How to Overcome Resistance with the PRISE Model Questionnaire

light bulb.png 

Could having a model to guide your communication – that minimizes threat reactions (like fear and resistance) and maximizes openness, approachability and engagement – be helpful to you and your team?


Over centuries, we (humans:) have had deep urges to discover the ‘truth’ about how life actually works: what motivates us, what inspires us, what scares us, and most importantly why we behave the way we do.

I have been fascinated with this myself. It has caused me to create a coaching practice of self-mastery and self-discovery that can help you draw wisdom from all the books, courses and life experiences you have consumed, and will consume, in order to get more meaning out of your often hectic life.


With over 14 years of coaching I have seen certain themes repeat themselves, just as certain themes repeat themselves in your work and personal life. Two common themes are that your:

  • leadership can diminish or enhance life
  • communication impacts how you and others perform


As conscious leaders, our clients have changed the way they manage, inspire and engage those who matter most: employees, colleagues, bosses and stakeholders, friends and family.  


So what do these conscious leaders practice that makes them successful?

They practice:

  1. heightening their awareness of the link between human needs of their team members, and their team’s ability to feel safe and perform well.
  2. communicating from this awareness to improve any interaction, any relationship, at any moment – with their work team and their ‘team’ at home.


Here is what you must know if you are to interact in a way that helps people perform well:

  1. Your brain and every brain you interact with is constantly scanning the (social) environment for stimuli that may lead to either threat or reward.  Stimuli associated with positive emotions and reward will trigger an “approach” response; stimuli associated with negative emotions and experiences will be seen as a threat and  trigger an “avoid “response.
  2. Your brain and every brain you interact with, operates from two life-giving desires:  a) to minimize threats and b) maximize rewards.
  3. The threat response in the brain is more intense and more common and needs to be carefully minimized in social environments.
  4. The capacity to make decisions, solve problems and collaborate with other is reduced by a sense of threat and increased by a sense of reward.


So what can I do now that I know this?


Use the P.R.I.S.E. Model for Effective Communication, Performance, Innovation and Engagement


Anytime you talk or move in a way someone perceives the interaction or conversation as a threat to any physical or social concerns (human needs) you increase the likelihood for them to:

  • React
  • Shut down
  • Experience stress, fear and resistance

David Rock developed a model based on neuroscience findings, known as the *SCARF model which describes 5 social concerns that drive human behaviour; Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.


Why does this matter to you?


Data gathered through measures of brain activity (such as MRI or EEG) show that threats to any of the social concerns above (SCARF), trigger physiological responses in the same way as a physical threat. The same neural responses that drive us toward food or away from predators are triggered by our perceptions of the way we are treated by other people. 

Adapted from SCARF, we created The P.R.I.S.E. Model. We like to say that when we are communicating consciously to ensure we all get our needs met at less emotional cost, physiological and mental cost, we give people the “PRISE”! 🙂


As leaders, we must understand how important social concerns/needs are in how we think and behave.


When our needs are unmet, a threat response is triggered and we close off (bye-bye innovation, creative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration…). When our needs are met, we allow ourselves to be open and engaged (Hello creativity! Possibility, is that you? Come on in!).


Here is a description of our PRISE model:

P- Predictability – people yearn to know what’s happening (concerns about the future and being able to adapt to change)

R- Relatedness – people need to sense they are included in the group (concerns with belonging or being accepted)

I- Independence – people need to sense they are in control of their lives (concerns with being free to express or act)

S- Status – people need to sense they are not inferior or unimportant (concerns with a sense of safety with others)

E- Equity – people need to sense they are treated equally (concerns with fairness, equality)


Have you or your team ever experienced:

  •  conflicting views?
  • high pressured situations?
  • power struggles that can impact relationships, confidence and teamwork?


Well of course you have! We created the PRISE Model Questionnaire to guide you to:

  • Minimize threats in your interactions
  • Reduce the likelihood, magnitude and instance of people’s reactions
  • Become aware of situations that may impair performance
  • Understand your reactions better
  • Increase your capacity to make decisions, solve problems and invite people to collaborate with you
  • Help to motivate and engage yourself and others


Here is the PRISE Model Questionnaire for you to Print, Apply and Share.


For a more detailed look at the neuroscience behind the PRISE Model, enjoy reading  SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others, by David Rock. It will rock your world!


Please note: When you make copies and share, please maintain copyright information. We put a lot of loving work into creating these resources for you and are proud of them. Thanks!



For deeper learning on how to overcome resistance to change, minimize threats in your interactions, and enhance creativity and innovation, join other leaders in The Conscious Leadership Experience: a conscious leadership training course, that will positively change how you overcome resistance and achieve results.


We guarantee it!



Featured Resource:


5 Days to Mindful Leadership


Conscious Equity Info Session