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Why I Love the Immunity to Change Method

As an executive coach and consultant, I've enjoyed working with leaders at every level, from CEOs to newly promoted managers.

Many of the leaders we've worked with wanted to change something about their behavior or communication but had difficulty accomplishing this change.

We often utilize the Immunity to Change (ITC) method with our clients.

We believe that it's the most effective process we know to address someone's internal barriers to self-improvement.

This process is fantastic because it quickly makes a difference in our clients' lives.

The ITC process was developed out of solid research by two leading researchers at Harvard, Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey.

Real Change is Hard

If you were recently promoted to a leadership position, you might realize that you need to delegate more effectively.

Or perhaps you're the CEO, and you know that your "large and in charge" communication style is alienating people.

Maybe you're an executive who has been getting feedback in reviews over the past few years that you need to speak up more in meetings with your peers.

If you're like most of the leaders with whom we work, you've made sincere commitments to change.

· You have participated in training programs

· Invested in books

· Outlined self-improvement plans

· Set accountability measures

Maybe you can get things to shift for a little while, but eventually, you return to your habitual ways of relating, working, and thinking.

· What is going on here?

· Is it a lack of willpower?

· Are you dealing with a fundamental flaw that cannot be changed?

What is Immunity to Change?

Harvard University researchers Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey set out to unravel this mystery.

They point to a study that found that when doctors tell heart patients that they will die if they do not change their habits, only one in seven will follow through successfully.

If change is elusive for people even when faced with life and death matters, Kegan and Lahey concluded that desire and motivation alone couldn't be enough to change the status quo.

They became curious about what lies behind each of our habitual behaviors and mindsets.

Instead of writing off any habit as "bad," Kegan and Lahey looked to see what useful purpose the habit might be serving.

If you know that you are facing burnout and want to be a better delegator but continue your habit of taking control and doing things yourself, you must have a pretty good reason.

Perhaps you are afraid that things will devolve into chaos.

Perhaps you grew up in a world where you learned that delegating work to others makes you lazy.

Maybe your identity is wrapped up in being seen as the creative genius who produces excellent work.