I’m big on credible personal/professional development opportunities, particularly when they’re free. I’m currently doing a MOOC through Harvard called Immunity to Change, and I’m absolutely loving it!
To set the scene - have you had the experience of reading a book and gotten all fired up with powerful insights that ‘speak to you’. You might have made notes in the column, plastered it with sticky notes, raved about it to your friends and made silent commitments to do all the exercises and follow its doctrines. Then one day, you put the book down and that wonderful tome of inspiration begins to gather dust and your enthusiasm wanes. Why, after such an awesome connection, do the insights lose their power? Any number of reasons, perhaps life and its distractions, or lack of willpower, or just being unsure about where to start.
Immunity to Change is based on a book of the same name. Rather than leaving the reader to absorb the inspiration through the passive reading experience, the books authors (Dr Robert Kegan and Dr Lisa Leahey) are instead maintaining engagement by guiding us through a structured 16-week program.
Each week, we’re working through readings, videos, reflection, exercises and participating in on-line discussions – it’s all geared towards an overarching objective, being to crack an individual behaviour we’ve struggled to change in the past. The ranges of issues people are working through include weight loss, reducing the need for control, having more honest conversations or becoming a good listener. I’ve chosen to address an issue related to my self-esteem.
Once you decide on the behaviour you’re working on (which in itself is a very iterative process), exploration commences on the assumptions that are forcing that behaviour (in effect the behaviour is protecting the assumptions). It sounds so easy! It’s not! We’re all strong, smart people right? So how come when I see the need to drop 3kg it’s so difficult; or when I recognise a need to stop negative self-talk, I don’t just stop. Tackling the immunities (immunities being those things that make change difficult) is complex and murky and exciting and evolving! I can’t tell you the number of times of revised my plan because I continue to learn new information about my hidden drivers.
I’m more than half way through this 16-week odyssey and remain excited by new insights and possibilities. It's also true there are days when I'm worn out with the learning and put my head under the doona for a day or two. But I’m not doing it all on my lonesome - there's a real connection with other participants (and globally there are thousands of them). They’re interesting, honest and thoughtful and I appreciate them sharing their struggles and achievement because their commitment feeds mine
As I work through the program – I’m experiencing a way of engaging and learning that feels relevant and contemporary. This learning model offers financial and practical benefits for all sized organisations looking to develop individuals and teams. I also see the value in including aspects of the model into coaching programs - to help clients connect with the theories underpinning their practical work.