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3 executives discuss the life-changing power of unmasking unconscious fears

People have a hard time making necessary transformations in their lives — even when it’s a matter of life and death. However, it is possible.
After following Immunity to Change methods, McKinsey & Company director emeritus Neil Janin, IBM New Zealand general manager of channel and digital Sallie Purser, and Allen Construction CEO Aaron Pick have all experienced, personally and professionally, how dramatic changes can arise if time and the right methods are applied.

Neil Janin on not being the hero

Based on an interview with Neil Janin, leadership consultant and director of McKinsey & Company’s Paris office for almost 30 years (February 2019).

Neil Janin met Robert Kegan, the author of Immunity to Change, 15 years ago when he and other senior partners at McKinsey & Company decided to form a development program for the highest-level executives at the company. After meeting many researchers and practitioners, he found Kegan’s theories particularly interesting.“I find it’s an approach that applies to every human being, whether for senior partners or anyone else who wants to do greater things in their lives,” he says. “As you walk into the arena, a number of things are going to seize you. Are they true or false? Can you calm your fears? Do you dare do more than you have been doing? For instance, you may want to have a conversation with your spouse, but you don’t dare because it might change the nature of the relationship. Kegan’s approach helps you examine why you don’t have that conversation.

Sallie Purser on the importance of taking personal responsibility for change

Based on an interview with Sallie Purser, general manager of channel and digital for IBM New Zealand (February 2019).

Sallie Purser, currently an upper-level executive at IBM New Zealand, has been at the company for 32 years, moving through many different roles. “I came in to take orders for typewriters,” she says of her early position, “and I’ve worked doing supporting roles.” Today she expresses high satisfaction in her job, yet her rise to executive ranks was not all smooth sailing. Though IBM had offered her several leadership courses, she was not making the changes she felt she needed to be happy and achieve her goals at work. Then in 2012 she attended a weeklong course with Rodger Spiller, of Rodger Spiller & Associates, on the Immunity to Change program, which she found to be different from programs she had attended in the past. She ended up sitting next to Spiller at a dinner and he invited her to be his practice client. She readily accepted and has never regretted it.

Aaron Pick on choosing personal goals

Based on an interview with Aaron Pick, chief executive officer of Allen Construction (February 2019).


Excerpt from Business Digest N°294, March 2019

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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.