Last week, we talked about Why Great Leaders Understand The 6 Levels Of Change, which was the first of a two–part article. In it, we shared what the six levels were and went into some specifics about the first 3 of them; environment, behaviour and capabilities. If you haven’t read part one, click here now.
In this article, we share the final 3 levels and how you can use the model to support individuals and teams through change.
A Quick Reminder Of All 6 Levels Of Change
The levels are as follows: Low to High
- Values and Beliefs
Let‘s focus on the higher three levels, one by one.
Values and Beliefs
It would make sense at this point to clarify what we mean by values and beliefs.
In business, the word that’s often used that relates to values is ‘motivation’. What hasn’t been asked in an interview, ‘what motivates you?’. What we are asking though is ‘what’s important to you?’. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t spend my Saturday nights with friends and family asking each other what our values are. I do, however, talk with them about what’s important to us about the party or holiday we are planning!
So what about beliefs, I hear you ask. It’s simple. A belief is an internal feeling that we have that something is true. It could be unproven, yet the person still feels it’s true. Some refer to it as an opinion or a thought that we keep thinking. And we know that anyone of us can change our opinion and how we think; usually, after we have been introduced to some new ideas, concepts, data or experiences.
How do values and beliefs relate to change?
From a leadership perspective, it is the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and what we are capable of that influence our success not only in work but in all parts of life. Also, if something is important to us, say achieving promotion, we will be more driven to want to make changes to what we believe about ourselves and what actions we take as a result.
The challenge with beliefs is that often we are unconscious about some of the opinions we hold about ourselves and others, yet continually express these beliefs in our everyday conversations and through certain words and phrases.
A great leader will take time to understand what’s important to their team members and will listen out for the kinds of beliefs people hold about themselves, what they are capable of, as well as what they think about clients and their own company. As a result, the leader is in a position to coach and support the individual to make changes that will help them overcome any challenges and hurdles they have around changes that are happening in the business.
Identity is closely related to beliefs as it’s about who we are (or who we believe ourselves to be).
Robert Dilts, the creator of the 6 levels model, says:
“It is our perception of our identity that organises our beliefs, capabilities and behaviours into a single system.”
Our identity is a vast collection of the beliefs we hold and what’s important to us about all the many aspects of our lives.
A leader gets a glimpse into the identity that a team member holds of themselves when they hear the phrase that starts with “I am”.
Purpose is about how we see ourselves fitting into the wider world, including our professional life, family, and the communities we are part of to name just a few. It’s about what you are part of that is more important to you than you are to yourself.
Think of it as something that you feel so passionate about and connected to, that if you needed to, you would make tremendous personal sacrifices for them or a cause.
We are living in a world and a time where technology allows people to connect and collaborate in ways we haven’t before. People want to contribute to the wider society and world in a way that has specific meaning for them.
What does all this mean for you as a leader and how you lead and manage change?
- If you are planning to implement a piece of change, through knowing your team, you already have insight into how they usually deal with change, which means you may have some idea about how each team member may respond and what some of the barriers to change you may encounter. (Be aware to avoid pre-judging).How the levels of change can help is that they will allow you to identify the root cause of barriers that a specific person is posing for themselves. When you listen to a person’s language they will give you clues to what’s important to them and which level this represents:
- I usually get the dancing started at parties (environment/behaviour)
- I like to challenge a lot (behaviour)
- I’m not very good at sharing my ideas (capability)
- People should be honest and say what they are thinking (belief)
- I want to be healthier and fitter(value)
- That’s just the kind of person I am (identity)
Having identified a level, you can ask questions to explore what’s contributing to their resistance to change. For example:
- What do you feel when that happens? (behaviour)
- What’s important to you about that? (value)
- What meaning are you making about this? (belief)
- When you do what you have just described, what does that say about you as a person? (identity)
- What does that achieve for you? (value)
Once you have a deeper understanding, how you support your team member to change will differ. However, by coaching the person at the level they are experiencing a challenge at, you will be supporting them to create sustainable change.
Be aware that when change happens at a higher level such as values and beliefs or identity, it will impact the lower levels of capability and behaviours. However, making a change at a lower level such as environment or behaviour rarely has the same impact on values, beliefs, identity or purpose.
Next time you are planning change, identify at what level you want to implement the change. This will allow you to plan your approach to how you will:
- Change the way the team are thinking? (Beliefs)
- Change the way they approach a task (Behaviour/capability)
What level do you usually experience the most resistance at with your team? How will you handle this knowing what you now know?
Until next time.
About blue pea POD
At blue pea POD, we are in the business of enabling leaders and organisations understand who they are, their identity and purpose, creating the profitable future they desire now.
Blue Pea POD works internationally with a client base that includes the FMCG, Retail, and Pharmaceuticals sectors. You can subscribe to our podcast here and then if you would like to find out more about how we can help you get in contact here. Or call +44(0) 845 123 1280