Book Review: Immunity to Change

When trying to make a change in your life:

Are you flooring the gas….

with your foot on the brake?

If this describes you, then this is probably not the first time you’ve tried to change.

Whether this is the second or the umpteenth time you’ve tried to change a habit or behavior, Immunity to Change might provide some insight.

The authors of Immunity to Change, Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, suggest that in critical areas of change, we tend to sabotage ourselves. Instead of assuming that changing ourselves is impossible, they suggest that we take a closer look at our motivations.

At first, this seems no different from other change books. Who hasn’t heard this?

What’s Different?

What sets this book apart is their understanding of our internal battle against change.  They say that our “immunity to change” is a three part rope that consists of:

  • A Change-prevention system that thwarts challenging aspirations
  • A Feeling system that helps us manage our anxieties and
  • A Knowing system through which we organize our reality

In order to make a permanent change in our lives, they believe that we need to address all three strands of the rope.  From there, the authors take us through a 4-step process that helps you identify the change you want to implement, the behaviors that are examples of the problem, flag the hidden commitments that are sabotaging your intention to change and understand the assumptions you are making that support those commitments.

I recommend this book for PMs because after a certain point in our growth, some of our change goals are warmed over re-attempts. This book provides

  • A great explanation of the problems people face when trying to address change in their lives
    Instead of being incapable of change, the authors explain that we’re just trying to keep a conflicting commitment that is helping us organize our reality.
  • A Tool to help us uncover our internal roadblocks
    After explaining that the obstacle in our change process is “us”, the authors give us a tool to work through the discovery of the hidden commitments and assumptions that protect the status quo.
  • Examples from the lives of others who used the process and tool to overcome their own immunity to change
    As we learn about each step in the process, the authors provide examples of people and organizations that have stepped through the process and achieved permanent change.

Immunity to Change is available as a Kindle download, so while it won’t be on my bookshelf, it is on my IPhone and I recommend it for yours as well. Have a book to recommend?  Leave a comment or send a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.

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