Posts Tagged ‘NLP’

Social media – how does it impact on your type?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

A few weeks ago I stayed at the Bloc Hotel at Gatwick Airport, and it reminded me that I hadn’t written part 2 of my blog on social media and personality type.

Why did it remind me? Well, the transition from airport to hotel was significant. To access the hotel, all I needed to do was turn off the thoroughfare populated by some excited, some tired, some hurrying people coming from and going to their destinations, and I was immediately in a different environment. I booked in and as I took the route to my room I was suddenly thrust into a dark, quiet, relatively narrow corridor with lighting that only activated as I made my way along the corridor. It reminded me of being at a fairground and suddenly going into an enclosed attraction.

As for my room, it was small, with dark furnishings and no windows or external light, and this impact was increased due to its proximity to the airy and light airport terminal. Whilst the room was small – and possibly more like a pod than a room – the space was used well and it incorporated a lot of high tech equipment. It wasn’t unpleasant.

It immediately occurred to me that it would be the sort of room to divide customer opinion – a little like the NAP Conference on Social media did this year – and this was apparent from a quick visit to Trip Advisor. Whilst many people liked it, many others didn’t describing it as, “Fine for Hobbits”, and “We felt trapped in a tomb with no window”.

I wonder how much the Hotel designers considered psychological type when designing this very different sort of Hotel – and I wonder how much HR leaders are considering people’s psychological type when implementing new technology or social media strategies.

In terms of psychological type, one of Carl Jung’s dichotomies related to Energy Focus. Where is a person’s source of energy? People whose focus is on the outer world of people and activity are energised through interacting with people and are attuned to the external environment. Those who focus on their own inner world, however, are energised by reflecting on their own thoughts, memories and feelings. These concepts have become known as ‘Extraversion’ and ‘Introversion’ through the work of Jung, and the subsequent popularisation of his work by Myers and Briggs.

Turning to Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), one of the Motivational Traits within Shelle Rose Charvet’s ‘Words that Change Minds’ (which is based on work by Noam Chomsky and Roger Bailey) is Motivational Source – is a person externally or internally motivated? There is overlap here with Jung’s sources of energy, but differences too.  Within this model, Internal people tend to be motivated from within themselves, so provide themselves with motivation. They also tend to critique and assess their own work as they are clear on their standards and what they’re using to make the judgements. External people, however, tend to need others’ feedback and without this can become demotivated, and may struggle to continue with their work. Internal people tend not to need feedback from others, as they have their own internal standards – a downside of this being that they can dislike being managed and may ignore valuable thoughts and feedback from others.

The final tool I will refer to is the TMSDI’s Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile. I saw a person’s profile recently. This person was shown at the Introvert end of the Introvert – Extravert Work Preferences Measures. In the overall commentary it noted that this person was in a group of, “… single-minded, determined people, who like to see tasks through to the very end without distractions”, and, “You may tend to distrust people who talk well but offer only opinions, rather than detailed information”.

How does this link to the Hotel design? I would hazard a guess that whether people like the rooms or not is often associated with their Introversion or Extraversion preference – generally introverts could thrive on the lack of external activity, whereas extroverts could potentially struggle with no external energy or opportunity for interaction.

In terms of business, I have previously implemented an office move which took staff from working in small offices to all 35 staff working in one large room. Some people saw this move as really beneficial to them, and thought it would help them be more effective, others dreaded having what they saw would be constant distractions interfering with their work – some of which was linked to the theories and models described above.

How will social media and other technology impact on our Introverts and Extraverts? There will be increasing numbers of people working from home due to the availability of improved connectivity, there are already increasing numbers of internet businesses being opened and run from storage warehouses, the conference heard that at least one company had advertised jobs solely through Twitter, recruiters are placing an increased reliance on LinkedIn, abuse of (or via) Facebook is already a significant foundation and contributor to many internal discipline cases.  What else will have changed in ten years’ time? Will introverts or extraverts cope better with these developments?

HR needs to think through these developments and consider their impacts. Focusing on the home working aspect for a moment, how many organisations consider individual behavioural aspects when deciding whether or how (with what support) a person should be permitted to work from home? I haven’t come across one yet (but there is generally a check as to whether computer screens are at the correct height) – but it should be a key consideration, and would demonstrate a real interest in the diversity of staff.

Social media can make communication more accessible, but it will not deliver the extravert’s energy source. It can also allow introverts to become even less connected.

How are you addressing this?

Paul

Going Round in Circles

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

One of the most satisfying day’s work I ever had was way back in the 1970s – probably 1977, I think. I was working as a ‘Saturday lad’ (meaning I was at school, and so only able to work on a Saturday – shops didn’t open on Sundays, then!) at Boots. It was about 4 weeks before Christmas. Calculators were the ‘in’ item of the season. They had become small enough and cheap enough (around £50!) for them to be available to the mass market – and the mass market wanted them.

On the previous Saturday, I had been learning about them as I worked in tandem with a full time employee. This person was very helpful to me, but he only had eyes for one particular Casio calculator. And so whatever the public were looking for when they visited us, this Casio was the answer. I have no idea why – we weren’t on commission. The consequences were that we sold quite a number of Casios, but also missed out on a lot of sales.

The next Saturday he was on his day off, and I was on my own. The manager spoke with me at the start of the day and asked if I was happy with my role for the day, and then set me a challenge of selling 80 calculators that day. To his surprise, I said I thought that would be relatively easy – so suggested 100 as a target. He said he didn’t think that was realistic. I sold 104. I can still remember the thrill of selling the 100th! Significantly, in my opinion, only a small proportion of them were this ‘preferred’ Casio model.

Which brings me to training courses and meetings. I have sat through a lot of these in my time – as I’m sure you might have.

When people have not met before, the trainer, facilitator or meeting chair will usually – and rightly – ask everyone to introduce themselves. This is often accompanied by a request for individuals to explain their role, or what they want to get out of the event, or why they have chosen to attend, etc. This can be helpful to both the attendees, as they learn more about each other and the different motivations for being there, and for the trainer or leader, as they get a better idea of what people are looking for and potentially the opportunity to tailor the programme accordingly.

But do facilitators make this activity as comfortable and beneficial as it could be? At the majority of meetings and events that I have attended, attendees are normally asked to go around in order from left to right, or right to left, etc – often starting from next to the facilitator.

Put yourself, for a moment, in the position of the attendee. What happens for you in this situation? Do you prefer being first, or last, or somewhere in the middle? Do you think, “Let me introduce myself now”, or perhaps, “I wish I had a bit more time to think about what I’m going to say”. Perhaps you think, “Only 4 people to me … only 3 people until me … only 2 people to me …”. None of these are particularly useful internal responses as they mean that you are not listening to what’s being said, or you are not giving as helpful information as you might be able to. How can this be addressed?

First, we must recognise that these groups will always be made up of many different types of people. Whatever we like when we are attendees, this will be different from many of the others attending.

One of the dichotomies within the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is Introvert and Extravert. The Introverts generally like time to think, time to consider what they are going to say. The Extraverts usually like to have conversation, get involved quickly and make conversation.

The NLP “Motivational Traits” model, has ‘Proactive’ and ‘Reactive’ as one of its dichotomies – the ‘Motivational Level’ Trait. This relates to whether a person prefers to take the initiative or wait for others. Proactive people want to do it now, get going – and so, given the chance, usually introduce themselves as soon as possible. Reactive people prefer to wait, to consider, to act with caution and they generally dislike taking the initiative. 15 – 20% of the population are strongly Reactive, and a similar amount strongly Proactive.

How, then, can trainers cater for these differences in personal preferences, enable people to feel as comfortable as possible, and get the maximum benefit from the exercise?

This is how. The trainer can explain that there will be the opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves, together with the reasons or benefits of the activity. He or she can then explain that they are happy for anyone to start by introducing themselves first, and from then on, anyone else can follow on, as long as they are not sitting next to the person who has just spoken. It might have to be explained a second time, but its worth doing. The benefits?

  • Extraverts and Proactive people can interact as soon as they want.
  • Introvert and Reactive people can wait a while and consider their contribution.
  • Contributors are likely to feel more comfortable.
  • Attendees are more likely to listen as they are not counting down to when it is their turn.
  • The trainer will learn far more about the attendees.

And in relation to the last point, I don’t just mean learning about what the attendees want out of the event. The trainer learns who is likely to be quick off the mark, who is likely to be quickest to answer questions, and who may be a little reticent in coming forward, who might need a little time to think before responding. Information that can help the trainer, and the delegates – and make the day even more effective.

All because of a very small change in a methodology as a result of focusing on delegate needs.

But as with most rules, there is an exception. If I am running an event with a blind or visually impaired person in the room, I would go left to right or right to left in a structured way. This is because the blind person uses this process to map out the room – who the people are and where they are sitting. A ‘random’ approach will cause them confusion and hamper their involvement.

Have a go – and let me know what you find!

Paul

Masking Tips

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Well, there I was on the shoreline, as I described in my last post. In a place I didn’t know, in a mild state of panic, with nowhere to stay and no way of leaving. I had a vocabulary of about twenty Croatian words. I was starting to freeze both physically and mentally.

In Maslow terms, I was back to basics – my physiological needs of warmth, shelter and food were not being met. My only option was to talk my way into someone’s home. As there was only one place with a light on – the shop – I had one opportunity within my one option. Not a strong position. I also felt pretty foolish for having got myself into the position, and have never liked imposing myself on others. Could my position have been any weaker?

I wasn’t confident I could pull it off. In NLP terms, this was me in “First Position”. As I thought about going into the shop, I considered how I would come across to anyone I met – “Second Position”.  I thought of Acres, from Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’, when he says before the duel “My valour is certainly going, it is sneaking off! I feel it oozing out as it were, at the palms of my hands!”’

Finally, I took “Third Position” or the “Meta Position” – I looked at the situation from an outsider’s perspective. I then I realised what I needed to do. I needed to become someone who would always manage to succeed in such a situation – and that person was Michael Palin! He travels the world meeting new people, has a lovely way with people and gets himself into people’s homes and premises whenever he wants.

So I became Michael Palin – initially in my mental approach, and then in terms of my physical behaviours and all aspects of my rapport building. To cut a long story short, it worked like a dream! Anna, the shopkeeper – who also had rooms she let out in the summer – let me to stay and fed me for the next two days.

It is a technique I have used on several occasions since, and one that I have encouraged and enabled others to use – it can bring about strikingly beneficial results.

It obviously had more of an emotional attachment for me than Anna. I went back two years later (this time in the summer!) and stayed with her again – and even though I reminded her of my previous visit she couldn’t remember me. Perhaps it happened every week? The Tourist Information Office in Dubrovnik having a competition to see how many unsuspecting tourists they could get to visit a closed Mljet! …

Which brings me to last December, when I wrote a blog about “Being Santa”. Having got changed from being Santa, I went back to my colleagues and they were talking about how people are different when they are somebody else. It made me think more about Masquerades and being Santa – or being anyone else to be more precise (and so reminded me of Michael Palin).

Whilst I acquired my Santa outfit for fun (£2.50 in a Homebase sale!), I did by accident find an additional use for it. The office Christmas Party. I find Christmas a lovely time of the year, but office parties are not part of Christmas for me – I have never really enjoyed them.

There was one particular year when I really didn’t want to go, so I decided to go as Santa. And it was a very interesting experience. I discovered that I was able to go to it and enjoy it more than I had done previously. On reflection, I realised that I was attending as Santa and not as Paul, and so had a different outlook. Consequently I used a whole different set of behaviours. As a result, every year from then on I went as Santa – and enjoyed them far more.

The main reason for the invention and subsequent popularity of Masquerade Balls in Fifteenth Century Venice was so that people could conceal their identity and hide who they really were. The anonymity they provided to an upper class that was governed by the strictest etiquette was irresistible. They didn’t have to be themselves; they were able to be different people. Oscar Wilde once said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”.

This leads me to the questions I want to pose.  Which is the real person? Paul or Santa (or Michael Palin)?

The person when they are wearing or not wearing the mask?

When is a person closest to being their innate self?

I have thought about it many times over the years since my visit to Mljet. What are your thoughts?

Paul

Deletions, Distortions and Generalisations from my schooldays

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

I went to a very enjoyable Reunion on Friday night for people who went to Northgate Grammar School, Ipswich and who celebrated their fiftieth birthdays this School year. I left the School in the long hot summer of 1976 having taken my ‘O’ levels, due to my parents moving north, and completed the remainder of my education in Yorkshire.

That was 34 years ago. And I had not had any contact with any of my ex-classmates since 1976, other than communication with 3 or 4 people via Friends Reunited and a few emails during the organisation of the event. 

It felt very strange prior to the event. I could remember so little about my time there or the people I was with, I felt like I was researching another person’s history rather than retracing my own steps. I didn’t recognise anyone at the event, although I did recognise names. The only person I was sure I knew – and was very enthusiastic in explaining to him how I remembered him – I didn’t actually know. I had got the wrong person!

It all fitted with aspects of some training I had been delivering within the NHS on the previous day. We were discussing motivating staff and dealing with people who may appear difficult. Specifically we were looking at the NLP work of Shelle Rose Charvet, and my experiences at the Reunion fitted very well with a foundation stone of NLP and Shelle Rose Charvet’s work – how we use our own personal filters to create our own reality of the world, unlike anyone else’s reality, through the Deletion, Distortion and Generalisation of information.

We delete things as we can only remember a certain number of pieces of information at any one time – best estimates suggest that it is around 7 pieces if information from an interaction or discussion.

We distort things – possibly why we have a Lock Ness Monster and large black panthers roaming the country. Closer to home, it explains how we suddenly see something possibly scary, and then realise it’s not quite what we thought it was.

And we generalise. People create a view of groups of people, or a personal norm (such as all car sales people are this, or all politicians are that), based on a few interactions or what they have heard from others.

And the whole of the Reunion evening – certainly for me – was based on Deletions, Distortions and Generalisations. When I left the Reunion, I think my one regret was that I didn’t have any notes or recollections that might have given me a fighting chance of having a personal reality reasonably close to someone else’s personal reality.

It emphasised to me the benefits of Reflective Practice and diary keeping. We forget far more than we ever learn, and in order to increase our potential to learn we can spend more time recording what we have achieved and how we have achieved it, and what we have not done well and why it didn’t go well.

 Paul

Handling weather fronts

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I was very sad to see that Alex “Hurricane” Higgins had died at the weekend. In the early 1980’s I really enjoyed watching him play. He had such talent as a snooker player. He could pot balls from difficult positions with such apparent ease. He didn’t indulge in conformity. I have very fond memories of discussions with my dad as to his qualities when compared with the likes of Steve Davis – who my dad particularly liked to watch. I suspect that part of my fascination with Alex Higgins was that he was totally the opposite of me in so many ways and, at that time, I wished I could have been like him in.

Knowing more about him now, I am very pleased that I wasn’t and am not like him. As the years progressed I became more aware of his unpredictability, his mercurial temperament, his alcohol-related behaviour. He had a chaotic lifestyle.

When I read about such individuals, I always wonder whether with a little more assistance they could have lead a more organised and less chaotic life. I then wonder whether by doing that, it would have stunted their phenomenal talent and inventiveness. Does the sheer brilliance of talent have to go with a lifestyle of chaos and unpredictability? Are the two inseparable?

I don’t know. But I do know that most of us at certain times in our lives find ourselves in situations where we need a little help in order to steer ourselves through stormy situations or mildly chaotic periods. And this same weekend I had a phone call from one such person who I had recently assisted. Jayne – I will call her – has absolutely nothing in common with Alex Higgins, and in at least one way she is completely different to him – she realised when she needed a little assistance.

Last month – 22 June to be precise – I blogged about how I was assisting a number of people with their preparations for their CIPD examinations. One person in particular – Jayne, I will call her – had explained to me that when she read the exam paper, the questions, “just became a jumble of words making no sense”.  Jayne had failed the exams the first time around, having walked out after half an hour. When we first made contact, there were three weeks to go before the exam and she was panicking about what she needed to do. She was finding the whole thing very stressful – made worse by problems she was having at work.

Three weeks wasn’t long to have an impact. We had telephone chats every two or three days. We had short term action plans and longer term action plans (but never longer than three weeks!). I gave her micro-teaches on aspects of Transactional Analysis (TA), Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Emotional Intelligence (EI) to help her understand what was happening for her and how she could start to manage the situation more effectively. I devised a set of questions (see 22 June entry) to assist Jayne with focusing whilst in the exam.

I spoke to Jayne a few days after the exam and she thought that she had given it her best shot, and a few days later she emailed me (see 10 June entry) to thank me for my assistance.

I didn’t expect to hear from Jayne again – but then she rang at the weekend. She rang to say that she had passed, and not only had she passed, she had achieved a distinction (over 70%)!  She was very pleased – and wanted to thank me for my support. I was overjoyed for her, and was smiling about it for the whole weekend – the effort that she had put in had really paid off. It illustrated a few points for me:

  • There are times when we all need help – and those of us who are prepared to seek it out will generally flourish.
  • Never give up – it’s never too late to start to address something – (but it is easier with more time!).
  • By being open to new learning and skills we can achieve much in what appears to be a short space of time – and can create positive ‘anchors’ that will assist us in future endeavours.

How could you be more effective with a little assistance or a little more focus?

Paul