What type of change works for you?

What type of change works for you?

Transformational and Transactional change


In change management they often talk of two different approaches to change

One is transformational.  The other is transactional


Transformational change is about making big changes, involving many areas of the organisation, affecting all the stakeholders (ie customers, employees, suppliers)

Transactional change is about making small step incremental changes, which can be identified, planned and made without really impacting anyone other than the individual or particular department that has come up with the idea.


Most of the articles and ideas in this blog are about the small step, incremental changes we can make to become more confident.  Or, more accurately, the small changes we can make to stop unconfidence from stopping us being with our horses.


In personal change, there is a lot of talk about making sure a change fits in with your “ecology”

A sustainable change is one that the rest of your life will support.


For example, if you give up smoking, but your family and friends all still smoke – that is going to be very hard to sustain and it is highly likely that over time, you will be more and more likely to fall back into the habit

This is true of confidence as well:  if you give up being unconfident, and start taking care of yourself, following the advice in this blog – and yet your family and friends find that hard to give up with you – then you can find yourself falling back into your unconfident behaviours, choices and becoming unconfident again.


So one reason for the small step, incremental change is to ensure that any small change you make is built into your ecology and support network, before you make another change.


This can really help the change be sustainable and long lasting


When we make drastic, radical changes, it is sometimes hard for the people around us to accept it, which is one reason why, in personal change, we tend to stay small scale.


But what if that isn’t enough?


What if we have been doing our small steps, measuring our confidence, managing it, taking one step at a time – and what if that is just not working for us?


Sometimes, when we make a small change, even THAT is not accepted, and we keep up the new behaviour for a while but, over time, that new behaviour is eroded by other people doing the same old things – or maybe by our own inertia – and that small change disappears under the weight of everyday existence.


Maybe sometimes, we even benefit in some way from NOT succeeding in that small change.


I think I have talked about secondary gain before.  Secondary gain is when there is an often unrealised benefit from a behaviour we thought we wanted to change – so when we try to change it, that secondary gain or benefit leads and pushes us back to the old ways, away from the new choices.

An example of this was a client I worked with recently.  She really wanted to increase her confidence and we worked through using Confidence Mapping to identify what she wanted to change, and using the IDEAS approach to develop strategies and an action plan for making the changes.  One key thing she came up with was that going to the livery yard when others weren’t around would help her sustain her confidence as she would not have to deal with any criticism or commentary of what she was doing.

When we talked a couple of weeks later, she admitted she had not been doing that, so we explored that.  What we uncovered was that one of her main benefits from being on the yard in the first place was the sense of community she felt: she was self employed and so this was her social activity – to go to the yard when others weren’t around totally removed that benefit, the secondary gain from doing things in front of others and around others – and so her unconscious changed her choice!


Once we realised this, we could come up with a plan to deal with it – but it is a great example of how hidden benefits can seem to sabotage our decisions!


So – what if you have tried to make changes – and every time you have fallen back into your old habits, your old ways – and you are starting to think you will never lose this unconfident feeling?


Maybe it’s time to think Transformational!


When you make a Transformational change, and change EVERYTHING around you – -then you increase the chances you won’t fall back into old habits – how?  You take away everything to DO with the old habits so you CAN’T fall back into them

Sounds radical?


It is!


A transformational change in business permeates the whole system:  every part of the business is affected, and every system has to change.


What is an example of a transformational change in our personal lives?

The most common one is when people either move from livery yards to having their own fields – or make the change the OTHER way.


I will share two examples here:

L was having challenges with her horse on her livery yard.  She was a fairly novice rider and felt overwhelmed by all the different advice she was getting.  At first this had been ok, but as she went on some courses and learned more, she also found that her own ideas seemed very different from other people on the yard whose ideas she had previously respected.

It also seemed to her that the people on the yard found it hard to accept her growing knowledge, she felt “trapped” in her role as the nervous novice.

Her family tended to say “well, they have been around horses longer than you” – so her home environment was making it hard to change too.

So she did what many people do:  she decided to rent a field and have her horses on her own place, away from the experts and advice – and where it would be all her own work.

She did this – and it was a huge change for everyone: her home life changed as now she was responsible for the horses in all weathers and through all crises; her work life changed to fit around being able to have time with the horses – and her horse life changed.

This was definitely a transformational change!

And for her – it worked.  Her confidence grew, she even invited some friends who shared her values to share her field so ended up with companionship as well.

Her family also saw that she was confident, knew what she was doing and started responding differently to her in her horsey role

In this case, the transformational change made her changes sustainable and long lasting.



Here’s another example:

A friend of mine had always rented a field and looked after her horse herself.  This past couple of winters she had found her confidence wavering, and was not happy with how things were going.

So she did the opposite: she went from renting a field – to putting her horse in full livery at a yard with full facilities.

This was definitely transformational – it hugely affected the family in terms of budget and choices!

However it did wonders for her confidence!  Having far more time to be WITH her horse instead of spending the time on all the field management made a huge difference to her riding and to her horse’s mindset too.


Two examples of transformational changes that really paved the way to increased confidence for two people.


So here’s a question for you:


What is working for you?  Is your transactional, incremental change working?

Have you made a transformational change?


Please share your own experiences, thoughts and comments so we can explore this together…..


Yours, in confidence








3 thoughts on “What type of change works for you?

  1. I made a transformational change, moved from a traditional livery yard (yes I was the weirdo in the corner). I’m now setting up a livery yard with a friend who shares similar views about horses (‘natural care’, ‘natural horsemanship’, ‘kind, slow, horse centred). It is kinda scary, and having made the change in mid December, today was the first day back aboard my Amigo, but riding (yes at walk) round the ‘dirt’ track with the two yearling/foals in attendance while we introduced them to horses being ridden and confidence with the tools / respect for the ridden horses was a huge step forward. For us a transformational change looks like its going to work out well 🙂 And we do have space for a few more liveries 😉 our specialties are, rehab, barefoot transition, foaling. Apologies for the ad, we really don’t actually want to advertise…

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