Now we all are aware that there are neurological levels and all our problems exist within these levels. These neurological levels are :- environment, behaviour, capability, values-beliefs ,identity and vision.
“The problems of today can only be solved at a higher level of thinking than that which created them” – A very famous quote by Albert Einstein. Let us understand the quote in terms of neurological levels. If you want a solution to a problem you have move at a higher level to find a solution. For example, if a problem exists at behaviour level, you must at-least go a level up i.e. solve it at least at capability level.
Why is it important to be at a higher level ?
Let us take cricket or any other sport for that matter. Players are aware of their position and their role in the team. The team goes on the field with a strategy which has been decided by the coach and the captain. Sometimes, this strategy fails to work. The coach observes the real time situation and makes necessary changes. He is able to analyse the situation and implement the new plan because he is not in the field , he is sitting (or standing) at a different level altogether. The coach changes the plan and works towards winning the game. Do you realise, this is so close to what Einstein had said? The coach is at a different level and hence is able to find a solution.
Heifetz gave the concept of dance floor and balcony leadership. and get a When on the balcony observing the dance floor, you can now see who is dancing well and who is struggling . On the Dance Floor, you can find yourself in the action, consumed in the day to day running of your business. On the “Balcony”, you can take a step back from the details and take a clearer, more strategic view of what is going on in your business. Spending regular time on the balcony is important for you to see what you need to do in order to grow or lead your business.
Neurological Levels as a problem solving tool
Neurological Levels can help us explain understand and implement Change . Once you understand the level of the problem, you can find a solution for the problem at a higher level.
you can solve any ‘people-related’ problem using this model. It gives you the blueprint for effective Problem-solving.
1. Rohit who had unsuccessfully tried to sell financial products like mutual funds, Insurance (Behaviour) several times over the years was reasonably competent sales person in FMCG (more Behaviour).
This meant that he had the basic predisposition to sell (Competencies and Skills). Despite this he was still unable to become confident and successful salesperson for financial products. When he considered the beliefs and values he had attached to the financial products like Insurance, Shares, Mutual Funds etc., he realised that he thought that FMCG products have high consumer demands and people get value for their money.. Conversely, when he thought about financial products he thought people loose their money when they invest in market or in insurance . It was then evident that he would have to revise his beliefs about financial products before he would be able to be successful in his new job. (A shift at the Beliefs and Values level therefore making the change possible as the potential skill already exists).
2. Ajay lands in a Sales Job after doing MBA in HR due to limited job opportunities in his city.Initially he was so enthusiastic about the job. During his induction, he was told about his sales targets and was also told about the company’s expectations from him. Since, he was disinterested in selling, it added up to my job dissatisfaction. He never liked taking monthly targets and going through the grinding the entire month and at the end of it listen to the verbal abuse from the Business Head, irrespective of the performance.
One year into my first job, and he used to dread going to the office. The moment, he would step inside the company gate, everyone would see his body language He carried the same body language when he visited the clients or the dealers. His supervisor suggested him to work on his body language, communication skills , Assertiveness skills and so many other skills. He was in deep trouble. He didn’t know what to do and felt helpless.
Let us find out where is the problem ?
(a) Environment? other people were doing a good job anyway in the environment. Ajay thought of changing his job (which means changing the environment), He would have faced the same problem in another organisation.
(b) Behaviour/ Capabilities? -Dealing with the problem at this level , would have sorted it temporarily. He could have done better with a good mentor which he didn’t find in that organisation.
(c) The problem was actually in his Beliefs and Values.He used to ‘believe’ he is not a Salesperson. Thus, the other problems followed including my below average performance.
Ajay after his unsuccessful stint in corporates, started his own business and now is doing very well. He is selling his own products and is making lot of money. He brought the change at Beliefs level.
The above leads to a number of interesting explanations/discoveries:
In the above examples, people find that some technique or solution has worked great at changing some unwanted behaviour for a short period of time, and eventually the unwanted behaviour returned. Why do you think this happens ?If the new behaviour is not in alignment with the person’s beliefs and values or identity, the higher level would overpower the lower level.
The change will happen and will be a long term if it is in alignment with the higher neurological levels.