By Xavier Pirla Llorens
NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming, and it has been sold for the last 40 years as almost a wonder tool. But what exactly is NLP? Why has it become so popular? Is it a good tool for a corporate environment?
NLP’s reputation comes for its power to understand human behaviour. Since the beginning of the 20th century when companies began to understand humans as something more than an extension of the mechanical work force, psychology played an increasing role.
NLP has offered a way to improve that the understanding of human behaviour in a very distinctive way that was not always well understood, in fact.
One of our brain’s functions is to gather information, to group it and to label it, that’s why we tend to say that so and so is X or is Y. We want to categorise what is around us for a better understanding.
A lot of people use NLP in that way but that is wrong. I understood it when I began to study NLP. As an engineer, I see the world in terms of processes and systems. This is the same view as the father of NLP, Dr. Richard Bandler, an IT engineer.
NLP doesn’t categorise people or put them into boxes. NLP focuses in the mental and emotional process that drives human behaviours.
It does it a very analytical way. For example, let’s say that you have an employee that is disengaged from his work. NLP wouldn’t label him/her but it would find how that particular person (not using a general rule) is experiencing reality and what he/she makes in her mind in order to not feel the necessary drive to perform.
A lot of my clients ask for quick fixes to pervasive situations. Real professional NLP doesn’t do quick fixes. My trainings give analytical tools to the attendants to explore and understand the inner world of the employee.
In this way, they can understand for example, if the employee feels like he/she is being neglected, feeling a lack of acknowledgement from his/her managers or maybe a lack of trust judging by the level of jobs being assigned to him/her.
But it is too tempting to simplify NLP saying that you can put people in boxes so you know how to manage them. That’s not real NLP. NLP is about understanding the complexity of the human brain and developing strategies to deal with it.
NLP is a very powerful tool for salesmen, leaders or anyone interacting with others as it allows a better understanding of the reason for behaving in a certain way and so, how to find ways to improve the situation.