Minds at Work helps individuals, teams, and organizations make those personal and collective changes that are most important to them — but have proven resistant even to thoughtful plans and heartfelt intentions.

The mind, like the body, has its own immune system. Dr. Robert Kegan and Dr. Lisa Lahey have spent the last 10 years developing and researching an award-winning coaching method based on their breakthrough discovery of a hidden dynamic called the “immunity to change”. The Immunity to Change (ITC) methodology is designed to help individuals, teams and organizations attain deeply sought changes by bringing this internal unconscious resistance to change to light.

We deliver the immunity-to-change method in several formats via conferences, organizational consultation, customized programming, personal coaching, and coach-certification programs. Our approach is based on years of research in adult development and we are continuously expanding our approach. Many professional service organizations now make use of these ideas and practices we created.

Diagnosing and Overturning an ITC

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For example, a person may very much want to stay on his anti-cholesterol medication.

He knows the medicine helps him and he knows what is at stake if he doesn’t take the medication. He wants very much to be healthy and comply with his doctor’s prescription. He even believes he will. But after about nine he has stopped taking his pills and he almost certainly does not know the real reason why. Our research suggests that the traditional reasonings behind such behavior such as “lack of discipline,” “insufficient motivation,” “lack of felt results,” “the inherent inability to reverse old habits,” and “difficulty making the future as real as the present” are all inadequate explanations.

The failure to enact visible goals is often due to the “success” of enacting unseen ones.

This man’s “failure” at committing to taking his medication is due to his “success” at keeping another commitment, one he is not even aware of. For example, he may have an unrecognized goal “to not feel like a chronically sick person” (which being on a permanent prescription happens to make him feel) or “to not feel like an old person” or “to not feel like I need a crutch to get by” or any other self-protective goal. While his discontinuation of medication is a “failure”, with respect to his sincere and visible goal, we can now see that it is also a “success” in maintaining his unseen one. He knows he has “one foot on the gas” (his dedication to the visible goal of staying on his meds) but he doesn’t know “the other foot is on the brakes” (his commitment to a hidden goal like not feeling old or sick.)

Our approach helps people

take their foot off the brake.

We know that our approach works extremely well under the following conditions:

  1. The person strongly wants to accomplish the goal.
  2. The person has a powerful picture of his or her “immunity to change.”
  3. Via any of several means, the person engages in a series of experiments, over 3-4 months, to reconsider, “How  much do I need to ‘put on the brakes’?”