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                How Big Assumptions and Long-Standing Myths Can Limit Us

                Michelle Sales/03 June 2024
                1 minute read time

                Every leader knows the challenge of boosting team performance and driving necessary changes. Often, these changes require not only individual adjustments but also fundamental shifts within the entire team. Despite making great commitments to change, teams frequently find themselves months down the road with no significant progress. This stagnation, despite the best intentions, can be frustrating and perplexing. Why do we resist change, even when we desire it most?

                The Immunity to Change

                One key reason lies in what Harvard Graduate School members Lisa Lahey and Robert Kegan call "Immunity to Change." This concept explains why well-intentioned efforts to improve can be derailed by underlying assumptions and long-standing myths. These deep-seated beliefs create a hidden resistance to change.

                The Role of Big Assumptions

                Big assumptions are deeply ingrained beliefs about ourselves and the world that shape our behaviors unconsciously. For example, a leader might assume that showing vulnerability will undermine their authority, preventing them from seeking feedback or admitting mistakes—key components of growth. Similarly, a team might believe that only certain individuals can lead, limiting diverse perspectives and innovation.

                The Impact of Long-Standing Myths

                Myths about leadership and teamwork perpetuate outdated practices and stifle progress. For instance, the myth that leaders must always have all the answers discourages collaborative problem-solving and continuous learning.

                Overcoming Resistance to Change

                To overcome this resistance, it’s essential to address these big assumptions and myths directly. This is a core focus of our IMPACT leadership workshops, which leverage the Immunity to Change framework. This approach has helped thousands identify their resistance sources and develop strategies for sustainable transformation.

                Preparing for the Future

                As organisations prepare for a new financial year starting in July, uniting around a common purpose is crucial. By addressing the deeper sources of resistance, teams can achieve greater outcomes and continuously lift the bar on what’s possible.

                Change is continuous and often challenging. By focusing on the impacts and stages of change, leaders can enhance self-awareness and guide their teams toward lasting improvement. Understanding what holds us back is the first step toward ensuring our best intentions lead to real, sustainable change.

                For further reading on continuous feedback, unlocking potential, and overcoming change, refer to the following resource: 

                Immunity to Change

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                Michelle Sales/03 June 2024