By Nick Jankel

Professional Global Keynote Speaker, Transformation & Innovation Catalyst, Leadership Theorist & Practitioner, 6 x Dyslexic Author, 3 x TV Coach, Co-Creator of Bio-Transformation®

In our methodology and philosophy for leading and living sustained, future-positive change, Bio-Transformation Theory & Practice, nothing is as important to grok as the Transformation Curve.

Although the process of transformation is utterly fluid and non-linear — from moment of awareness that something feels like mismatch right through to final delivery of a breakthrough solution into the world — there are key moments on the Transformation Curve that can be identified as discrete steps. By understanding these steps both cognitively and emotionally, you can better lead yourself, teams, organizations, and system to the next step; and beyond.

I usually state that there are seven classical steps of the Transformation Curve. The 7 steps in BTT Gem 7 are fractal and can be described in different ways depending on the scale: whether they relate to an individual’s transformation; that of a group or team; or as they pertain to an entire organization undergoing a business transformation or innovation processes. “As above, so below” (the motto of the medieval alchemists; Isaac Newton had this maxim on his desk).

Here I have set out the 7Ps as they pertain to an individual leader who is seeking to transform themselves in advance of transforming his/her organization or system (a far more detailed journey can be found in my book Switch On: Unleash Your Creativity and Thrive with the New Science & Spirit of Breakthrough). There are 7 steps of transformation for organizations and societies/systems that map over these.

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Problem: We start by pulling ourselves out of automatic reactivity to an issue once we spot the tell-tale signs and symptoms of a mismatch. These signs are in the outer world; and within our inner world (feeling stuck, stressed, or suffering). We take time and space to get some perspective. We reflect and connect in order to identify and define transformational challenges that we want to break through. We consciously avoid the seductions of seeking ‘easy’ technical problems that can be solved with existing knowledge and skills; or repeating what worked in the past. We ensure that we focus on transformational challenges that are driven by environmental pressures forcing us — inviting us — to adapt.

Purpose: As soon as we sense identify transformational challenges, we reconnect with our purpose. By reawakening to the intense richness of our connective, love-fueled, purpose — and reminding ourselves of our calling as a leader — we ground ourselves with stability no matter the complexity and chaos. We stop reacting, stressing, and activating knee-jerk solutions; and, instead, rest in the a safe space within. We are anchored, tethered, to something bigger than the frustration and fear.

Patterns: Having harnessed our purpose to open our hearts and minds rather than allow them to close in fear and frustration, we consciously, fearlessly, and attentively identify the habitual protective patterns with which we currently react that still leave a transformational challenge unsolved. Each pattern is made up of: hara (felt sense); heart (emotions); head (beliefs/thoughts/assumptions); and hands (behaviors).

Pain: We reflect on the underlying pain or wounding that the protective pattern is designed to avoid us from experiencing again. It is not essential to clarify the pain totally, in words, as long as we can make sense of it. This means distinguishing underlying fears, anxieties, and traumatic memories that lock the pattern in place. We explore the perceived needs that the protective pattern was designed to meet, and look with clear eyes at whether those needs are being met optimally.

Peace: No longer resisting or repressing the past, we can now accept who we are and how we have arrived here. This means fully honoring a sabotaging protective pattern as absolutely essential to have made it this far. Having found reliable ways to feel safe and connected, we can accept who we have become but also know that we can choose to be much more. This is the time fully to feel, process, and then  underlying pain, trauma, fear, wounding, and stress within.

Possibility: No longer stuck repeating old patterns that were locked in by historic pain, we can now open up adaptive and fitting creativity in the present. No longer gripped by fear and stress, we see the transformational challenge for what it always is: an opportunity to forge the future without limits. We have said ‘yes’ to all that has been and now we say ‘and . . . there is better way.’

Power: We now wire this inchoate creative response into our body and mind, consciously shaping new neural pathways that turn an imaginative experiment into a dominant habit. We attentively transform inspiration into action by building new habits and processes that manifest exciting possibilities in concrete form. As we behave, think, and feel ourselves into a transformation, the transformational challenge is resolved with concrete transformational solutions that change ourselves, our enterprises, and the systems we touch.

A most powerful aspect of the Transformation Curve is that, once we’ve embodied a transformation personally, and embedded a transformation into our organization, we realize that there are other Transformation Curves in which to engage: to solve other transformational challenges in other areas. And so the process starts again. Expanded and inspired, we seek the next Transformation Curve to ride . . . and repeat.


Learn the fundamentals of leading successful, lasting, and necessary change—in our times of intense disruption, uncertainty, complexity, and turbulence.