Article Details

3 Steps to Change

What you will get: Ways to increase the effectiveness of change processes


“Your elephant does not like change”


No really it doesn’t.


So you have to find ways to get your elephant on board.


And that’s not all…


What about engaging other people’s elephants?


So what am I talking about?


You see…


Your elephant is your unconscious mind or limbic system – big and powerful and strong and stubborn.
It’s responsible for your emotions, your motivation – it drives your behavior.


Then you have your poor rider (the rational part of your brain).


It gets logic.
It understands reason.
It invented and comprehends language.


So armed with reason and logic…


Your poor rider is forever trying to persuade and engage your elephant in change processes.


Personal change. (I want to lose weight)
Professional change. (I want to be a more effective leader)
Change in teams and organisations.


But the elephant has 3 positions when it comes to behavior change…


If it experiences something it likes from memory it produces positive emotions, which drive positive thoughts and towards behaviour.


If it experiences something it doesn’t like from memory it produces negative emotions, which drive negative thoughts and away from behaviour.


If it experiences something it does not know, in other words CHANGE, it triggers negative emotions, which drive negative thoughts and resistance behaviour.


That’s why change can be so hard!


All the logic in the world can be screaming at you to do something – but if the elephant hasn’t overcome it’s natural resistance it won’t budge.


Think about it…


People know they shouldn’t smoke and drink too much – but they still do.
People know cream cakes are bad for them, but they still eat them.
People know they can’t really afford the new shoes or gadget, but they still buy them.


Welcome to the world of the elephant – your change master!


So what can you do to make change in your life more effective?
And what about effective change management in your team?


Well you need to work more with the elephant before you start talking to the rider.


Deal with emotions first and then give the logic later!


And how can you work more with your emotionally driven elephant?


Here’s some simple steps:


1 – Never, ever go into the details of a change process until you have created a clear picture of the destination – what does the end result look, feel and sound like?


2 – Always be clear on why you (or others) are undergoing the change – what benefits does it give you and others? What are the drawbacks if you don’t make the change?


3 – Engage the elephant by focusing on the top 5 motivators for all humans in any change process. That means focusing on:

  • The purpose and meaning of the change
  • The recognition you will give yourself and others during each small step of success
  • The opportunities for you and others to master new tasks (mastery motivates)
  • The autonomy and responsibility you and others will have in the change process
  • The opportunities for personal and professional growth


Now you are speaking to the elephant!


And as you and I know, if you don’t get the elephant on board, your poor rider will be forever trying to drag around 100kgs of huge, grey stubbornness.


It’s really hard, isn’t it?


I’m off to feed my elephant and get it ready for change.


How about you?


To your success.







Steve Neale
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High Performance Leadership

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