Blending Strategy Planning & NLP Does it Work?

Recently I have been working with a company to devise and implement an ambitious growth strategy. We held some planning sessions and put in place an agreed plan of action. Energy levels were high and the team was motivated by the challenge ahead.

Recently I have been working with a company to devise and implement an ambitious growth strategy. We held some planning sessions and put in place an agreed plan of action. Energy levels were high and the team was motivated by the challenge ahead.

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three months and whilst some progress had been made in relation to their plan it wasn’t enough to generate the step changes the team wanted.

Sound familiar? I am sure we have all been there at some point in our career. I know I have – you leave a room committed to a plan that will deliver the improvements you want but somehow the day job gets in the way and despite your best efforts the plan just fizzles out and gets forgotten.

Consequently I was asked to return and help the team get back on track. Speaking with individuals it became evident that whilst the desire to grow the business was still evident the lack of any real progress and tangible results was taking its toll. I knew that if we didn’t deliver the desired outcomes this time there would be a detrimental effect on the business.

I wanted to build on the work that we had done initially enabling the team to achieve some quick wins and create that wonderful environment of success breads success. Based on my previous experience I also suspected that I needed to help the team commit to the plan and connect with the implications of not following it through in a much more impactful way.

So after a lot of thought I decided to be brave and combine the planning process with some basic NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques. Not something I had done before but in wanting to help this team achieve their goals I knew I needed to do things differently.   This is what we did:

Step One – Creating the Goals

The team articulated the goals they wanted to achieve over the next three months. Nothing particularly challenging here – we just need to make sure they were realistic and relevant to our overall aim of achieving the desired growth.

Step Two – Creating the Timeline

Using a very long piece of paper we created a timeline starting from the initial sessions we held and ending at the deadline dates for the goal

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Step Three – Plotting our Progress

Rather than statically sitting and plotting our progress along the timeline we pinned our timeline on the wall and dynamically walked alongside it noting those actions that had been achieved and those that hadn’t.

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We arrived at the current date and continued walking forward to our goals. Once we had done this I got the team to look back along the timeline and consider how much nearer to their goals they would have been if they had nailed all of the actions. It was a very sobering moment.

 

Step Four – Plotting our Progress Again

So this time we created a timeline from the current day and began plotting all the actions needed to achieve our goals. Again we did this dynamically and once again when we had reached our goals we looked back along our timeline. I asked the team to visualise themselves undertaking the necessary actions and embracing the learnings they would need to be successful.

The Results?

It’s too early to say what the end results will be. However what I can say is that at the end of our session the team were much more committed to the plan than they were previously and there was a steely determination to succeed.

The big question for me is did using a blended mix of strategy planning and NLP techniques add value. I am not sure we will ever know definitively but if the team achieve their goals does it really matter?

If you decide to try this process with your team please let me know how you get on. Alternatively if you’ve tried something similar I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

Mel Loizou

Fish Climb Trees