Monthly Archives: June 2008

NLP Presuppositions

As my earlier post on previously stated, NLP treats beliefs as arbitrary. That means you can adopt any belief that you like and just accept that it is true. SO why no create beliefs that are empowering.

NLP has a basic framework of beliefs that empower its practitioners and these are called PRESUPPOSITIONS.

Presuppositions are the foundation beliefs that NLP uses to define how the brain works. The key ones include:

The map is not the territory – We create a representation of the world in our minds and this map, no matter how rich a representation it is, could never be the world. It is like eating the menu rather than the food that is described upon it.

Experience has structure – Our thoughts and memories have a pattern to them, a way of encoding them in our neurology. If we change the pattern, we change the effect our memories and experience have on us.

What one person can do, another can learn to do – If we learn an achiever’s mental map, we make it our own. This increases our ability to more readily adopt the achiever’s successful behaviour.

Mind and Body are part of the same system – A change in our mental state changes the state of our body. And a change in the state of our body changes our mental state.

People already have all the resources they need – Mental images, inner voices, memories and sensations are the building blocks of our experiences. We can build these blocks into strategies and patterns that create new effects we want in our life.

You cannot NOT communicate – People are social creatures and we are perceptive to the behaviour of others. So even if you don’t say a word, you will not be able to avoid communicating something in a shrug, a sign, even a facial expression.

The meaning of your communication is the response you get – Others make sense of the world through their own mental map. So when you communicate, it is not always what you think you said that is communicated. Others filter that message and often hear something different, sometimes considerably different from what you meant to say.

There is positive intent behind every behaviour – People rarely act without gaining some benefit, even if that behaviour seems thoughtless or hurtful. A yell may be to ward of danger, so look for the positive intent in actions.

People are always making the best choices available to them – Given our memories, knowledge skills and experiences, we always make what we consider to be the best decisions we can.

There is no failure, only feedback – If something you are doing isn’t working, use that knowledge as feedback and change what you are doing.

If you consider these principles as being true and adopt them into your personal philosophy, then you will be making a conscious decision about being more open to the differences around you and so increase your awareness of people’s behaviour. That increased awareness will increase your flexibility and given you more options for improving your daily interactions with your friends, family and colleagues.

Dare to Aspire


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2 New Summaries

I have just completed another 2 book summaries.

Please comment if you find these useful.

Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

Good to Great by Jim Collins

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NLP and Beliefs

NLP considers beliefs to be arbitrary.They are not truth or facts but merely mental constructions that make us act a certain way. Beliefs are the framework that makes us behave in a certain manner.Change the belief and you open up new possibilities in the behaviours you can adopt.

Nobody believed that the mile could be run in less than 4 minutes and so no one broke that psychological barrier.After Roger Banister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds (in 1954), he changed the beliefs of athletes around the world and 16 more runners broke the 4 minute mile by 1957!

Everyone knew that the Earth was the centre of the heavens under Copernicus made observations that suggested the Sun was central.We now know that the Sun is only one of millions of star circling the centre of a galaxy, which is only one galaxy in millions in the universe.

All that had changed in both cases was the belief that people held.

By changing your beliefs, you can change the way you respond and act and unblock the limits that you used to have.

One way to change beliefs is through visualisation.

Think of something that you know is absolutely true, something that you believe deeply.This probably manifests as an image in your mind in a certain place, at a certain distance and of a certain size.Hold that thought for a moment and remember where it is, what distance and what size it is.

Now ‘clear the screen’ in your mind by thinking of the black screen at the end of a movie.

Next hold an image in your mind of you doing the thing that you currently don’t quite believe you can do.Run the activity forward like a movie playing in your mind.Make it appear in the same place, at the same distance and at the same size as the belief you truly believe in.Repeat this visualisation several times, each time ‘clearing the screen’.

After a short period, you will find that your belief of this activity is much more certain.

Technically, this is achieved by moving your desired belief into the same sub-modalities as a certain belief, so adopting the characteristics of a belief your truly believe.

A master of this technique was Mohamed Ali, who considered his belief change visualisation to be a way for creating ‘future history’.

Try this technique and see how much more you can achieve.

Dare to Aspire


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NLP and the Structure of Outcomes

Knowing what you want is the first step in the NLP 4-Step Success Formula. Looking at the gap between where you are and where you want to be is the best way of identifying your outcomes and the path to your success.

Perhaps you want a promotion, or to have more money or responsibility.

Perhaps you want a better relationship with your family or spouse.

Whatever it is, there is clearly a gap between where you are and where you want to be or you wouldn;t even be considering change.

The NLP 4-Step Success Formula is a good approach to adopt in achieving your success, but it does require you to have some fairly well defined outcomes.

The characteristics of outcomes are very important and NLP defines 9 criteria to consider when defining your outcomes:

  1. Positive – Your outcomes should be framed in a positive way so that you are moving towards a goal rather than away from a painful situation. Eg state your outcome as ‘I will be have a positive bank balance’ rather than ‘I will be free from debt’. The first lets your brain focus on finding more money while the second just registers the term ‘debt’ in your unconscious mind which then works towards creating more debt.

  2. Detail – Your outcomes should be vividly defined so that you will know when you have achieved them. You need to see movement from where you are to where you want to be, and you need to know when you get there.

  3. Specific – Your should be specific on where, when and with whom you want to achieve your outcome. This builds clarity for the unconscious mind to focus on.

  4. Resourced – You need to have or be able to acquire the resources you need for your outcomes. These are normally in the form of Money, People, Personal characteristics, Items and examples of behaviour to follow.

  5. Self control and discipline – You need to remain committed to the outcomes you have defined and applying effort towards achieving them.

  6. Ecology – Your outcomes need to fit into your life without any negative impact on you, your family and the environment.

  7. Aligned to your identity – Your outcomes need to be coherent with who you are. That doesn’t mean you cannot reinvent yourself, but it does mean that the outcomes you chose need to reflect the person you truly are or want to be. An outcome that isn’t consistent with your underlying values and beliefs is unlikely to endure.

  8. Coherent – Your outcomes need to be aligned with each other. There is little coherence in outcomes that are opposed. For example, if Outcome 1 is to ‘relax more by drinking alcohol’ and Outcome 2 is ‘Increase the quality of my health’ then one or both of these outcomes will not be achieved.

  9. Put into action – Anthony Robbins suggests that you need a massive action plan to achieve outcomes. I suggest that a ‘Managed Action Plan’ is a better way to go. Too much change too quickly can be disturbing and may not be very ecological (point 6 above). Better to achieve outcomes in a manner that is controlled and at a pace that you can assimilate and consolidate rather than making too radical a change with a negative impact.

By setting your outcomes in line with these criteria, you are more likely to achieve them and to maintain that change for the long term.

Dare to Aspire

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NLP and the 4-Step Success Formula

Having completed a course in NLP and been interested in the potential it has for improving personal performance, I thought I would read a little more into the subject and give readers a simplified view of what I have discovered.

NLP focuses on helping people achieve their goals and this simple 4-Step Success Formula is the first stage of that process.

  1. Know what you want –be specific and know in detail what you want

  2. Take action – Nothing will happen until you take action

  3. Be aware of what you are getting – is what you are doing working or not

  4. Be flexible – If it’s not working, do something different, change your actions not your goal

Consider the last time you went on holiday.

You didn’t just turn up at the airport and say ‘Fly me somewhere!’

You may have sat back a thought ‘I want a holiday, in the sun, with a nice beach, great food, night life that appeals to me.’ (Step 1)

Perhaps you then booked the flights and hotel. (Step 2)

When you got there, you may have been unhappy with your room and realised that you had booked the wrong hotel for your needs. (Step 3)

So perhaps you changed hotel and had a great time! (Step 4)

This simple model is hardly complex but sometimes it the the act of pointing out simple things that leads to profound understanding.

Often the simplest things in life are the most profound. One of the simplest questions you need to ask yourself in life is truly profound and in my experience often the question that people find the most difficult to answer.


It seems such a simple and clear question, until you sit down and try to answer it.

Lots of people will start with what they don’t want.

  • I don’t want to be poor

  • I don’t want to do this job

  • I don’t want to be hungry

In many ways this approach is understandable as most of our behaviour triggers seem to be in response to moving away from a negative feeling such as hunger, loneliness, cold and so on.

So when it comes to answering the question ‘What do you want?‘ it is can be difficult to express. Certainly it is difficult to articulate to a the level that you need to begin moving towards achieving it.

The key to leading a more successful life (however you want to gauge success) is to identify what you want and create such a clear and compelling image that you define your future so well that you begin to take action that moves you towards it. By applying the 4-Step Success Formula, you are already moving towards achieving that success.

  1. Know what you want

  2. Take action that moves you towards what you want

  3. Be aware of what you are getting

  4. Be flexible so that you move towards your outcome

Dare to Aspire


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Jargon Free NLP

I recently attended a training course in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and I have been applying many of the techniques with varying levels of success.

For those who have been hiding under a stone for the last 40 years, NLP is a collection of principles and behaviour patterns that can help people made significant advances in their personal performance and development. There are many books on the subject and I recommend several at the end of this posting.

What I aim to do is reduce the jargon around 10 of the key elements of NLP, making them easier to understand and perhaps easier to apply.

1. When you begin to feel an emotion, recognising that emotion without judging it can reduce its influence on you. Emotions are there to give you a message, reacting to those emotions makes you less likely to recognise the message they are giving you.

2. Trying to do something means that you have already accepted the possibility that you may not be able to achieve it. Stating that you will do something will not guarantee that you will do it, but it is a better approach to take and does not assume that you could fail.

3. A bad habit is giving you some comfort, or fulfilling and emotional need. You cannot just stop that habit without replacing it with another behaviour that fulfils that need.

4. Change the way that you use your inner voice. Use phrases that you enjoy hearing. You wouldn’t put up with a friend that constantly used negative language and lowered your self-esteem, so why put up with a voice in your head that does the same.

5. A negative experience has been stored in our memory. By picturing that negative experience in your mind and making it physically smaller and black and white and fuzzy you reduce its impact. You can improve the benefit of positive experiences by increasing the size of their mental image, making them clearer and in vivid colour.

6. First picture a task you want to avoid and second picture yourself really enjoying it. Take the first picture and SWAP it with the second picture. Repeat this 10 times and then you will feel less like avoiding that task and perhaps even looking forward to it.

7. Copy or mirror the behaviours of a person you are talking to as subtly as you can. This will bring you into rapport. Then try to ‘lead’ the behaviour and see if you partner follows you. This rapport is useful for building confidence, trust and improving the relationship.

8. Increased a person’s self image and positive emotions by using powerful language like, brilliant, sensational and dazzling. Reduce the impact of negative emotions by using less powerful words like mildly upset, emotionally scratched.

9. Remember a time when you felt unbeatable, or imagine how you would feel if you were unbeatable and wildly successful. Fully imagine the feeling and when it is as intense as it can be, touch a part of your body such as touching your thumb and forefinger. Repeat this a few times and then when you need to feel unbeatable, touch that part of your body again and you will trigger that feeling again.

10. People generally have 3 ways to build their representation of the world:

Visually – in pictures and movies

Auditory – in sounds and music

Kinaesthetic – in feelings and physical motion.

By recognising how a person represents the world in their head and using language that is similar to that representation, you are more likely to et your message across.

A useful way of working out which system a person uses is to ask questions and se where their eyes move.

Eyes up — Visual

Eyes horizontal – Auditory

Eyes down and right – Kinaesthetic

Think about these concepts and find opportunities to apply them. You will see benefits from using some or all of them in both your work and personal life.

If you are interested in learning more about NLP then try my book summary at the Braincram homepage. Click here

I must also thank John at NLPExcellence for providing a sterling training course.

Dare to Aspire

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9 Steps to Developing an Organisation That Thrives on Change and Continuous Improvement

Change is one of the most difficult management tasks to achieve. People don’t like change and will resist it. However, the world is changing at a pretty rapid rate. It is difficult for a business to survive under these conditions unless it embraces change.

History has, however, shown that those organisms and organisations that have changed and adapted to a changing environment have normally both survived and then thrived under reduced competition.

The best way to adapt to the changes in the environment is to make everyone aware of such changes and then create an environment that supports and rewards Continuous Improvement.

Here then are 9 steps to developing an organisation that support Continuous Improvement:

  1. Develop a business plan and then ensure that everyone in the organisation knows and understands it. If your team know where they are aiming, they are more likely to be able to make decisions that align with that target.

  2. Identify the areas of your business that are most influenced by change and encourage an understand of the problems facing that part of your business. Explain the need to consider this as a business threat and create a sense of urgency in acting to address this threat.

  3. Identify a person to head up the Continuous Improvement Initiative. This person will lead the initiative, act as a focal point for questions and reinforce the commitment that senior management has to the initiative.

  4. Have this leader develop a communication plan so that everyone is exposed to the aims and the mechanisms for the Continuous Improvement Initiative.

  5. Implement policies and programmes that support continuous Improvement. These could be focused at individual areas of a current process (six sigma orientated approach) or focused at the entire value stream (lean process approach) for a business.

  6. Fund any training that is going to improve your team’s performance potential. Capability is found at the point where knowledge, skill and attitude combine, so create the opportunity for people to develop their knowledge and skills.

  7. Provide the facilities and opportunities for people to think and talk about how to improve. Improvement is not just about gaining knowledge and skills. It is essentially about acting, getting the team to develop a plan of change and then acting to apply it.

  8. Ensure that good ideas are recognised, implemented and the team rewarded, It is a truism that ‘What is measured is achieved’ so ensure you are measuring any improvement. Another truism is that ‘What is rewarded is sustained’, so make sure you reward what you want to sustain..

  9. Employ the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stupid! Don’t try too many initiatives at once as you are dividing your effort. Don’t follow one change immediately with another as this can lead to change fatigue. Pick an area where change will provide significant benefit, implement a change and then allow it to become embedded before moving on to another initiative.

An excellent book to read on instigating change and continuous improvement is Leading Change by John Kotter

Dare to Aspire

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