Large Scale Immunity-to-Change™ Training


Professional Services, 100 Supervisors

Note: This engagement was supported by a research study conducted by Inna Markus from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She published her findings in “Efficacy of Immunity to Change Coaching for Leadership Development,” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and online at A control group was used to ensure statistically valid results.


Company received a work-force development grant from the State of Michigan to train First Line Supervisors. These supervisors, many of whom were new to their role, urgently needed training in preparation for a company expansion that would bring in approximately 1,000 new salaried employees.

Two-Phase Training Solution:

The solution consisted of a 4-month, 8-session program. The program featured a custom curriculum linked to three corporate competencies that Executive Leadership named as critical to the Supervisors’ success: (1) authentic leadership, (2) inspiring excellence in others and (3) driving high performance.

Phase 1: Identifying hidden barriers – Began with the Immunity-to-Change™ model. Participants were guided and carefully paced through several exercises. First they discovered constraints (or hidden barriers) they had inadvertently created to protect themselves from assumed (i.e., unproven) consequences. Then the participants “pictured success,” imagining what might be possible if their assumptions were unfounded. They also observed real-time situations that illustrated how unintentional misunderstandings kept them — and their direct reports — from reaching their potential or made it seem difficult to maintain integrity on the job. These exercises culminated in safely testing new behaviors that might disprove their unproven assumptions.

Phase 2: Technical skills training – To help the Supervisor trainees develop and improve certain skills, used a combination of lectures, small group breakouts and case studies to instruct them in:

  • Active Listening
  • Coaching and Performance Feedback
  • Understanding Social Styles for Effective Interpersonal Communication
  • Negotiating at Work

Statistical Results:

Inna Markus published findings and results as noted above. In summary, the study statistically proves how effectively the Immunity-to-Change™ model helps people reach their development and leadership goals. In this study, 93% of the coached/ training group indicated that they are likely to use the approach to further pursue their goals. Progress on achievement of individual leadership goals was also measured:

  • The coached group average leadership goal score increased 47.91%; significantly higher than the average control group’s increase of just 14.73%.
  • The control group made significantly less progress toward their development goals than did the coached group, despite having a full month longer to work on their goals.

Non-statistical Results:

There were numerous subjective and personal successes. Participants in Phase 1, for example, felt more confident upon hearing that many of their peers struggled with the same concerns about effective performance that they did. Working through the Immunity-to-Change™ model empowered employees in many unexpected ways. Morale improved at the supervisory level. People were energized and re-engaged. Managers and staff learned to regularly identify and address competing commitments that prevented them from doing what they felt was more important but couldn’t tackle on their own. Client Reactions includes testimonials from this study.