May 31, 2021

What’s your one big thing?

What’s your one big thing?

Do you know the one big thing you could change that would make the biggest difference to your personal and leadership effectiveness? Do you know what it takes to change?

The answer to these questions reveals your adaptive leadership challenge and opens the door to life-changing insights.

Adaptive challenges are different to technical challenges because they require us to change. We can’t just learn new skills or gain more knowledge to solve an adaptive challenge. Instead, we need to fundamentally change at the level of identity and mindset before we can change the behaviour. To do that we need to see and let go of the filters that currently shape our worldview. Because these filters are self-protection mechanisms they provide a portal into our ego and therefore unlock the biggest barrier to personal growth and freedom.

This insight is the basis of Harvard developmental psychologists Kegan and Lahey’s Immunity to Change model. By wrapping it up into a neat process, their tool provides a framework for leadership teams to do the transformational development work that shifts team dynamics and improves leadership impact. The mental complexity of leaders also increases by training their truth-seeking and truth-telling capacity and nurturing their ability to handle contradictions and paradoxes.

Some of the commitments I’ve been privileged to help leaders shift include:

  • “I commit to being more open to other people’s perspectives and less defensive when challenged by working on my fear of not being good enough.”
  • “I commit to delegating work more evening across the team and managing under-performers more proactively by letting go of my story that I don’t have enough time.”
  • “I commit to asking for help from others earlier by letting go of my obsession with being right.”
  • “I commit to being more intentional about how I lead my team and my life by letting go of my story about being busy as a cover-up for my fear of being incompetent.”

What’s your one big thing?

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