The Immunity To Change


What is the space between intentions and what we do?

There are five frogs on a log. Two frogs say they intend to jump into the water. How many frogs are left on the log? Five. There is a big difference between deciding and doing.

A recent study showed that when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don’t change their habits, only one in seven are able to do so.

They all want to live! We get frustrated, down on ourselves, believe we are weak willed when we do not fulfill our New Years resolutions, when we repeatedly regain weight we lose, when we cannot become more assertive, a better listener, spend more time with our families. Yet this study, and countless others, prove that willpower, desire and motivation work for the very few: even when it’s literally a matter of life or death, the ability to change remains elusive.

Why is change so difficult? Why can’t we become the person we want to be?

We need a new way of making the changes that we intend to make.

The statistics are mind-boggling, not only do only 1 out of 7 people change their habits when it’s a matter of life and death, only 8% of New Years resolutions are achieved for the long run, only 5% of people who loose weight on a crash diet keep the weight off, and the majority of dieters gain back more weight then the amount that they lost. How many of us can identify with hard won weight loss going up in a cloud of chocolate!

Many baby boomers are prescribed maintenance medication to prevent heart attack and strokes. A study demonstrated that 100% said they would take the medication, and that 100% said that they would still be taking the medication in a year. Why not? The medication would help them to remain healthy and alive, and had absolutely no negative side effects. Yet, 53-57% did not take the medication. When asked why, most people answered that they did not know, or they got busy.

A further study to find out why was conducted using the Immunity to Change process. Here is an example of a typical result:

Improvement Goal: Take medication on a daily basis and refill prescriptions in a timely manner

What I am doing: Not taking the medication daily, stopping for long periods of time, hanging up on the recording from the pharmacy reminding me when it is time to refill

Hidden Commitment: I am committed to not taking my medication so that I will not be a old sick person

Big assumption: I assume that if I take a drug every day I am an old sick person

You can see, that our big assumptions makes our hidden commitments absolutely necessary and is the total opposite of the way in which you want to change.

How is the Immunity To Change different?

The breakthrough discovery of Harvard Professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey is that there is hidden dynamic, the “immunity to change,” which impedes personal and organizational transformation. Once people see their “immune system,” they understand why prior efforts have failed to create sustainable change and totally new ways to move forward appear.

Our immunity to change is aptly named. Just as our bodies ward off disease and invasion, our best efforts to change are routinely warded off by forces within us.

What would happen if you had an organ transplant? Much effort would be made to trick your body into accepting the new organ or else your body would reject the new organ. In the same way, your internal immune system to change cannot distinguish between a good change and a threatening one. So when we work hard to introduce change we are unwittingly stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time and getting nowhere.

The ITC process changes not what you know, but how you know. It changes the basic ways in which you make sense of your world and yourself. It engages you in truly developmental learning that enables you to make changes that you want to make by uncovering and examining your “hidden commitments”. You discover why you are keeping one foot on the brake while you also have a foot on the gas, and when you do, you can ease up on that brake.


“When I first started, I was a bit skeptical on how I would actually change. Looking back at myself and comparing it with how I am now is incredible! I couldn’t be happier that I decided to learn a new approach to change. My life is so much better because of it.”

“Someone asked me recently if I felt like I’d just wasted my time on self-inquiry. I can honestly say no – I feel like I wasted 30 years sleepwalking!  An incredible experience. ITC is a truly wondrous process.”

“This has been amazing and I have made long lasting changes that I didn’t even dream about when I began. There is no way to express my deepest thank you for that . . . my life is changed.”

In 2011 Oprah Winfrey listed the Top Ten Things You Should Do to Start the New Year Right. Number One on the list was, “Try the Immunity-to-Change approach.”

Coaching Results Immunity To Change Packages:

  • 90 minute individual session to create your ITC map
  • 2 hour session for 2 people to work as partners on their ITC maps
  • 3 hour ITC map workshop for your business, organization or group
  • 3 hour ITC map session for your management or staff team
  • Custom package and add on coaching package


Contact me now for a complimentary consultation.

347.964.6983 or use the form in the right column.

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