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

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  271 ratings  ·  39 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...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Harvard Business Review Press
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Margaret
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...more
Michelle Kusel
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!
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
Ronda
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
Laura Cipriano
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.
Melanie
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...more
Linda Sands
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
Bob Tschannen-moran
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! :)
Adam
Good book with some great insights as to why people don't change and how it can be facilitated.
getAbstract
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...more
Melzie
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...more
Fred Leland
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...more
Jo
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...more
Jenny
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...more
Luke
Feb 03, 2014 Luke rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Alanna Jane
Jul 27, 2014 Alanna Jane rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Judy Irving
Excellent model for growth and leadership!
Joseph Serwach
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
Barbara Daiker


If you are wanting a change and it seems like the change won't happen, this book will give you insight into the barriers. As the author points out, resistance to change has an underlying and unspoken reason. We have to dig deep to find the barrier. I found the first 3/4 of the book amazing. The last quarter is a process that takes an individual through the steps of change. It is insightful and helps leaders look at resistance to change in a new way.
Holly
Dec 17, 2008 Holly marked it as to-read
Read about this in an article in January's Oprah magazine, looks like an amazing book to add to your collection, especially if your into psychology, or just want to understand why its so difficult to change! The article talks about resistance to change actually being a type of defense system against what would happen if you did change. Read the article to understand. I cant wait until it comes out!
Rayrumtum
I found this has a useful structured approach to analyzing obstacles to bringing change to a person or group. Basically the authors seek to explain why people and organizations with such good intentions so often fall short. I am less certain, however, that self-discovery as the authors suggest will necessarily overcome those obstacles. the book is replete with real cases to illustrate the approach.
Robert
An excellent guide to why we don't change when we think we really want to. Probably best when used with a group or a consultant. The underlying psychology feels really solid and the methodology has been reasonably tested.
Prof Jake
One of the very best books to enable people to understand how they hold themselves up in life. I used this to great effect on many high level leadership courses. The trick in presenting it is to divulge your own personal examples, this gives others permission to explore more deeply.
Elizabeth Goode
I wish I’d read this book years ago! It has great insights into the reasons why I have such difficulty changing. I skipped over the stuff about corporate and collective behaviours, though. Might be better if the group stuff were in a separate book….
Sarah
Very inspirational; reading this book through the lens of a student affairs professional and with the intent to change my own life allowed me to find how I was unintentionally responsible for prohibiting myself from the changes I hoped to make. Although
Clark Brown
So what is getting in the way the change you want to make happen? The tools in this book can help you, your team, or you organization identify underlying commitments that stand in the way of the progress you desire. Good tools, easy read.
Emillam
Robert Kegan's writings and work are always an inspiration. This one truly helps one understand the complexities with making change in organizations, communities and all groups. I highly recommend for leaders interested in making change.
Kara
Pretty academic - not sure if many would enjoy reading through it. However, it is invaluable if you want to understand the complexity of motivators and the "hidden commitments" that keep us from making changes our lives.
Donna
Very interesting book. The basic premise is that we're "immune" to change because we try to change the symptoms, and haven't identified the underlying "one big thing" that we really need to change.

David Dalka
The learning type frameworks are useful.

Discusses a number of challenging topics in a unique way.

Would be 5 stars if it were edited down to core and written in slightly more practical way.

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