Brand and the NLP Logical Levels of Change

MP9004385661 Brand and the NLP Logical Levels of ChangeI’ve had a number of conversations with people about reinventing or reinforcing their brand to attract more clients, earn more income, etc. and I love it – it’s what I help my clients do.  There’s only one problem – some people want to do it in 15 minutes or less.

I’ve found that the average person may not recognize that there are usually deep-seated beliefs and behaviors that are often the root of their current state.  And when it’s taken more than 15 minutes to create these beliefs and behaviors, it takes time to make  transformations to an identity.

A model I learned about with NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) years ago taught me about “logical levels of change”.  This model was first developed by neuro-linguistic expert and anthropologist Gregory Bateson. It was further developed by Robert Dilts, an NLP pioneer.  Here’s a high level overview:

Most NLP experts will talk about 6 logical levels of change.  Each level of change relates to how you think about situations and each will give you different information to help you determine where you may be having difficulty moving forward, or where you can focus on change work.  Imagining that you’re looking at a ladder, the first bullet will be the bottom rung:

  1. Environment (external factors) – How does/can my environment support me? Where? When? Who else is involved?
  2. Behavior (performance, actions, reactions) – What do I want to do or say, and what will I do or say?
  3. Capabilities (knowledge, skills, competencies) – How does this draw on my capabilities? What can I draw on now or further  develop?
  4. Beliefs & Values (what you hold true, right or wrong) – How does this either fit or reinforce what is important to me?   What must I believe in order for XX to happen?
  5. Identity (how you think about yourself) – How does this fit with who I am (or who I am becoming)?  **Your brand is here and incorporates how others think about you too.**
  6. Purpose/Spirituality (big picture of life) – What am I doing this for?

The premise is that change is usually easier going from the bottom of the ladder (environment) and working up.  If you change something at a higher level, it will usually impact lower levels but not always the other way around.  Therefore, you may be struggling with change at a higher level because you still need work at another lower-linked level.

I think an example is an order.  Say you want to reinvent your brand (identity) – instead of thinking of yourself as the public relations professional who has worked for a corporation 18 years, you now want to become an entrepreneur who provides motivational speaking and coaching services.  You’re used to working in an office, on a set schedule, you take direction from your leadership, write reports, attend public relations networking events, and so on.

Using the levels, it is not likely you will transform into a superstar entrepreneur overnight – it might require that you  build certain skills and knowledge, that you perhaps change your circle of influence to spend more time in the space of successful speakers and coaches.  Depending on your desired outcomes, you’d have to determine what changes are needed and at what level.

The neat thing about this model is that you can use each level to ask yourself powerful questions (like the ones I listed) to determine starting points for change.  Still feeling stuck? Get the help of a coach or accountability partner to work through this ladder so you reduce blind spots for yourself.

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About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable is a premier personal branding & marketing coach.  Her creative genius has unlocked the potential of many women solopreneurs, helping them to reinvent themselves as power players in their startup business.  Claim your free instant access to a free video download, 5 Secrets to Developing Your Unique Brand Proposition at:

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