Some individuals exude excellence and success throughout their lifetimes while others repeatedly experience what they perceive as failure, drifting through their working and non-working lives with little purpose or clear goals. Some teams and organisations are constantly meeting targets while maintaining excellent rates of retention, performance and morale; others struggle to achieve what they want and experience a low return from their recruitment and training budgets. What is it that allows some individuals, teams and organisations to become centres of excellence and achievement, while others seemingly flounder?
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) offers a solution to this question, advocating that the key to successful behaviour is the mastery of two things: how individual minds process and respond to external information, and excellent skills of verbal and non-verbal communication.
NLP is generally regarded as an art and science of human behaviour. The techniques of NLP focus on enabling individuals to achieve desired goals for self-development and change. As humans, we can only experience our own internal representation of an external event.
Each individual’s way of processing events determines their resulting behaviour. The methods of NLP are based on modelling those internal processes and styles of communication that achieve excellence and duplicating the same capability for success in others.
Three factors that determine our behaviour are values, beliefs and attitudes.
Values provide our upfront motivational strategy. Our personal values are what is important to us in a given context and provide a criteria by which to judge our achievements and ourselves. If our values are not satisfied, then the result is that we will not optimise our resourcefulness or perform to our full capability. When our values are not met in a way we can acknowledge, then we tend to be dissatisfied. Recruitment, motivation and employee communication policy need to appeal to each employee’s values and preferred styles of communication in order to maximise positive buy-in. Individual career planning and personal development initiatives must meet our value criteria if they are to provide us with long-term satisfaction and success.
Beliefs are convictions that we trust as being true about ourselves and the people, processes and things external to us. They set a boundary around what we can and cannot do, or what we believe others can or cannot do. Limiting beliefs about others or ourselves can cause detrimental behaviours and lack of commitment to workplace and non-work goals. NLP can be utilised to remodel restricting beliefs to enhance motivation and commitment for a goal.
Attitudes are a culmination of both values and beliefs that we hold about particular contexts. If an individual has a negative attitude towards a person, thing or organisational goal, then they will be less resourceful and fail to perform to the levels of competency desired by themselves or their organisation. NLP is effective in producing resourceful states in individuals whatever the external circumstances.
Understanding and managing our internal neurological processes, plus employing excellent skills of verbal and non-verbal communication, equals maximised results. Practitioners of NLP can enable an individual client to take control of their mental, emotional and physical resources to achieve what they want, while a team of individuals pursuing a common goal can be aided to ascertain what the key goal attributes are, the best strategy for success and how they should deploy the available human resource in the most effective way.
Karen Clark is director of training and recruitment company Life Design Partnership