Book Reviews: Immunity to Change

Andrew D. Atwood

Review: How We Get Stuck, and How We Get Unstuck:
A Review and Muse
A Review of Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey’s Immunity to Change, Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2009

immunity to changeatwoodYou will be glad to realize that you already know exactly when to apply the “learning platform” that Kegan and Lahey have presented in this book.

I’ve been a Marriage and Family Therapist for thirty-five years and I’ve bumped up against “stuck” more times than I’ll ever remember. “Stuck” has been an annoying challenge, not only in my office, but out in the field where I have spent the last fifteen years working with leaders in a variety of business settings. My job is to help individuals and groups to get unstuck, and some of the latest gizmos in my toolbox come from Kegan and Lahey’s book.

This is the book, Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. Harvard Business Press, 2009. 323 pages in length, plus notes and index.

Here is a six point outline for my review and muse. Feel free to skip to the section that grabs you.

  1. First, some context around Kegan and Lahey, including why they wrote this book.
  2. Second, a quick overview of the potential benefits from integrating the Immunity to Change learning platform into your life and practice.
  3. Third, a very brief overview of the learning platform itself.
  4. Fourth, some of the key principles underlying the learning platform.
  5. Fifth, some stories about my efforts to apply the learning platform to my own practice.
  6. And sixth, some musings on the book’s challenges.

First, some context around Kegan and Lahey, including why they wrote this book.

Robert Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Lisa Laskow Lahey is the Associate Director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group and a founding principal of Minds at Work, a leadership-learning professional services firm.

Kegan authored The Evolving Selfin 1982, and In Over Our Heads in 1994. The first work established Kegan as a significant scholar and contributor to the field of adult human development. The second work enhanced that reputation even further. Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools was co-authored by Tony Wagner, Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, et al, was published in 2006.

Take a look at what Ken Wilber, founder of the Integral Institute and author of numerous books, wrote in his book Integral Psychology(Wilber, 2000) about the significance of Kegan’s contribution.

Robert Kegan (chart 4c) seems to be everybody’s favorite developmentalist (count me in). He discusses a broad range of developmental issues with insight, exactitude, sensitivity, and care. Kegan’s approach is especially important, in my view, because he so clearly elucidates the nature of embedding (identifying) and de-embedding (transcending), which marks each major wave of self development. His books The Evolving Self andIn Over Our Heads show why a developmental approach is so important (and why Kegan is everybody’s favorite son). (Wilber, 2000, p 42f)

Kegan and Lahey, who have been collaborating for twenty-five years, co-authored How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work in 2001, and now Immunity to Change in 2009.

It is Kegan’s book, The Evolving Self, that remains his best known contribution. In it, he presents a model of adult psychological development that moves from one stage of equilibrium to the next, through six stages. An important concept presented by Kegan is that the subject in one stage, becomes the object in the next. As we evolve stage-by-stage, we grow in our capacity to observe our self. This cultivation of the ability to witness our self enlarges our capacity to observe life, which enlarges our self, which enlarges our capacity to observe life…and on, and on.

Kegan writes of the adult development of consciousness as the process, as Wilber would put it, of transcending and including through six stages. This unfolding process of adult identity has fascinated me for decades. Let me put this developmental process, as I understand it, in the first person for a moment.

In response to some evolutionary impulse, I seem to be able to look back and observe my self as I was at an early stage of my own development. My world view is “adapting” as I look back and see how I then looked at life, the way I gave meaning to my self and the world in which I lived. Today, I live in much the same world, but the lenses through which I am looking are different somehow. I’m not clear about the lenses of today, but I am clearer about the lenses through which I looked in the past. Thus, I have transcended my past view of the world, not forgetting it, but including it now in my new view of the world. I have adapted, and continue to adapt, to a larger world view. I’ve done this a few times, from stage to stage, and I wonder what the world will look like as I transcend to the next stage and look back on the world view that I have today. I am observing the blooming of my self.

Again, as Kegan would put it, the subject in one stage becomes the object in the next. In How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, the authors write that there is a difference at each stage between “looking at” versus “looking through.” As we evolve, we gain the capacity to look at the “Big Assumption” that is associated with earlier stages. The concept of the “Big Assumption” is critical to the learning framework presented by Kegan and Lahey, and will be referred to below. For now, let it be simply noted that as we evolve stage-by-stage, we grow in our capacity to observe our self, and that includes the “Big Assumption” held by the self at earlier stages. This cultivation of the ability to look at, to witness our self, and to observe our self, develops over time, as I have noted. This is the orderly process by which our human consciousness develops.

How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work appears to be Version 1.0 of Kegan and Lahey’s work with helping people to evolve. It seems that Kegan is the lead theoretician, and Lahey the lead researcher. Immunity to Change is Version 2.0 of their collaborative work.

So why did Kegan and Lahey write Immunity to Change? Their explanation is that, after identifying the stages through which adults evolve, they observed that many people did not evolve a whole new world view after adolescence, and if they did evolve, it wasn’t very far up the spectrum. Stuck. Their observation was that this whole process of blooming, of adapting, of enlarging one’s world view, followed an unfolding pattern in all humans, but unequally or unevenly from person to person. Back to the ubiquitous and annoying stuck challenge. You can plug in your favorite developmental model from the charts in Wilber’s Integral Psychology, any of them, and with each one you run into the same phenomenon. Stuck, and getting unstuck, is the challenge. When unstuck, the unfolding flow of human evolution has its way.

In How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, Kegan and Lahey uncover our “immunity to change.” In doing research on their model, it became clear that, in spite of the greater insight gained through mapping out one’s immunity to change, insight alone was inadequate to bring about deep change. Insight alone failed to get folks unstuck.

For example, not long ago I worked with a woman who never adequately grieved the loss of her father when she was young. Today, she understands that she has unfinished grief, and that that unfinished grief is severely hampering her ability to cope with the reality that her own adult son has recently been diagnosed with cancer. She has the awareness and the label of “unfinished grief,” but she is still horribly anxious, and is clinging to her son in a way that is creating enormous stress for the whole family. Her son has asked his mother to “take care of herself” and yet, Mom cannot bring herself to practice good self-management. This client of mine has enough insight to understand that she is so frightened of losing her son that she is clinging out of desperation. Yet, insight alone is not leading to change. In fact, it is leading to a great deal of frustration for her, and for the whole family. “It is so clear. Why won’t Mom change? What happened to her faith?”

In spite of what appears to be adequate insight, real deep and lasting change, real adaptive change seems not to happen. Kegan and Lahey would say that it is the “immunity to change” that keeps one stuck.

Now, after more years of experimentation and research, Kegan and Lahey present us with a “learning platform” that helps with diagnosing and overcoming our immunity to change. Further, the authors state that their research supports the claim that their learning platform will “promote advances in mental complexity, the kind of change that will permit a whole range of new abilities, not just meeting the single initial improvement goal.” ( Immunity to Change, 2009. p. xiii) Further, the authors identify their goal and motivation in these bold words: “The problem is the inability to close the gap between what we genuinely, even passionately, want and what we are actually able to do. Closing this gap is a central learning problem of the twenty-first century.” ( Immunity to Change, 2009. p.2)

So, they say, working the learning platform presented in Immunity to Change will help an individual or group to evolve, stage-by-stage, into levels of consciousness where it is possible to handle greater levels of complexity.

Second, a quick overview of the potential benefits from integrating the Immunity to Change learning platform into your life and practice.

It is possible for me to imagine that a reader of Immunity to Change could gain one, or more of the following four benefits, assuming that some level of integration and mastery of the learning platform occurs. Use your imagination to come up with even more.

  1. 1This model, when worked, can be a tool that can be used by oneself for personal development. You can absorb the learning platform from a technical standpoint, and apply it to your own “stuckness” in ways that will develop your own adaptive, capacity enhancing stages of consciousness.
  2. You will have a mental model for understanding the process of change into which you can plug your own creative artistry as you facilitate the evolution of adaptive functioning in individuals.
  3. The same can be said for your work with groups. You can lead a facilitation process that will help your group to adapt to new realities.
  4. This model is especially helpful in fostering insight and real change into those apparent dilemmas where change is thwarted. You can get into “stuck” and work toward “unstuck” with a degree of intentional skill.

Third, a very brief overview of the basic learning platform itself.

It will make this brief overview more relevant if you imagine yourself stuck with some personal goal. It has helped me to target a real personal stuck; I’m interested in losing about 50 lbs. Losing that much weight would get me to a weight that I haven’t enjoyed since graduate school, and that was a long time ago. My 85 year old mother would think I was emaciated, but my common sense tells me I would be a lot healthier. As I worked through the book, I self-referenced a lot. I also began using the model with a client in therapy. And, I am using it with a large group change effort. There will be a story about each of those three further in the fifth section of this review and muse.

As you ponder your own stuck, imagine the two of us sitting together in my office. You are sitting comfortably in the big leather chair, and I am at the whiteboard. Here is how it might go.

Let me draw a table on the board that outlines for you, step-by-step, how you can understand your stuckness, and how you can get unstuck. As you sit there comfortably, I want you to observe your own self, to witness your own body, mind, soul, and spirit as they work together with this challenge.

Table 1

You have gone through a process that has landed you on this one particular Improvement Goal. You spent some time contemplating the need for change. That period of contemplation may have been years in duration, but most likely it was months in duration. You played with the idea, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, until you finally got to the point of commitment. As you share the process that you have gone through to reach your Improvement Goal, you might find that the very process of sharing opens you to even more possibilities. You and I might brainstorm some more as you Generate Ideas about Potential Improvement Goals.

In column 1, you are invited to identify the Improvement Goalto which you are Committed. This has to be something that you really want to achieve, something that you have a high level of passion about, and something that others around you would affirm as a goal that is very worthy of your commitment and work. The identification of the Improvement Goal is more challenging than one might think upon entering into this process. The goal must implicate you. It must be connected to your inner being, to that part of you that is your real and truest self. The goal is critically important to the way the core of you defines meaning and value. If your Improvement Goal doesn’t touch something that is profoundly deep in you, you probably haven’t nailed it yet.

In column 2, you will record the results of a fearless, honest and objective inventory that you will make of all the behaviors that you Do, and Don’t Do, that undermine your column 1 commitment. You are going to have to spend some time, probably weeks and months, witnessing your own self. You will observe how your body, mind, soul, and spirit fail to support your commitment. Here is where you will observe your self-defeating behavior. Along the way you will come to identify your self-defeating behavior as “self-protecting behavior.”

When you get to column 3 you will record the Competing Commitments that must be behind the behaviors you recorded in column 2. Yes, believe it or not, you have commitments that are in competition with each other. These column 3 competing commitments are literally in competition with the commitments you have made around your improvement goal, and it will take some time for you to witness your self and identify these competing commitments. The Worry Box is where you can log in those more obvious worries you have, the ones that surface rather easily. They can be used to direct you toward the deeper competing commitments.

In column 4, you are invited to identify the Big Assumptions that lie behind your competing commitments. By now, you can see that this is where the really big change has to occur. Here is where what is referred to as “adaptive change” will happen. This adaptive change, which was referenced earlier in this review, is a critically important concept in the learning platform present in Immunity to Change. Here is where the basic way in which you give meaning to your life must be modified and enlarged. Your values must shift. For you to get unstuck, the big assumptions that give meaning to your life must get unstuck. This is the real substance of the change process.

And in column 5, you will record the Tests and Experiments that you have created to test the validity of your big assumptions, and the outcomes of those experiments. Starting with some small and relatively safe test, you will work your way up and out until there has been a change in your body, mind, soul, and spirit around these big assumptions. Chapter 10 in Immunity to Change is titled “Overcoming Your Immunity to Change.” Here, the authors present an opening, middle, and end-game sequence for working their learning platform. The heart of the process, as they say, is designing, running, and interpreting tests of the Big Assumptions.” We get unstuck as we test the Big Assumptions and demythologize them.

Immunity to Change is 323 pages long. I just summarized the core of the authors’ learning platform in 763 words. That there is much more to the learning platform and the whole Immunity to Change process was brought home to me by my good friend and neighbor, Barbara Rapaport, who happens to be a Senior Associate with Minds at Work, Kegan and Lahey’s consulting firm. You can, and should go to www.mindsatwork.comto learn more about the services they are offering. Without going into a great deal of detail, Barbara helped me to appreciate that the change facilitation work that is provided by Minds at Work is rich with substance and craft that goes beyond that which is in the book. There is, after all, always more to know than we have learned.

Fourth, some musing around the key principles underlying the learning platform.

Let me offer up some of my musings about key principles, understanding that upon reading the book, you might highlight a different set.

1. Change happens. I’m reminded of a phrase repeated by Francine Shapiro when I had my training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, EMDR, back in 1996; “Shift Happens.” EMDR is a brief therapy technique that holds powerful potential for helping people to shift away from the emotional attachment they have to trauma. I have experienced its benefits personally, and have witnessed its enormous impact as a practitioner. People do evolve. Sure, some people don’t, and some people start and stop. But, some of us do evolve to larger and deeper levels of consciousness. While working through Immunity to Change, I often reflected on how my EMDR clients have zoomed through the process, desensitizing to the emotional trauma that had them stuck, and reprocessing their big assumptions in ways that opened them to new commitments and new possibilities. Yes, change does happen. It happens both in the linear continuous steps of the learning platform presented by Kegan and Lahey, but it also happens in discontinuous ways as one works back and forth from column to column, as it were. It seems that regardless of the orderliness of the sequence, each step in the process must happen for adaptive change to occur, which leads to the next point in my review and muse.

2. There is, as was noted above, a difference between “adaptive” change and “technical” change, and the difference is enormously significant in theory and practice. The authors reference their colleague, Ronald Heifetz, for clarity around this distinction. Heifetz is on a roll right now with a new book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership (Heifetz, Grashow, Linsky, 2009), and an article in the Harvard Business Reviewtitled “Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis.”(Heifetz, Grashow, Linsky, July-August, 2009) In technical change, according to Heifetz, one acquires new proven technical competence. For example, when confronted by a physician’s recommendation to change dietary intake in order to address coronary artery disease, a patient would go to a dietician and acquire the necessary knowledge to eat properly. A technical change occurred as the patient moved from ignorance to knowledge. However, as we all know, new technical knowledge does not lead to lasting change. The adaptive challenge will only be met when the patient changes her mindset by advancing to a higher and more sophisticated stage of what the authors refer to as “mental development,” and what I would refer to as a higher level of consciousness. In other words, gaining insight alone doesn’t lead to the capacity to adapt. A shift in consciousness, in meaning-making, must occur. The big assumptions upon which our challenges are built must be out-grown, and that happens as we grow-up. When my current business partner made what he called “the big decision” to radically alter his diet after he had a stent put in an artery in his heart, he knew that most patients didn’t make the big decision, and didn’t live long because of it. He gave new meaning to food, and to his life. A former business partner, two years younger than me, never made the technical change, or the adaptive change, holding fast to his macho identity right up to the day he dropped dead. While technical change is critically important, without the adaptive change, deeply integrated change will remain incomplete.

3. While reading through Immunity to Change, I was also integrating Kegan and Lahey’s learning platform into the framework presented by Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs in their award winning book, Leadership Agility (Joiner and Josephs, 2006). After reading about Leadership Agility at, I purchased the book, absorbed its model, got some correspondence going with Bill and Stephen, and then worked my way to a workshop conducted by Bill Joiner and his wife, Debra Whitestone. The outcome of that was that I became Certified in the Leadership Agility 360. (Yes, I like their framework.) Based on their research, Joiner and Josephs write that leaders grow, developing in ways that correspond with adult development. Leaders may move through 5 Levels: Expert, Achiever, Catalyst, Co-Creator, and Synergist. You can see how the learning platform in Immunity to Change enhances my ability to coach leaders in their effort to move from one level to the next. Joiner and Josephs refer to the differences between “capacity building” and “capability building.” This is similar to Heifitz’s distinctions between “adaptive challenges” and “technical challenges.” In reflection, I recognize that most of the material written on leadership development is long on the technical-capability side, and short on the adaptive-capacity building side. It seems, though, that this imbalance is being addressed more directly by an emerging number of practitioners.

4. The links between self-defeating behavior and competing commitments, and then to the big assumptions, is wonderfully useful. I call it “organized common sense,” and I am as attracted to models that organize common sense as I am to anything. Over the years I have so appreciated the models and maps that organize common sense. Wilber’s AQAL integral model being the mother of all maps in my mind. When I stand at the whiteboard in my office and lay out the six column “Immunity Map” to a client, they get it quickly. It makes sense. Kegan and Lahey report the same results in their book. My clients move into self-witnessing immediately as they stare at the whiteboard and become the subject looking at the object, their own immunity to change as they face challenges that require adaptive-capacity building changes.

5. This process of observing is critical in the development of consciousness. Kegan’s book, The Evolving Self, addresses this point. By the time I begin to work with a client, I have made some effort to discern the general level at which their consciousness is clustered. My task as a therapist and coach who practices out of an integral framework is to create opportunities for my clients to take one-half-step toward a larger level of consciousness. Simple as it sounds, writing and drawing pictures on the whiteboard enhances objective self-observation. It opens the process of reframing, a concept I was first introduced to by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in 1977 when I learned some Neurolinguistic Programing from them in a number of seminars and workshops. Reframing is changing the big assumptions at a deep, deep level, and it is requisite to deep and lasting change.

6. Those familiar with Cognitive Therapy will see its applicability. Behind a cognitive distortion is a big assumption that needs to be challenged, reframed, and integrated into a larger consciousness.

7. The change process works best when one is part of a support group of people who are also working on their own change process. Again, it seems like common sense. The support group might be one other person. I’m in the process of creating a leadership development program for a 450 employee family owned business. My current thinking is to create “Leadership Development Groups” made up of motivated leaders from within the company. They will identify both technical-capability challenges and adaptive-capacity challenges, and then a development plan to match. The support groups will be organized around an integration of the framework in Leadership Agility and the learning platform in Immunity to Change.

8. Time. This all takes time. But, then again, it can happen in a moment. The most powerful and quickest changes I’ve witnessed have been through my work using EMDR. In a one hour session I have seen enormous emotional releases and reframes occur. Those are truly sacred moments. And, I have provided more than a couple of dozen sessions over some months to victims of horrible abuse. Kegan and Lahey tell us that it takes months to work through the process. I think they are right. In their application of the change process to groups, they have learned of the efficacy of having individuals do the work first around personal goals before working on corporate goals. This takes time.

There is a great deal more substance to this book than I’ve outlined in my musings around these eight key principles. They are, of course, available in the book for the discerning reader.

Fifth, some stories about my efforts to apply the learning framework to my own practice.

Admittedly, I purchased Immunity to Change shortly after it was published, strictly on Robert Kegan’s reputation. The Evolving Self was important in my early development as a person, and as a therapist. The invitation to write this review came some months later through Debby Hallett, Integral Leadership Review’s editorial board member in the United Kingdom. By that time I had been testing its applicability personally, with one therapy client, and in my work with a large group change effort. Let me share something of each experience to date.

In looking at the six steps in the learning platform, and then reflecting back on the changes in my own life as I’ve moved along, I would say “Yup, that explains the steps of my own process of transcending and including.” I’m not going to slide into some sloppy autobiographical account at this point, but I do recognize parts of my own journey in each of the six steps, and I do value the process of spiraling through embedded meme levels toward a more sublime appreciation of Life.

But then, there are these 50 lbs! Kegan and Lahey note that 1 out of 7 people who are told by their physicians that they must change their behavior, or their lives will be in jeopardy, do actually change. And, they note, that people who diet regain an average 107% of what they lost. This is because they haven’t made an adaptive change at a deep level. That’s true for me when it comes to enjoying food. I’ve begun to work the process, step-by-step. Time will tell. I’ve spent about six weeks on the generation of potential improvement goals, because “losing 50 lbs” isn’t working. There just isn’t enough passion behind that aspiration. Being healthy enough to live long enough to enjoy my grandsons might do it. Another motivator might be the desire to be healthy enough to fully engage in some of the weekend physical labor that I so enjoy as I continue to build out our Shack in the Woods. I know how to eat correctly, and I have committed to doing so on countless occasions. Thus, it is perfectly clear to me that technical-capability challenges have been met; I know how to eat well. Until I work the learning platform, step-by-step, and make the necessary adaptive-capacity building change to my big assumptions, I’ll stay stuck.

While reading Immunity to Change the first time through, I found myself working with an adult male client who was stuck in an undifferentiated, emotionally enmeshed romantic entanglement. He and his partner were engaged in the drama of ambivalence that is so common to people who are threatened by abandonment depression. He, being a smart professional, was willing to take the book and work the learning platform with me and his partner. She never got on board. He used email to share his “immunity map” with me and over a period of eight weeks he changed. It was the deep change that needed to happen. He made adaptive-capacity building changes that encouraged his self-differentiation. He looked at the big assumption that he could not live without her (or a special woman in his life), tested it, and moved beyond the assumption. He took a bike trip for a week to Vancouver, and he did it alone. Unilaterally, he disengaged from the control dramas that had him stuck. He created the freedom to redefine the relationship and gave that to his partner. When it wasn’t picked up, my client entered into an appropriate period of sad grieving, and then moved on gracefully. He was a larger person for the process. A workaholic before this, he became a more balanced person and his support staff at work was grateful.

About six weeks ago, I began working with a nonprofit corporation in our town that has a 30 year history of effective work. The nature of the engagement will not permit me to do the recommended individual work with the learning platform, but it will inform my facilitation of the formal strategic planning process. Using the six columns, let me identify what seems to be happening, and what might unfold.

table 2

And sixth, some musings on the book’s challenges.

I have to admit, that at 323 pages in length (yes, I know I have referenced that number before), and with a lot of illustrative material, it is a book that I wanted to “hurry up.” And, in reality, it is a book that not enough interested souls will work through. Very few of the people in my clinical and consulting practice would never tackle it.

Leaders of all sorts would benefit from having a working knowledge of the learning platform that is presented in the book. Again, I am using it to “lead” clients who come to me for therapy, and I am using it to “lead” a strategic planning process that is very much like a turn-around.

Ideally, Immunity to Change should be boiled down to a 50 page workbook. If the authors don’t do that, someone else will. In fact, if I can find the time, I’ll likely fashion just such a tool.

I wonder, too, about the choice to not identify the potential benefits to achieving the Improvement Goal. While recognizing the futility of reinforcing benefits alone, it seems that the change process would be enhanced if the benefits where fleshed out as well as the column 2 self-defeating, self-protecting behaviors.

I also want to say a word about three other books, because each informed my thinking as I worked through Immunity to Change. Barry Johnson’s book, Polarity Management (Johnson, 1982) has been worth its weight in gold to me, and I mean that quite literally. In my consulting work, I am very frequently pulled into situations where people are stuck in a dilemma, in an unsolvable problem that needs to be managed rather than solved. Then there are the books by William Bridges. The one I reference most often is Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. (Bridges, 2003). Again, here is a tool that integrates with the other two in a way that has utility for facilitating a change process. The third book is John Kotter’s classic book Leading Change (Kotter, 1996). A terrific 8-step model that is amplified when integrated with all the other references noted in this review.

And finally, there is my desire to lose these 50 lbs. Right now I am unstuck. Change is upon me! But, it is said that “the proof is in the pudding.” In this case, the proof will be in the comfortable ease with which I allow the pudding to pass me by as I embrace a healthier Self. Time will tell. I’ll report back on my website at

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Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition. Cambridge: De Capo Press.

Heifetz, R., Grashow, A. and Linsky, M. (2009). “Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis.” Harvard Business Review, Volume 87, Number 7/8, 62-29.

Heifetz, R., Grashow, A. and Linsky, M. (2009). The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

Joiner, W. and Josephs, S. (2006). Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Wiley.

Johnson, B. (1992). Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems. Amherst: Human Resource Development Press

Kegan, R. (1982). The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Kegan, R. (1998). In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Kegan, R. and Lahey, L. (2002). How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Kotter, J. (1996). Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Wagner, T., Robert K., Lahey,L. et al. (2006). Change Leadership: A practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Wiley.

Wilber, Ken. (2000). Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy. Boston: Shambhala.


Andrew D. Atwood, Doctor of Ministry, practices in West Michigan with an office in Grand Rapids, “Helping people to get along, and get ahead.” He is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, with three graduate degrees. Starting in 1974, Andy was the co-founder, and Executive Coordinator, of the nonprofit Fountain Hill Center for Counseling and Consultation in Grand Rapids. After 33 years there, he did a succession process on himself. Today, he shares office space with his wife, Jan, who is a Master Reiki Practitioner and Intuitive Healer. Andy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who served for nine years on the State Licensing Board for Marriage and Family Therapy. He has been a pioneer in making the transition from the professional discipline of Marriage and Family Therapy, to the work of consulting with Family Owned Businesses, Professional Partnerships, and Nonprofits. Always, he is actively engaged in leadership coaching. Andy’s life centers around his family, his clinical and consulting practice, constant learning, and the Shack in the Woods that he and his wife have built so that they have a place to go on the weekends where their souls can catch up to their bodies. You can email Andy at