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  • Writer's pictureAmin

Why is transformation a challenge?

Transformation at an individual level is a change of the state of being – meaning we think the way we feel, and we feel the way we think. In this situation, we create a loop between feeling and thinking and that becomes a new state of being. We move from state to state in our lifetime.

Some of those states come and go in the instant; some last longer. Some are one-off, others habitual. It is the habitual state that we want to transform. In organizations, we do this by moving from the current state to a desired future state. States can be changed with proper interventions in place.

Our approach is very much using change management and this includes the elements of NLP (Neuro Linquistic Programming) when addressing individuals within the organization. It means using language to program our brain and create the behaviour. Language is how the mind speaks to the brain, and for the brain to express itself to others. Behaviour is the output to your thinking and feeling.

To get things done, we need to do go through two steps to connect the mind to the muscle – thinking and doing. Thinking here refers to the two components (thinking and feeling) mentioned in the earlier articles. Both thinking and feeling are the functions within the brain. From the thinking, we need to translate this into doing, and the bridge is the emotions. Emotion is the language of the mind to the body. For example, “acceptance” is an emotion on the feeling over the thinking.

Emotion is the chemical reaction at the end of experience. For example, when you see a snake, the fear will come up and this is known as “basic emotions’ from the bottom brain. It will send a signal to the body like an autopilot to take action (run away). The information also creeps up to the top brain (thinking); it gives an appraisal of the experience of seeing a snake and running away as pleasant or unpleasant. This is known as “secondary emotions”.

If the appraisal is positive (pleasant), then the body will support the thinking – meaning the positive feeling on the thinking. If it is not pleasant, then the doing may not be happening as expected. Hence, the mind to muscle will not happen and no outcome to what you want. This is at an individual level and it gets complex when dealing with an organization.

At individual level, the mind to muscle is not connected, and hence you get no outcome. In dealing with many people in an organization, the magnitude of not being connected is much higher. This is because the change leader needs to communicate to the many on what the transformation is, why do it, how it will do it, and what it means in the long run to the organization and them.

Simplicity and direction are important and that is why NLP is key to the transformation. The other dimension is trust. The change leader must trust himself on the project and the others must trust him as a leader. In certain cases, the change leader may be doubtful about the project, and he or she is doing it because the job were assigned to him or her. When doubt creeps in, the mind-to-muscle will not happen. When the others do not trust the leader, the same thing will happen.

Setting up a “Delivery Unit” is key to the success of transformation. Sir Michael Barber wrote a book “Instruction to Deliver” on this. The purpose is to deliver the desired future state by setting specific journey KPIs along the way. The Delivery Unit undertakes the change management as per the retrograde analysis done earlier. In an organization, things change due to many factors. Hence, in addition to the technical plan on what is to be done, we need have adaptive change. Adaptive change is very much with people as each one has its own subjective mind trying to get an objective outcome for the organisation.

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