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

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  775 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
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 oursel
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Harvard Business Review Press
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May 26, 2012 Margaret rated it really liked it
A reviewer on Amazon described this book well: Immunity to Change is a challenging analysis of how our well-developed methods of processing information and experience become barriers that hinder our attempts to achieve adaptive change. The first section of the book describes the theory and can be pretty tough going. The second applies the theory to case studies of organization change. The last is a primer on how to detect and overcome change immunity in your own organization.

What I liked about t
Sep 06, 2009 Ronda rated it it was amazing
Finally a readable book by a developmental psychologist explaining stages of adult development. The author Robert Kegan at Harvard is probably the leading developmental psychologist in the country, but his first book Evolving Self was a tough read, just like Fowler's Stages of Faith. This book explains much more clearly how to identify stage changes and then gives many examples (mostly in work settings) of how people made changes in their lives. He explains how even when we really want to make ...more
Linda Sands
Jan 17, 2014 Linda Sands rated it really liked it
What is preventing you from being able to change? What is your "immunity to change"? I found this book to be extremely useful. The authors provide many examples of how people may want to change but are also holding themselves back - as though they have one foot on the accelerator but also, and unconsciously, have one foot on the brake - no wonder change is not happening! They also discuss the importance of selecting one big thing to focus on changing and stress the importance of selecting that c ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Melanie rated it it was ok
I had high expectations for this book and didn't feel like it delivered. The first chapter is about how powerful this book has been with groups... so I kept reading to figure out the details. Reading the book felt like listening to a infomercial on how groups can change when their steps are implemented.

1. Understand that people are resistant to changing
2. Make sure that you identify the problem you are trying to solve carefully and that everyone involved in the solution is on-board.
3. Recogniz
Michelle Kusel
Jun 07, 2012 Michelle Kusel rated it it was amazing
The book is a little tough to read cover to cover, but the ideas behind the concept are SOLID and have totally worked for me!
Feb 28, 2017 Morgan rated it really liked it
This book is easier to read than Kegan's prior work. I think the additional author really kept it from getting too disorganized and wordy.

The book builds on the themes in In Over Our Heads, and extends them to talk about how to grow as a person. The overall thesis is that people all interpret the world around them at different levels of complexity, and the levels of complexity are distinct and different from each other. The higher your own level of complexity can be, the more productive and happ
Garland Vance
If you love books about personal development and love books about organizational change, this book will probably be in your sweet spot. The premise is this: often the areas of our life that we want to change are inadvertently sabotaged by our own emotional, unconscious assumptions about ourselves and the world. Using a four-step process, the authors help a person articulate their change goal, understand what they ware doing to fight against that goal, what fears are driving them toward those act ...more
Jan 12, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it
I really appreciated Kegan's case study framework in approaching the problem of leadership. His dichotomy of identifying blocking issues into technical (ones that require a persistence of execution) and adaptive problems (ones that require a systems thinking approach to identify conflicting values) was helpful both in the office, and in the home. Highly recommended for those interested in applied emotional intelligence.
Laura Cipriano
Aug 12, 2012 Laura Cipriano rated it it was amazing
I read this as part of a leadership institute I attended and believe that this book and core concepts should be integrated in all teacher preparation, instructional coaching professional development, and educational leadership programs. It is an enlightening philosophy of the structures we protect in our blind efforts to resist change.
Bob Tschannen-moran
Apr 15, 2009 Bob Tschannen-moran rated it really liked it
Excellent review of why we don't do what we want to do, and do do what we don't want to do. Sounds like do do to me! :)
Aug 20, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Good book with some great insights as to why people don't change and how it can be facilitated.
May 09, 2015 Alex rated it liked it
Romeo Stevens
Feb 13, 2017 Romeo Stevens rated it liked it
Standard self help thing of way too many anecdotes, but the material is worth it in this case.
Feb 09, 2017 Batr rated it liked it
I did not get it. May be I am not ready or patient.
Jan 16, 2017 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I think I am just not a business book sort of gal. I find them boring and not particularly helpful.
Sara Goldenberg
Feb 18, 2017 Sara Goldenberg rated it did not like it

So boring, so unhelpful.
Dec 19, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Not only sets out an utterly practical framework for overcoming resistance to change, but really insightful theories on why it can be so difficult to change. Addresses this mostly in a work environment, but also touches on individuals and how it can be applied to just about any change a person might want to make.
I am not sure whether to give this book a positive or lukewarm rating. I am positive because it carries an interesting idea which I find relevant. I am lukewarm because of the writing style, which is repetitive and heavy on anecdotes, over-labouring the point long after it has been made. This irritated me and caused me to skim some parts.

However, the basic idea of the book is worth the read. It asks the question, what stops us doing what we want to do? When we have identified desires and goals w
Shahine Ardeshir
Oct 11, 2015 Shahine Ardeshir rated it liked it
Immunity to Change is an interesting book, that's underpinned by a really solid concept, which is obviously backed up by laborious research and extensive application. I loved the concept - but found the book far too long.

The first few chapters of the book spends time explaining what the underlying assumptions and theory are: Essentially, that each of us finds certain kinds of change difficult because it requires us to behave in a manner opposite to our own particular behavioural immune system -
Sep 21, 2012 Melzie rated it it was ok
This was read as part of a business school course on behavioral challenges in the work environment.

I think that it is extremely useful for people to find ways to step outside of their work-selves to consider their organizations and themselves from a higher and more strategic place. When you realize that things need to change - and there are always things that need to change, it can be useful when given a way to think about structuring the research into areas of improvement as well as the methodo
Edouard Stenger
Jan 09, 2016 Edouard Stenger rated it really liked it
For last quarter's Leadership and Professional Development class at Pinchot University, I had to read this book and reflect about its teachings.

The idea is that our mental models that we built during our youth and adolescence can be changed to better accommodate our adult lives is already a good news. The authors provide tools and ideas to do so as well as examples of people who did.

Here is a graph taken from the book that illustrates mental models our their complexity. As you can see, you are
Gregory Linton
Dec 13, 2016 Gregory Linton rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
The authors present the results of their research on what contributes to personal and organizational change, and they walk the reader through their time-tested process of identifying barriers to change and strategizing to overcome them.
Nov 11, 2015 Ron rated it it was amazing
Why don't we change when we know what we want to do differently? Why do we keep sabotaging ourselves? Why do we do one thing when we say we want something else? It may be the case that we have an actual emotional immune system in operation that prevents us from reaching our goals.

This is the book. I read a lot of books on behavior change and leadership development. This is the best. For me anyway. It was the missing puzzle piece for a theory I'd been trying to piece together in my leadership de
Dec 20, 2009 E rated it really liked it
Guide to overcoming resistance to change

The core concept of this fascinating, important book – that people and organizations want to change but often fail because they get in their own way – is simple and clear. Many of the stories of how individuals and groups have changed are inspiring. However, some are so attenuated that they fail to capture subtleties, such as exactly how the subjects identified and overcame the beliefs that blocked them. That said, Robert Kegan, who teaches at Harvard’s Gr
Fred Leland
Aug 13, 2013 Fred Leland rated it it was amazing
Another great book I read in 2013 is Immunity to Change a book I think many of us will learn much from as we try to shape and reshape our organizations in to flexible and agile forces of excellence. In the book the author writes:

"We had been studying the evolution of mental development from the outside, as it were, seeking to describe the structure of each way of meaning-making, why it created the reality it did, what changed in a structure when it evolved. But now, without our quite realizing
Jul 27, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
Uncovering your immune system that protects you and managed your anxieties and fears and also prevents you from achieving any goals that might run counter to that immune system.

Developing an x-ray of that immune system to shed light on why you do what you do.

Greater mental complexity is produced by working through optimal conflict: working on an adaptive (not technical) challenge. The frustration/dilemma/life puzzle/quandary/personal problem needs to be persistant, and perfectly designed to caus
Alanna Jane
Mar 21, 2014 Alanna Jane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Alanna Jane by: Genifer Teasin
To be absolutely honest, I was not a fan of the voice in which this book was written It was unnecessarily wordy and convoluted, especially in the first few chapters.

That said, the practical chapters nearer the end of this book were invaluable - so much so that I truly believe that this book, and more specifically this process, should be taught to every adult in the modern world! Change is truly not as we naively believe until we dig deeper into what needs to change psychologically prior to being
Nige S.
Sep 13, 2015 Nige S. added it
Shelves: 2015
My pastor talked about this book a few years ago and going through moving I found a note on this book. I have a promotion at work and have been doing better out any patient he's treated as doctors say that I am reading this book to get insight if I'll do more hours at work for another contract. I'd like to see the difference between the two contracts as a success that my team supervisors mentioning some relations that are unknown to my knowledge. Hope this book cajoles my passion for working in ...more
Jan 20, 2014 Luke rated it really liked it
Shelves: brain
Businessy "change leadership" book, and mostly repetitive anecdotal - but also a good framework and straightforward idea: we often fail to change in order to meet some new goal because we don't acknowledge how protective our current self-identity is of the status quo, for perfectly good reasons until we test out and prove to ourselves that the hidden assumptions of that identity no longer apply. Emphasis on these cultivated adaptive transformation-of-self changes, rather than treating goals excl ...more
Joseph Serwach
Oct 29, 2009 Joseph Serwach rated it really liked it
From the book: "As people experience the emergence of options where before there were none, they begin to feel new energy and hope. Tasting the possibility of living in a no-less-safe but significantly larger space is intoxicating and a source of continued motivation to stay in the work and carry it through. New ways of thinking permit new ways of feeling, and new ways of feeling encourage and validate new ways of thinking.... New energy leads to new action, and a particular kind of actions furt ...more
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“If you have wanted to lose ten pounds for ten years and a diet finally helps you do it, you might well assume you have accomplished your goal. But your goal actually isn’t to lose ten pounds. Many people (even you?) have lost ten pounds many times! The goal is to lose ten pounds and keep the weight off. Dieting doesn’t lead to weight loss that endures. For this we must join a change in behavior with a change in the way we think and feel—and in order to change the way we think and feel, we need to change our mindsets. When we are working on truly adaptive goals—ones that require us to develop our mindsets—we must continually convert what we learn from behavioral changes into changes in our mindsets.” 3 likes
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