This morning, while reading parts of Lisa Laskow Lahey and Robert Kegan’s Immunity to Change book, I was surprised by how it’s approach is remarkably similar to the Two Loops Model which is a theory of change by the Berkana Institute. What I mean by this is that there isn’t an emphasis on creating a conflict between the old and new system (i.e. seeing one as “bad” and the other “good”) but rather it’s about seeing each system as a natural part of a larger dynamic.
For example, in Immunity to Change, when one realizes that one’s “bad” behaviours are arising out a previous “good” (albeit now archaic) system which is trying defend and protect you (ie “save your life”), one’s perception suddenly changes towards these behaviours, recognizing and valuing them now for their previous “brilliant and highly effective” service.
So it’s not so much that we want to get rid of and discard the “valued service” of our previous identity and sense of self, which has helped us grow and evolve to where we are now, but rather we want to recode it, so it’s no longer working against us and impeding our further growth. Note that this directly correlates with what happens when one evolves to a higher stage of development. It’s not about getting rid of and discarding a previous stage but recoding it so that all attained stages to date can be maintained in a spectrum, allowing us to maintain different needs at different stages, while being open to further growth at the same time.
However, in some instances an immune system can threaten our continued good health. When it rejects new material, internal or external to the body, that the body needs to heal itself or to thrive, the immune system can put us in danger. In these instances the immune system is no less focused on protecting us. It is just making a mistake. It does not understand that it must alter its code. It does not understand that, ironically, in working to protect us, it is actually putting us at serious risk.Immunity to Change
Actually now that I think about, this also remarkably reminds me of a Tiago Forte’s article on leveraging constraints, in particular this quote below.
The difficulty in applying this concept to individual learning is that, in this case, you are the system. It’s a little disconcerting being accelerated, turned inside out, and then sucked into an alternate dimension where everything you were sure was true is wrong. Or worse, irrelevant.Tiago Forte, The Throughout of Learning