How the Immunity To Change program can bring out the best in you

How the Immunity To Change program can bring out the best in you

A new year inevitably calls for a new outlook on life. And this year I’d really like to dig deep into Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey‘s Immunity To Change book and program. I read the book during a wonderful few days in my family’s village of Bubión, near Granada, Spain over the holidays and it has sparked a deep interest in me. 


Written by Professor Robert Kegan and Lecturer Lisa Lahey and first published in 2009, Immunity to Change focuses on how so many people fail to achieve their goals – no matter how motivated they may be. Moreover it gives concrete processes for the reader to work though so that they can break through their unconscious blockages. As Lisa Lahey says in her interview on Brené Brown’s Dare To Lead podcast, “you have to let yourself go to places that are uncomfortable and that also feel true. While also working on not judging yourself.”

During the same podcast, Lisa walks Brené through some of the processes with the aim of being more efficient at work. The response from Brené as she digs deep into her way of working is very illuminating about the whole program: “I’m perpetuating the behaviors which are depleting me!”

immunity change book and process

It was great to take some time to relax in the village of Bubión to figure out my goals


Using the book as a prompt, I also worked though my own unconscious blockages and found the process incredibly liberating. It boils down to a four step plan but is so much more complicated than that:

  1. Identify your goal (such as being a better leader, get in shape, etc.)
  2. What keeps you from achieving that goal? Define what actions you take that contradict your goal: it could be negative self-talk or control issues. Do you feel like you always have to lead team meetings rather than letting others contribute?
  3. What are your hidden mindsets that are stopping you reaching your goal? A good way of figuring these out is imaging what would happen if you stop leading the team meetings. Maybe you are scared of looking weak or unknowledgeable?
  4. Identify underlying assumptions. This is the lense through which we see the world and is very hard to change.The last stage is the hardest part to work through and Lisa explains that it can take around a year for us to re-learn habits and change the way we think about things. But, of course, if we don’t put the work in then we never will achieve those elusive goals and real change in our lives. 

Sitting in my beautiful mountain home I got to thinking about my own goals. Slowing down, thinking about how I really want to be and really taking care of myself is definitely something I need to work on. And these thoughts were mirrored in my own town’s adoption of a new way of taking the traditional grapes to signal the New Year in Spain. Normally people eat a grape for every toll of the bell at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Failure to do so will result in bad luck for the rest of the year, goes the superstition. Cue hamster cheeks and choking noises from most people! However this year my village of Bubión, inspired by the Cittalslow movement, decided to slow things right down and eat a grape every 10 seconds – see below for the video. 



I love the idea of taking time to really appreciate the world around me. My family. My friends. My community. It’s so easy to feel pressured to try to fit in as much as possible at work and during my free time. So I want to make sure that the work that I do really counts. Which is why I’ve decided to train as an Immunity to Change facilitator. I’m really excited about what this next stage of my life will be like and I can’t wait to help as many people as possible overcome their unconscious blockages. Because it’s normal to experience resistance to change it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t embrace the discomfort that comes with challenging our old ways of doing things. And re-working that persistent negative self talk. We’re all so much better than we think. Please reach out to me if you want to know more about my coaching and training sessions.


Happy Holidays and an exciting new coaching project

Happy Holidays and an exciting new coaching project

I want to wish every single one of you a very happy holiday season. Thank you for your support this year, for your feedback and for just being there.

It’s been an interesting and productive year for Intercultural Understanding. We’ve continued our work with IDI Guided Developmental Coaching for the Georgetown University students in Madrid and Salamanca, offered intercultural adaptation orientation sessions for US university programs in Madrid including Georgetown and Marist College, and we’ve also begun a new collaboration with Spanish Studies Abroad in Sevilla to train staff and professors in intercultural communication and diversity and inclusion practices. In 2023 we’re also looking forward to collaborating again with the University of California Education Abroad Program in Madrid.

On the business side of things, we initiated a series of trainings for Openprovider, an ICANN-accredited domain registrar and technology company founded in 2004 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Openprovider is now working as a 100% remote company and is committed to hiring the best employees from all over the world. We’re loving working together in workshops to increase our cultural knowledge and diversity and inclusion practices, and we’re very much looking forward to designing new growth trainings in 2023.

Almendra Staffa-Healey in Geneva

Almendra Staffa-Healey at the Horizon Académique program

And on the international collaboration front, we’ve been fortunate to participate in the Horizon Académique Program in Geneva, Switzerland, and to helping displaced Ukrainians in Madrid understand the Spanish work culture.

It’s been so enlightening to meet new people and to forge new collaborations. Not only that though, during this year I’ve also learned a lot about myself.

And it’s this new self-awareness that has spurred me on to get accredited for my coaching skills. I’ve coached for intercultural competency for a number of years now, but I really want to expand my remit to include personal, executive, teams and transitional coaching.

Almendra Staffa-Healey coaching

Coaching can be truly transformative. If you’d like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to get in contact

I want to help people to find their true calling and accomplish their goals. To bring out the best in themselves. To let go of old habits and negative self-talk which is holding them back. Coaching can be truly transformative. It requires a lot of work and self-analysis on the part of the participant. But like anything that takes a bit of work, the rewards are plentiful. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, why not reach out for a free 30-minute discovery call? I’d love to talk to you!