In our original blog - What can Lean and Six Sigma and Dilts Logical Levels of Change bring to effective change management", we described how Robert Dilts, a leading figure NLP ( Neuro Linguistic Programming) recognised the importance of acting at multiple levels in order to successfully achieve change. 

His logical levels are ones to adopt from the top and down through the pyramid, so starting from purpose and identify, rather than the often more typical approach of adopting more physical aids to communication such as posters and banners.

Dilts Logical Levels of Change_2017.jpg

Taking each of the levels in turn:


Purpose asks the question "What else are we here for?", or "What else is this change happening for?"  It is purpose that will tap into people's motivations for supporting a change.  The purpose may be to enable a team or organisation to address an unmet medical need, continue to serve the needs of their customers, or 'just' remain financially viable.  However, the more compelling the purpose, the more effective it will be for engaging people in change.


Identity asks the question "Who are we?"  It enables the people affected by the change to forge a common identity.  "We are scientists", or "Information professionals" etc.  "We are the ones being affected by this change".

Values and beliefs

The core beliefs and values underpin the team's sense of identity: what they hold to be true and important.  These will influence how they respond to change - the 'why?'.  In many cases they will be sub-conscious, but understanding them will help anyone introducing change to shape their key messages accordingly.  

Examples could include the belief that the team's scientists or information professionals has some of the 'best brains' or 'greatest proficiency' in their area of expertise, or at least the ability to excel.  They might value their creativity, their ability to develop a quality service, their integrity for example.

Effective change leaders will role model values and beliefs that already exist within the team, or that the team will accept and adopt as their own.  Engaging in a healthy debate of what these are, or what they could be, will assist with this process.


Capabilities and the competencies, skills, qualities and strategies that people can apply to adopt or support the change - the 'how?' work gets done. They need to be defined, taught and practised for any defined change.  They could be both technical competencies in the individuals fields of expertise or related to their work, or softer skills such as their ability to adapt to the change itself.


Behaviours are the 'what?' people are expected to do, say or think as a result of the change.  An effective change programme will identify which behaviours need to change and how in order to successfully implement and embed new eays of working.  Reward and recognition incentives may help with this.


Environment is the 'where and when' for managing change.  It is the place and time of where those affected by the change will work.  The physical and geographical location.  Changes to this environment could help to ensure that people effectively transition to the new way of working, or at a minimum support them in doing so.




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