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Values, Beliefs and Decisions in Leadership

by Mark Klaassen

One of the things that determines our success in life is the quality of the decisions we make. Nowhere else is this more important in the workplace, than in our decisions as a Leader.
Do you want to make better decisions and be more effective leader?
Read on…

People make decisions based on their values and beliefs, and how these things interact with the circumstances of the current decision they are about to make.

Firstly, to define the elements involved:

  • Values are labels for what is important to us, and they have strong emotional component.  We are motivated to either move toward the fulfilment of a value, or away from a threat to that value.  When something is really important to us, we are willing to invest time, energy and resources to achieve it or avoid a threat to it.
    As a leader it is important to be aware that our values hierarchy (the priority order of our values) changes with our perception of the context.  In other words, different things may become more important with a change of our context, and/or change of emotional state in that context.  Values most often operate, and are responded to, from a deep place within, prior to conscious thought.
  • Beliefs are rules of operation we believe to be true and use to guide us, based on learnings from our past experience.  e.g. a person says: “based on my experiences of A, B and C in this context, I have found that following path X is more useful than following path Y.”
    Beliefs include repeated patterns of conscious thought, especially around choices of method of how fulfil our values.
    The most important things to realise about beliefs, especially in a leadership role, is that sometimes they are outdated. Just like software on your computer needs regular updates to deal with operations in the current environment, so sometimes our beliefs about what’s the best thing to do, or choice to make, are based on old past experiences, and not always the most appropriate or functional to get top results in new circumstances.
    Hence if we do not have insight and awareness to change our “rules of operation” when appropriate, we can end up making a decision that goes wrong, and asking ourselves “Why didn’t that work? It’s worked in the past several times.”
  • Decisions are choices we make, after evaluating options and resources in relation to outcomes we wish to achieve.
    So what makes for a good decision? And why is it not necessarily the leaders who have the most data, who make the best decisions? How come some people seem to have an innate capability for highly useful and effective decisions in the moment?


Secondly, great leaders have an innate capability for useful decisions because they move beyond simply the logical conscious mind, and rely heavily on the unconscious mind in guiding them.  So what does this mean?

  • Conscious mind: a part of the mind wherein we are consciously aware of our thinking and process at a logical and analytical level
  • Unconscious mind: the bigger and more powerful part of the mind which runs well embedded patterns based on our past experience, and strongly resourced mode one might call our “autopilot mode”.

Many things effect the way we make decisions and do or don’t do achieve our goals. Paradoxically, the ‘Conscious Leader’ in today’s world is also conscious of the autopilot power of their unconscious mind, and the importance of emotional intelligence and values-based decision making.

Allow me to show you the following diagram which illustrates key aspects that internally influence us in our goals and decisions.  Think of an iceberg, which typically has 10% above the water and 90% below the water …

You will see in the lower 90% of the iceberg, a representation of why the unconscious programming of our mind has become so conditioned by powerful contributors from our past experience and current patterned ways of being.


Thirdly, bringing all the above together, top decision-makers are aware that their decisions in leadership are guided by their “map or model of the world”, i.e. the internal guidance system everyone has about how they perceive the world to be, and the best ways to get by in each set of life and work circumstances.   They learn to develop, adjust and upgrade those things in the 90% area – the powerful unconscious mind.

So back to our decisions – as each set of circumstances arise, decisions are required, and people use their best available guidance at the time from their “map”, to make decisions that fulfil their contextual values (what is most important in the context according to them) and align with their beliefs (their experience driven rules of operation which determine the most likely path of success, based on their guiding “map”).

If decisions in leadership based on one’s own map are not well founded, leaders in this situation will keep repeating unuseful patterns of behaviour and struggle with effective leadership.  Alternately, the leader who learns the skills of how to develop their internal world, and also how to have more effective values-based conversations with their team members, then finds themselves to be more adaptable and be making wiser, more productive decisions.


Fourthly, we must ask the question: “based on which set of values, does a leader in an organisation or a team, make the best decisions?”

Here are some pointers:

  • the obvious to any conscious leader, is the importance of taking into account the 5 main values maps that will exist:
    • the values of the leader
    • the values of those being led
    • the values held by the organisation where they are
    • the values of those being affected by the decisions and subsequent actions (inside and outside the organisation e.g. clients and suppliers)
    • the values of other key players who have influence in or on the context


And finally, the mature leader (which, by the way, is not necessarily to do with age) is most effective because:

  1. they are aware of all the above about values, beliefs and decisions
  2. they understand the power of the unconscious mind and the existence and key content of their “map/model of the world” which guides them instinctively
  3.  they make mistakes and learn from them, and
  4. most importantly, they are wisely adaptable and so their guiding map evolves, creating for them to become more effective in the leadership of self and others.

The key thing in the personal and professional development of the leader as a person, is recognising that it is essential to learn how to upgrade your “map”, and know how to ongoingly grow and evolve yourself – self lead, self-teach, become more insightful and adaptable.

Mark Klaassen is Principal Trainer, Facilitator and Consultant for Communications Plus.  He works in Australia and New Zealand, based out of Melbourne and Auckland respectively, teaching and coaching leaders in corporate, banks, private organisations and community services. Mark is a specialist in the development of Emotional Intelligence in business leaders using models from NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), Spiral Dynamics, mBraining – multiple brain leadership, and the Enneagram.

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Are you an Options or Procedures Person?

Metaprogrammes are mind filters creating a ’cause-effect’ relationship in your mind-brain process.

Options conversationalists speak in “I’d just like to look at, listen to, consider another one” (referring to a dress, shirt, shoes, car, food, TV, etc) they want to ‘look at’ more than 1 before they make up their mind to buy … and they’ll decide when they’ve exhausted all the options!

conversationalists speak in “I want to do it this way” terms.  They want steps to follow, often only one way!  They are more likely to buy when you give them a step-by-step process about the product or service – how to use it, how to buy it.

As you can imagine – an Options person and a Procedures person could really be at odds with each other.
Both are great, neither is “wrong”.  Depends on your Outcome.

A couple of examples for you …

At Work
If you’re working with someone who is Options and you are Procedures … they may not get started on a project because they keep thinking of another way to go about it …it’s driving you nuts – there’s a deadline coming up, and your job’s on the line.  How are you going to get them to decide on a way you can do it?

If you’re working with someone who is Procedures and you are Options … they are driving you nuts!  Every time you think of another way of doing something, they disagree and go back to their same steps process, considering your need for options to be a distraction!  This procedure well worked before, and it should work this time too.  After all, there’s a right procedure for everything … well, at least in their world.

In Recruitment
Make sure you know whether you are hiring an Options or Procedures person – it makes a huge difference to the job that you’re filling – on-going variant thinking v. following a specified way.  Also, procedures people are more likely to attend to detail, whereas options people are more likely to link to the bigger picture of what’s going on.  Each of these are strengths in their own way.

At Home
Mum says, “I’d like to write a short story, however can’t make up my mind – it could be a children’s story, or adult fiction, or even a creative fantasy … and, will I use my computer, or hand write it for more imagination to kick in?”

Whereas Dad says, “I’ve got the best way to write a book on the computer.  There’s a 15-step programme to follow – I’ll set it up for you!”

Is it a gender thing?  Definitely not.  Is one better?  It depends … on You.  People filter their worlds differently, even though there are common patterns among some.

Johnny says, “I’m with mum – I think writing by hand gives you more choices … and It’s more creative, though I think you could write an autobiography”

Sally says, “I’m with dad, I wrote my essay on the computer … it tells you exactly how to do it” – a beginning, opening the theme, a number of key developmental paragraphs, a crisis, a solution, and the close.  Simple really.  Every good story is that way.”

This is typical in families and the workplace.  And it doesn’t have to be upsetting… it’s just a matter of recognising the differences and accepting that we are doing life this way based on our own filters of how the world works best for us.  All are equally valuable, just different.

In brief … what you can do:

  1. If you’re Procedures … be willing to hear out the Option person’s different perspectives … they just might have a good idea that you’ve not thought about yet. Then you can choose workable procedure to put the task into action! Choose the option offered which will best achieve the outcome, and emphasise the pending deadline.
  2. If you’re Options … first create, brainstorm your options on how to do something.  Only offer a new option to Procedures people if the option generates improvement. Then, be willing to let the Procedures person have a say in choosing the one they can do and consider best to get the result.  Be willing to narrow down to one choice for action, well before project deadline.  After all, someone has to put your ideas into action!
  3. And … Options people are great at creating procedures, but terrible at following them reliably.  Procedures people are great at following and implementing procedures, but lost without a good one.

Remember …

There are no “wrongs” … just language patterns, behaviours and ways of being each person develops over time that suits their mind-brain process.


NLP Training

These are small brief ‘samples’.  You learn metaprogrammes in depth at NLP Training, enabling you to communicate much more effectively – whether with workmates, with your wider family and friends, or in your most intimate relationships.

Of course if you want to learn about Metaprogrammes in detail …and ‘how’ to move easily between them for more requisite variety, then NLP Master Practitioner Training is where that happens!

So … do you recognise these sorts of people inyour life?

So that’s just one way metaprogrammes filter … there are over a hundred of them.

And you can change if you learn how.

Give us a call if you like … Have a great day!

Mark and Eileen

Metaprogrammes NLP Training Auckland

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Metaprogrammes – How your Mind Filters what you Think and Do

You have choice to be different ways!  Or remain the same.Metaprogrammes NLP Training Auckland Sameness Difference
Metaprogrammes are mind filters creating a ’cause-effect’ relationship in your brain process.

Would like to know how it works?
Do you ever wonder why you are the way you are?
You’re not alone, many people do!

An even more important question for you is: HOW you are the way you are?
You see, contrary to popular opinion, who you are – is not set in concrete.

Metaprogrammes run most of your habitual responses. You have choice to be different ways. I dont just mean do different behaviours, although that will be a result, if you want.  I’m talking here about the benefit you get from coming to understand how your unconscious mind (prior to conscious thought) filters your awareness, what you pay attention to – or not, and the thoughts, feelings and behaviours which follow.

NLP calls these filters “Metaprogrammes”.  They are … How your Mind Filters what you Think and Do.

An example:  Sameness vs Difference. 
Approximately half the population automatically sorts one way in their mind, half the other.

Sameness sorters:  Like things to be the same.  Notice first what is same, then what is different.

  • So in business, hire them for a job with no variety or change.  They do repetitive tasks well each day.  Do not expect them to adapt so well to variety or frequent change.
  • Emphasise job security and job stability, routines.
  • Might be regarded as boring, ordinary or predictable by difference sorters.
  • When telling them about change, tell them some things have to change in order for the really important things to remain the same!  “In order for you to keep this same job, we are having to re-structure this department and how it functions, so you still get paid same for doing essentially the same job, just has a different name and two tasks added.  OK?”

Difference sorters:  Notice what is different first, then what is same.  Quickly observe what’s not right with something.

  • These people like change more often.   Do not expect them to perform repetitive tasks. Tell them that the world is constantly changing, and that the job requirements will change from time to time to keep pace with the mobility in the market place.
  • Often regarded by sameness sorters as picky, changeable, unreliable to do it how I want it done.
  • Want to sell to them?  Tell them what is unique, amazing new features, re-designed.

What do sameness people call difference people?       “pests, why are you so picky, critical and negative …?”

What do diff people call sameness people?                     “simplistic, you’re sooo predictable …!”

Sameness boss to difference employee:

  • How many times do I have to say “Do it this way?”

Difference boss to sameness employee:

  • Did you ever have an original thought in your life?

So … do you recognise these sorts of people inyour life?

So that’s just one way metaprogrammes filter … there are over a hundred of them.

And you can change if you learn how.

Give us a call if you like … Have a great day!


Metaprogrammes NLP Training Auckland

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