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Overcoming Your Immunity To Change

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In this session we will cover a brief introduction to the research by Kegan and Lahey where they discovered that behind each of our habits is a strongly held belief that not only keeps us in our groove, but also fights any change that threatens the status quo.

We will discuss why personal growth and increasing our mental complexity is so important for agile and business transformations in today's VUCA world to succeed.

We will create your Immunity To Change Map which is a simple way to bring to light the your personal barriers to change. We will start by outlining your commitment to an improvement goal. Then we will sketch out the things that you are either doing or not doing that prevent progress towards the achievement goal. The Map then identifies competing commitments, as well as the big underlying assumptions behind those competing commitments.

The objective is to pinpoint and address whatever beliefs and assumptions are blocking you from the changes you want to make.

You will leave this workshop with a better understanding and tools to overcome the forces of inertia and transform your life and your work.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Overcoming Your Immunity To Change

  1. 1. OVERCOMING YOUR IMMUNITY TO CHANGE http://chrischan.com.au @ChrisChanAU CHRIS CHAN
  2. 2. Change is hard and inhibits agile and organizational transformation from progressing. We often use technical solutions (e.g. restructure and practices) to address an adaptive challenge. In today’s VUCA* world we need to change our form of mind and develop our mental complexity to be successful in this environment. You will create your own personal map or diagnostic of the ‘immunity to change’ as it relates to your personal improvement goal so you unlock new behaviors and grow your mental complexity. * VUCA: (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) @ChrisChanAU The narrative for today’s workshop……
  3. 3. @ChrisChanAU SHIFTING ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE – ITS GETTING WORSE! Source: Version One 3rd Annual State of Agile Report, 2008 Version One 12th Annual State of Agile Report, 2018 2008 2018 45% 44% 32%
  4. 4. @ChrisChanAU WHY DO TRANSFORMATION EFFORTS FAIL 1. Not Establishing a Great Enough Sense of Urgency 2. Not Creating a Powerful Enough Guiding Coalition 3. Lacking a Vision 4. Under communicating the Vision by a Factor of Ten 5. Not Removing Obstacles to the New Vision 6. Not Systematically Planning for, and Creating, Short-Term Wins 7. Declaring Victory Too Soon Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail, John Kotter, HBR 2007 @ChrisChanAU
  5. 5. @ChrisChanAU STAGES OF CULTURAL EVOLUTION Adaptive Cultures, Alison Cameron & Andrew Brown @ChrisChanAU
  6. 6. @ChrisChanAU UNDERSTANDING THE STAGES OF CULTURAL EVOLUTION @ChrisChanAU Adaptive Cultures, Alison Cameron & Andrew Brown
  7. 7. @ChrisChanAU WHAT IS AGILE? Image: Ahmed Sidky @ChrisChanAU
  8. 8. Agile is …. …. mindset @ChrisChanAU
  9. 9. A different way of observing, thinking, understanding and acting in the world Agile mindset is …. @ChrisChanAU
  10. 10. Shayne Elliott, CEO, ANZ Changing people’s frame of reference has been the hardest thing. @ChrisChanAU
  11. 11. You can legislate all kind of behaviours but you can’t legislate what or how someone must believe. It is our beliefs, some of which are made possible by our form of mind, are the roots from which all actions grow. - Changing On The Job, Jennifer Garvey Berger @ChrisChanAU
  12. 12. @ChrisChanAU WE NEED A SHIFT IN MENTAL COMPLEXITY As the world grows more complex, those in organizations want their workforce to be able to handle complexity and ambiguity. Coping well with such issues is not simply a skill anyone can acquire, however, but a way of living in the world. These ways of living in the world are not inborn, but rather are developed over time as we increase our capacity to take perspectives, view authority in new ways, and see shades of grey where we once saw only black and white. Changing on the Job, Jennifer Garvey Berger @ChrisChanAU
  13. 13. @ChrisChanAU ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE VS TECHNICAL PROBLEM TECHNICAL ADAPTIVE Easy to identify, clear, known repeated problem Difficult to identify, requires learning, unknown situations Lend themselves to quick and easy solutions Require changes in beliefs, hearts & mind, relationships & approaches to work Solved by authority or expert People with the challenge do the work of solving it (not experts) Require change in just one or a few places; often contained within organizational boundaries Require change in numerous places; usually across organizational boundaries Solutions can be implemented quickly often by edict Solutions require experiements and new discoveries; cannot be implemented by edict People are generally receptive to technical solutions People often resist even acknowledging adaptive challenges Adapted from Heifetz & Linsky “The single biggest failure of leadership is to treat adaptive challenges like technical problems”
  14. 14. @ChrisChanAU ADAPTIVE VS TECHNICAL ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE? TECHNICAL PROBLEM?
  15. 15. @ChrisChanAU ADAPTIVE VS TECHNICAL ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE? TECHNICAL PROBLEM?
  16. 16. @ChrisChanAU ADAPTIVE VS TECHNICAL ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE? TECHNICAL PROBLEM?
  17. 17. @ChrisChanAU ADAPTIVE VS TECHNICAL ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE? TECHNICAL PROBLEM?
  18. 18. @ChrisChanAU ADAPTIVE VS TECHNICAL ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE? TECHNICAL PROBLEM?
  19. 19. @ChrisChanAU ADAPTIVE VS TECHNICAL ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE? TECHNICAL PROBLEM?
  20. 20. @ChrisChanAU TRANSFORMATIONAL LEARNING Learning and growing are not the same! LEARNINGis acquiring new skill or knowledge that you add to your current form of your mind. Filing the bucket. GROWINGis changing the very form of your mind and your understanding changes. We often call this transformation. Changing the form or growing the bucket.
  21. 21. @ChrisChanAU ADULT DEVELOPMENT THEORY Age and Mental Complexity 30 Years Ago Today Immunity to Change, Kegan & Lahey
  22. 22. @ChrisChanAU STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT Immunity to Change, Kegan & Lahey Mental Complexity is the qualitative different ways of understanding the complex world around us
  23. 23. @ChrisChanAU CONSTRUCTIVE DEVELOPMENTAL THEORY
  24. 24. @ChrisChanAU SOCIALIZED MIND • External sources shape their meaning-making. Shaped by the definitions and expectations of our personal environment. • They internalize the ideas or emotions of others who represent their meaning system and are guided by the ideologies, institutions, or people that are most important to them. • They understand things from different points of view, however, there is still an emphasis on their perception being the right way of doing something. There is a focus on following rules, traditions, and norms.
  25. 25. @ChrisChanAU SELF-AUTHORING MIND • Their own internal thoughts shape their meaning- making. • They author their own identity instead of being written upon by society. • They can reflect on their own actions and modify future behavior to achieve desired results. • The person is defined by abstract systems, theories or ideologies. • These are the people we read about in the literature who “own” their work, who have articulated their personal theories, who are self-guided, self-motivated, self-evaluative, self-correcting.
  26. 26. @ChrisChanAU SELF-TRANSFORMING MIND • Can step back from and reflect on the limits of their own ideology or personal authority. • Can see that any one system or self-organization is in some way partial or incomplete. • Are less likely to see the world in terms of dichotomies or polarities. They are more likely to understand and deal well with paradox and with managing the tension of opposites. • They are also more likely to believe that what we often think of as black and white are just various shades of gray whose differences are made more visible by the lighter or darker colors around them.
  27. 27. The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener Bill O’Brien CEO Hanover Insurance @ChrisChanAU
  28. 28. @ChrisChanAU WHY IS MENTAL COMPLEXITY IMPORTANT? Each level represents a quite different way of knowing the world. Mental complexity strongly influences the perception, direction and purpose of information sending and receiving. These meaning systems make sense of the world, and operate within it, in profoundly different ways. The match between capacity for self-complexity and environment is a key factor for a person's ability to be successful. Stages of Cultural Evolution AGILE
  29. 29. The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein @ChrisChanAU
  30. 30. Your immunity protects you from threats @ChrisChanAU
  31. 31. @ChrisChanAU YOUR LIMBIC SYSTEM WHEN UNDER THREAT Prefrontal cortex • Problem solving • Decision making • Creativity • Insight • Reason • Moral decisions • Impulse control Limbic system • Emotions • “Am I Safe?” • Threat or reward response • Instinct, reactive, impulsive Prefrontal cortex is easily distracted by the limbic system – threat or reward part of the brain – once it kicks in we find it hard to be creative, etc. That’s why we can revert to old habits when we’re under stress.
  32. 32. @ChrisChanAU X-RAY: THE IMMUNITY TO CHANGE MAP Provides a window into our hidden commitments that hold us captive. The X-ray makes visible crucial missing piece in the puzzle why change is so difficult. “Something you have, rather than something that has you.” - Robert Kegan @ChrisChanAU
  33. 33. @ChrisChanAU MAKE THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE OBJECT Visible What you can see Something you have, can reflect on, take control of or operate upcon SUBJECT Invisible Lens we use to view the world Something that has you @ChrisChanAU
  34. 34. @ChrisChanAU FIVE STEP PLAN TO OVERCOMING YOUR IMMUNITY TO CHANGE 1. Identify your goal 2. What do you do that keeps you from achieving your goal? 3. What are your hidden commitments that keep you from achieving your goal? 4. Identify underlying assumptions 5. Test your assumptions
  35. 35. @ChrisChanAU COLUMN 1: IMPROVEMENT GOAL Guidelines: • Achieving this ONE BIG GOAL will not only make a big difference to you but also to your organization. • It’s true for you • It implicates you (you are on the hook) Your top priority improvement goalWrite in Column 1 STEP • There’s room for improvement • It’s stated in the affirmative • It’s important to you • Has a sense of urgency • This is a goal that you are sincerely and deeply committed to reaching.
  36. 36. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To be more comfortable in having difficult or uncomfortable conversations. This is important to me so I can be in service of others so I can provide feedback, call out unproductive behaviours, challenge people’s thinking, and help them grow their level of consciousness. This is also important so that the organization can transform and live the value of being a great place to grow. @ChrisChanAU
  37. 37. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To bring people on the journey, not to give the answers, and to be comfortable when actions differ from what I think is the pathway. Why? It’s important to me to be able to help others grow, drive culture change and it will enable me to be a more effective leader @ChrisChanAU
  38. 38. @ChrisChanAU COLUMN 2: DOING/NOT DOING Guidelines: • Name the behaviours, not just dispositions (not “I’m uncomfortable with conflict”, but what you DO or DON’T DO as a result) • It’s clear how these behaviours that get in the way or work against Column 1 commitment • Don’t worry about why or write what you do (or should do) to accomplish your goal What you are doing, or not doing, that works against your Column 1 goalWrite in Column 2 STEP
  39. 39. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To be more comfortable in having difficult or uncomfortable conversations. This is important to me so I can be in service of others so I can provide feedback, call out unproductive behaviours, challenge people’s thinking, and help them grow their level of consciousness. This is also important so that the organization can transform and live the value of being a great place to grow. • I hesitate/wait. • I over analyse/mull over • I don’t ask for support in situ • I discuss with a trusted colleague what I “should have” done. • I look for others to lead. • I do nothing (as time has passed) @ChrisChanAU
  40. 40. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To bring people on the journey, not to give the answers, and to be comfortable when actions differ from what I think is the pathway. Why? It’s important to me to be able to help others grow, drive culture change and it will enable me to be a more effective leader • Finishing others sentences • Asking leading questions • Leading to get an answer when it may be better to end coaching at that point • Moving too quickly • Not waiting for the full answer • Making people feel like there is a ‘right’ answer by not listening to what they are saying or not saying @ChrisChanAU
  41. 41. @ChrisChanAU COLUMN 3: WORRY BOX Guidelines: • Shift from rational thought into feelings. • Imagine doing the opposite of the behaviours in Column 2: • Really picture yourself in that situation…..what do you feel/think? • What concerns, doubts, distress, anxieties – even fears – do you experience? • What is the most uncomfortable or scary feeling that comes up? Why you are stopping yourself from achieving what you would like to achieve Write in Column 3 Worry Box STEP
  42. 42. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To be more comfortable in having difficult or uncomfortable conversations. This is important to me so I can be in service of others so I can provide feedback, call out unproductive behaviours, challenge people’s thinking, and help them grow their level of consciousness. This is also important so that the organization can transform and live the value of being a great place to grow. • I hesitate/wait. • I over analyse/mull over • I don’t ask for support in situ • I discuss with a trusted colleague what I “should have” done. • I look for others to lead. • I do nothing (as time has passed) Worry box: • I am not liked • I’ll look/sound like a trouble maker • People will ignore/distance themselves from me. • I will come across as judgemental • People will talk negatively of me • People will go behind my back @ChrisChanAU
  43. 43. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To bring people on the journey, not to give the answers, and to be comfortable when actions differ from what I think is the pathway. Why? It’s important to me to be able to help others grow, drive culture change and it will enable me to be a more effective leader • Finishing others sentences • Asking leading questions • Leading to get an answer when it may be better to end coaching at that point • Moving too quickly • Not waiting for the full answer • Making people feel like there is a ‘right’ answer by not listening to what they are saying or not saying Worry box: • I might not be able to help or be seen as helping • No action will happen • We will fail as a team • I will waste time (take too long) • I wont get to the truth @ChrisChanAU
  44. 44. @ChrisChanAU COLUMN 3: HIDDEN COMPETING COMMITMENTS Guidelines: • Follows from your fear. • Name the actual fears towards your improvement goal. • Shows why Column 2 behaviors make good sense. • You see your immune system & it feels powerful. • Commitment to self-protection is not noble. E.g. NOT something you are proud of What commitment you have to prevent this fear or loss from happening Write in Column 3 Underneath Worry Box STEP
  45. 45. @ChrisChanAU COLUMN 3: HIDDEN COMPETING COMMITMENTS Examples: “I worry I’ll look incompetent” becomes “I’m committed to covering over my weaknesses and vulnerabilities” “I worry I’ll let the person down” becomes “I am committed to taking everything on and never disappointing anyone” STEP
  46. 46. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To be more comfortable in having difficult or uncomfortable conversations. This is important to me so I can be in service of others so I can provide feedback, call out unproductive behaviours, challenge people’s thinking, and help them grow their level of consciousness. This is also important so that the organization can transform and live the value of being a great place to grow. • I hesitate/wait. • I over analyse/mull over • I don’t ask for support in situ • I discuss with a trusted colleague what I “should have” done. • I look for others to lead. • I do nothing (as time has passed) What I am committed to is… • Avoiding confrontation & conflict • Not risk being good enough and helpful • Not rocking the boat • Not risk being disliked • Wanting to be liked ahead of being transformational Worry box: • I am not liked • I’ll look/sound like a trouble maker • People will ignore/distance themselves from me. • I will come across as judgemental • People will talk negatively of me • People will go behind my back @ChrisChanAU
  47. 47. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To bring people on the journey, not to give the answers, and to be comfortable when actions differ from what I think is the pathway. Why? It’s important to me to be able to help others grow, drive culture change and it will enable me to be a more effective leader • Finishing others sentences • Asking leading questions • Leading to get an answer when it may be better to end coaching at that point • Moving too quickly • Not waiting for the full answer • Making people feel like there is a ‘right’ answer by not listening to what they are saying or not saying What I am committed to is… • Being right • Having my voice heard • Contributing to create value • Being the one with the idea • Getting in first • Proving my worth • Intent is that I’m not afraid to speak up Worry box: • I might not be able to help or be seen as helping • No action will happen • We will fail as a team • I will waste time (take too long) • I wont get to the truth @ChrisChanAU
  48. 48. @ChrisChanAU THIS REVEALS YOUR HIDDEN COMPETING COMMITMENTS! Immunity to change appears as resistance to a different way of doing and being. This brings about counter-commitments that are driven by the desire to maintain the status quo. The counter-commitment is generally backed by an assumption. The competing commitment gets in the way of the original commitment, but the person is unaware of the competing commitment. Our competing commitment has a positive intention which is ultimately to protect us. Its our immunity in action! @ChrisChanAU
  49. 49. one foot on the GAS and one foot on the BRAKE! @ChrisChanAU Column 1 Column 2
  50. 50. @ChrisChanAU COLUMN 4: THE BIG ASSUMPTION Guidelines: • Makes Column 3 absolutely necessary. What anchors you to your hidden commitments? • What dangers will you foresee if you let go of your competing commitments? • Has a big-time bad conclusion for you • Ask what negative impacts to your SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relationships, Fairness)? • Note: these tend to typically be invisible to you (subject not object) What assumptions must I be making that would keep me captive of (or give rise to) my Column 3 commitment Write in Column 4 STEP
  51. 51. @ChrisChanAU COLUMN 4: THE BIG ASSUMPTION • If [the opposite of Column 3 commitment] Then [Big Time Bad thing would happen] • I assume that • I assume that if , then • I assume that if I don’t , then STEP
  52. 52. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To be more comfortable in having difficult or uncomfortable conversations. This is important to me so I can be in service of others so I can provide feedback, call out unproductive behaviours, challenge people’s thinking, and help them grow their level of consciousness. This is also important so that the organization can transform and live the value of being a great place to grow. • I hesitate/wait. • I over analyse/mull over • I don’t ask for support in situ • I discuss with a trusted colleague what I “should have” done. • I look for others to lead. • I do nothing (as time has passed) What I am committed to is… • Avoiding confrontation & conflict • Not risk being good enough and helpful • Not rocking the boat • Not risk being disliked • Wanting to be liked ahead of being transformational I assume that if I am not liked people will not find me valuable and I will not have a seat at the table (be left out) or have input (lonely child syndrome). I assume that if I am seen as confrontational I will get hurt (blame). I assume that if I make a big mistake I will not be able to recover from it. Worry box: • I am not liked • I’ll look/sound like a trouble maker • People will ignore/distance themselves from me. • I will come across as judgemental • People will talk negatively of me • People will go behind my back @ChrisChanAU
  53. 53. 1. Commitment (Improvement Goal) 2. Doing/Not Doing (vs #1) 3. Hidden Competing Commitments 4. Big Assumptions To bring people on the journey, not to give the answers, and to be comfortable when actions differ from what I think is the pathway. Why? It’s important to me to be able to help others grow, drive culture change and it will enable me to be a more effective leader • Finishing others sentences • Asking leading questions • Leading to get an answer when it may be better to end coaching at that point • Moving too quickly • Not waiting for the full answer • Making people feel like there is a ‘right’ answer by not listening to what they are saying or not saying What I am committed to is… • Being right • Having my voice heard • Contributing to create value • Being the one with the idea • Getting in first • Proving my worth • Intent is that I’m not afraid to speak up I assume I will let people down if I don’t demonstrate my knowledge, or won’t live up to expectations. I assume I have a desire to be the advisor/SME/ to be respected I assume I have to sustain the pedestal, pressure to perform Worry box: • I might not be able to help or be seen as helping • No action will happen • We will fail as a team • I will waste time (take too long) • I wont get to the truth @ChrisChanAU
  54. 54. @ChrisChanAU BIG ASSUMPTIONS ARE THE ROOT OF YOUR BEHAVIOURS • Big assumptions are the core beliefs and internalized truths we hold about how the world works, how we work, and how people respond to us. • When we treat an assumption as if it were the absolute truth, we allow it to rule our actions and shape everything we see. • We don’t consider or explore possibilities.
  55. 55. @ChrisChanAU TEST THE BIG ASSUMPTIONS A good test conforms to SMART criteria: S Safe M Modest A Actionable in the near term R Take a research stance (not a self-improvement stance) T Test of your big assumption to collect data STEP The purpose of each test you run is to see what happens when you intentionally alter your usual conduct and then reflect upon the meaning of the results for your big assumption.
  56. 56. @ChrisChanAU OVERCOMING YOUR IMMUNITY TO CHANGE Chose one Big Assumption you want to explore: Step 1: Observe the big assumption in action Step 2: Write the biography of your big assumption Step 3: Design a first test of your big assumption Step 4: Examine the results of your first test Step 5: Develop / run / evaluate further tests Step 6: Consolidate your learning UNCONSCIOUSLY “IMMUNE” CONSCIOUSLY “IMMUNE” CONSCIOUSLY “RELEASED” UNCONSCIOUSLY “RELEASED” Immunity to Change, Kegan & Lahey
  57. 57. Leap from knowing and doing @ChrisChanAU Start breaking down your immunity to change …
  58. 58. PERSONAL GROWTH IS THE KEY TO SUCCESFUL BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION & CULTURE CHANGE @ChrisChanAU
  59. 59. @ChrisChanAU REFERENCES Lisa Lahey Robert Kegan
  60. 60. THANK YOU Presented by Chris Chan e: chris.chan2@anz.com chris@chrischan.com.au @ChrisChanAU w: http://chrischan.com.au

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