why you are holding yourself back: You want to save your life as you know it” (p. The work of testing big assumptions is set out in clear stages. 1 . The developmental pattern of taking what has us or we are subject to and making it an object of reflection involves reaching deep into our self image or identity. The main body of the chapter is an examination of seven crucial attributes of this work. 5. Here it is important to make detailed notes on what actually happened. and warn against allowing interpretation to sneak in.
1 1 . No.theleadershipcircle. and getting them to understand what was being asked of them. sign me up. as not all the students were totally fluent in English. coming from various parts of Norway.” For others it helped them see something new about themselves. With I used The Leadership Circle 360 feedback instrument http://www. Following their debrief and some overnight homework related to their feedback.” or alternatively find yourself more skeptical and saying “sounds too good to be true.” or have a degree of both responses mixed together. For follow-up in the month until the last two days of the class.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 94 people have an intrinsic motivation to grow. but not in a way that made a huge impact for them. I had designed the course around a combination of individual development along with how to apply that work in service of organizational transformation. For some it produced insights like “I never realized that all this time I was being driven by the opposite of my self-image. and some of it undoubtedly was attributable to the limitations of my first attempt at giving the instructions. Students were mid level professionals from a variety of sectors. The last part of the course went through the last three or the social languages. I felt it critical to try applying the techniques laid out in this work.com/ as it incorporates Kegan’s distinction between the institutional or socialized mind and the self authoring mind. they worked on an action plan to test out what they had learned. that reflection and action are interdependent and enable each other. Since all the theoretical understanding in the world does not make up for a lack of experience. 5. seemingly dependent upon the depth of insight gained from the four column work and the student’s ability to create a really good experiment. My tendency is to begin with enthusiasm and then find the reality of trying to apply things a bit of a humbling experience. In Immunity to Change. you might want to say “sounds great. INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. and see if they could try doing one small thing differently that would challenge their assumptions identified in column four. Kegan and Lahey describe how after doing the four column work for a while they noticed that around 30-40% of people did not get to a really profound and useful big assumption. Some of this could be attributed to language issues. Report From the Field Reading over this brief summary of the book. I would say that this was reflected in the work with this group of students as well. I led them through the four column exercise as described in the Seven Languages book. Phase One My first opportunity for application came in the winter of 2009 when teaching a new course on leadership development and organizational transformation in a masters in organizational leadership program. and that there needs to be sufficient safety and support for facing the risks in this depth of change of mindset. The idea was to have a conversation with someone about their leadership feedback. There were some challenges keeping them on track at times. and that they involve both thinking and feeling. 1 They received a leadership assessment to give them a sense of where they were at in terms of key leadership dimensions. The results of this work seemed to have mixed effect. that these kind of mindset changes take time.
It was more abstract and indirect for them to work on how they might apply these languages in their organizations. they felt it would make a substantial difference.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 95 students all coming from diverse organizations rather than a team within one organization. They spent a couple hours developing a common vision and understanding for this. allowing for taking more time in laying the foundations and allowing each step in the process have the time it required. as I was given the opportunity to do this work as follow up to some previous work a colleague in the UK had done with a senior management team of a public service organization. While they did see their role in things to a degree. I bought and read the Immunity to Change book. Overall. and appeared quite pleased with their work thus far. It was clear that a reflective. They noted that if you start with something that is not a really core. it was clear that their attention was focused on the issues “out there. No. Opening Moves They also provided a much better integration of how to combine this work with teams as well as individuals. 5. introspective focus was not something they were accustomed to. Thus my herding of attention was necessary. combined with some framing to enable them to glimpse how this would be important to the larger department goals. but was looking forward to learning more and trying it again. which I observed was focusing on their department as an almost external entity. but it still appeared to be of value for them. then the whole process will be limited by only being able to reveal competing commitments and big assumptions about relatively unimportant matters. Kegan and Lahey provided a better explanation of the framing and prework that would enable people to generate the kind of first column commitment that would get the process going in the right way. This step proved to be a bit more challenging. This helped them INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. Phase Two Setting The opportunity to try again came soon. this work was less directly applicable. crucial issue that will make a difference not only to you but also to those around you. I asked them to come up with just one thing that if it was able to happen. Taking this work. In preparation. The three social languages are in essence gone. as the natural inclination for their attention to stray to externalizing issues required occasional herding. 1 . I also had a clearer focus for the two days with this team. They also appeared quite comfortable working at this level. Having had the prior experience working with the four column exercise helped immensely when reading over the refinements that Kegan and Lahey brought to this new book. I was quite happy with my initial application of the four column work.” The next step was to get them to come up with an improvement goal for how they as a senior management team operated within themselves. The main improvement I found in the new book was an explanation of why the four column work as originally designed had generally gotten really good results for only 6070% of people. (and after an experiential exercise that revealed their organizational culture quite clearly) I began with asking the team to define an improvement goal for their department. but in their place the methods for working teams through a collective four column exercise more than makes up for this.
Doing the above took up the entire first day. enabled the process to move forward with a solid foundation. From that experience. They then took this first step and worked in pairs to refine their improvement goal. This process enabled a serious level of commitment and support to emerge for each participant. This kept everyone on track better. The willingness of one of the team members to challenge him on this enabled the conversation to deepen for the whole team. This new goal. We were then ready to begin the more challenging work of turning their attention towards their generally unconscious and competing commitments in column three.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 96 stay on task and come up with a succinct. then. 1 . thinking it was an action plan exercise. and made me jump around a bit to explain something coming later and get them back to being focused on the step we were on at the time. and hear from each person whether this improvement would make a substantial difference to that person. To ensure that it met the criteria. The primary area I was able to focus on this time was to check the natural tendency for them to move towards analyzing and rationalizing the items in column two. yet it was clear to me that it was far more important to lay the groundwork well. This process also provided an opportunity for some push back on the leader’s proposed improvement goal. Some raced ahead and filled all four out immediately. Asking them to list all of the things that they did or did not do that prevented them from realizing their first column commitments led to long lists of behaviors that were easy enough for them to identify with a minimum of guidance. and led to them contributing to the creation of the leader’s improvement goal. The work of getting them to identify the second column items was fairly straight forward. converted along with those of the others into their first column commitments. Others could not help but think and ask about the later columns. I asked them to individually reflect on “one big thing” they could personally have as an improvement goal that would contribute to the team improvement goal. No. My initial timeline for the work had them completing their second columns by the end of the first day. I found that this INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. the final step was to share it with the whole group. handing them out only as we got to that step. and generating the kind of “New Year’s resolutions” Kegan and Lahey talk about as the typical way people respond to their second column behaviors. At a subtle level the energy behind his goal was not as solid or deep as the others’ had been. Thus we were somewhat behind schedule. as the public sharing of their improvement goal and having it validated by their colleagues helped it meet the criteria for a first column commitment. 5. and enabled me to focus my instructions on other things. At a practical level it did not meet the criteria in a variety of ways. I decided to use separate pages for each column’s work. and even spilled over into the second day. well phrased improvement goal that had themselves in the center of the picture. Getting to the First Column It was from using this section on team use of the immunity to change work that a foundation was built for them to move towards the individual work. One of the things I had experienced during the first try at applying this work was that giving people the four columns all together on one page led to a number of challenges and back tracking.
I then asked them to convert their worries to commitments. there was a palpable sense of settling into a quality of energy where things were falling into place. Once they had these worry boxes filled in with a firm hold on what they felt was at risk if they were to behave counter to their column two behaviors. If the process has been done well and all the criteria met. I emphasized that the method of this work was to counter such natural tendencies. saying that they were committed to not having the worry or fear happen. 1 .” As the group worked on generating their “worry box” as Kegan and Lahey call it. To accomplish this move. I could see that while some shepherding of attention was still required from time to time. they could suddenly see their column two behaviors as making perfect sense. not having people dislike me. especially given that such methods were in large part what produced the kinds of situations they found themselves in already. . and just as Kegan and Lahey describe. they were getting better at holding themselves in this new space of attention that was opening for them. No.” we were going to aim to generate better problems that could “solve them. As the group completed their third columns. This stage of work reminded me of Scharmer’s movement through the U process as they went from downloading past patterns and responses through suspending those and then as we moved into the third column work. 5. I followed the well laid out instructions and criteria Kegan and Lahey provide and asked the group to imagine what it would feel like if they did the opposite of the behaviors in column two. deep and powerful insights are now directly in their line of attention rather than hidden from view.” These commitments were to involve both rational thinking as well as the feeling component they had gotten in touch with. I have thought about this step as a kind of Aikido move. I gave them a worksheet that allowed them to list all three columns on one page now. such as “I am committed to . It is in this simple reframing that the brilliance of Kegan and Lahey’s process becomes most apparent from my view. simply take the worry or fear and reframe it. These behaviors were now not simply their failures to live up to their commitments. redirecting their attention to places that were normally not visible to conscious attention. Getting connected with the affective aspect of this imaginative exercise further helped to redirect their attention away from the habitual drive to come up with rational solutions to the “problems” they had identified in column two. but perfectly sensible behaviors that kept them safe in light of their now revealed competing INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. but also paid big dividends in that it helped them become aware of their thought system in action. . In other words. it completes the Aikido move and lands people squarely in a place where genuine.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 97 shepherding of their attention away from its natural course required plenty of attention. taking the natural energy generated by the first column commitments and self-generated obstacles and gently turning it to propel people into an internal space that normally hides from view and resists attention. Redirecting and Aikido This suspension of their normal patterns of thought and behavior created a more supportive space to enable the more challenging next step of generating their third column competing commitments. Rather than try to “solve their problems.
How the work plays out for them over time remains to be seen. This gave them practical ways to follow up from the two days. would help crystallize their initial sense of this new direction.” He followed this by saying: “Now I have answers to questions I did not even know existed INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. The leader of this team described how he had been skeptical of the value of spending two days away from their already overloaded schedules. but rather gather helpful information on the big assumptions holding the entire system in place. and test out new behaviors that might reveal a different picture than the one painted by the big assumptions. (supported by a set of worksheets to guide them through the steps of that process). 1 . A student of mine who had observed the masters in organizational leadership class mentioned in phase one above brought to my attention the parallels between this process and Scharmer’s description of the stages of the U process. Change will happen. The real benefit of the work done so far would only come with the implementation of well structured research projects that would again avoid fixing the problems identified. and let everyone on the team be aware of how to support their learning after they ran the test. since they were actions in service of equally powerful commitments to a kind of self protection. 5. This work went along fairly smoothly and with a little guidance they had their complete four column map of their own immunity to change. concrete and actionable test of their big assumption. designing a safe test of a big assumption. While there were many comments acknowledging the quality of work they had done. we worked to provide the team with a way to support each other in maintaining this stance after we left. and by the quality of authenticity with which they named. Now we were ready to move into crafting the fourth column “big assumptions” that held them. No. After they each spent time drafting up a specific. I could see how once the fourth column was done. but there was no doubt that each and every one of them had stepped into a new world of possibility. The closing check out bore witness to this. and sat with this x-ray into the depths of their psyche. People were certainly in touch with a deeper. I had each person share their test. described. Preparing to Make it Stick By now it was already mid afternoon on the second day. I was struck by the depth and simplicity of what were really archetypal human issues. one in particular represented the sentiments quite well. He figured that they would go through the motions and then get back to the “real world. On this basis. The next step in this work. The premise as I understand it from my own experience is that if you are able to sustain awareness of this system in operation. Reflecting on this. more authentic sense of themselves and from this place could now be directed to look at what wanted to emerge in the future. then the equilibrium of the system will shift and release itself without you having to force it. and there was a need to make sure we moved the group through to completion of this step. They could see that simply trying to solve the “problem” of those behaviors was doomed to failure. one way to describe the quality of presence in the room could be in terms of Scharmer’s notion of presencing. but you cannot “make” it happen.Reams: Immunity to Change Report 98 commitment.
S. (2001). Problem and process in human development. O. it should be obvious that I perceive my field testing of this work as a resounding success. Boston: Harvard Business Press. Kegan. (1990). (2007). Senge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Boston: Harvard University Press. (2009). Cambridge. Jonathan Reams. Train your mind. the foundation is certainly solid in moving forward. While there may be further aspects to be revealed about what is required of the facilitator to support this work. and the testing of the ideas against the realities of human experience enabled an ongoing refinement of how to apply the ideas successfully. R. R. The art & practice of the learning organization. Kegan and Lahey describe throughout the book how the early work to understand the nature and structure of adult development was engaged in a dialectical process with praxis. But what was clear was that following the structure laid out and using the criteria and guidelines Kegan and Lahey provide to support facilitating the work should enable any reasonably competent facilitator to enable people to have powerful insights and begin the process of overcoming their immunity to change. P. How to overcome it and unlock the potential in yourself and your organization. New York: Ballantine Books. and is also pursuing research in the area of leadership development. (1998). Scharmer. The social technology of presencing. How the way we talk can change the way we work. & Laskow Lahey. Leadership effectiveness. (1994).. (1982).Reams: Immunity to Change Report 99 before. Cambridge.. 1 . New York: Random House. Email: Jonathan@Reams. Kegan and Lahey’s Immunity to Change work provides the ingredients necessary to go beyond theorizing or describing and into actually enabling the first steps of transforming consciousness. Kegan. Athens.” Conclusion From the above description. Leading from the future as it emerges. L. L. Kegan. GA: UMI.co INTEGRAL REVIEW • June 2009 • Vol. Eigel. Heifetz. change your brain: How a new science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves. The evolving self. Thus my question at the beginning of this article of how the powerful understanding of adult development can be applied has a solid answer. R. Theory U. C. is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Review and currently an associate professor in the Department of Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. where he teaches organizational counseling. Of course there is much more to learn about doing this work. Immunity to change. No.. K. References Begley. Inc. MA: The Society for Organizational Learning. The fifth discipline. Seven languages for transformation. R. A constructive-developmental view and investigation. & Laskow Lahey. Ph. MA: Harvard University Press. (2007).D. Leadership without easy answers. coaching and leadership development. 5.
but the vigilance declines over time. examines obstacles to desired changes. San Francisco. one that is more respectful of resistance and consequently more supportive of change. As the authors point out. The question arises. underlying changes in the way individuals and groups make meaning. Seven Languages for Transformation confirms the need for both ingredients to creating a supportive environment for transformational learning. 3. At some point. disaster strikes and firefighters lose their lives in the line of duty. does anything ever really change? Do we ever really learn anything? Transformational Learning How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation (Jossey.Bass Publishers. For a time. I have noticed that learning conversations often start by acknowledging and respecting silence. Part 2 introduces three more languages that serve to maintain and continuously improve the skills developed in part 1. Fort Collins. causes are determined and remedies suggested. From the language of big assumptions that hold us to the language of assumptions that we hold. 2001). disaster strikes again and firefighters lose their lives. Another important ingredient in setting the stage for learning conversations is what I call “removing the fixer”— overcoming the urge to fix others’ problems.mBook Review: HOW THE WAY WE TALK CAN CHANGE THE WAY WE WORK UU Jim Saveland The authors invite the reader into a deeper understanding of our being. From the language of complaint to the language of commitment. 100 Fine Management Today . with important implications for leadership: 5. by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey.” The authors invite the reader into a new and deeper understanding of our being. The first part introduces four new languages as tools for personal learning: 1. The book is for people interested in the possibility of their own transformational learning. short-term solutions. there is increasing vigilance for safe operations. As a student of conversations. one that is more respectful of resistance and consequently more supportive of individual and organizational change. From the language of “New Year’s resolutions” to the language of competing commitments. From the language of prizes and praising to the language of ongoing regard. “people tend to say ‘How can we break down resistance—our own or that of others? How can we overcome our defensiveness? Reduce our fear?’ And so on. These are social languages. as well as for people interested in supporting the transformational learning of others—an increasingly necessary feature of effective leadership. and 4. USDA Forest Service. CO. Sooner or later. The wildland firefighting community lives a repeating story. The book is divided into three parts. Rather than aiming for the immediate relief of symptoms or for behavioral strategies to bring about Jim Saveland is an assistant station director. Rocky Mountain Research Station. From the language of blame to the language of personal responsibility. 2. An investigation follows. the authors focus on the deeper.
but rather “goes with the complaint. Our Big Assumptions give rise to our competing commitments.Part 3 speaks to how we can practice and develop all seven languages. Still. The book takes a novel approach to the subject of why “our own genuine aspirations for change—personally and collectively” lead to “so little lasting change actually occurring. Competing Commitments. thereby anchoring the whole immune system. The authors propose replacing the language of blame with the language of personal responsibility.” The trick is to become aware that we are reacting in this way to the challenge of change—to become aware of our own competing commitments. When we first stop blaming others. . honors it.” I think of blame and reflection as being on opposite ends of a continuum.” What we are doing. is merely protecting ourselves. But personal responsibility goes beyond placing blame. 4 • Fall 2002 101 6. I recognize this as the language of aikido. and invites the complaining person to follow the forward momentum that is implicit in the complaint. The language of commitment does not simply dismiss the complaint. self-protection is “a crucial act of self-respect. we tend to blame other people or unanticipated obstacles. the authors point out. Next.tions”—often lead to little change. We all share an immunity to change. Personal Responsibility. Where we see a need for change yet fail to achieve it. It involves being able to learn from the behaviors we identify. often unconsciously. the authors explore why noble aspirations—what they call “the language of New Year’s resolu. As the authors point out. it creates certainty—why would we even think to look for a different reality?” We all have support communities of “colleagues. responsibility “involves more than taking the blame or debugging the system.” In other words. and 7. From the language of constructive criticism to the language of deconstructive criticism. The authors also propose replacing the language of blame with the language of personal responsibility. We fail to see that “it may be nearly impossible for us to bring about any important change in a system or organization without changing ourselves (at least somewhat).” Personal Languages Commitment. In fact. to learn from the story we tell on ourselves. Complaining. willing partners. As the authors point out.” From personal experience in the martial arts. and hoping are the familiar modes of television talk. The authors recommend a four-step process to overcome our big assumptions: Volume 62 • No. From the language of rules and policies to the language of public agreement. a subject I have written about in connection with the South Canyon Fire (Saveland 1995). we are better able to see ourselves. for “we would not complain about anything if we did not care about something. our commitment to change is often canceled by “another commitment we hold that has the effect of preventing the change. the language of complaint is hardly conducive to personal learning and reflective leadership. The authors go on to argue that we are enthralled by “Big Assumptions”—the assumptions that we take to be true. a normal human motive. we tend to shift the blame to ourselves. complaints do contain the seed of transformation. wishing.” The idea is to use the energy in the language of complaint as a “gateway” for expressing personal commitment. Assumptions. people we can talk to” who reinforce the languages we use. When we see our reflection in a mirror or other reflective surface. “If we are certain we know how the world works— and this is how a Big Assumption operates.
problem solving. even though most organizations fail to deliver it well. describing the speaker’s experience rather than the person’s attributes. and 4. The nonattributive quality is perhaps the most difficult to practice. 2.” Falling short of public agreements is a learning opportunity for oneself and an opportunity for group reflection about competing commitments and Big Assumptions. Being nonattributive—that is. and timely. Being direct—that is.” 3. modest test of the big assumption. Deconstructive Criticism. According to the authors. Explore the history of the big assumption. new forms.” However. and admiring experiences of their members.” Public agreements are not used to “give the troops their marching orders” or to “cast out sinners”. a supervisor—has the only correct view of the situation. Design and run a safe. they become a way for “responsible people to collectively imagine a public life they simultaneously know they would prefer and know they will.” not used to trump up charges in its “courtroom. The regular expression of genuinely experiencing the value of a coworker’s behavior is what the authors call “the language of ongoing regard. “We do not think the value of shared agreements is to prevent violations. Observe ourselves in relation to the big assumption. we can turn our “nest of Big Assumptions” in a positive direction if we use it as “a home for hatching new life. instead.” they say. 3. But constructive feedback is not enough. The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders and the Eighteen Situations That Shout Watch Out can be examples of public agreements. Actively look for experiences that cast doubt on the big assumption. new ways of making meaning that—if nurtured—one day take wing. three qualities strengthen one’s communication of ongoing regard: 1. destructive feedback is vague. As the authors point out. The supervisor is privileged to (1) say what the employee is 102 Fine Management Today 1. “many a relationship has been damaged and a work setting poisoned by perfectly delivered constructive feedback!” Constructive feedback rests on the assumption that the provider—say. even if we do so quite positively. As the authors point out. we actually engage— however unintentionally—in the rather presumptuous activity of entitling ourselves to say who and how the other is. 2. Being specific.” It has two aspects: appreciation and admiration.” Then. We tend to jump from our perceptions of others to conclusions about their character. at times. supportive. Most organizations bestow formal praise and prizes—a practice rife with problems (Kohn 1999)—but undercommunicate the genuinely positive. appreciative. We all know the value of constructive criticism.Our language communities embed us in “not just one Big Assumption but several.” Public Agreement. The authors take a fresh look at the purpose of such agreements. fall short of. blameful. “If we characterize people. violations are considered with curiosity in an organization’s “classroom. threatening.” Social Languages Ongoing Regard. “but to create them. thereby passing judgment. and pessimistic. delivering appreciation or admiration directly to the person rather than to or through others. Constructive feedback is specific. and Our commitment to change is often canceled by “another commitment we hold that has the effect of preventing the change. .
They are not about fixes at the surface.” The authors try to expand our limited conception of leadership and learning. in turn. Leadership is not about “the leader ratcheting up his volume of attaboys”. “When you create a place for something. They go to the roots. (2) offer help. instead. “We exercise all the languages for the purpose of making our work settings richer contexts for learning.” Most organizations bestow formal praise but undercommunicate the genuinely positive. As the authors point out. “it is remarkable how much more likely the thing is to occur. and (4) give a timely message. and admiring experiences of their members. It can work well yet lead to even greater conflict. reason to check ourselves if we assume we are right. That. But there is only one way to find out: Try it.” They propose instead engaging in a conversation “with the same criticism in mind” but knowing that “we may not be totally right or may even be wrong. ongoing immune systems at work in every individual and organization. (3) suggest a solution. Leaders can further the languages by designing conversational space.” Next Steps Can changing the way we talk actually reduce the likelihood of future fire fatalities and improve our individual and organizational performance? I think so. However. appreciative. because “we have little. The employee’s role is to listen.” The language of deconstructive conflict is not about making conflict disappear.” The authors thus propose a third alternative to destructive and constructive criticism. We will get together every other month to practice with the seven languages and experiment with other reflection exercises. facilitates “mental development and transformational learning. Changing the way we talk can be a tremendous step in the right direction.” Carrying on the Work The seven languages for transformation allow us to focus on what the authors call “our inner contradictions and Big Assumptions” rather than using them as prisms for viewing reality.doing wrong. it is about “creating channels or contexts” for “relatively rare forms of speech at work. 4 • Fall 2002 103 .” That turns our endeavor from finding “clever ways to help the person see it our way” to exploring “what’s been happening and whether our criticism is warranted. That’s what a group of us is planning to do in the USDA Forest Service’s Intermountain Region. Constructive feedback presumes that the supervisor has “super vision.” The authors see this assumption as counterproductive to learning. You are invited to join us.” “We call this stance a deconstructive one because its central intention is neither to tear down nor build up but instead disassemble. “The kinds of change we are looking for are transformational. the active.” A good way of deepening “a productive relationship with our inner workings” is by building support communities that regularly use the seven languages.” the authors note. if any.” “Perhaps we need leaders who are able both to start processes of learning and to diagnose and disturb already existing processes that prevent learning and change. and gratefully receive. “The seven languages are intended to be a steady supply of oxygen to keep the flame burning for as long as our learning may need.” the authors conclude. accept. more must Volume 62 • No. The idea is to break down the “barriers to learning” behind constructive criticism by retreating from “a truth-claiming relationship. and the object of attention is not first of all the other but our own evaluation or judgment.
be done to develop “situational awareness” (see, for example, Csikszentmihalyi 1990; Gallwey 2000; and Heckler 1990). But that is beyond the scope of this book review. References Csikszentmihalyi, M. 1990. Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Perennial. Gallwey, W.T. 2000. The inner game of work. New York: Random House. Heckler, R.S. 1990. In search of the warrior spirit. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. Kohn, A. 1999. Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A’s, praise, and other bribes. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. Saveland, J. 1995. Creating a passion for safety vs. management oversight and inspection. Wildfire 4(3): 38-41 .Language of Complaint Language of Commitment
• Easily and reflexively produced, widespread • Explicitly expresses what we can’t stand • Leaves the speaker feeling like a whiny or cynical person • Generates frustration and impotence • Sees complaint as a signal of what’s wrong • Nontransformational, rarely goes anywhere beyond letting off steam and winning allies to negative characteristics Language of Blame
• Relatively rare unless explicitly intended • Explicitly expresses what we stand for • Leaves the speaker feeling like a person filled with conviction and hope • Generates vitalizing energy • Sees complaint as a signal of what someone cares about • Transformational; anchors principleoriented, purpose-directed work
Language of Personal Responsibility
• Easily and reflexively produced and widespread; comfortable to express 104
• Relatively rare, in an ongoing way, unless explicitly intended; Fine Management Today
uncomfortable to express • Holds the other person responsible for gaps between committed intentions and reality • Frequently generates frustration, alienation, and impotence in speaker • Frequently generates defensiveness in others • Nontransformational; rarely goes anywhere; deflects our attention to places where we have little or no influence • At best, raises questions only for others Language of Language of New Year’s Resolutions Competing Commitment sExpresses sincere and genuine intentions • Creates wishes and hopes for the future • But contains little power • Intent is to eliminate or reduce the hindering, problematic behavior • The problematic behavior is frequently regarded as a sign of weakness, or shameful ineffectiveness • Assumes that eliminating the problematic behavior will lead to the accomplishment of (first column) commitments or goals • Frequently attributes less effective change to other people, unanticipated obstacles, or insufficient self-control • Nontransformational, rarely leads to significant change despite sincere intentions • Expresses genuinely held countervailing commitments • Creates an inner contradiction or map of an immune system • Contains enormous (locked up) power • Intent is to identify the source of that behavior • Identifies a commitment to selfprotection on behalf of which the problematic behavior is effective, consistent, faithful, even brilliant • Recognizes that merely trying to alter problematic behavior is unlikely to accomplish the goal • Recognizes the complex, contradictory nature of one’s own intentions Volume 62 • No. 4 • Fall 2002 105 • Expresses specific behaviors we personally engage in and fail to engage in that contribute to gaps • Draws on the momentum of our commitments • Frequently generates productive conversation about both parties; contributions to gap • Transformational; directs our attention to places where we have maximum influence • Raises questions for oneself
Transformational; paradoxically increases the possibility of significant changes by making clear the immune system that makes change so difficul tLanguage of Language of Big Assumptions That Hold Us Assumptions That We Hold
• Automatically produced, without intention or awareness (the meaning to which we are subject) • Assumptions inhabited as truths • Creates a sense of certainty, that one’s perspective is reality • Anchors and sustains our immune system • Names the terms by which we would understand our universe to be catastrophically disturbed or violated (our “Temple of Doom”) • Nonstransformational; maintains the world as we have been constructing it
• Produced only with difficulty, creating space or distance between self and one’s meanings (the meanings we can relate to as object) • Assumptions taken as assumptions • Creates valuable doubt, the opportunity to question, explore, test, reconfirm or revise one’s assumption • Creates a pivotal lever for disturbing our immunity to change • Makes the catastrophic consequences a proposition available for testing
• Transformational; changes the world as we understand it to be, and our sense of our possibilities within it
Language of Prizes and Praising • Creates winner and losers; draws energy out of the system • Frequently communicated indirectly;
Language of Ongoing Regard • Distributes precious information that
one’s actions have significance; infuses energy into the system • Communicates appreciation or
Fine Management Today
attentiveness. with little or no discussion of the meaning of the rules and policies. and people tend to be unaware of this • Creates a social vehicle for leaders or authorities to correct boundary transgressions • “Corrected” individuals experience the organization’s ability to control behavior—an ability they have no part in creating • Nontransformational. or outside in) Institutionalized in written manuals or through implicit norms. global statements giving little if any information about what the speaker is valuing • Often characterizes the other person admiration directly to the person • Communicates specific information to the person about the speaker’s personal experience of appreciation or admiration • Nonattributive. and not the person being appreciated Sincere and authentic. and competence) from within Shared understanding of their meaning and an experience of coowning them and assenting to them Discussed and created before violation to establish and reference point in order to enhance personal and organizational learning when there is a violatio nViolations are ignored or treated privately and as a matter of adjudication for problem elimination • Multiple interpretations frequently exist. freshly made Transformational potential for both • • Frequently formulaic. not new meaning Volume 62 • No. without leaderly intention Intended to create organizational integrity (institutional fairness. shapes behavior. more halting. and no experience of owning them or assenting to them Frequently discussed only after there is a violation Exceedingly rare. glib • Nontransformational the speaker and the person being regarded Language of Rules and Policies Language of Public Agreemen tCustomary Intended to create order (from the top down. 4 • Fall 2002 107 .said about person and not directly to him or her • Usually. characterizes the speaker’s experience.
Violations are treatable publicly as a resource for personal and organizational learning. by creating observable contradictions • Common understanding of the agreements themselves and their purpose • Creates a social vehicle for peers to correct boundary transgressions • “Corrected” individuals experience the organization’s integrity. which they themselves have a hand in creating Transformational for both the individual and the organizatio • 108 Fine Management Today .
& Linsky. Cannon Ki Se Lee Vanderbilt University PLANNING DETAILS Proposed audience: Maximum number of participants: Type of session: Special requirements: Length: Proposal level: This session is appropriate for anyone who teaches about change. No maximum.OBTC_2010_Proceedings-Page109 nWhat to do When Change Efforts Fail: Applying the Kegan and Lahey’s (2009) Immunity to Change Process Mark D. but the ability to project PowerPoint would be helpful. adaptive challenges are those that require us to learn something new or look at the situation with a different mindset in order to be successful. After a brief introduction to the topic and the activity. participants will engage in the activity and then debrief. It involves identifying the competing commitment and taking appropriate measures to consciously address the competing commitment in the change process. This session will help participants to understand the difference between technical and adaptive challenges and will provide them with an opportunity to gain experience and . or would like to explore less mainstream approaches to change. A. On the other hand. Having attended their train-thetrainer program for this exercise. Grashow.. In order to help individuals and groups address adaptive change challenges. Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (Kegan and Lahey. 2009) Technical challenges involve situations for which the skill set necessary to address complicated issue is known. Second Choice: 60 minutes Student ABSTRACT For over a decade. R.. 2009) have been developing and improving a simple but powerful means of uncovering the competing commitments that consistently thwart the efforts of individuals and groups to change. First Choice: 90 minutes. No special room needs. They hypothesize that “competing commitments” often exist outside a person’s awareness and thwart well designed and well intended change efforts. M. Their four column exercise is designed to surface and then constructively alter the individual or group’s “immunity to change” system. They note that failure tends to occur when traditional approaches to change are applied to adaptive challenges. we would like to expose OBTC participants to their exercise and how it can be used to teach about change in a classroom and to produce lasting change. INTRODUCTION Kegan and Lahey note that traditional approaches to change can succeed as long as the challenges are “technical” rather than “adaptive” (Heifetz. they developed an exercise that is simple but powerful in helping people to see the challenge in a new way and thus take an adaptive approach to changing.
Additional information is also available on their website at mindsatwork. take control over tasks when I think they may not be done the way I want. individuals who diet regain an average 107 percent of the weight that they lost. participants choose a personal change that they would like to work on during the session. groups and organizations has been a topic of great interest for scholars and practitioners and remains a major dilemma. Their process helps participants identify their hidden competing commitments and assists individuals and groups in revising or reframing the assumptions that fuel them. In the second column she puts down what she is doing instead of delegating.We briefly introduce the concepts of “technical” and “adaptive” challenges and changes and explain that adaptive change processes require alternative approaches.OBTC_2010_Proceedings-Page110 insight in dealing with their own personal adaptive challenge.com.Next. or commit to delegating more after I get the current project finished but then find myself saying the same thing once I am on the next . As Professor Robert Kegan notes. Participants will be handed out the sheet in Appendix 1. THEORETICAL GROUNDING The challenge of how to bring about productive change in individuals. In order for this to be an adaptive rather than a technical change challenge. We provide an overview of the four column exercise and explain how the process will unfold with participants working in pairs. participants will work in pairs to walk through Kegan and Lahey’s four column exercise column by column. Part 2 . As we proceed through the exercise. For example—refuse assistance when subordinates ask if they can help. Specifically. Similarly. Kegan and Lahey (2009) have spent many years trying to understand how to address adaptive changes.The next column involves making a list of the things that “Doing/Not Doing” that work against their column 1 commitment. 2009). A thorough description of their theory and the exercise is provided in their recent book Immunity to Change: How to Overcome it and Unlock Potential in Yourself and Your Organization (Kegan and Lahey. For example. even among individuals who are told by a cardiologist that their survival depends upon their changing dietary or exercise habits. Part 3 . only about one in seven are successful at making the change (Kegan & Lahey. the issue should fit the criteria in column 1 of the appendix. tell myself I can do it more quickly myself. SESSION DESCRIPTION Part 1 . They focus specifically on situations in which people know they should change and are motivated to change but nonetheless consistently fail to make or sustain the desired change. They have had success in using this exercise in multiple contexts and with multiple audiences. This sheet lists the criteria that should be applied to each column. we will also provide tips on how to make the exercise as successful as possible in the participant’s own classrooms. a participant might have “delegating more” as the column 1 commitment. Participants will write down their “Commitment/Improvement Goal” in the first column after they have selected it. participants will learn how to use the four column exercise in their own classrooms. Kegan and Lahey discovered that participants are much more likely to have a powerful experience if they satisfy all the criteria for each column. 2009). Through experience. Through much trial and error. Throughout this process. their four column exercise for identifying and altering the competing commitments was developed.
The exercise is also simple enough that it can be learned and used by participants so that they can share the insights with others. the next step involves finding some ways to experiment or test out whether the assumption is accurate or not. Once they have uncovered the competing commitment. So. The process of filling in column 3 enables them to become more aware of what is driving them and what their purpose is for engaging in the column 2 behaviors despite the fact that they seem counterproductive (at least on the surface). APPLICATION OF CONFERENCE THEME AND SUB-THEME(S) This session will engage participants in differences related to approaches to change. by applying an adaptive approach to change. In this case. even despicable. Thus. the participant who does not delegate may discover that she has an assumption (which she may not have realized before) that people who are not uniquely valuable to an organization are worthless. For example. participants are given time to discuss this in pairs. what is in column 3 is experienced by people at an emotional rather than a cognitive level. better conclusions for future action can be determined.The third column is designed to discover the “hidden competing commitment. Often. It drives their behavior without their conscious realization. Part 5 . the process can begin through which the individual finds relief from the pressure that column 3 creates. participants will be asked to discuss in pairs . For example. Each participant acts as a listener and facilitator to help the other get to a deeper level of awareness. . Thus. After these tests. and discuss the next steps that participants can take to implement what they have learned from the exercise. participants will actually engage difference within themselves. They are then able to engage in behavior that is more constructive and supports their column 1 commitment.“What do you fear would happen if you did the opposite of what you have listed in column 2?” This is designed to get to the root of what their behavior in column 2 is protecting them from. it becomes apparent that the assumption that has been driving the individual’s behavior is obviously false or at least overly extreme. Once this assumption is exposed the individual can test whether it is true or not.Finally. we will debrief the exercise.The final column involves digging a little deeper to discover the “big assumption” that is driving the fear present in column 3. some participants may come away with an awareness of what assumption they need to test and some ideas about how they could test it. Once again. Participants discuss these in pairs. answer questions. Alternatively. In particular. unworthy. people tend to be conscious of our stated commitments. Part 4 . but our competing commitment is often a stranger to our awareness (even though it may influence our actions on a daily basis). Part 6 .” In order to assist in discovering this. Usually. In other words. it starts to make sense as to why they on one hand feel committed to column 1 but still find themselves consistently engaging in the behaviors in column 2. the individual who is committed to delegation might discover that failing to delegate helps her to feel uniquely valuable or protects her from feeling useless. the big assumption may not be clearly true or false.OBTC_2010_Proceedings-Page111 project over and over again. part of this exercise will help participants to be aware of differences or apparent contradictions within themselves and then to discover how these difference might be better managed or integrated.
M. By contrast. L. Boston. these individuals may actually be well intended but may be stuck dealing with competing commitments about which they are not aware. REFERENCES Kegan. Where’s The Magic The magic in this exercise is that it is both simple and powerful. This process brings people together as they share what concerns them and gain insight while supporting others in doing the same. MA: Harvard Business Press. it is easy to draw the conclusion that someone who does not successfully enact their espoused commitment is lazy. For ourselves and many others. Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization. incompetent. R. Heifetz. & Linsky.OBTC_2010_Proceedings-Page112 Creating Connection Our previous experience with this exercise suggests that most participants will have a powerful experience with gaining a new awareness and an opportunity to pursue change in an area that has previously troubled them. (2009). & Lahey. L. A. The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. For example. Our personal experience and that of Kegan and Lahey is that most participants gain insights into themselves that they might never have had and that they may not have gained had they not participated in this exercise. Grashow. We hope this will better enable participants to engage difference and disappointments with themselves and with others in a more constructive manner. R. MA: Harvard Business Press. Boston. (2009). or passive aggressive. the exercise has opened up hope of making change where that hope had previously been lost. We have also found that understanding that people have various competing commitments about which they may be unaware helps people be more compassionate with themselves and with others. This perspective is more constructive and compassionate. ..
doesn’t that make you feel better?) Subject-object theory is the basis for understanding how this development occurs. so that Mary can get to her training course. Mary is waiting for her associate Dennis to take over the office at two pm for a few hours.486. two people are faced with the problem of a tardy and disrespectful colleague. In the example above. Joan however is able to reflect on the relationship and how she contributes to shaping it. Dennis is late and Mary is fuming. suggesting that later stages of development are indeed more grown or matured than earlier ones. but also how she herself contributes to the construction of their relationship. There must be other ways of handling this that don’t leave me helplessly waiting!” What is the difference here? In the first scene. Mary is embedded in the relationships and experiences its disconnects. Joan. Joan is able to consider the experience within a broader framework. For the third time now in five weeks. (There now. Harvard University Press. 176-7). As a developmental psychologist. when faced with the same situation reacts differently. Mary constructs her experience in terms of her feelings about her colleague’s behaviour. Robert Kegan is a professor of adult learning and professional development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This hypothesis is backed by twenty years of research data. Diversity is Meg Salter. Joan asks herself. he is best known for championing the idea that mental development continues throughout adulthood. Dr. What was the subject of experience at one stage of development becomes the object of experience at the next stage. Toronto. "How could he do this to me? He knows how important this is! It seems that his commitments are more important than mine!” Another person.C O N S U L T I N G MegaSpace Transformative Languages for Change By Meg Salter In Robert Kegan’s In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life (1994.6660 meg@megsalter. 2004 | Page 2 It is Kegan’s hypothesis that this represents a transformational shift in our capacity for meaning making. 34 Eastbourne Avenue. "Wait a minute. which show gradual and unidirectional progression among the adult population. This is a normative theory. who’s the jerk here? I know that my associate isn’t very reliable and here I am putting myself again in a situation where my welfare is in his hands. M C/9 C O MegaSpace N S U LT I N G June.com . Instead of reacting with Mary’s instant anger. not only does she attend to what is being communicated by Dennis’s behavior. Ontario M5P 2E9 Canada 416. In scene two. A Theory for Transformative Change This example is at the heart of Robert Kegan’s brilliant elucidation of transformative change. In Keegan’s scenario. This is a standing arrangement they have made.
it is the increasing capacity to stand apart from our assumptions or styles that allow us to critically examine them. in-depth tool than a typical force field analysis. Indeed. Warren Bennis). Indeed. How The Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work.g. and to respectfully engage with those different from us. and within those stages one may have varying stylistic or voice preferences. What really excites me about this approach is twofold. 2) negentropy.6660 meg@megsalter. 34 Eastbourne Avenue.a frustrating experience for many leaders and OD professionals. which keeps systems in a state of overall stability. and 3) dynamic equilibrium. or you might be fooled into thinking that this is just another useful trick to add to your OD tool bag! The tools involve: • Probing underneath complaints to see what commitments they represent. First. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. order and energy concentration. or gradual falling apart.g. By surfacing and looking at our assumptions. Meg Salter. either the grief-work/response to loss approach (e. • Probing underneath this competing commitment to discern the "big assumptions” (Lahey 1994. we have the chance to gain enough distance to make into an object of reflection what was once the subjective force through which we filtered our experience. C O MegaSpace N S U LT I N G June. it looks respectfully at understanding why things so often don’t change . Secondly. or hidden immune system to change. or evolving to a higher levels of complexity. Place of Publication). Ontario M5P 2E9 Canada 416. While these are valid perspectives.486.com .critical of course. William Bridges) or the burning platform/heroic leader approach (e. His approach to change is based on working with the forces of equilibrium and looking at these forces and the unexamined assumptions that underpin them. it is in contrast to most theories of change. (Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. The model for understanding how change happens is based on organic forces or complex adaptive systems. These exhibit 1) entropy. • Probing underneath these commitments to see what you are doing or not doing to keep these commitments from being fully realized. pg #) which organize how we make meaning in our world. experience to date would suggest that they are partial and often not effective. Toronto. The language tools that Kegan and Lahey outline are not difficult to understand or apply. Languages for Transformative Change Kegan takes his theory about transformative change into the practical arena with his most recent book. most of which come from an individual rather than a systemic perspective. 2001. Jossey-Bass. 2004 | Page 3 • Probing underneath these actions to discern the competing commitments that you also hold. and in my view is a much more powerful. this is the reason why I stress the theory base above. to ponder whether we construct our styles and preferences or they construct us. This outlines the dynamic equilibrium that perpetuates the current situation.
486. I find the work of Kegan and Lahey exciting because it probes how this is so and offers a sound. Transformative change is truly difficult. collective languages are also outlined that allow these assumptions to be exposed to ongoing testing. hidden assumptions. and I’m communicating so that you will change your behaviour. all the time. intelligent support and guidance! Meg Salter is the principal of MegaSpace Consulting. as professionals or as citizens. and it happens naturally. Meg Salter.co m leader . Many leaders and Organizational Development professionals are quietly frustrated by how little lasting impact their interventions create. For example. 34 Eastbourne Avenue. is to give it conscious.These are primarily languages for surfacing our individual. that they seem to differ. and exposing the hidden assumptions on which they operate. Various social. specializing in organizational and individual effectiveness for a complex. Toronto. Deconstructive communication assumes that we both think our perspectives are valid. These are: conferring recognition and regard. and that this represents a resource for individual and organizational learning.com 416/4866660 or www. knowledgebased economy. The best we can do.megsalter. and creating public agreements and deconstructive criticism.salter.6660 meg@megsalter. research-based theory that encouraging truly transformative change.com . constructive criticism assumes that I’m right. She can be reached at mea@meg. It also provides a sober yet encouraging perspective for us all. Ontario M5P 2E9 Canada 416. What these all have in common is taking usual workplace ways and discussions.
No obstante. analiza y mira hacia el futuro. coautores del aclamado Made to Stick. asimismo. Toronto. ingeniero industrial por la Texas A&M University y doctor en Psicología por la Universidad de Stanford. los hijos. comerse una tarta y ver un rato la televisión. asesora a empresas como Nike y Microsoft. Uno quiere un cuerpo escultural y aprovechar el tiempo para aprender idiomas y el otro. una innovadora editorial de libros de texto multimedia.com . el emocional ansía tener siempre nuevos retos. Pag 4 Allanar el camino. que siente dolor y placer. Hay cambios fáciles y cambios difíciles. Nuestro lado emocional es un elefante y el racional. Esto es así porque el corazón y la mente están en conflicto. Ontario M5P 2E9 Canada 416. Encaramado sobre el elefante. e investigador de la Harvard Business School. El racional se opone con firmeza a cualquier cambio de la rutina. Por otra.surmaries Introducción. Pag 1 Dirigir al jinete. Dan Heath trabaja en la Universidad de Duke asesorando a jóvenes emprendedores. Por una parte está el lado emocional. Columnista en la prestigiosa revista Fast Company. Pag 2 Motivar al elefante. que delibera. traducido a más de treinta lenguas y que estuvo durante 24 semanas en las listas de los libros más vendidos de EE. Pag 7 Contenido Título del Libro: Cambia el chip Autor: Chip Heath y Dan Heath Fecha de Publicación: 11 de Enero 2011 Editorial: Gestión 2000 N° Páginas: 312 ISBN: 9788498750867 LOS AUTORES: Chip Heath es profesor de Comportamiento Organizacional en la Gradúate School of Business de la Universidad de Stanford. Resumen autorizado de: Gambia el chip por Chip Meg Salter.6660 meg@megsalter. las nuevas tecnologías o los nuevos trabajos. y da conferencias por todo el mundo. Pag 5 Conclusión. nuestro lado instintivo. 34 Eastbourne Avenue. Los hermanos Heath son.486. Los fumadores siguen fumando y los niños siguen engordando demasiado. e lLeader Summaries © 2011. algunos hábitos los consideramos innegociables. está el racional o reflexivo. Fue fundador de Thinkwell. UU . su jinete.Introducción A lo largo de nuestra vida aceptamos muchos cambios importantes: el matrimonio.
los errores pueden paralizar la ejecución. Un elefante reticente y un jinete que piense demasiado pueden hacer que no se produzca ningún cambio. al frente de la nueva compañía. el caos resultó ser aún mayor. y obtuvo la concesión de su gestión. lo que paralizan nuestra capacidad de decisión. Tras un periodo de dirección provisional. cuando Behring y su equipo asumieron el mando. de repente las opciones proliferan y los hábitos rutinarios se transforman en decisiones con las que no estamos familiarizados. si queremos que las cosas cambien. En 1995 se llevó a cabo la privatización del sistema ferroviario brasileño. La ambigüedad es mala. si llegamos a los jinetes de nuestro equipo pero no conseguimos llegar a los elefantes. que recorría los estados meridionales de Brasil. Como era de esperar.486. Pero el elefante también tiene fortalezas enormes y el jinete. Toronto. debilidades muy serias.6660 meg@megsalter. Cualquier cambio exitoso requiere que traduzcamos los objetivos ambiguos en comportamientos concretos. que pasó a llamarse América Latina Logística (ALL). La mitad de los puentes de la red necesitaba algún tipo de reparación y el 20 % de ellos estaba al borde del colapso. el joven Alexandre Behring. En ambos casos. El cambio genera nuevas opciones y ambigüedad. Dirigir al jinete Describir los movimientos críticos. Nos sentimos más cómodos y tranquilos con menos opciones. Gestion 2000 © 2011. en momentos de cambio. Ontario M5P 2E9 Canada 416. porque es muy pequeño comparado con el elefante. y sus derechos de gestión salieron a subasta. El sistema ferroviario que compró GP era un caos y. Pero cuando van al unísono. que tiene capacidad para ver a largo plazo. En el contexto de la gestión. El ansia del elefante por la gratificación inmediata es lo opuesto a la fortaleza del jinete. H jinete sujeta las riendas y parece ser el líder. con personal y prioridades nuevas. Para lograr un cambio tenemos que tener un guion. y el segundo. el piloto automático ya no sirve. Para progresar hacia un objetivo hay que contar con la energía y la determinación del elefante. la simpatía y la lealtad o el instinto de proteger a sus hijos. Chip Heath y su hermano Dan. tenemos que apelar tanto al jinete como al elefante. Pero el control del jinete es precario. que quedó dividido en siete ramales. la empresa decidió poner a uno de sus propios ejecutivos.cional. dos reconocidos especialistas en comportamiento organiza. el cambio es fácil. la compasión. Una empresa privada. GP Investimentos Limited. cuando nuestras rutinas nos hacen funcionar en modo de piloto automático. nuestro equipo tendrá comprensión sin motivación. El primero aporta la planificación y la dirección. la energía. pujó muy alto por el ramal conocido como “línea del sur”. 34 Eastbourne Avenue. En este libro. no deja de darles vueltas a las cosas: tiende a analizar y pensar excesivamente en ellas. El jinete. nos explican cómo alinear el jinete con el elefante para que los cambios que emprendamos nos resulten más placenteros y obtengamos mejores resultados. el caos fue considerable. Pero. en cambio. planificar y pensar más allá del momento. La parálisis de decisión habría sido inevitable si Behring no hubiera Meg Salter.Heath y Dan Heath.com . Por lo tanto. Elegir un donut entre cien variedades de sabores es igual de difícil que no saber cuáles son las opciones disponibles. El territorio del primero son las emociones: el amor. tendremos pasión sin dirección. Si llegamos a los elefantes pero no a sus jinetes.
3. En 1998. por ejemplo. la compañía tuvo que abandonar el negocio del transporte de grano porque no tenía suficientes locomotoras.com . La mejor solución a cualquier problema era la que. Tres años después. sobre las opciones más lentas que permitieran soluciones mejores pero a más largo plazo. Esto redujo el tiempo de inactividad e incrementó el número de rutas por locomotora. Behring no podía permitirse el lujo de planificar a largo plazo.dejado claro lo que había que hacer exactamente. la disciplina de Behring empezó a dar frutos. 4. en principio. algo similar a lo que hizo la compañía Southwest Airlines cuando redujo su tiempo de rotación en la puerta de embarque (el tiempo que transcurre desde que aterriza hasta que vuelve a despegar). Ontario M5P 2E9 Canada 416. incluso si a largo plazo acababa costando más.6660 meg@megsalter. tanto él como su director financiero. Se daría prioridad a las opciones que permitieran resolver un problema con rapidez. 34 Eastbourne Avenue. Los Meg Salter. Además. Toronto. con la esperanza de que ALL pudiera ganar el tiempo suficiente para llevar a cabo una transformación total. Únicamente se invertiría dinero en proyectos que aumentaran los ingresos de ALL a corto plazo. Al concentrarse en los movimientos más importantes. Era mejor reutilizar o reciclar materiales existentes que adquirir materiales nuevos. De acuerdo con los principios “más vale rápido que mejor” y “minimizar el efectivo a pagar por adelantado”. Su máxima prioridad era salvar ALL de su precario y ruinoso estado financiero. 2. Duilio Carciolari. Para conseguirlo. hizo que para los suyos fuera más fácil cambiar de dirección. los ingenieros de ALL trabajaban contra reloj para reparar sus viejas locomotoras. definieron cuatro reglas que iban a regir las decisiones de inversión de la compañía: 1. iba a costar menos dinero. Los ingenieros también encontraron otra solución creativa para el problema persistente de las vías en mal estado. En lugar de comprar nuevos raíles de metal. e incluso si era una solución de menor calidad. aprovecharon vías de estaciones abandonadas y las instalaron en rutas activas.486. mientras que sus competidores estaban negociando la compra de otras nuevas. que costaban 400 dólares por tonelada. los ingenieros de ALL descubrieron cómo aumentar la capacidad de combustible de las locomotoras para que pudieran operar más tiempo sin necesidad de repostar. Necesitaba que los suyos avanzaran cuanto antes en una nueva dirección.
Los puestos de trabajo en el campo y la industria habían ido disminuyendo lentamente y no había nada que los reemplazara. como la de un productor de carne orgánica o una de reparación de turbinas eóli. impulsarían la economía local en siete millones de dólares. gastando más dinero en el condado. a buscar lagunas y a debatir con nosotros las conclusiones que hayamos sacado. habían preparado una impresionante cantidad de hojas de cálculo. para evitar así la competencia con centenares de competidores menores. Por ejemplo. Para la presentación de sus conclusiones ante la comunidad los estudiantes. Un año después. entre otras cosas. Para ver cómo funciona esto en la práctica nos puede servir el caso de la compañía British Petroleum (BP). Redujeron sus costes de 5 dólares a M . De inmediato. no cambiará nada. como el condado estaba recaudando más impuestos. Los estudiantes analizaron la situación. el mismo año en que comenzó la privatización del sistema ferroviario en Brasil. un objetivo general como “llevar una vida más sana” tiene que ser necesariamente impreciso y esa ambigüedad hace que nos resulte fácil racionalizar el fracaso. Los éxitos de los ferrocarriles brasileños y del condado de Miner tuvieron suerte de contar con una dirección clara. El cambio tuvo un efecto dominó. cuadros y gráficos. cuando apuntamos a un destino atractivo. Apuntar al destino. hicieron una encuesta y descubrieron. la cantidad de dinero gastada en el condado excedió todas las expectativas: se había más que duplicado. Nuestro primer instinto. Los estudiantes descubrieron que había que gastar el dinero de manera local y así mantener los dólares de Miner en el propio condado. Hacia finales de los años ochenta. Hay que evitar que el jinete caiga en la introspección y darle un guion que le diga cómo tiene que actuar. Las postales de destino —imágenes de un futuro que el trabajo duro puede hacer posible— pueden ser tremendamente inspiradoras y tener una gran resonancia emocional. Howard y el resto del condado Miner llevaban décadas de recesión. El pueblo de Howard se convirtió en sede de empresas del siglo XXI. Estaba claro que si el condado Miner tenía que renacer. En 1989. en muchas situaciones de cambio. La fase de análisis le resulta más gratificante que la de puesta en práctica. un grupo de alumnos de bachillerato de Howard. El problema era. demasiado complejo para resolverlo.cas. por más que no faltase la motivación. Pero si la solución es tan compleja como el problema. un problema grande o importante requiere una solución grande. a analizarlos. empezó a pensar en un plan de recuperación para su comunidad. Esta situación provocaba una parálisis de decisión. que la mitad de los residentes compraba fuera del condado. simplemente. No obstante. Esto le encanta al jinete: empieza a repasar los datos. y eso es peligroso para el cambio. el jinete empieza a usar sus fortalezas para averiguar cómo llegar hasta allí. La audiencia quedó impresionada y la presentación fue mejor de lo que todos esperaban. Sin embargo. es ofrecer datos al jinete: decirle qué es lo que hay que cambiar y ofrecerle cuadros y gráficos que lo demuestren. tenía más dinero para financiar las otras propuestas que los grupos locales habían considerado. En 1995. A medida que el paisaje cambiaba. También decidieron atacar los costes. había que proporcionar un fuerte impulso a su economía. Para el jinete. La ambigüedad cansa y pone en peligro los esfuerzos de cambio: el principal mérito de Behring fue eliminarla.Cambia el chip resultados de ALL pasaron de unas pérdidas netas de 80 millones de reales en 1998 a un beneficio neto de 24 millones de reales en 2000. Una solución a ese problema es definir objetivos emocionalmente atractivos a la vez que inequívocos. se preocuparon de simplificar todos estos datos en un hecho simple y sorprendente: habían calculado que si los residentes de Howard gastaban tan solo un 10% más de sus ingresos localmente. sus líderes decidieron concentrarse únicamente en los grandes yacimientos y dejar de competir por los más pequeños. Los alumnos habían redactado el primer movimiento crítico y los residentes respondieron inmediatamente. los grandes descubrimientos de los yacimientos empezaron a decaer. la estrategia de BP iba evolucionando. porque creían que se gastaba demasiado en exploración. El “elefante” de la comunidad estaba dispuesto a moverse. Dakota del Sur. pero no sabía hacia dónde.
Este cambio se consigue básicamente apelando a los sentimientos. o cualquier otra cosa que afecte emocionalmente.sentir-cambiar. Cuando BP no dejó ningún espacio en el que esconderse. lan Vann. estos últimos tenían que venderse ante los directivos para recibir luz verde para perforar. Pero estos se movían en función de los números. sino que se necesitaba uno sin precedentes. Para preparar las presentaciones para sus colegas de Target. este proceso funciona bastante bien. El porcentaje de éxito histórico en la perforación de un pozo nuevo era aproximadamente de uno de cada ocho. la noción de que. Reforzaron sus análisis y tomaron menos decisiones basadas en probabilidades. No obstante. Robyn Waters. la estructura. lo cual los lleva a obviar lo más importante: cambiar el comportamiento. revisaban las ventas de los años anteriores y comprobaban que el color no había vendido. incluso si no se localiza un pozo en particular. En un entorno normal. Por ejemplo. el elefante es reacio a moverse y los argumentos analíticos son de poca ayuda. Debido a la incertidumbre que genera el cambio. se basó en la filosofía ver. En casi todos los esfuerzos de cambio exitosos. si realmente querían perforar un pozo. Una opinión muy extendida es que el cambio se produce por este orden: primero analizamos. los empleados dejaron de intentar hacerlo. la secuencia de cambio no es analizarpensar-cambiar. Motivar al elefante Identificar el sentimiento. no tenían más que limitarse a manipular las cifras en una hoja de cálculo. no bastaba con tener un rendimiento nuevo. Anunció su nueva visión: “prohibidos los pozos secos”. Waters necesitaba que los responsables de compras se emocionaran con el color. más valía que no estuviera seco. los directivos se centran en la estrategia. el equipo apren derá tanto en el proceso que las operaciones futuras serán más exitosas. sino también emocional. 1 H Pero en situaciones de grandes cambios. Llegaron a la conclusión de que. para reducir los costes de exploración. pero. En esfuerzos de cambio que han tenido éxito. pero el porcentaje de éxito de BP era mucho más elevado: uno de cada cinco. luego pensamos y después cambiamos. Sin embargo. Lo primero que tenía que hacer un ejecutivo de BP que quisiera recortar los costes de exploración en un 80% sería eliminar esa falsa sensación de comodidad y ambigüedad en el objetivo que hacía que la justificación aumentase. Un pozo podría ser estratégico o no.Cambia el chip dólar por barril. En muchas situaciones de cambio. director de exploración de BP en aquel momento. que iba a ser la tendencia dominante para la nueva temporada. sino ver-sentir-cambiar. BP tenía que minimizar el número de “pozos secos” perforados. cuando los parámetros se conocen. las hipótesis son mínimas y el futuro no es incierto. Los investigadores de BP empezaron a estudiar exploraciones pasadas y descubrieron que las predicciones de los exploradores eran extraordinariamente precisas. en la que M . si una persona no está segura de casarse con su pareja. Fue a la juguetería FAO Schwarz. la gente encuentra la manera de ayudar a los demás a ver los problemas o soluciones no solo desde el punto de vista racional. a partir de ahora. Pensaban que. los parámetros no se conocen muy bien y el futuro es incierto. Para reducir costes de manera tan drástica. directora de diseño de la cadena. Una era la del “aprendizaje”. Por eso Waters tuvo que ser muy creativa. será difícil convencerla hablándole de las ventajas fiscales y de los impuestos que puede ahorrarse. seguramente encontrarían alguno con petróleo para compensar. la cultura o los sistemas. descubrió una forma de eliminar la posibilidad de que sus exploradores escurriesen el bulto. Este objetivo fue muy eficaz para acabar de raíz con dos tipos de justificaciones para las operaciones de perforación mal diseñadas. La otra justificación era que ciertos pozos tenían “valor estratégico”. El cambio funciona porque los líderes saben hablar tanto al jinete como al elefante. La idea de eliminar los pozos secos llevó a los exploradores a ser más sistemáticos a la hora de elaborar los mapas y agregar la información disponible. Hay que presentar pruebas que generen algún tipo de sentimiento. Puede tratarse de una visión molesta de un problema o una esperanzadora de la solución. aunque tuvieran que perforar muchos pozos secos.
tienen tres de color neutro. cuando la tarjeta estaba rellena con ocho sellos. Un túnel de lavado local lanzó una promoción en la que ofrecía tarjetas de fidelidad a sus clientes. El camino que empezó con pavor está evolucionando. porque las cosas están funcionando. ¿qué haría alguien como yo en esta situación? En este modelo lo que está ausente es el cálculo de costes y beneficios. cuando hemos de tomar una decisión. el elefante va creciendo. Se trata de hacer un cambio lo suficientemente pequeño para que pueda contribuir a conseguir una victoria. únicamente el 19% de los clientes que necesitaban ocho sellos había conseguido un lavado gratuito. Un ejemplo clásico son los votantes de los partidos políticos que. aunque al principio sea lento. fresa. En el modelo de identidad. ese polo de color azul eléctrico aparecía en la tienda Target como parte de la nueva colección. Reducir la dimensión del cambio. Motiva más haber recorrido una parte de un camino largo que estar al inicio de uno más corto. La finalidad era la misma para los dos grupos de clientes: compra ocho lavados y tendrás una recompensa. nos hacemos tres preguntas: ¿quién soy?. Y al poco tiempo. es preferible que le digamos a nuestra pareja que pague la factura de la luz en vez de que cancele su tarjeta de crédito. pero su punto de partida era mejor que el de los otros: cuando recibían sus tarjetas. hacia un sentimiento de confianza y orgullo. Los grandes cambios proceden de una sucesión de pequeños cambios. cuando lo hace. lo más adecuado es fragmentarla o reducir las dimensiones de cambio. Si nos enfrentamos a una tarea ardua y nuestro instinto es evitarla. sus temores se disipan y empieza a avanzar rápidamente. entusiasmados de formar parte de la misma tendencia que Steve Jobs y Apple. le ponían un sello en su tarjeta y. El elefante no tiene ningún problema para conquistar esos pequeños hitos y. Unos meses después. verde y naranja—. en el otro. ¿de qué tipo de situación se trata?. Otros clientes del mismo túnel de lavado recibieron una tarjeta de fidelidad ligeramente diferente. A la hora de elegir. solo una deuda pequeña—. La demostración de este hecho la podemos ver en el siguiente experimento que se realizó en un túnel de lavado de coches.Cambia el chip se pueden encontrar M&Ms de todos los colores posibles. Una forma eficaz de motivar la acción es hacer que la gente se sienta como si estuviera más cerca de la línea de meta de lo que cree. una manera de reducir el cambio es. y compró unas bolsas enormes llenas de M&Ms de colores brillantes para sus primeras reuniones. Los objetivos pequeños llevan a conseguir victorias pequeñas. Cada vez que un cliente compraba un lavado. uno amarillo claro y luego añaden el azul eléctrico para destacar”. sopesamos los pros y los contras de nuestras opciones y tomamos la decisión que maximiza nuestra satisfacción. Cuando una persona limpia una habitación o salda una deuda pendiente. Hacer que se sientan orgullosos. como una bola de nieve. creativos y competitivos. o a un alcohólico que deje de beber durante las próximas 24 horas en vez de para siempre. lo importante es conseguir que el elefante se mueva. Y las victorias pequeñas suelen desencadenar una espiral de comportamientos positivos. No importa que estos últimos parezcan casi triviales. Waters pensó detenidamente en lo que verían sus colegas porque sabía cómo quería que se sintieran: dinamizados. En las reuniones. ya tenían dos sellos estampados en ellas. limitar la inversión requerida —solo cinco minutos de limpieza. conseguía un lavado gratis. El modelo de las consecuencias sostiene que cuando hemos de tomar una decisión. Para conseguir un lavado gratis tenían que reunir diez sellos en lugar de ocho. los clientes ya tenían el 20% del camino recorrido y. Y al mismo tiempo que va disminuyendo la dimensión del cambio. Entonces. Pero la psicología de cada propuesta era diferente: en un caso. que causó una auténtica sensación. se siente menos asustado y reacio. Por ello. por tanto. Después montaba una exposición para que los responsables de compras pudieran ver por sí mismos de qué manera destacaba el azul. Waters mostraba a un responsable de compras la foto de una colección de polos y decía: “ves. tendemos a confiar en uno o dos modelos de decisión básicos: el modelo de las consecuencias y el de identidad. con cada paso nuevo que da. por lo M . frente al 34% del grupo que había empezado con ventaja. Otra es conseguir pequeñas victorias o hitos que sean factibles. lentamente. esperanzados. partían de cero. También llevó muestras del recientemente lanzado iMac de Apple —de color lima.
podemos proporcionarle una dirección clara (jinete) o aumentar su motivación y determinación (elefante). con poco crecimiento y poca emoción. Los empleados de Brasilata empezaron a llamarse “inventores” y. y labrarse la fama de ser la más innovadora de América Latina. En 2008. La empresa Brasilata. una compañía manufacturera brasileña de 170 millones de dólares. Ser inventor se había convertido para ellos en una fuente de orgullo y fortaleza. Con una décima parte del esfuerzo que supondría hacer una llamada telefónica. Es una industria madura. Para verlo mejor. Parecía un reto que merecía la pena aceptar. Si queremos que alguien cambie. pero Brasilata supo desafiar el estereotipo de fabricante aburrido y anclado en el pasado. Una nueva identidad era el núcleo del programa. solicitaban activamente ideas innovadoras a sus empleados. El hecho de que un fabricante de latas tenga fama de innovador se debió al hecho de que los fundadores de Brasilata se inspiraran en la filosofía de los fabricantes de coches japoneses como Honda y Toyota. eliminado las fricciones en el camino o poniendo muchas señales para informarle de que se está acercando: en definitiva. Esa cifra situaba a Brasilata al mismo nivel que los marcadores de tendencias japoneses que habían inspirado el programa. cuando se incorporaban. podemos comprar un libro o un DVD. Los encargados de las tiendas de alimentación querían que pasáramos más tiempo en su tienda.2 ideas por inventor. La identidad de “inventor” que creó la empresa fue lo que ha impulsado su éxito y la satisfacción de sus empleados.Cambia el chip general. en Toyota. [■] Para ver de qué forma un camino allanado puede cambiar el comportamiento. Hace unos años. se les pedía que firmaran un contrato de innovación. si un empleado localizaba un defecto. y reducir los costes del sistema. la pregunta que debemos hacernos es la siguiente: ¿cómo podemos conseguir que el cambio sea una cuestión de identidad en lugar de una cuestión de consecuencias? La identidad desempeña un papel crucial en prácticamente todas las situaciones de cambio. pensemos en el sistema de pedidos de Amazon con un solo clic. dándole un empujón. los fundadores de Brasilata lanzaron un programa de innovación entre sus empleados inspirado en las dos empresas japonesas. En 1987. Por ejemplo. podemos simplemente facilitarle el viaje. consideraremos una empresa inventora de una identidad que acabó convirtiéndose en el motor de su éxito. hemos de tomar en consideración las veces en que se modifica nuestro entorno para modelar nuestro comportamiento. Allanar el camino Modificar el entorno. Esto ralentizaba el proceso de facturación de la empresa. El banco estaba harto de que nos olvidáramos nuestra tarjeta en el cajero. En él se les animaba a estar atentos a cualquier innovación o idea potencial para mejorar productos o procesos de producción. que M . Las identidades son fundamentales en el proceso de toma de decisiones y cualquier cambio que viole la identidad de una persona está condenado al fracaso. por lo que diseñó un sistema para que la retirada del dinero fuese obligatoriamente precedida por la retirada de la tarjeta. así que colocaron los productos lácteos al final de todo. Los ingenieros de tráfico querían que condujéramos de forma predecible y metódica. Los diseñadores de la página web de Amazon simplemente han hecho que el comportamiento deseado — que la gente gaste dinero en su sitio— sea un poco más fácil y con ello han generado millones de dólares en ingresos adicionales. que daban autoridad a los empleados de primera línea para hacerse cargo de su propio trabajo. Modificar el entorno es hacer el comportamiento adecuado un poco más fácil y el comportamiento inadecuado un poco más difícil. Ningún empleado de Brasilata había nacido “inventor”. allanarle el camino. Les hablaron de la identidad y les gustó. Por lo tanto. una empresa de consultoría tenía el problema de que sus empleados no presentaban sus hojas de horas de trabajo a tiempo. los empleados presentaron una media de 145. rara vez actúan por interés propio y casi siempre por la identificación que sienten hacia uno u otro candidato o formación política. además. El programa tuvo tanto éxito que superó todas las expectativas. Para ver su importancia en el contexto empresarial. podía interrumpir la línea de montaje. se dedica a la producción de latas de acero. Como alternativa. Las oportunidades en este sentido son infinitas. Los procedimientos desarrollados en la empresa hicieron que fuera muy fácil para los inventores proponer sus ideas. por lo que pintaron líneas en las carreteras e instalaron semáforos y señales de tráfico. Toyota y Honda.
Crear hábitos. abrió la reunión a todo el mundo y obligó a que hubiera. únicamente estaremos cambiándole el nombre al problema esencial. se aseguró un intercambio libre y abierto de información por toda la organización. En segundo lugar. un representante de cada grupo funcional. al cabo de unas semanas. Fue entonces cuando los directivos recurrieron a un consultor externo para que descubriera la raíz del problema e intentara poner remedio a la situación. inmediatamente. claridad y eficiencia en la ubicación de medio millón de tropas. el tutorial de la herramienta on line. Tradicionalmente. de más herramientas de las que creemos. en este sentido. Ante este reto. En la universidad nos enseñaron a concentrarnos en los incentivos. Si cambiamos el camino. cada uno decía todo lo que tenía que decir y luego. Pagonis era responsable de mover 550 000 tropas y su equipamiento por todo el mundo: disponer de lo necesario para servir 122 millones de comidas. bajo el mando del presidente George H. irónicamente. Nuestros padres nos decían: “¡Haz esto o no te daré la paga!”.30 h. Su innovación consistía en introducir dos cambios importantes en esta rutina. los ejecutivos intensificaron el ataque: advirtieron de que nadie cobraría la nómina a menos que utilizara la herramienta. como prepararse la ropa de deporte antes de acostarse o pedirle a un amigo que realmente haga ejercicio que nos recoja de camino al gimnasio. las tasas de aceptación aumentaron inmediatamente y. Nuestros hábitos están profundamente asociados a nuestro entorno. pero la inmensa mayoría continuó haciéndolo en papel. por ejemplo. Cuando el cambio es difícil de adoptar. pasaba el testigo al siguiente. el resto simplemente lo ignoró. los consultores presentaban sus hojas de trabajo en papel y lo hacían bastante bien. Cuando los ejecutivos quitaron el tutorial. suministrar 4. Esto únicamente funcionó con la mitad de los empleados.Cambia el chip facturaba a sus clientes en función de las horas trabajadas de sus empleados. crea su propio problema de cambio independiente. si estamos intentando hacer más ejercicio y decidimos crear el hábito de ir al gimnasio. Sería más productivo intentar empezar creando un hábito más fácil. todo el mundo estaba utilizando la herramienta. W. cuando alguien empezaba a alargarse demasiado. Pero crear un hábito no solo tiene que ver con el entorno. ofreciendo así la posibilidad de pasar directamente al formulario. como mínimo. si queremos cambiar. hemos de cambiar nuestro entorno. En primer lugar. Por ello. Bush. que se había introducido con la intención de ayudar a cumplimentar la hoja. Pero disponemos. Para allanar el camino hay dos estrategias fundamentales: (1) modificar el entorno y (2) M . Luego la empresa introdujo una herramienta para hacerlo on line. Cuando el consultor hizo una encuesta a los empleados que presentaban sus hojas de horas trabajadas en papel descubrió que el problema era. Para crear un hábito que favorezca el cambio que estamos intentando hacer. Por ejemplo. pues descubrió que las cosas fluían mucho más deprisa. Una comunicación clara y eficiente en este sentido fue esencial. los ejecutivos trataron de hacer el uso del poder que les otorgaba su cargo y anunciaron la obligatoriedad de la nueva herramienta. Sería muy difícil cambiar el entorno de forma que nos obligara a aprender a tocar el piano. Pero esta medida era claramente absurda y difícil de llevar a la práctica. El tutorial era algo parecido al molesto tipo en forma de clip sujetapapeles de Microsoft Office que aparentemente servía para ayudarnos a escribir una carta. Frustrados.9 billones de litros de combustible y otras tantas cosas por el estilo. el general Pagonis tenía una reunión que empezaba a las 8. fundamentalmente tenemos que tener presentes dos cosas: (1) el hábito tiene que favorecer nuestra misión y (2) el hábito tiene que ser fácil de adoptar.00 h de la mañana y terminaba a las 8. Una reunión de pie no garantizaba visión. de ese modo. la presión del grupo era tal que la conversación rápidamente volvía a centrarse. obligó a todos los presentes a permanecer de pie durante toda la reunión. El entorno puede reforzar o debilitar nuestros hábitos. pero los favorecía y era gratis. también es mental. Según un estudio sobre personas que han hecho cambios en sus vidas. y únicamente el 13% de los cambios no exitosos incluían un traslado. el 36% de los cambios exitosos se asociaban a traslados a una nueva ubicación. Cada mañana. El general William “Gus” Pagonis dirigió la operación de logística en la guerra del Golfo. En rara ocasión. cambiaremos el comportamiento.
Los pacientes de la UCI suelen llevar vías intravenosas a través de las cuales reciben la medicación que necesitan. Frustrado por estas infecciones de las vías. incluso salvar vidas. rutinario o burocrático. las infecciones causadas por las vías desaparecieron casi por completo. ni polémico. hay que desinfectar la piel del paciente con antiséptico en el punto de inserción. pueden surgir complicaciones importantes. Una herramienta que combina perfectamente estos dos enfoques es la humilde lista de tareas. el Dr. Si estas vías se infectan. pero es un instrumento que puede cambiarlo todo. Peter Pronovost. La lista no tenía nada nuevo. lo queW M . del John Hopkins University.Cambia el chip crear hábitos. Utilizar una lista de tareas nos puede parecer mundano. elaboró una lista de tareas para enfermeras que contenía indicaciones muy claras: hay que lavarse bien las manos antes de insertar una vía. etc. pero sus resultados fueron sorprendentes: cuando se puso en práctica en la UCI de varios hospitales de Michigan durante un periodo de 18 meses.
tiene una dirección clara. es porque el jinete. Cuando una persona cambia. espera que se le mime un poco más y se le dé una toalla limpia cada vez que la necesita. En ciertos sentidos. un grupo de psicólogos sociales convenció al director de un hotel para que pusiera a prueba una nueva tarjeta en el baño del hotel. El experimento funcionó: los huéspedes que tenían la tarjeta en su baño tenían un 26% más de probabilidades de reutilizar sus toallas.J Título del Libro: Winning Autor: Jack Welch y Suzy Welch Fecha de Publicación: 5 de Abril 2006 Editorial: Collins N° Páginas: 384 ISBN: 0060753943 M . sino que simplemente decía: “La mayoría de los huéspedes del hotel reutilizan sus toallas al menos una vez durante su estancia”. Los pequeños cambios tienden a ir sumándose. lo más probable es que siga al grupo. La presión del grupo es muy importante. si queremos cambiar algo. pero tampoco siempre es difícil. por lo que es conveniente crear uno. suele seguir un determinado patrón. como es el caso de la situación de cambio. Algo tan simple como las listas puede tener un impacto muy fuerte porque educan a las personas en lo que es mejor. Siguieron el ejemplo de la mayoría. No hacía ningún tipo de mención al medio ambiente. en otros. Hacemos las cosas porque vemos que los demás las hacen. Aprovechar la fuerza del grupo.tilicen las toallas. su cumplimiento reduce la probabilidad de error. Además. Pero mucha gente no tiene claro que debe reutilizar su toalla. el cambio está en todas partes. cuando el cambio funciona. que facilitan un esfuerzo de cambio o lo condenan. El comportamiento es contagioso. mostrándoles una forma incuestionable de hacer las cosas. En otras palabras. Conscientes del poder del comportamiento contagioso. normalmente apelando a un objetivo a favor del medio ambiente como el ahorro del agua. Esto no significa que el cambio sea fácil. mucha motivación y un entorno propicio. Conclusión Los grandes cambios pueden empezar con pasos muy pequeños. Tenemos una tendencia especial a imitar el comportamiento de nuestros semejantes cuando una situación es desconocida o ambigua. es poco probable. porque no puede entrar en el cuarto de baño de los demás huéspedes. No hay una norma social obvia a la que se pueda remitir. Cuando dirigimos a un elefante por un camino desconocido. tendremos que prestar mucha atención a las señales sociales. el elefante y el camino están alineados en su apoyo . cuando el cambio funciona. una cosa es cierta: por lo general. En el cuarto de baño de los hoteles suele haber unas pequeñas tarjetas que sugieren a los clientes que reu. Por tanto. Sin embargo.Cambia el chip ahorró a los hospitales unos 175 millones de dólares en el tratamiento de las complicaciones asociadas.
Pag 7 M . Pag 6 Parte cuarta: la carrera. a la que condujo hasta lo más alto del ranking mundial. Pag 4 Parte tercera: la competencia. Además de este libro. LLC e imparte conferencias por todo el mundo. Pag 1 Parte primera: los cimientos. creatividad. EL AUTOR: Jack Welch entró a formar parte de la General Electric Company en 1960 y alcanzó el puesto de director general en 1981. En la actualidad. Suzy Welch ha sido directora de la Harvard Business Review y es autora de numerosos artículos sobre dirección. Su mandato se recuerda como uno de los más prósperos en la historia de la compañía. es autor del bestseller Hablando Claro. surmaries Contenido Introducción. Pag 2 Parte segunda: la empresa. Welch se dedica al asesoramiento de grandes empresas a través de su consultora Jack Welch.Cambia el chip leader . Ha colaborado también en diversos libros sobre dirección empresarial. cambio y organización en la empresa.
Por tanto. trata de la estructura interior de una organización: las personas. el hecho de que una excesiva reflexión puede conducir a la inactividad. El libro consta de cuatro partes: 1 La primera parte. la necesidad absoluta de sinceridad en todos los aspectos de la gestión y el poder de la diferenciación o un sistema basado en la meritocra. los ascensos. lo más importante. unos valores concretos. Contiene la filosofía de la empresa. el intercambio de conocimientos. 4 La cuarta parte. etc. cómo evitar caer en el victimismo y. disfrutan de más recursos y pueden devolver una parte de ellos a la sociedad. llamada “La carrera”. los cambios y la gestión de las crisis. nas ideas brillantes a la práctica. Resumen autorizado de: Winning por Jack Welch y Suzy Welch. todas ellas se reducían a una única cues Leader Summaries © 2009. sugiere directrices que seguir. se ocupa del mundo exterior a la organización: cómo crear ventajas estratégicas en el mercado. cómo mantener siempre una actitud positiva y contagiarla a los demás. Harper Collins © 2009. Algunos de los temas son recurrentes: la búsqueda y retención de los mejores empleados. Por ello. a fin de cuentas. las personas lo significan todo. El éxito es un fenómeno complejo. los procesos y la cultura que la configuran.cia. supuestos que asumir y errores que evitar. Aquí. es de carácter conceptual. titulada “Los cimientos”. 3 La tercera parte. las personas se sienten optimistas respecto a su futuro. la contratación. que entraña muchas dificultades y está lleno de matices.Cambia el chip Gana tión: ¿cómo se consigue el éxito? El éxito significa ganar y. los protagonistas de este libro son principalmente las personas: sus logros. pues el autor es consciente de que no las hay. Ganar es la fórmula que regenera todo aquello que toca y hace que el mundo sea un lugar más amable para todos. sus errores y. por encima de todo. los temas abordados son el liderazgo. cómo compatibi. la gestión del personal. estudia los distintos aspectos de la vida profesional y ofrece sugerencias al respecto: cómo saber qué trabajo es el más adecuado. porque los negocios son un juego y ganarlo es un placer. reglas que considerar. además de numerosas.lizar el trabajo y la vida privada. crecer de manera orgánica o la trascendencia de la fusiones y las adquisiciones. contratar al personal adecuado. Jack Welch escuchó y leyó infinitas consultas que le dirigían personas interesadas en entender el mundo de los negocios. denominada “La empresa”. cómo encontrar el trabajo perfecto. eran muy variadas: cómo dirigir a personas con talento. si sabemos cómo ganar. En vez de ello. o “La competencia”. En lo que respecta al éxito. Pero. en este libro no se encontrarán fórmulas fáciles. creamos oportunidades para todos y en todas partes: la población prospera y crece. conseguir el equilibrio entre vida personal M . planificar la estrategia idónea. Las preguntas. divertirse. su capacidad de llevar alguWINNING VT_ _ ~Já Introducción Tras escribir su autobiografía y en el curso de la promoción editorial de la misma. los despidos. fundamentada en una subestructura de cuatro principios: una misión fuerte. 2 La segunda parte.
a pesar de toda su filosofía hippy y ecologista. La de Ben & Jerry's también expresa que la compañía quiere vender “helados y mezclas eufóricas cien por cien naturales ” y “mejorar la calidad de vida local. la responsabilidad de establecer una declaración de misión corresponde a la alta dirección. En cuanto a los valores. Sólo así los valores se podrán convertir en los estándares de conducta para todos. a veces. la compañía de helados de Vermont Ben & Jerry's. Una declaración adecuada sobre la misión es aquella que responde a la pregunta “¿Cómo nos proponemos triunfar en este negocio?“. La participación se puede ampliar también por medio de la intranet de la empresa. aunque con mayor dificultad. éstas pueden originarse en cualquier departamento o área si se da la oportunidad de formularlas a personas inteligentes. En las grandes. ni tan siquiera llamar la atención. Esta responsabilidad no puede ni debe delegarse en nadie más salvo en aquellos que tendrán que rendir cuentas de ella. En síntesis. Merece la pena pasar por alto el hecho de que dicho proceso sea un tanto caótico. La misión es la verdadera prueba de la razón de ser del liderazgo de una organización. etc. que es ganar. Por último. Los valores. Este interrogante es fundamental. ofrecer a los integrantes de la organización una dirección clara respecto a la obtención de beneficios y la inspiración precisa para que se sientan parte de un proyecto grande y significativo. Sin los beneficios económicos. Este tipo de lenguaje está pensado para animar y motivar al máximo. mediante diversas reuniones.” Esto no significa que una declaración de misión no pueda ser atrevida o ambiciosa. para poner un ejemplo. La claridad de los valores y las conductas será de poca utilidad si no se pone el suficiente empeño en fomentarlos. pues obliga a las empresas a explicitar sus fuerzas y sus puntos débiles y a determinar su lugar exacto en la escena competitiva a fin de obtener beneficios. incluye en su declaración de misión expresiones como “incrementar el valor para las partes interesadas” o “crecimiento rentable.Cambia el chip Parte primera: los cimientos Misión y valores son las palabras más utilizadas y menos comprendidas en el mundo de los negocios. En las empresas pequeñas es más fácil que todos participen. a pesar del frecuente ejercicio de redactar declaraciones sobre misión y valores que se practica en las empresas. Los valores son el “cómo” de la misión o el medio para lograr el fin. Una buena declaración tiene que ser real y concreta. todos los que trabajan en una organización deben opinar acerca de los valores. que. en lo relativo al surgimiento de ideas que fundamentan una misión. todos los demás beneficios pierden la oportunidad de alcanzarse. independientemente de su puesto en la empresa. también se pueden organizar encuentros de amplio alcance o sesiones formativas que faciliten la mayor discusión interpersonal posible. No obstante. Para conseguir que los valores tengan un M y laboral. Esto lo sabe bien. una declaración acertada de misión es capaz de equilibrar lo posible y lo imposible. Sucede a menudo que. . La Misión. Contrariamente a lo que ocurre con la declaración de misión. La misión ha de indicar la meta hacia la que debe avanzar una organización y los valores ser el criterio del comportamiento preciso para alcanzar esa meta. éstos deben ser específicos y lo suficientemente descriptivos como para dejar poco espacio a la imaginación cuando son traducidos en órdenes de movilización para el personal. ambos conceptos acaban por convertirse en meras ideas abstractas que no consiguen inspirar a nadie y. nacional e internacional”.
las organizaciones deben idear un sistema de compensación para quie M .Cambia el chip significado real.
la extensión de unos hábitos sinceros dentro de la empresa es posible. no se hace. En cualquier parte del mundo está mal visto llamar “gordo” a tu mejor amigo. de ahí que su valor sea incalculable. hay que premiar. Una compañía puede perder mucho si incumple su misión establecida o no consigue concretar valores en los que sustentar su cultura corporativa. Así. por desgracia. Prefieren callar para evitar el conflicto o endulzar las malas noticias. No es suficiente con tener por directrices una placa de bellas palabras colocada en el vestíbulo.Winning nes los respetan y practican y de “penalización” para aquellos que no lo hacen. Desde niños se nos ha enseñado a suavizar las malas noticias y a evitar los temas inconvenientes en una conversación. entonces se extienden y se convierten en acción con una mayor celeridad que al contrario. La misión y los valores de una empresa se pueden bifurcar cuando su vida cotidiana experimenta pequeñas crisis. 2 La sinceridad genera rapidez. es decir. acumulan información que luego no comparten. General Electric tardó casi una década en llegar a emplear la sinceridad de forma rutinaria y. sino que pone de manifiesto el hecho de que muchas personas. Las empresas triunfan cuando en ellas se establece una distinción M . La sinceridad rinde sus beneficios porque tiene la capacidad de aclarar la mayoría de las situaciones. asuma la sinceridad como una de sus virtudes fundamentales es una difícil tarea que lleva tiempo. impregna la mayoría de los recovecos del mundo de los negocios. olvidando que la misión consistía en mejorar y proyectar la marca de la empresa. todavía no era una conducta generalizada. Por ello. La diferenciación. pero que. Sin embargo. mayor será la cantidad de ideas que surjan y se puedan discutir. se discuten y se mejoran. El peor enemigo de una empresa puede llegar a ser la falta de sinceridad en la comunicación interna de la misma. pero a menudo se descuida. Existen tres vías por las cuales la sinceridad puede conducir al éxito: 1 La sinceridad invita a que un mayor número de personas participe en una conversación. por tanto. La sinceridad es el valor que permite que todo funcione mejor y más ágilmente. sea cual sea su tamaño. Tanto la misión como los valores son elementos esenciales del buen funcionamiento de una organización y por ello es necesario que ambos operen como una proposición orientada hacia el éxito. no hay que culpar al superior o al director general si en una empresa la práctica de la sinceridad es inexistente. Lo mismo sucede cuando en una coyuntura desfavorable tenemos que reducir el presupuesto publicitario. analizar y perfeccionar. Es un fenómeno absolutamente pernicioso. Demostrar sinceridad es un riesgo que puede incluso conllevar perder el puesto de trabajo. Su falta bloquea la aparición de ideas inteligentes y de acción rápida. Aunque difícil. Decir lo que pensamos puede provocar muchos disgustos y resentimiento y. manifestar que tal regalo de boda nos parece espantoso o criticar la forma de cocinar de nuestra madre: simplemente. alabar y mencionar a aquellos que deciden adoptarlos en su conducta diaria. La sinceridad. No se comunican claramente ni sugieren ideas para estimular un verdadero debate. Si las ideas se exponen de manera abierta. al cabo de veinte años. es preferible que el hábito se fomente desde los puestos elevados en la jerarquía. Cuantas más personas intervengan. es lícito preguntarse por qué no es un fenómeno que se dé más a menudo en las relaciones humanas. cualquier empresa que se precie debe luchar por ello. ya que elimina reuniones carentes de sentido e informes innecesarios que tan solo confirman lo ya sabido por todos. la decisión de asumirlo depende del individuo. a menudo y de forma instintiva. La sinceridad suele poner nerviosa a mucha gente. Conseguir que un grupo. El diálogo abierto puede empezar en cualquier nivel. Teniendo en cuenta las ventajas de la sinceridad. No obstante. reforzándose mutuamente. Hay que dedicar el suficiente tiempo y la energía necesaria para hacer que la misión y los valores sean reales. Para lograrlo. 3 La sinceridad reduce costes. con lo cual ponemos en entredicho nuestra misión de ofrecer un servicio excepcional al cliente. un competidor puede reubicar su sede en nuestra ciudad y provocar una bajada de los precios. Esto parece algo obvio. La ausencia de sinceridad no es una falta de honradez malintencionada. convirtiéndoles así en héroes públicos. nosotros nos vemos obligados a seguirle haciendo lo mismo. resulta más cómodo ocultarlo. no se expresan con franqueza.
situado en un nivel medio. severos o protectores con el equipo. Requiere que los ejecutivos de una empresa sepan cómo llevarla a cabo e inviertan más en las personas. Parte segunda: la empresa El liderazgo. admite sus errores y los corrige. la toma de decisiones arriesgadas y el aprendizaje continuado. y que no valora el mérito. M . sino de que la viva y la respire. existen ocho reglas para ejercer el liderazgo: 1 Los líderes consiguen que su equipo mejore continuamente: aprovechan cualquier encuentro para evaluar. estas personas acaban triunfando en empresas y actividades mucho más adecuadas para ellas. Para Jack Welch. El 70%. 7 Los líderes inspiran. Antes de llegar a serlo. Existen diferentes tipos de líderes: unos son tímidos. todo el personal de una empresa debe ser evaluado y el mejor 20% del mismo recibir un tratamiento de estrellas. Contratar a los buenos es complicado y contratar a los excelentes es extremadamente difícil. Los directivos deben alentar a los fuertes y distinguirlos de los débiles. respectivamente. Antes de proceder a la contratación. 8 Por último. El liderazgo es un desafío en el que se entrelazan equilibrios. sin embargo. pueden suplir la falta de personas capacitadas. El 10% restante tiene que marcharse. 6 Lo cuestionan todo insistentemente. se debe someter al candidato a tres pruebas decisivas: 1 La prueba de integridad. el éxito consiste en conseguir el desarrollo de los demás. su desarrollo y sus conquistas. Si deseamos que nuestro equipo esté compuesto por los mejores. optimistas y humanas. todo cambia. Sin embargo. 3 Los líderes se meten en la piel de su personal e irradian energía positiva y optimismo. Es posible que el despido no sea. Verificar si el candidato dice la verdad. íntegras. La diferenciación es una forma de gestionar personas y negocios mediante la redistribución de los recursos. apoyado en su prolongada experiencia como líder. analíticos o impulsivos. Los beneficios de una empresa se resienten cuando todos sus negocios y empleados reciben el mismo trato. 4 Establecen la confianza mediante la sinceridad. El liderazgo requiere de conductas y actitudes bien determinadas que muchos no poseen. por más punteras o sofisticadas que fueran. para asegurarse de que sus preguntas tienen unas respuestas plausibles. 2 Los líderes no sólo se aseguran de que el personal entienda la visión de la empresa. Un sistema de estas características. mantiene su palabra. aleccionar y otorgar confianza a sus empleados. nuestro éxito depende del desarrollo personal. Así. Cuando alguien se convierte en líder. tiene que verse motivado y recibir la formación y ayuda necesarios para aumentar su experiencia y conocimientos. los negocios o líneas de productos más valiosos. Somos más felices cuando realizamos algo para lo que estamos dotados. En algunas empresas este proceso se ve a veces afectado por el favoritismo o el amiguismo. La contratación. cuando ya lo somos. ese 10% de la plantilla simplemente no es el acertado para el trabajo que desempeña en la empresa. otros pedantes. Y. sinceras. es indudable que optimiza el funcionamiento de cualquier negocio. la transparencia y el honor. asume la responsabilidad de sus acciones. Ningún otro sistema de gestión de personal es más transparente. H 5 Tienen valor para tomar decisiones impopulares y confían en su instinto. equitativo o rápido.Winning entre las personas y los negocios de alto y bajo rendimiento. responsabilidades y presión. En la mayoría de los casos. Es también responsabilidad de los ejecutivos informar al personal que tiene a su cargo sobre su rendimiento. una decisión tan cruel como parece: con frecuencia. a fin de cuentas. Ninguna estrategia ni tecnología. acabará autodestruyéndose. 2 La prueba de inteligencia. Son personas que se sienten bien consigo mismas: realistas. nada es más importante para el éxito de una empresa que conseguir al personal adecuado. Aunque no sea perfecto. un líder siempre celebra los triunfos. con una curiosidad que raya en el escepticismo. con su ejemplo. los mejores entre ellos son aquellos que mantienen un interés apasionado por su grupo. la diferenciación es totalmente necesaria.
cuando se busca contratar a un líder de categoría superior. 4 La cuarta E es ejecutar o. la confianza en uno mismo y la convicción. El jefe de RRHH debe ser la segunda persona más importante en la empresa. o el tener visión para saber adelantarse a lo totalmente inesperado e imaginar lo inimaginable. Por esta se entiende el sentimiento de un entusiasmo profundo y auténtico por el trabajo. reunir a personas resueltas. existen cuatro cualidades de inmensa relevancia que un candidato debe poseer: 1 La autenticidad. hay que gestionarlos para que trabajen juntos. lo que es lo mismo. La excesiva burocracia incrementa los costes y la complejidad de la gestión. junto con el esquema de las cuatro E y una P. los que se han dado por vencidos y los conflictivos. los empleados brillantes. unida a un conocimiento profundo del negocio y una gran capacidad de convicción. Con los primeros siendo firmes. se crecen con la acción y disfrutan de los cambios. la capacidad de realizar el trabajo: saber cómo llevar las decisiones a la práctica e impulsarlas hasta su conclusión venciendo las resistencias. Sin embargo. Averiguar si el candidato soporta bien la presión. Seis prácticas son de utilidad a la hora de mejorar la gestión de personal: 1 Otorgar a los RRHH una posición primordial dentro de la empresa. y se refiere a la pasión. se mantengan motivados. 3 La tendencia a rodearse de personas más inteligentes y mejores que él. permanezcan en la empresa y crezcan como líderes. aunque no se tenga toda la información. recuperarse de ellos y seguir adelante con redobladas energía. No hay que confundir la formación académica con la inteligencia. 5 La P final se busca cuando nos hemos asegurado de que un candidato ya posee las cuatro E anteriores. M . rescatando a los terceros para que retornen al juego y deshaciéndose de los últimos si no hubiera más remedio. de dentro o fuera de la empresa. 4 Afrontar directamente las relaciones delicadas: con los sindicatos. Evaluar a la plantilla de una manera simple y clara. ideado por el autor: 1 La primera E hace referencia a la energía positiva. sostener posturas impopulares o mantenerse firme en sus creencias si sabe quién es y se siente cómodo consigo mismo. Permanecer atentos para el caso de que despunte entre ellos alguna estrella.Winning Comprobar que posee una curiosidad intelectual y una amplitud de conocimientos que le permiten trabajar como se espera de él o dirigir a otros para que lo hagan. en forma de dinero. el caos o los obstáculos inesperados. Ligar estrechamente un buen rendimiento con la compensación: quien rinde mejor obtiene más. aplicable a cualquier candidato. El reconocimiento no debe separarse de la compensación económica. Es decir. convicción y confianza. 5 Combatir la inercia tratando al 70% de los empleados medios como si fueran el cuerpo y alma de la empresa. impidiendo que los segundos se conviertan en egoístas. La gestión de personal. 2 Emplear un sistema de evaluación riguroso y no burocrático. para poder ejecutar lo que cualquier situación demande. habiéndose asegurado de que sus integrantes tienen las cualidades específicas para ayudar a la gerencia a forjar líderes y carreras. 2 La segunda E es la capacidad de infundir energía a los demás o animarlos. controla su nivel de estrés y sabe disfrutar del éxito con unas dosis de alegría y humildad a partes iguales. 3 Crear mecanismos eficaces. 3 La prueba de madurez. Las personas que la poseen son rápidas para ponerse en marcha. Cuando se ha conseguido reunir a los jugadores idóneos. 6 Diseñar el organigrama con la máxima claridad y delimitación en las relaciones de subordinación y las responsabilidades. También se puede utilizar el esquema de “las 4 E y una P". 4 La resistencia: ser capaz de aprender de los propios errores. constituyen un modelo general de contratación. al menos una vez al año. reconocimiento o formación. Una persona sólo puede afrontar decisiones complicadas. mejoren progresivamente su rendimiento. 2 La capacidad de anticipación. para motivar y retener al personal. 3 La tercera E es la entereza o el valor de tomar en su momento decisiones complejas: saber cuándo hay que dejar de evaluar y recurrir a una decisión difícil. Estas tres pruebas preliminares.
por tanto. 3 Identificar y apartar a los que se resistan a él. Algunas crisis son de carácter interno y generalmente de rápida solución. informando con tiempo al empleado sobre su rendimiento y el de la empresa. 2 Contratar y promocionar sólo a los que crean sinceramente en el cambio y a los que estén dispuestos a asumirlo. Estos son los más complejos y delicados por el modo en que pueden afectar a las dos partes. existen los despidos que se producen por violaciones de la integridad: robo. Las crisis son una de las experiencias más traumáticas y penosas para cualquier empresa y su dirección. Por último. En primer lugar. mentiras. El primero de ellos es un exceso de precipitación. Para evitar todo esto. arriesgarse a ser el blanco de su venganza. aunque rindan satisfactoriamente. las sorpresas y la humillación deben reducirse al mínimo. bien sea por un rendimiento insatisfactorio bien por una reducción de plantilla. El cambio. El tercer error se produce cuando un despido se ejecuta con excesiva lentitud. es un acontecimiento desagradable tanto para el empleado como para el empleador. antes o después. que puede desequilibrar el funcionamiento de un departamento. Sin embargo. al mismo tiempo. otras son acontecimientos externos de gran repercusión mediática y muchas derivaciones legales. Otro tipo lo representan aquellos que tienen lugar por una mala coyuntura económica. con ello. saldrá a la luz lo que está sucediendo. engaños o cualquier forma de incumplimiento ético o legal.El cambio es un aspecto esencial de cualquier negocio. Los motivos que se ocultan tras un despido son muy diferentes. no permitir que esa actividad interfiera en el resto de las suyas. Es preferible atajar la situación cuanto antes que intentar cortar el flujo de información. 4 Estar atentos a los desastres de la competencia y aprovechar todas las oportunidades que esto ofrezca. La singularidad de cada una de ellas dificulta la confección de una lista de reglas de validez universal. El despido.Winning El despido. están los despidos motivados por la falta de rendimiento del empleado. Las empresas necesitan experimentar cambios para mantener su paso ajustado al de la competencia y adelantarla. En el asunto de los despidos cabe incurrir en tres errores. Toda crisis logra que una organización aprenda de la experiencia y en el futuro sea más inteligente y eficaz. 3 Ser consciente de que la gestión de la crisis se presentará de la peor forma posible en los medios de comunicación. 4 Contar con que se producirán cambios tanto en los procesos como en las personas y que alguien tendrá que pagar por ellos. Estos despidos no provocan excesivos malentendidos. Para realizarlos de la mejor manera posible no hay más ayuda que confiar en nuestro instinto y llevarlos a cabo con determinación. de suma importancia llevarlo a cabo con el menor daño y dolor posibles para ambas partes. Las crisis exigen soluciones que modifican los procesos en curso y transforman vidas y carreras. lo que da como resultado una creciente sensación de incomodidad en el departamento. es posible distinguir entre cinco posturas que pueden adoptarse ante una crisis y servir así de directrices: 1 Asumir que el problema es peor de lo que parece. El segundo consiste en no ser suficientemente sinceros. M . Una crisis requiere un gran ejercicio de equilibrio de parte del liderazgo de la compañía: por un lado. [■] Gestión de las crisis. Es. No negar que las cosas van mal y mentalizarse de que podrían empeorar y volverse más complejas de lo previsto. En este caso. Este hecho genera a veces una cierta forma de parálisis en el mismo. también sus causas pueden y deben ser lo suficientemente transparentes para todos. enviar al empleado señales equívocas hasta el último momento y. Una correcta gestión de los cambios en una empresa supone la adopción de cuatro prácticas básicas: 1 Vincular cada cambio o iniciativa a un propósito u objetivo claro. debe intentar comprenderla y resolverla lo mejor y antes posible y. Por ello es necesario definir la posición propia antes de que lo hagan ellos. 2 Tener claro que en el mundo no hay secretos y que. 5 Confiar en que la organización sobrevivirá y se hará más fuerte a consecuencia de lo sucedido.
Ciertamente. Cuando Welch se convirtió en director general de General Electric en 1981. procesos internos.. tecnología. Por ello. para dejar bien claro que General Electric entraba con paso decidido enW M . Para hacer del crecimiento orgánico una propuesta ganadora. Su posición estratégica impide que la competencia les venza. En la vida real la estrategia debe ser algo directo: elegir una directriz general y ponerla en práctica. para General Electric Asia significaba básicamente Japón. Welch propone guiarse de este modo: 1 Invertir cuantiosamente en la fase inicial de un nuevo negocio y situar a los mejores y más entusiastas en los puestos de responsabilidad. ya que sus recursos son limitados y tienen que centrarse en la especia. aunque presentían que China pronto se convertiría en un mercado mucho mayor. otros negocios empezaron a hacer lo mismo. Welch pretendía conceder mayor cota de relevancia a RRHH con un planteamiento centrado en la formación y el desarrollo. Crecimiento orgánico. A principios de los 90. Su base la formaba el respeto a dos férreos principios: los bienes generales de consumo no tienen interés y las personas lo son todo. McNerney y su equipo extendieron la actividad en China hasta el punto de que actualmente se realizan operaciones por valor de 4. Para contar con una estrategia coherente hay que pensar en innovación.. tanto dentro como fuera de la empresa. sino que no escatimaba elogios cuando mencionaba a Jim en las reuniones.. su iniciativa estratégica fue la siguiente: retirarse de negocios que estaban convirtiéndose en bienes generales de consumo y centrarse en aquellos otros que fabrican productos de alta tecnología o venden servicios en lugar de objetos. director general de sistemas industriales.000 millones de dólares. 2 Colocar a las personas adecuadas en el trabajo apropiado para poner en práctica esa gran idea. Armar revuelo en torno al potencial y la importancia del nuevo negocio. el complemento a los servicios. La estrategia así entendida consta de tres pasos: 1 Encontrar una gran idea para el negocio: un modo realista. Welch no se limitó a elaborar y distribuir una nota de prensa. Seis Sigma y la utilización de las tecnologías digitales. Jim McNerney. Una de las facetas más apasionantes de un negocio es empezar algo nuevo desde el interior de algo antiguo: tal como lanzar una línea diferente de productos o servicios o. Tras la llegada de Jim McNerney a China. es decir. en los medios y en los restantes negocios de la compañía. decidieron poner en marcha sus negocios allí y enviaron a uno de sus mejores hombres. para una empresa ya establecida. La compañía ha mantenido con éxito dicha estrategia a lo largo de veinte años. introducirse en un nuevo mercado. pues ha ido suplementándola con nuevas iniciativas como la globalización. todo aquello que suponga algo único. puesto que obliga a los directivos a actuar contra sus instintos más juiciosos: enviar a sus mejores empleados al otro lado del mundo para fundar una empresa de nuevo cuño o arriesgarse a invertir en una tecnología recién aparecida. adaptarlas y perfeccionarlas de forma continuada. Algunos pequeños comercios o tiendas lo saben hacer a la perfección.lización que implica tener un producto o servicio perfecto. Estrategia significa tomar decisiones claras sobre cómo competir. La estrategia es un curso de acción aproximado al que se debe regresar y que hay que redefinir con frecuencia en función de las condiciones del mercado. 3 Buscar siempre las mejores prácticas. resulta mucho más fácil de decir que hacer. complementos a servicios. El efecto fue inmediato: tan pronto como la sede central puso en China a una de sus estrellas. inteligente y relativamente rápido de obtener una ventaja competitiva sostenible.Winning Parte tercera: la competencia Estrategia. Como parte de esa estrategia.
tanto una como otra son dos acciones también muy arriesgadas.000 millones de dólares. donde el comprador realiza tantas concesiones durante la negociación que la empresa adquirida acaba tomando todas las decisiones trascendentales. Las fusiones y adquisiciones suponen una vía más rápida de expansión que el crecimiento orgánico: amplían los ámbitos geográfico y tecnológico con mayor celeridad. luego se unió a Disney para abrir sus primeros establecimientos en Japón. sobre todo si permanecemos lo suficientemente atentos para evitar los peligros antes expuestos.preferirán a las personas dispuestas a adaptarse frente a quienes no lo estén. una fusión debería completarse en un plazo máximo de noventa días. seis que pueden afectar a la empresa adquisidora y el último. más tarde relanzó su marca Keds y aún pasó por unas cuantas empresas más hasta alcanzar su puesto actual. directora general de eBay. sino tanto que nunca será posible recuperarse de la integración. un plástico fabricado por General Electric. Sin embargo. 4 Integrarse con excesiva timidez. Con esta premisa de partida. conseguir una partida de nuevos talentos entre los que poder elegir. Es imposible saber dónde nos llevará un determinado trabajo. Las fusiones y las adquisiciones presentan sus desafíos. G. empezó su carrera como consultora de dirección. 2 Centrarse tanto en el encaje estratégico que se olvide el encaje cultural. por muy noble que sea. Bajo un liderazgo sólido. En una fusión. En el caso de Noryl. Para evitar que esto ocurra. a saber. a la adquirida: 1 Creer que puede darse una fusión entre iguales. El presidente de Procter & Gamble. igual o más importante si cabe para conseguir que una fusión salga adelante. 2 Intentar no entrometerse en el camino del nuevo negocio. Muchos de los grandes triunfadores han trabajado en empleos tan dispares que nunca les hubieran permitido imaginar que llegarían tan lejos como lo han hecho. 6 Pagar un precio excesivo. que a la larga es inútil y perjudicará sus carreras profesionales. Lafley. 5 El “síndrome del conquistador”: la empresa adquisidora invade a la otra e instala a sus propios ejecutivos en todos los puestos. 7 La resistencia del personal de la empresa adquirida. con potencial suficiente para hundir a la empresa que las acomete. 3 Crear una “situación de rehén inversa”. independientemente de sus cualidades profesionales y personales. se ha autodestruido más de una empresa. hay que mantenerse alerta frente a siete errores de apreciación en el momento de una adquisición. Jack Welch ha sido desde el principio un firme defensor de su autonomía. no hay razón para creer que justo nosotros estamos predestinados a ser la víctima de las estadísticas. No un 5% ó un 10% de más. Parte cuarta: la carrera El trabajo adecuado. los nuevos propietarios -como norma general. pero eso no M . a continuación se alistó en la marina y después pasó seis años como director de tiendas de comestibles emplazadas cerca de una base naval de Tokio. Meg Whitman.Winning China y enviaba a los mejores. A. empezó por estudiar historia. Fusiones y adquisiciones. No obstante. minando de esa manera una de las razones de la fusión. atraen nuevos productos y clientes y permiten que una empresa mejore su plantilla de manera casi inmediata. investigaciones de todo tipo afirman que más de la mitad de ellas no añaden valor. Aunque no formó parte del marketing y las ventas de plásticos de General Electric durante quince años creció con rapidez y actualmente obtiene unos beneficios de unos 1.
un trabajo que nos guste realizar o. en el que al menos. los compañeros. el equilibrio implica concesiones: es un trato que uno pacta consigo mismo sobre lo que quiere conservar y lo que está dispuesto a abandonar. Todas las carreras profesionales.Tener una actitud positiva y contagiarla en nuestro entorno. etc. es conveniente prestar atención a una serie de señales que indican la adecuación o no de un trabajo: 1 Personal: si no disfrutamos con nuestros compañeros de forma cotidiana. los viajes. Hay personas que hacen de este su prioridad. Encontrar el equilibrio entre estas dos caras de la vida se reduce a la cuestión de cuánto debemos permitir que nos consuma el trabajo. otras intentan conseguir un reparto exacto entre la vida personal y la profesional y otras que dedican el 80% de su tiempo al ocio y el 20% al trabajo. Aceptarlos con la mayor elegancia posible y considerarlos desafíos que nos obligan a mostrar nuestro valor de nuevo.No obligar a nuestro superior a que utilice su capital político para promocionarnos: dejar que nuestros resultados hablen por sí solos. mientras que uno equivocado puede acabar con toda nuestra energía. dependen en mayor o menor medida de algún elemento de suerte. Ascensos. .Intentar despuntar cuanto antes en los principales proyectos o iniciativas de la empresa. Cualquiera que sea el que elijamos. en adelante. como el trato con la clientela. 4 Contenido: elegir. disfrutemos de algunos de sus aspectos. Welch propone algunas sugerencias: . . El equilibrio entre la vida personal y la vida laboral. En cambio. .Aprender de cualquier tutor. 3 De opciones: encontrar un trabajo que nos sea de utilidad en caso de tener que dejarlo.Winning significa que debamos dejar nuestro futuro en manos del destino. ciertas actitudes pueden obstaculizar un ascenso. por más determinadas que parezcan estar. No debemos permanecer en un empleo que no nos ofrezca como mínimo una compensación fuera de la financiera. o lo que un trabajo nos ofrece en cuanto al desarrollo y el aprendizaje.Cuidar con esmero tanto las relaciones con nuestros subordinados como con nuestros superiores. en la medida de lo posible. . debería al menos darnos alguna de esas oportunidades. el trabajo puede convertirse en una tortura. a largo plazo el azar termina por desempeñar un papel mucho menos importante que los factores que se encuentran bajo nuestro control. He aquí algunas: M . Sin embargo. A la hora de pensar en un ascenso debemos tener en cuenta los factores que pueden favorecerlo o dificultarlo. En ese sentido. Un gran trabajo puede dar sentido y emoción a nuestras vidas.No permitir que los reveses nos hundan. En cualquier caso. trabajar en una empresa cuya reputación hará que. 2 De oportunidades. incluso de aquellos que no lo parezcan. Por ejemplo. se nos asocie con grandes éxitos y rendimiento. Entre los que lo favorecen se encuentran los siguientes :Tratar de mantener un rendimiento excelente y de hacer más de lo que se espera de nosotros cada vez que se presente una oportunidad. El debate sobre esta cuestión ya ha estado presente el tiempo suficiente para disponer hoy de las mejores prácticas posibles para conseguirlo. . Al respecto.
no es imposible conseguir lo más conveniente para ambas partes si se negocia un trato en este contexto. es decir. así como para mejorar el rendimiento con independencia de lo que se haga. Debemos asegurarnos de que el plan satisfaga nuestros sueños y pasiones. Debemos sentirnos felices con nuestro propio plan de equilibrio. En el trabajo necesitamos esa misma clarividencia para saber qué es lo que espera nuestro superior y comprender que. Fuera del trabajo.mentar. Rechazar es una acción muy liberadora: hemos de negarnos a todo aquello que no forma parte del plan de vida que nos hemos trazado. sencillamente. Si se acepta todo no se consigue el equilibrio. si queremos progresar. 2 Tener el valor de negarse a las peticiones y exigencias que no se ajusten al plan de equilibrio elegido. sino precisamente su contrario. Se convierte. Para aliviar la angustia y la distracción. ya no resulta tan costoso de cumplir. en nuestra forma natural de actuar 1 M . Si encontramos un balance personal-laboral que nos da resultado. Esto significa comparti. cuanto menores y menos frecuentes sean las interrupciones. hay que saber con claridad lo que se quiere de la vida. donde el rendimiento cuenta y donde los grandes resultados pueden canjearse por flexibilidad. sus deseos deben ser colocados en primer lugar. debemos cumplirlo. El síndrome “todos felices excepto yo” posee una dinámica letal. mayor será el equilibrio que sentiremos.Winning Concentrarse en lo que se está haciendo. Aunque sea algo difícil de conseguir. 3 Asegurarse de que nuestro plan de equilibrio personal-laboral no nos excluye. hay que pensar en qué manera afecta a los demás. hay que ceñirse a él y tener la disciplina interior necesaria para decir “no” cuando este plan se ve perjudicado. que mejora con la experiencia y la observación hasta que. trazar límites precisos en nuestras actividades: cuando se está en el trabajo mantener la cabeza allí y cuando se está en casa hacer lo mismo. hay que saber dónde y con quién estamos. Lograr un equilibrio entre la vida laboral y la personal es un proceso iterativo. Hay que asegurarse de que se trabaja en una cultura de apoyo. pues éste no es ni más ni menos que un deber para nosotros. Si esto implica trabajar mucho o pasar todas las tardes en casa. Puesto que no es una decisión que se tome a solas. Sin embargo. al cabo de cierto tiempo.
Thayer..com/TonySchwartz and Tw itter. Work life balance Tony Schw artz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of The Way We're Working Isnt Working. Read our research report Cart My Account Download s Tony Schwartz On: Managing yourself..95 Buy it now » When Your Colleague Is a Saboteur (HBR Case Study and Commentary) by Bronwyn Fryer. BPO and Consulting Services ►► Cognizant FIND OUT HOW CIOS ARE DRIVING THE FUTURE OF WORK. Maggie Craddock. 139/9 ..1/26/2011 A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectives.com/Ehergy_Project Tony Schw art z<*£*• Invest in Youiselt SUBSCRIBE TO HBR . et al.95 Buy it now » . Become a fan of The Energy Project on Facebook and connect w ith Tony at Twitter. Organizational culture./the-most-important-practic. $6. hbr. R.. Emai Tw eet This Post to Facebook Share on LinkedIn Print FEATURED PRODUCTS Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform by Edward Hallowell $6. .org/.IT.
and feel more satisfied with my output. It can be tough on some days to fully focus for 90 minutes. uninterrupted. 9. and let the phone go to voicemail if it rings. and keeping my desk clean and my files incredibly well organized. close all windows on my computer. done at specific times. so they eventually A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness 9:52 AM Monday January 24. 7.m.m.95 Buy it now » I launched this practice because I long ago discovered that my energy. It was incredibly frustrating.. There were days I never got to writing at all.Manage Your Energy. which makes it easier. Tony Schwartz $6. From: Last 24 Hours Last 7 Days Last 30 Days 1. I take a break. Looking back. Not Your Time by Catherine McCarthy. A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness 2. For each one. At the heart of making this work is to build highly precise. and my capacity for intense focus diminish as the day wears on. Instead. After 90 minutes. 3. I typically get more work done during those 90 minutes. answering the phone. I'd written three previous books. my will. I turn off my email while I'm working. The Secret to Ensuring Follow-Through The Six Habits of a Talent Magnet Are You a Rebel or a Leader? Should I Become an Entrepreneur? The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything The Best Way to Use the Last Five Minutes of Your Day Managing and Motivating Employees in Their RECENTLY FROM TONY SCHWARTZ A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness JAN 24 « Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything JAN 17 Enough Is Enough JAN 11 What It Takes 140/9 . 5. 8. 4. I spent an inordinate amount of time and energy making lists. and it's the most difficult work that tends to generate the greatest enduring value. I probably spent more time avoiding writing than I did actually writing. deliberate practices. than I do for any comparable period of time the rest of the day. Anything really challenging that I put off tends not to get done. on the task I decide the night before is the most important one I'll face the following day. responding to email. 6. but I always have a clear stopping time. I'd dutifully sit down at my desk at 7 a. I first made this discovery while writing a book. I've begun my workdays by focusing _ for 90 minutes. To make this possible. 2011 | Comments (37) For nearly a decade now. At the time. and I'd often stay there until 7 p.
hbr. we find ways to override this need with caffeine. The effect on my efficiency has been staggering. and easier to accomplish. Over the course of 90 minutes. Finding an excuse to avoid hard work isn't hard to do. it usually means I've hit the 90-minute mark. At that point. Come back and report here on what you discover. 141/9 . especially when we're maximally focused. Many of us unwittingly train ourselves to ignore signals from our body that we need a rest — difficulty concentrating. and our own stress hormones — adrenalin. but this single practice has been life-changing for me. Time management Join the Discussion | Email/Share PREVIOUS . Try it for one week. "Oh wait. Facebook Tw itter I work for 90 minutes because that's what the research suggests is the optimal human limit for focusing intensely on any given task." the researcher Peretz Lavie and others have found. governs our energy levels (see page 51 for details). When I'm not working on a book. even if I feel I'm on a roll. and at other times to whatever I happen to be working on.. I think you'll be amazed. because I've learned that if I don't. and provide more immediate gratification. 1/26/2011 A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiven.1/26/2011 A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectives. It was this approach that I applied to the book I was writing. I take a break. I choose the next day's work the night before because I don't want to squander energy thinking about what to do during the time I've set aside to actually do the work. Instead. By intentionally aligning with my body's natural rhythms." I'd tell myself.. I'd have answered a dozen emails./the-most-important-practic.org/. it became a license to procrastinate. we move from a relatively high state of energy down into a physiological trough. and a half dozen more had arrived." Before I knew it. I've learned to listen to its signals. "I'm just going to answer this email. sugar. The Energy Project. because I discovered early on that when I didn't hold myself to an exact time.. I wrote my fourth book in less than half the time I had invested in any of the three previous ones. More on: Managing yourself. I don't get it right every day. physical restlessness. become automatic and don't require much expenditure of________________ energy or self-discipline. akin to brushing your teeth at night. I'll pay the price later in the day. When I notice them. calling out for my attention. It's the crux of what I now do at my company. These are precisely the activities we most often put off — in favor of those that are more urgent. that means a challenge that is "important but not urgent. and cortisol — all of which provide short bursts of energy but leave us overaroused. More often than not. noradrenalin. I start at a very specific time. to Be a Great Employer JAN 3 Six Ways to Refuel Your Energy Every Day DEC 13 StarLHLTLredhat. irritability. CLICK HERE FOR WHITE PAPER. This "ultradian rhythm." to use Steven Covey's language.. I define "important" as whatever it is I believe will add the most enduring the value if I get it done.
back Follow • more info latest tweet sTRACKBACKS TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs. COMMENTS 57 people liked this. 142/9 . 6 people liked this.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb . It is important work vs.. What Groupon and LivingSocial Cannot Offer All Most Popular » What if you could take 8 essential steps toward getting started with business analytics? You can. Doing an important project now insures that it does not become an urgent "fire" later on.. Twenties 10.hbr./the-most-important-practic -Showing 37 comments Sort by Popular stevenpofcher 2 now days ago E3 Subscribe by email gj Subscribe byRSS I like this philosophy.Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything Never miss a new post from your favorite blogger again with the Harvard Business Review Daily Alert email.. The Alert delivers the latest blog posts from HBR.org directly to your inbox every morning at 8:00 AM ET. urgent work. . STAY CONNECTED TO HBR §sas B @ 0 0 iPhone RSS iPhone Von Newsletters Linkedln YouTube Google Updating with new recommendations OK close Get Discovered Are you or is someone you know a great content provider? Recommend them to be in the LiveIntent Discovery Window! Twitter Name Reason for recommending Send Cancel Sending Recommendation. hbr.cgi/8729 No trackbacks have been made to this entry.org/.
A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectives.
Learn 'The Five Hallmarks of Operational Excellence." 1 Read the article • Con > sulti accenture ng • Tec High performance. hnol Delivered. ogy • Out sour cing Steve LeBlanc 2 days ago I agree how very important it is to decide what is important the night before. And to work without distraction at an appointed time. I need to work on that. I also like how you focus on the important, rather than just the urgent. I am reminded of the Pomodoro Technique http://www.pomodorotechnique.c.../ Same idea as Tony detailed, but they suggest you work in units of 25 minutes and break for 5 minutes. Use a timer and take a 15-30 minute break after 3 or 4 units. The advantage is that you start to measure your work in real units, instead of time that passes while distracted. Time slips away. But units are focused. 3 people liked this. Tony 1 day ago urn | IL^I MkFJMrnc: I'm aware of the Pomodoro technique and my issue with it is that I don't believe 25 minutes is typically enough to get deeply immersed in a difficult challenge. I also don't know any physiological reason why 25 minutes is particularly relevant. Having said that, I'm a fan of any approach that promotes the movement between periods of intense focus and intermittent rest. 5 people 2 liked this. Domali3 days ago| Excellent tip. I try to start with 10 minutes of focused work. That usually gets me in the groove to keep working longer. Best of all, if I only do 10 minutes of focused work before falling prey to Facebook or some other time-waster, I don't feel guilty because I achieved my humble 10 minute goal. 3 people liked 1 this. David Keeney day| ago Brian Tracy has some great ideas on time managment...while at work/work; "chunking"; And the question: "Is this THE best use of my time right now?" Recently I came across some of Dave Lakhani's (The Power of an Hour) materials. He strongly suggests: 45/15, throughout the day. 45 minutes on/and a 15 break. It think that is reasonable for many things/and for differing tasks. Without a doubt/focus and concentration are the keys to productivity. It has been shown that when we come off a task/or are distracted/it can take a substantial amount of time to get back on task. You cannot really manage time, but you can manage yourself/and more so that you might initially think. Thanks much. Clearly we have all had similiar experiences of being distracted and ensuring that the work that must get done is handled well on a timely basis. person liked this. | Rick 1 Ross 2 days ago The time when we're most susceptible to the tyranny of the urgent is that moment when we begin work for the day. As you've suggested, making the decision about what to do first when you're least susceptible to these forces (the night before) makes a profound difference. Most of us have received some unintentionally bad advice somewhere along the way. Things not working the way you want? More self-discipline . hbr.org/.../the-most-important-practic... 143/9
and working harder is the answer. As you point out, this seductiv
e1/26/2011 A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiven. thinking sets us up for failure as we "unwittingly train ourselves to ignore signals". Thanks for the valuable insight and advice 2 people Adam Pearce 2 liked days this. ago | Great thoughts, Tony. I think an additional hurdle for people is not knowing how to spend breaks. Knowing the difference between a break and a distraction allows for a true cycle to occur. s Richard May bury liked this | Tony 1 day ago iira JSiSsini IPesHri^e Couldn't agree more, Adam. We need first to value renewal in order to focus attention on it. And once we do, we need to train ourselves to renew the same way we'd build any skill -- diligently, deliberately. At the same time, something such as answering email isn't renewal -- or if it, it's a very thin form of renewal. We need to experiment with different forms of renewal to find which ones work best. It can be anything from working out (mental and emotional renewal) to breathing, to sharing a lunch with a good friend. 2 people liked this. | Nuz91 1 day ago inn nripiljr to Tony Thank you for this definition of renewal. I am good at focus (yay, me!) but not sure I have figured out the renewal part... talking to co-workers about work in a fun way it turns out is probably not renewal! Karen_Tiede 1 day ago iiro to NuzUI Yoga, guitar, piano, playing with the dogs. Something other-brained and non-work, that can turn completely away from and get back to what still needs my attention. Those are real breaks. Talking with people about work is far too likely to wind up with more work on my plate, or being asked to do something that's at best a sidebar to what I was working on before I took the break. Good article. Thanks! 1 person liked this. Gabriel Tony, Casals 2 days ago Sometimes applying Sence of Urgency is the only way to get things done. 90 minutes is quite a long time without any kind of interuptions or tentations. Most times we only do it when the target is tomorrow or realy close. We should never procastinate, but not always we are able to not follows this impulse. But one thing is for sure and we need to put it in mind always: Never do selfsabotage! Tks, Gabriel Casals www.gabrielmanagementschool.bl... 1 person liked this. Matti 16 hours ago | Now I know the difference between a break and an distraction. And I know how long I should focus to something. But how long is a good break? Emily Pines 9 hours ago iirnHEpfljrltoD You can get real renewal in just a minute or two. The best method that we at The Energy Project have found for renewing quickly is simply taking some deep breaths. This video at http://theenergyproject.com/ab... demonstrates the technique. However, the length of the break you need depends on how much energy you have before you start, as well as how depleting your work activity was. You should have a number of options that you can do based on what you need in the moment. This can be getting up and moving (if you've been sitting), grabbing a bite to eat, getting a drink, listening to music, or going outside for fresh air and sunlight. Other than lunch, you shouldn't need a break of more than 10 minutes. Tony 9 hours ago iiro iRipil}rfa What's most important is how well you renew not how long you renew. If you get really good at renewal, you'll renew faster. Having said that, the greater the intensity of the work demand you've just experienced, the greater the need for renewal. I've found that under ordinary circumstances 10 or 15 minutes is fine. But a great form of renewal at midday, for example, is to . hbr.org/.../the-most-important-practic.. 145/9
. For many people this is first thing in the morning ..time's up and you have to stop working on a problem.. 146/9 . So..... I echo the comments about the importance of "real" renewal...thanks again Tony for another thought provoking post and thanks Adam (and Tony again) for your Pearce contributions on what I call 'Real Renewal'.. I use a similar technique where I give myself 60 .my usual limit is about 50 minutes. and obviously that takes longer.120 minutes to focus on a single task at any time of day. I am one of those people whose creativity/productivity increase as the day wears on..work out. not just the morning. then another 90 minutes and so on? Thank you. Thanks! Michelle Poteet Alice C. hbr.. and in particular this note acknowledging that morning may not be the best time for this focused effort../the-most-important-practic. always good to be reminded on how to focus. and then take a break! Will make it possible for you to be a lot more sustainable working .. an ideal window for me would be late afternoon/early evening. 1 day ago Well.. Michelle Poteet 1 day ago The key is to finding a solution that best fits you and the way you work.for others it is another time.. Vijeet Rathi 1 day ago Another simple exercise from Tony that can change the way we do tasks for the better.it's a wonderful plan.org/........ I have experimented with both approaches. It's so easy to get distracted and pulled into another direction.. Gorjan 1 day ago Having a definite timeslot which you cannot go over for a particular task is a great idea. If you give yourself a deadline and know that you cannot extend it forces you to focus your energy and gives you clarity of thought knowing that after the 90 minutes passes . Whilst I recognise the impact of cycles like Ultradian rhythms. ededit 20 hours ago liran^pa^rib) Ih£iic]hcam9Uteo^FtaajiTV Thank you for your comments on this article.. I have never experimented with a full 90 minute ‘High energy/High value’ session .. hope you are more focused then ever!:) Tony 1 day ago iirniiEpil|ftoJyBceC_ I do strongly encourage you to work in 90 minutes sprints. then we're one step (or many) ahead! I like the philosophy behind the 90-minute stretch. Working on the most important work during High Energy periods is certainly helpful. Thanks for the article. rather than do them first thing. Richard Maybury 1 most day ago Deciding on what is the important objective to achieve tomorrow is clearly good practice. Very helpful in eliminating procrastination.. If we can decide the night before what our focus will be the next day.but I am more motivated and do get more done in that selected time.. I now prefer to block out early high energy time for key tasks. and therefore getting derailed from what we really need to working on. Experiment! There is no fixed answer. But what do you do when you have a schedule of 8 hours at the office and then have to attend meetings or work on tasks for your free-time activity (eg: an NGO).. You suggest to work for 90 minutes. This is especially helpful if you have several competing priorities and need to focus on one at a time. then take a break... This is right along the lines of stopping the multi-tasking.. I have found that it does require more discipline to get in the 'High energy/high value' zone than it does in simply getting down to important work first thing in the morning ...
I spent the afternoon of work activities requiring less singular concentrations. went running during one of the renewal breaks.org/. Erik Pontoppidan Larsen 1 day ago How many sessions of 90 minutes did you take during the day when you wrote your fourth book in less that half the time you invested in any of the first three? Tony 1 day ago iirn nEpfljrlto . The great researcher Anders Ericsson believes that 4 1/2 hours a day is the natural human limits for fully focused work. I did three 90 minutes "sprints" a day -. 147/9 .. ended by 1 pm. In my case. Let me restate without them: The great researcher Anders Ericsson believes that 4 1/2 hours a day is the natural human limit for fully focused work. That compares to the 12 hours of "writing" I did at my desk for previous books.total of 4 1/2 hours.long hours. Jens Tony. In my case. when we should be focusing on the important. administering our inboxes or reading sector press. I spent the afternoon on work activities requiring less singula . if difficult task in hand.. reading inspiring blog posts like this.. Cheers! 1 person liked this. hbr./the-most-important-practic. having meetings. started at 7 am. Tony 1 day ago iirn n?^piljrto Bonny Pardon the typos above. I think all too often we find ourselves on Twitter. | Rene Power 1 day ago Great post.lens Bit i ll afsen Jens.
This and the monthly brainstorming mornings are my favorites :) Regards.. instead of the 90-minute focusing time. hbr../the-most-important-practic.. I am glad I got to know this information notmd 1 day ago tony. Schwartz uses 90 minutes for intense concentration.org/. A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectives. "Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps" I was probably in my Nap rhythm.It was you. I use 50minute one and take a 10-minute break because that's how long the classes and breaks were when I was in high school (I am going to be a freshman in college few months later).. I notmd 1 day ago «reply to Tony Tony.. 148/9 .." I do believe that my former colleague Jim Loehr and I helped introduce this concept... etc.the 90 minute routine has been laid out by prior writers.. you need to keep up with hrb blogs. However.org Dan Levine 2 days ago agree. at least for 90 minutes! Joel Falck 2 days ago I think this seems to be a really good practice! Borisfowler 2 days ago Even if people do not have time first thing in the morning to allocate to a project (class.1/26/2011 r concentration. ExtraordinaryMind 1 day ago I really like how Mr. I must apologize.) it is a great habit to get into because it at least gets you in a mindset of needing to prioritize. Tony 1 day ago iiro n^pfl^rto nofcnd I'd be interested to hear by what writers. Vegard 0lst0rn 2 days ago Great post. I really like this strategy even though it might be a challenge some days :) I've tried to set up my days in these 90 min cycles with refuel times in between seeing my patients.. I've written about the 90 minute Ultradian rhythm in other blogs on HBR. 3 people liked this.. Tony.manuellterapi. I will try using the 90-minute focusing time because it has been proven by a study. but correct me if I'm wrong and you're aware of something earlier. Great post! . again. work. put first things first.. I think schools have adopted what is best for their students and that's why I study now at home by myself just like how I used to in school... Vegard www. and first wrote about it in an HBR article in 2001 (The Making of The Corporate Athlete) and then in the book "The Power of Full Engagement.give us 10.
1/26/2011 A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectives.org will be energetic. and provocative. HBR's 10 Must Reads on Change. You can still get a lot accomplished. No ad hominem attacks.. DavidSun 2 days ago I have to agree that the 90min thing is a brilliant idea for people to work more efficiently. No multimedia. and relevance. not the people behind them. length. Things like email. Don't paste them in.Tks anyway. Criticize ideas. and social media keep us busy but not always productive. No selling of products or services. To make sure we all stay on-topic.However the beginning of the 90minutes might be a problem for many people cuz we are not so motivated if the work hasn't to be done due to the following day... if 90 minutes is too long try starting with 30. These are conversations in which we debate ideas.I'll try that out when the new semester comes.-) DavidSun 2 days ago I have to agree that the 90min thing is a brilliant idea for people to work more efficiently. Posting Guidelines We hope the conversations that take place on HBR. 2. . hbr.Tks anyway. please link to them. all posts will be reviewed by our editors and may be edited for clarity.. All postings become the property of Harvard Business School Publishing The editor s70% Of AIL Change Initiatives Fail Turn the odds in your company's favor. Spending 90 minutes in the morning is time that I intentionally use to get important strategic goals moving forward. Let's keep this an ad-free zone../the-most-important-practic. .However the beginning of the 90minutes might be a problem for many people cuz we are not so motivated if the work hasn't to be done due to the following day.I'll try that out when the new semester comes. We ask that you adhere to the following guidelines. constructive. If you want us to know about outside sources. One suggestion. Taz 2 days ago Great tip-I will try it! Ed 2 days ago I am a big believer in this principle. It's worked for me and has made a big difference in my productivity.... 149/9 . (Pause) ADD NEWLogin COMMENT Optional: below.-) Real-time updating is enabled. 1. free-wheeling.org/. Only $24-95- i What if you could look at information differently to expand market share? .1/26/2011 A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectives.
1/26/2011 -.. 2011 | Comments (25) Change is hard." he wrote. or occur in response to a strong external stimulus. In order to make change that lasts./six-keys-to-changing-almos. "that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. Cart My Account Download s Tony Schwartz On: Managing yourself. Organizational culture. . Fully 95 percent of our behaviors are habitual. Our method is grounded in the recognition that human being are creatures of habit. Work life balance Tony Schw artz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of The Way We're Working Isnt Working. the mathematician Alfred North Whitehead intuited what researchers would confirm nearly a century later. Ingenious research by Roy Baumeister and others has demonstrated that our self-control is a severely limited resource that gets progressively depleted by every act of conscious selfregulation. New Year's resolutions almost always fail. both in my own life and for the corporate clients to whom we teach it.org/. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Only 5 percent of our choices are consciously self-selected. and more on co-opting the primitive parts of our brain in which habits are formed.com/TonySchwartz and Tw itter. Become a fan of The Energy Project on Facebook and connect w ith Tony at Twitter.. The precise opposite is the case. hbr. accenture High performance. But at The Energy Project. Learn how analytics can help you unlock the answers to increasing your performance. we must rely less on our prefrontal cortex. Delivered .. Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything .com/Ehergy_Project Tony Schw art zSix Keys to Changing Almost Anything 10:58 AM Monday January 17." CASE STUDY Most of us wildly overvalue our will and discipline.. CASE STUDY In 1911. we have developed a way of making changes that has proved remarkably powerful and enduring.. 151/8 . "It is a profoundly erroneous truism.
org/. .95 Buy it now » Manage Your Energy.. . The Secret to Ensuring Follow-Through The Six Habits of a Talent Magnet Are You a Rebel or a Leader? Should I Become an Entrepreneur? The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything The Best Way to Use the Last Five Minutes of Your Day Managing and Motivating Employees in Thei r1/26/2011 Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything ... and the more they recur automatically Schwartz $6.. the more behaviors are ritualized and routinized — in the form of a deliberate practice — the less energy they require to launch. . Bruce Scott $6. Not by Catherine McCarthy. .95 Your Time What follows are our six key steps to making change that lasts: 1 . Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything Put simply. Emai Tw eet This Post to Facebook Share on LinkedIn Print FEATURED PRODUCTS Taiwan: "Only the Paranoid Survive" by Jamie Matthews.95 Buy it now » Tips for Managing Career Transitions and Your Golf Game: Lessons and Teaching from Harvey Penick's Little Red Book by Candida Brush $6.1/26/2011 -. hbr./six-keys-to-changing-almos.. 152/8 . . Imagine a typical New Invest in Youiselt SUBSCRIBE TO HBR . . Tony THE WORLD Ari V WORKS HERE ONTMJO % Canada V J EXPLORE MORE RECENTLY FROM TONY SCHWARTZ A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness JAN 24 « Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything JAN 17 Enough Is Enough JAN 11 What It Takes to Be a Great Employer JAN 3 Six Ways to Refuel Your Energy Every Day DEC 13 From: Last 24 Hours Last 7 Days Last 30 Days 1 . A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 . Be Highly Precise and Specific.
You have a vastly higher chance for success if you decide in advance the days and times. The only way to truly grow is to challenge your current comfort zone. The trick is finding a middle ground — pushing yourself hard enough that you get some real gain. Imagine that after doing no exercise at all for the past year.m. for example. It's also easy to go to the other extreme. it's taken several tries before I was able to stay at the behavior long enough for it to become essentially automatic. . and take on too little. Say instead that you commit to do a cardiovascular work out Monday. Even then. you automatically default to doing that workout instead on Saturday at 9 a. sequentially.. for 30 minutes. and precisely what you're going to do on each of them.org/. 153/8 . Human beings operate best when we take on one thing at a time. Wednesday and Friday at 6 a. Not too much. to doing the most important thing first every morning without interruption for 90 minutes and then taking a break to spending 90 minutes talking with my wife about the previous week on Saturday mornings. If something beyond your control forces you to miss one of those days. CLICK HERE FOR WHITE PAPER. I've established a broad range of routines and practices.1/26/2011 -... you get inspired and launch a regimen of jogging for 30 minutes. Computers can run several programs simultaneously. 3 . five days a week. 2 .. What we resist persists.. The problem is that you don't feel any better for it after several weeks. Take on one new challenge at a time. So you launch a 10-minute walk at lunchtime three days a week and stay at it./six-keys-to-changing-almos.m. I gave the new practice I was launching my sole focus. Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything Year's resolution to "exercise regularly. and your motivation fades. 4 . hbr. not too little. Chances are high that you'll find exercising that much so painful you'll quit after a few sessions. Over the years. The most obvious mistake we make when we try to change something in our lives is that we bite off more than it turns out we can chew. ranging from ones for weight training and running. in some cases. Researchers call those "implementation intentions" and they dramatically increase your odds of success. In each case.." It's a prescription for | | Buy it now » failure. but not too much that you find yourself unwilling to stay at it.
it's to keep food you don't want to eat out of sight.. Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything Think about sitting in front of a plate of fragrant chocolate chip cookies over an extended period of time. and then answer it in chunks at others. The same is true of trying to ignore the Pavlovian ping of incoming emails while you're working on an important project that deserves your full attention. What Groupon and LivingSocial Cannot Offer All Most Popular » What if you could take 8 essential steps toward getting started with business analytics? You can... For dieters.." Even the most passionate commitment to change./six-keys-to-changing-almos. Twenties 9 . Eventually. and in what portion sizes. the more successful you're likely to be. The only reasonable answer is to avoid the temptation. We all derive a sense of comfort and safety from doing what we've always done. the more effective practice is turn it off entirely at designated times. even if it isn't ultimately serving us well.org/. Diets fail the vast majority of time because they're typically built around regularly resisting food we enjoy eating. With email. 5 .. . at which times. Competing Commitments. 154/8 . and focus your diet instead on what you are going to eat. The less you have to think about what to do..1/26/2011 -. we run up against our limited reservoir of self control. hbr. is invariably counterbalanced by an equally powerful but often unseen "competing" commitment not to change. Researchers Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey call this "immunity to change. STAY CONNECTED TO HBR Facebook Tw itter RSS iPhone §sas ^yeC Newsletters Linkedln YouTube Google Updating with new recommendations OK close Get Discovered Are you or is someone you know a great content provider? Recommend them to be in the LiveIntent Discovery Window! Twitter Name Reason for recommending Send Cancel Sending Recommendation. they've shown.
.org/. and probably without multiple failures. Showing 25 comment sSubscribe by RSS O Subscribe by email . Keep the faith.. TRACKBACKS TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs.1/26/2011 -. hbr. Change is hard. But it’s an elusive concept that one never can be 100% prepared for.org directly to your inbox every morning at 8:00 AM ET. And you will experience failure at times. Now ask yourself what you're currently doing or not doing to undermine that primary commitment. Explore mutual funds from Goldman Sachs Asset Managemen tMore on: Change management. More Tracked on January 18. your competing commitment might be the desire to be highly responsive and available to those emailing you. There’s an a. Managing yourself./six-keys-to-changing-almos.. Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything back Follow • more info • latest tweets 1/26/2011 Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything Here's a very simple way to surface your competing commitment. If you are trying to get more focused on important priorities.. It is painful. for example. 155/8 .org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb . Work life balance Join the Discussion | Email/Share PREVIOUS NEXT Enough Is Enough A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness Never miss a new post from your favorite blogger again with the Harvard Business Review Daily Alert email. The Alert delivers the latest blog posts from HBR. That’s what the noise variable is for in regression equations. Managen»« You never stop growing™ Ask your advisor how our strategic expertise and risk management experience may help your dreams come true. and I can tell you from my own experience and that of thousands of clients that you will succeed. But follow the steps above. 6 Keys to Get You Started from Michael Musgrove: I consider myself an expert at change management.hbr.. it's key to surface your competing commitment and then ask yourself "How can I design this practice so I get the desired benefits but also minimize the costs I fear it will prompt?" 6 .. For any change effort you launch. Think about a change you really want to make.. 2011 00:41 COMMENTS 35 people liked this. The average person launches a change effort six separate times before it finally takes. through experience and classroom study.cg i/8690 Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything: Don’t Like it? Change it.
a few additional steps are needed. Real. Finally.. I Dan Olson 1 week ago Thank you Tony. | Rick Ross 1 week ago Your point. In the end it seems like adopting better habits is just a matter of time management and commiting to it. but if I have an end goal like running a marathon..hbr. ... Thanks for the highly practical advice! ■g Paul Flanigan and 1 more liked this | Paul Flanigan 1 week ago Tony.org/. what seems to be a dysfunctional behavior.rickrossbusinessblo. Writing down the desired changes and asking your mentor or accountablity group to keep you honest will promote future success.. 2 people liked this... hbr. we can begin the change process. HBR blogger Peter Bregman suggests that you “schedule them” in his post: How (and When) to Motivate Yourself http://blogs.1/26/2011 -../six-keys-to-changing-almos.. from my perspective. and how certain behaviors impact other areas of their lives (for better and worse). before setting a course of action what your giving up also has to be considered: Goal Setting: The Forgotten Question http://www.. To insure success.. not the symptoms. I know I have the means to stick to my commitment. One involves the practice of periodic reflection to account for shifting circumstances. I wouldn't say I'm compelled to go to the gym everyday. lasting change can only happen if we begin by fully understanding why certain habits. I don’t give myself time to rationalize my laziness or temptation.org/bregman/2. Highly reccomend "Immunity to Change" by Kegan and Lahey. for much more on this. Equally important is to have a support/accountability group to keep you honest. 3 people liked this.rickrossbusinessblo. My wife is a dietitian and she promotes small changes over the course of time will benefit you the most. You've provided a clear way to flip the human autopilot switch into the "on" position. I Jennifer 1 week ago I enjoyed reading these tips... Sometimes it’s a matter of getting up and getting it done without trying to talk yourself out of it.. 1 person liked this. 5 people liked this." and its supporting arguments do an unparalleled job of highlighting the mechanism that so commonly dooms resolutions to failure. I used to be a couch potato but now an avid runner and definitely believe in #1 with sticking to a plan and #3 challenging yourself until you start seeing results. behaviors and reactions exist in the first place. 156/8 .. "Most of us wildly overvalue our will and discipline. I don't know if it has become second nature yet. The notion here is that you discover what's driving you by looking closely at what accounts for your persisting in 1/26/2011 Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything -. Referring to these times of uncertainty. Is it an addiction? Learned behavior? Environmental? By understanding the root. The importance of this practice is also underscored in my post: Succeeding by Knowing When to Quit http://www. and that's extremely useful. about understanding competing commitments (#5). Good article. I believe that the same theory applies to your management principles. Small changes to improve any aspect of our business life will equal success in accomplishing that objective. Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything Sort by Popular no wSmcjunkin 1 week ago I believe that most people know what they should change. I Tony Iweekago mnirepHjrito?JfiifiqjUMfidrfi That's really.
Almost all change requires give an take./six-keys-to-changing-almos. Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything I read one time that the hardest part of change is not the change itself. PhD Dipendra Thakur 1 week ago Good One Niranjan Daddikar 1 week ago Change is natural and nature is smarter than we are. . www. Thanks again.social and peer pressure.. Working with clients. hbr. about bringing on a certain change in these situations may be tougher than implementing a certain change at a personal level. I think your plans are spot on with handling that change . Although that sort of decision making is a reality of our "wiring". ^ Dolores Dz Schrader liked this | Budhaditya Banerjee 1 week ago Good read! But I would have liked you to add another component to the set of considerations (six of them) 1/26/2011 Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything -. Its yet another that I have read that continues to reinforce a habit. at a personal level. And for most of us it is need based. but a whole gamut of people whose opinion and actions matter? These are some of the toughest situations to implement change. So many of our habitual decisions are indeed made at the subconscious level.com 1 week ago Thanking you for a concise post with accurate information.. its that lack of cognitive thought in the decision making process that creates those comfort zones. I plan to use this post as a basis for a post on my blog . we refer those executive decisions as "high velocity decisions". How do you manage conflicting opinions. Barbara Boucher. The routine we have is built around comfort and convenience. Sebastian Font 1 week ago Tony.with examples meaningful to my readers. Yes. The shame of having to confess when I've not implemented the change drives me on. but what people must give up..1/26/2011 -. I'm currently reading a new book called Leadership Charisma that also underlines the force of habit to change behaviours in ourselves which equally applies to everyone....org/. I'd suffice to say that if you have a charismatic leader its likely he/she can help drive the change. when the task and the resolve to change the same involves not just you.therextras.accepting that you'll have to sacrifice for the better. great post. Rick Yvanovich 1 week ago Great post. 157/8 .. that you have come up with . and being resolute. I Tony Harper 1 week ago I find write it down and externalise it as a great way of ensuring I keep to my changes. 1 person liked this.. the ones that are painful when challenged.
.org/.org/cs/2011/0... Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything Brent Hay 1 week ago Given the rapid pace of change in modern life./six-keys-to-changing-almos. . understanding how our people are hard-wired for accepting change will be very helpful in guiding future initiatives.. an article that explores what works and why when it comes to change is both welcome and inherently useful.1/26/2011 -. 158/8 . Well done! As a business owner. hbr. ChiefAlchemist 1 week ago Am I the only one sensing a connection between Tony's recommendations/guidelines above and this HBR article on innovation: "The Number One Key to Innovation: Scarcity" by Uri Neren http://blogs..hbr... and the enormous and often daunting task of constantly reevaluating our behaviors and practices.
Where as you've actually come up with a formula. it takes a lot of effort and selfdiscipline. Your point #1 is "Be Highly Precise and Specific. I would also add that you should reward yourself(and not feel guilty) when you keep your committmentsJt works on animals it works on us.org/. Sharing your commitment out loud to someone else -. hbr. And also a little help and support from family.... friends. article." Translation as applied to innovation: "Don't bite off too much. your prescription for change (as defined above) does a better job at guiding/inspiring innovation than the other article.. there *must be* change. Tony ChiefAlchemist Iweekago irnirepilirtoTiiny Hello Tony . As with animals. peers. to define measurable results. not so necessary to reward each time . Can you elaborate? Cheers. limited scope forces one to be focused.do increase your accountability./six-keys-to-changing-almos.. "Take on one new challenge at a time.. and thus be more effective a producing change/innovation. IMHO. All good! ^ Dolores Diz Schrader liked this | Gabriel Casals 1 week ago Tony.. . and even becomes a bit of a hassle! arun rajiah 1 week ago Good one as always Dolores Diz Schrader 1 week ago Great. I also recommend a great book about change written by the Heath brothers. Compromising with a person who is willing to achieve the same or alike goal as yours can be a great help to keep your path." IMHO that creates a sense of "scarcity". And I would add another key step: Find a partner. Scarcity to me is a symptom (and I mention this in a comment on that other blog posting). once the habit is really embedded. Maybe it's just me? It certainly wouldn't be the first time I took an atypical position in a discussion. Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything V Tony Iweekago ti ninfei OwSVilMaiKd Chief--Read the innovation blog twice and struggled to see the connections. to produce given a very specify directive. Thank you Tony! Tony Iweekago nrnireftfirIk)DoloresDcSdiradef As with Tony Harper above. That is.. Don't be too broad. Christian Sarkar liked this | notmd 1 week ago Tony. "Switch".and writing it down -. and (I guess one could say) I've tweaked it a bit.1/26/2011 -. The ultimate goal is quality.. as usual. Another example.Thanks for taking the time. or at the very least reappropriated it. The common theme being that in order to innovate.. I see your manifesto for change as also being one for innovation. 159/8 ." Again. this is a good suggestion. Change is hard. Tony 1 week ago nro rejpfljMto Mákfwü Agree in the early stages of making a change. In doing so you'll get lost in the forest and won't produce innovation worth speaking of. At the very least your rules are worthy of leadership's/management's tool box for growth.
For sure this is something great when you want to do a training or force yourself to a goal.. Be Highly Precise and Specific. Tks.gabrielmanagementschool. hbr.bl.. .1/26/2011 -. Vishal Badani 1 week ago brilliant one! Book Review 1 week ago For anyone who wants to change her or his behavior... . But you always have to keep the goal and its benefits in mind../six-keys-to-changing-almos. else you may fail an enter the stats you spoke about (6 tries before you realy score the change). Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything Very interesting post on behavior change! I always had success on step 1..org/. 160/8 . Gabriel Casals www.
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