What is the secret to business excellence?
What is the secret to business excellence?
Article by Wendie Michie
Like me, you have no doubt read books or attended courses in the past, boldly claiming to reveal the answer to this question and thus transform you instantly into a captain of industry, a wealthy and attractive entrepreneur or perhaps a corporate icon, whose leadership and commercial acumen is revered throughout your chosen field.
I imagine those books or glossy training binders are collecting dust on your shelves right now, because whilst they undoubtedly contain many good ideas on what to do, rarely do they actually tell you how to do it!
Enter Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)…
Despite the strange and slightly off- putting name of this subject, NLP is quite simply the study of excellence. Over 30 years of research into what makes people truly outstanding has culminated in a cutting edge set of tools and techniques, which are easy for anyone to master. Better still, these dynamic tools can be applied in every aspect of business life in order to get exceptional results fast.
Given that, as a new small business owner, I had neither the time nor the money to reinvent the “success strategy” wheel I figured that if I learned how to use NLP effectively, I too could achieve exceptional results. It worked.
NLP has hugely enhanced my ability to market my company, win new business, negotiate contracts and most importantly, retain clients by consistently delivering a powerfully effective service to them.
My company offers training and coaching to Senior Management Personnel across a diverse range of industries to help them address all kinds of corporate issues. The sheer variety of tools available to me through NLP has enabled me to assist these organisations to get positive results for themselves in respect of:
- Team Working
- Sales Revenues
- Recruitment & Retention
- Conflict Management
- Change Management
- Performance Coaching
By utilising these methods, I have been able to show clients how to make a sustained difference to both their productivity and profitability. Indeed, turnover in my own company has doubled in the last 12 months!
I have had the good fortune to travel all over the world, working with hundreds of people from many different cultures and walks of life and I can honestly say that the principles of NLP, that I have learnt and passed on, have been universally effective.
Here are some of the benefits that NLP has given my clients and me…
Most directors groan when the words “Business Plan” are mentioned! If they have one at all it is usually stuffed in a drawer somewhere and is generally based on last year’s plan with a slightly higher income forecast! They only dust this off and look at again when it is time to draw up next year’s plan!
I’m generalising of course, but it is interesting that when I speak to client companies for the first time, they invariably have one thing in common. They are unclear about what outcome they really desire and how they are going to get there. Instead, they will explain usually their problems to me!
Of course, you cannot ignore the problems, but if you’re not sure what you want instead it makes it difficult to find a way forward.
In addition, I often find that the reason companies have not solved their problems before is that they have focused on the symptoms rather than the cause.
Imagine you have a headache. You take an aspirin. The headache goes away. Problem solved. However, headaches are not generally caused by an aspirin deficiency in the body! Whilst you have treated the symptom, you have not addressed the cause so you are likely to get another headache some day!
NLP allows you to distinguish causes from symptoms. It also focuses you on what you want, rather than what you do not want. It allows you to clearly define a desired outcome, which in turn makes it a whole lot easier to work out the steps to get you there.
An example: One manager called me in because the company was experiencing a high level of complaints, many of which he felt could be avoided. He told me the staff had had training in the past on handling “difficult customers”. He wanted me to do it again as they clearly hadn’t grasped it!
However, on speaking with these staff it soon became apparent that the problem was not a lack of skill but a lack of confidence, as they did not feel supported by their manager! The problem was resolved by working with the manager on his own leadership and communication skills. The outcome was a much-improved relationship between him and his staff as well as a reduction in the number of complaints.
Having worked out their desired outcome, people often then tell me that they cannot achieve it, citing all sorts of plausible sounding reasons.
NLP works on the premise that people can achieve whatever they want to achieve, have all the resources they need or know how to get them. Whether you believe this or not, it is extremely useful to act as if it were true!
There are many incredibly straightforward yet powerfully effective tools within NLP that can assist people in achieving things they never thought possible. From simple questioning techniques, which help them re-order their thinking to ways of eliciting peak states of mind, body and spirit, you are sure to find a solution.
A good example would be a lady who assured me in no uncertain terms that there was no way she would be able to do public speaking. Ever. After just two sessions she had given a fabulous speech to an audience of thirty people!
Sales and Service
NLP opens up a whole new world of communication which I have used to drastically increase sales outputs by ensuring that the customer feels fully understood before any recommendations are made.
The proposed solutions can therefore be exactly tailored to their specific requirements which not only delight the customer but also make a significant difference to the company’s sales conversion ratios and business retention rates.
In a profit driven world, I am ever mindful of the acquisition cost of new business and it is therefore hugely encouraging to know that I have an effective strategy to minimise costs and maximise sales.
So how do you learn NLP?
I read a number of books on NLP and thought I had a pretty good grasp of the subject. However, it was only when I enrolled on a training course with PPD Learning that the subject really came alive for me.
I selected this particular course as it is run by Judith Lowe, a renowned trainer in this field, and supported by some of the biggest names in NLP. The course was extremely well run, the content beautifully presented and delivered by Judith with wit, passion and huge commitment.
Her unique style, which I have endeavoured to model in my own working practice, has been an inspiration to me and I will be forever grateful for the benefits it has brought me in my business relationships. Incidentally, this stuff also works wonders on your love life. But that’s a whole other story!
Wendie Michie is Managing Director of think…training & development ltd, who specialise in leadership development for management professionals