I’m delighted to introduce to you my friend and colleague Elizabeth Gibson as a guest blogger. Elizabeth is a prolific writer, speaker and business psychologist, who uses her behavioral sciences acumen to help individuals and organizations transform for bottom-line business results. She uses the framework she describes below with her business clients and for large scale organizational change, such as the one she describes in “Big Change at Best Buy,” by Elizabeth and her co-author, Andy Billings.
Jumping the curves. Like jumping from the top of one tall building to another. Letting go of one secure place to try and get to another. The one thing certain about change is the uncertainty it creates.

When was the last time you successfully made a change in your life? Actually, to be more specific, when was the last time you successfully changed some aspect of your own behavior? As in break a “bad” habit or adopt a new “good” one. How’d that go for you? It’s not easy, but there are ways to make it more do-able.

All change requires energy and time. Without adjustments in the way you think, feel, and act, nothing really changes. Typically these changes don’t happen all at once. It might be helpful to think of yourself as moving through three phases of a change:

  1. Make it Clear: Coming to grips with the need or desire to change
    Do you see a need for change?
    How uncomfortable are you with the status quo?
    Do you have any sense of urgency about changing?
  2. Make it Real: Working it through
    Are you struggling with making the change work?
    Are you looking for ways to make it work?
  3. Make it stick: Maintaining momentum
    Are you looking for ways to leverage the change?
    To enhance it?

Simply recognizing where you are in the midst of a change can be helpful, especially when you consider that changing deep-rooted behaviors requires changing how you think about something, how you feel about it, and then what you actually do about it.

Another way of describing the think/feel/do trio is as the Head (thinking), the Heart (feeling), and the Hands (doing). Successfully changing requires attention to the challenges and questions that arise in the Head, the Heart, and the Hands.

sara canaday thinking with your headHead: Why should I change?


sara canaday thinking with your heartHeart: What’s in it for me? What do I stand to lose? To gain?


sara canaday behavior changesWhat do I do differently? How do I learn to do it?

Putting together the phases of change and the “arenas” of change we now have a map for steering ourselves through a change in our own behavior:


sara canaday changing because you want toThe term arena, like the three arenas at the circus, captures the simultaneous, non-hierarchical, non-linear aspects of change. Something is usually going on in each arena at any given time, although what’s happening in one of the three arenas may grab most of our attention. Perhaps paradoxically, while it is easier to think about three separate and unique arenas, they are most effectively handled by dealing with their interrelations.

This is just a map; it’s not the territory. The next blog describes how to work through the necessary changes in all three arenas of the Head, the Heart, and the Hands.