We’ve been thinking a lot recently about how the neurological levels from Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) can really help to enable to change to happen authentically, and be lasting. Our founder, Liz Leach Murphy is a Neurolinguistic practitioner, and has incorporated her training and knowledge in this area into our practices as an organisation. As a team, we have recently been reflecting on how this could really help to make things happen where we often get stuck.
When trying to create change in a system, we often don’t take into account the multi-layered dynamics. The need for change is recognised, but often the ‘change process’ works with only one layer of the system whilst overlooking the rest.
People working in different areas or layers of the system will come to the change conversation with their own opinions, and little awareness of the wider impact on the person at the centre of the process or the system. Nobody is listening to each other. The change may be agreed, but is never embedded because the different layers are not all involved together; or they don’t communicate with each other. There is no coproduction. There is no Asset-based approach.
Unless all layers of the system are involved, we will always come across some resistance or a lack of engagement in making real change happen.
In a Health and Social care system, where change is needed, these layers can be composed of:
If these layers can be aligned and congruent, we may experience some element of change.
What are the conditions? Respect, equal power, asset and strengths outlook, a solution focus; but more than anything else, a commitment to really listening to each other and working together to make a change.
The starting point is a shared vision.
With a clear sense of the vision we want to achieve, this then provides the why and the purpose of what we do. We can then explore- “What do we do?”
Checking if the actions we have identified collectively are aligned to the vision and how we do it.
Common barriers to multi-layered change can include:
-Silo working…”I am here to do my job, which is…..” (even if it doesn’t fit with the vision)
-Hero status…” I have been doing this for years. I am the expert, and I have all of the answers”… (even if there is no recognition of the vision or listening to those who are at the centre of the process)
-Time pressures…”We need to get this done by xxx date”….(the date then becomes the driving factor, rather than thinking about what is reasonable, practical and helpful to achieve the outcome)
-Budgetary pressures…”We can only spend this amount during this time frame”…(which can ultimately lead to the wrong outcome and causes higher costs in the long term)
-Forgetting the focus…”The professionals involved all need to have a meeting without the person & their family present”…(which can ultimately lead to misinformed and harmful decision-making which has not included the person or their family)
So… how do we approach a change conversation?
-Start with ‘why’ to identify and agree a clear purpose
-Recognise the expertise, experience & knowledge within the layers of the system or organisation, which can be brought in to effect the change (skills & asset-mapping)
-Make time to discuss and identify each of the neurological levels which need to be addressed to enable the change
The neurological levels start by addressing the environment for the change conversation. They then examine behaviours, capabilities, values and beliefs before arriving at identity.
After looking at each of the neurological levels together, try completing a forcefield analysis together, to identify the forces for change and the forces of resistance. You can then use this as a basis for action planning. (Click here for a template and explainer video).
We can use the neurological levels as a checkpoint for the change.
If you’d like some support with initiating a change conversation; or would be interested in exploring how the neurological levels can help you to drive change in your project or organisation, we’d love to hear from you.
Contact us by email at:email@example.com