Real Reason People Wont Change Essay

Real Reason People Wont Change Essay.

“The real reason people won’t change” is an article by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. The article was first published in November 2001 in Harvard Business Review. The article describes and summarize about the personal immunity of people that resist them from being changed. The real reason people wont change is not due to lack of skill and deep commitment within them but it is due to hidden competing commitment followed by big assumptions. For some, the need is confidence-building, for others it’s behavior change or skill development.

But sometimes, no matter how hard a person tries, their progress remains inexplicably stalled. The situation can be as frustrating to bosses, colleagues, and family members as it is to the individual. Organizational psychologists Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey developed the theory of a “competing commitment” to explain what they term “personal immunity to change. ” Competing commitments are long held belief that has become an integral part of their make up so that it is difficult to change.

When these beliefs are uncovered, change is possible.

And it is still true that some people opt not to disrupt their immunity to change, choosing instead to continue their fruitless struggle against their competing commitments. The competing commitments cause even the valued employee to behave in inexplicably and irremediable way. It is a subconscious hidden goal of the people that conflicts with their stated commitments. Many of these ‘competing commitments’ are based on long-held beliefs that are an integral part of their make-up so they can be difficult to change.

Some examples of competing commitments are: Dragging one’s feet on an assignment because one wants to avoid a next tougher assignment or future lack of work. * Avoiding teamwork or meetings because one wants to avoid the conflict that is associated with it. * Using sarcastic disruptive humor to keep oneself at a distance from a work group you may not want to be associated with.

The article is a psychological analysis and research about the reason that resist people from being changed. The research of the article is mainly concern about uncovering the hidden competing commitment and unearthing big ssumptions. It is not an easy task to uncover the hidden commitment but author has suggested to go through the set of questions. They have developed 3 stage processes to help organizations to figure out what’s getting on way to change? 1. Manager guides employees to uncover competing commitments through the set of questions. 2. Employees examine these commitments to determine underlying assumptions. 3. Start the process of changing behavior. The author presents the example of John who is a talented manager at a software company.

Though he is an open communicative type and values close relationship with others, because of his racial group he could not well integrated with the team even if he wanted. He believed that if he became well integrated with the team, it would threaten his sense of loyalty to his own racial group betraying his family and friends. John was genuinely committed to working with team but he had a powerful hidden competing commitment keeping him distance. Another example cited in the article is that of Helen, a manager at manufacturing company.

Though she was committed to increase the production of the product she could not succeed. She had an unrecognized commitment of maintaining subordinate relationship with her boss Andrew. She thought that she would me more a peer than a subordinate so wouldn’t be up to the task. The article also describes about the big assumptions. Every employee who just does not change had a hidden commitment because of the assumptions resulting from the competing commitment. Some leaders assume that they would be incompetent if they couldn’t solve all the problems that come up.

Even if they have a commitment to hearing from subordinates and maximize the flow of information, they had a competing commitment to not learning about things that he can’t do. Competing commitment and big assumptions are the real reason that causes people resist to change. Kegan and Lahey’s recommended solution for diagnosing this resistance to change is based on guiding individuals through a set of questions to uncover ‘competing commitments’.

For example 1. What would you like to see changed at work, so that you could be more effective or so that work would be more satisfying? 2. What beliefs or commitments are implied by this recommended change? 3. What are you doing or not doing, that is keeping your beliefs or commitments to change from being fully realized? 4. What if you were to imagine doing the opposite of what you are currently doing, would that cause discomfort, worry or vague fear? 5. What if you were to actually carry out this opposite behaviour, what outcomes are you trying to prevent? The first question responses the complaint which we mostly talk about. Tom, a manager grumbled, “my subordinates keep me out of the loop.

The responses are the complaint which the most managers bemoan because of its negative and unproductive tone. The second question responses complaint what people care about most. Tom said “I believed in open and candid communication. ” It’s a commitment of the Tom to shared decision making. Once the commitments of people are found, third question is identifying the undermining behavior that prevented them from being fulfilled. Tom admitted “When people bring bad news, I tend to shoot the messenger. ” Next question is about going in the opposition of the undermining behavior.

Tom concluded “I’m afraid I’ll hear about a problem that I can’t fix, something that I can’t do anything about. ” After all, the final step is to transform that passive fear into a statement that reflects an active commitment to preventing certain outcomes. The resulting answer to this final question is the competing commitment which lies at the very heart of a person’s immunity to change. These commitments usually involve protecting yourself from things like, not being in control, having to follow someone else’s decisions, having to go along with decisions you don’t like, not having to deal with problems you can’t fix and so on.

Once people uncover their competing commitments, big assumption can be easily found out. If people inverted the beginning of the sentences of competing commitment, and then filled out the sentence then assumption can be identified. For e. g. the assumption of Tom is “I assume that if I did hear about problems I can’t fix, people would discover I’m not qualified to do my job. ” This is a difficult process, and it doesn’t happen all at once, because admitting to big assumptions makes people uncomfortable.

After identifying competing commitment and big assumptions, Kegan and Lahey had recommended five steps on how to take action to overcome immunity to change. Notice and record current behavior It is about making a note of what does and doesn’t happen as a result of holding assumptions to be true. This gives people the opportunity to develop a better appreciation for how and in what contexts big assumptions influence their lives. Look for contrary evidence Employees must look actively for experiences that might cast doubt on the validity of their big assumptions.

When John looked around him, he considered for the first time that an African-American manager in another department had strong working relationships with her mostly white colleagues, yet seemed not to have compromised her personal identity. Explore the history It is exploring how and when assumptions took hold, and how long the self-protective stance has been employed Test the assumption It considers making changes in one’s behaviour and test out if assumptions are validated; practice in safe environments or where one can extricate oneself fairly quickly if it becomes too uncomfortable.

This is the first time people consider making changes in their behavior. Evaluate the results The final step is to check out the result and look for more effective ways to operate in future. This is worth nothing that revealing a big assumption does not necessarily mean it will be exposed as false. But even if big assumption contains the elements of truth, an individual can often find more effective way to operate once he or she has had a chance to challenge the big assumption. The process of challenging and uncovering the competing commitment and unfolding personal immunity to change takes a period of time.

Competing commitments’ should not be seen as a weakness but some form of self-protection which is a normal form of human instinct. The reasons people are protecting themselves usually lie in some deeply-rooted beliefs about themselves and the world around them. These ‘competing commitments’ usually arise from some big assumptions we have made about the world. People rarely realize they hold assumptions because they accept them as reality. So it’s necessary to uncover our hidden commitment and big assumptions that has been distance us away from change.

Real Reason People Wont Change Essay

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