Collective Immunity to Change (for Teams)
a. Just as individuals have immunity to change, so do teams, groups, and entire organizations have a “collective immunity to change.”
b. When it makes sense to “x-ray” the Group/Team:
i. Groups are stuck, no follow through, don’t hold each other accountable, protect their turf.
ii. Groups are functional—safe places to test, not hostile battlegrounds.
iii. Groups are 12 or less with no strong subgroups.
iv. Groups of more than 12 people with no definable subgroups, break down into groups of 8 and compare outcomes.
v. Construct individual member immunity maps before doing a collective team map. Practice the individual process before applying to a more complex team environment.
c. Team Column #1: Identify the team collective improvement goal
i. Avoid generalities (too broad a scope), like overcoming the achievement gap or being more open-minded.
ii. Use a four-column collective immunity map.
1. Our improvement goal (collective commitment)
2. Our collective fearless inventory (doing/not doing instead of supporting Column 1)
3. Collective competing commitments (that support Column 2 activities that work against our improvement goal)
4. Collective big assumptions (our underlying thinking that supports Column 3—competing commitments).
iii. Brainstorm possible collective improvement goals.
1. Have people independently list them.
2. Next, brainstorm and then vote on most significant.
3. Get agreement and strong alignment on key collective improvement goal before proceeding.
d. Team Column #2: Take a fearless inventory of team behaviors contrary to the team’s collective improvement goal.
i. Consider this key question: What do WE collectively do or fail to do that works against our improvement goal in Column 1?
ii. Criteria for Column #2 entries:
1. Be concrete (focus on observable behaviors)
2. The more entries and more honest the better
3. Ensure that each one works against Column #1
4. Don’t worry about the “why” at this stage
5. Should be behaviors ALL (the group) are doing
iii. Teams get tempted to merely solve Column 2 behaviors. This is a “technical” short-term win but a long-term loss approach. Rather, continue with the map to see the long-term winning, adaptive approach.
e. Team Column 3: Competing Team Commitments
i. These commitments are often INVISIBLE but begin to help explain behaviors in Column 2.
ii. Don’t forget the team’s “Worry Box.” What would the group be worried about if they did the opposite of behaviors listed in Column 2?
iii. Convert each “worry” into a commitment of collective team protection.
iv. Warning: Simply NOT doing Column 2 activities does not solve the problem because those behaviors serve a useful purpose—supporting our competing commitments!
v. Thus, hidden (invisible) commitments in Column 3 create obstructive Column 2 behaviors.
vi. Testing the effectiveness of Column 3 commitments
1. Must evoke: Wow! We’re really being honest here! Or,
2. Our fears evoke our strongest anxieties, are very worrisome, pose real threats, etc.
f. Team Column 4: Uncovering the Team’s Collective BIG Assumption
i. Look at Column #3 and ask: What assumptions must we hold as firmly true that make us believe so strongly in our commitments in Column #3?
ii. Taken as a whole, our assumptions in Column #4 make our commitments inevitable—carved in stone!
iii. Examining such big assumptions as a group pushes you into a “danger zone.”
iv. Don’t take time to “settle” these assumptions but just get them out into the open.
v. These assumptions will motivate you to solve them. Next, conduct experiments.
g. Final Step: Conduct Experiments.
i. Experiment should be S-M-A-R-T (discussed previously)
ii. Safe—failure in the experiment will not destroy anyone or any group.
iii. Modest—take experiments one step at a time. No giant steps.
iv. Actionable—keep the momentum going. Take action.
v. Research—use a rigorous system to collect accurate data.
vi. Test—the research should test your assumptions.