What's in your worry box?

What's in your Worry Box?

If you're confused or want to answer "Worry Beads" then I suspect you're like many and need a reminder or an introduction to Immunity to Change.

The book is a great introduction to the Immunity Map which will uncover what prevents you from changing.


We all carry a Worry Box around with us; it's in our mind and it hasn't been opened for some time. When we do, it's generally to add an additional worry!

Whilst I make light of this debilitating unconscious system in our body and persona it is the perfect metaphor to create  awareness to the number of worries which we have about our performance.

At a professional development session which I attended this week, Michelle Sales reconnected us with the valuable insights of Lisa Laskow Lahey and Robert Kegan from their book (their life's work),  Immunity to Change. We all know that we need to change or help others in the process of change however what we don't know well enough is what prevents us changing.

During our session we created our personal 'Immunity Map' following the process which I had read about, completed 80% of a MOOC on with the authors and within minutes of this session, it finally clicked into place! (I'm not sure if I am a slow learner or it's a challenging concept!)

The map template is very simple in construction and it's the process of questions which uncover the complexity which we store away in the worry box. So, it's very effective is you take the opportunity to work through this model with an experienced coach or practitioner. 

For me, I have a neat set of questions and an additional model to add to my repertoire to challenge and probe my clients when I coach, mentor and work with them and their teams. (Immunity to Change is very useful for team goals too.)

I highly recommend you explore Immunity to Change and welcome your inquiry to understand why you're still not achieving the leadership performance goal which you've set yourself or which has been set for you.




Which Conversation Is Necessary?

Last week, I was work-shopping 'Coaching' with a small group of leaders and a 'problem' case study was presented by a member of the group to use as an opportunity to practise their understanding of coaching and new found knowledge. We were briefed by the leader and the group/team of coaches commenced using the GROW model to uncover the purpose of the conversation goal.

After five minutes of questioning, the group realised that they were all feeling the same, challenged by the behaviour of the 'coachee' (which was being well acted); they were unable to create a space which created a dialogue . The coachee was a 'closed shop' and their behaviour was appalling and unhelpful. 

The group was stumped.

I then posed this question to the group, "Which type of conversation is necessary in this situation?"  And, is Coaching appropriate?

It was concluded that the conversation required an approach which dictated the expectations of the workplace, one which acknowledged the condoned behaviours and an agreement of the facts and the course of action required. This conversation was at the opposite end of the spectrum where coaching starts. 

We can be ineffective as leaders if we don't use our time wisely, determining the necessary conversation and the appropriate timing - rather than wasting time and that of others. The spectrum of leadership conversations is vast and ranges from:

Dialogue - to understand

Discussion - to agree or disagree based on the understanding

Decision - to chose a course of action from the agreement/disagreement

Direction - to guide movement towards achieving an action

Dictate - to confront with facts and advise the course of action

Once you've decided on the purpose of the conversation, then it's time to consider the questions and commentary to drive it. Practise makes an effective leader!


One of my activities today is preparing for a lunch which I am facilitating this Friday. Its focus is to highlight and discuss the benefits of leading healthy practices in the workplace. A couple of notable speakers will lead the discussion with my role and goal is to keep the luncheon lively!

Interestingly enough, I’m working on a workbook for a Facilitation program which I offer – so I have ‘facilitation’ at the forefront of my brain. I’m deliberating on my approach; which techniques and tools to utilise to support the guests in achieving their interest and involvement at the lunch.

Facilitation is a strength which all leaders and SMEs can continue to develop. From my experience some folk have a good flair however the majority have to work at it to gain positive feedback. Done right, facilitating a conversation can save time, make money by generating amazing ideas, plans and strategies; build relationships and help folk discover their passionate genes!

Whether you’re facilitating a group of 30 or three, these tips make meetings productive:

  • Consider the questions you want to ask and ask for questions your group want answered. 
  • Delegate roles to ensure the outspoken are kept busy and the quieter ones have the opportunity to contribute.
  • Capture information visually and share it electronically immediately.

I will add a few more practises and tips to my site over the next few days. Maybe you have your own tips you’d like to share – these are generally the best: ‘tried & tested’!


We value the act of ‘debriefing’ too lightly. It’s a calendar entry which is easily moved to make way for an urgent meeting, the next big thing – you get the drift! It’s talked about, referenced in the project plan however; I’m surprised at how little ‘debriefing’ occurs in life.

Debriefing is a facilitation skill involved in change – one which is useful for leaders, project managers, parents, partners, CEOs …. well, just about anyone. I’ve even heard my son’s 3rd grade teacher mention the ‘D’ word!

With a military history, debriefing allows people to have a voice, to share their account and it’s an opportunity to divulge information. It’s a morale booster and at the opposite end of the continuum it can be emotionally draining if grief is being debriefed.

Picking the right time to debrief is tricky – I lean towards closer to the event than later. If you’re focusing on the emotional component, it magnifies with time – possibly distorting the facts which if prompted initially, people will take notes along the way and be able to provide meaningful and useful data.

Another component of the skill is the use of questions: used to extract information, maintain the conversation flow, and seek clarity and commitment.

Most importantly, debriefing is sexy if you act on the information.  If your followers see change, then you’re likely to be respected which makes leadership very satisfying.