A large part of our work at VIA Frontiers is committed to education. We are passionate about helping individuals attain self-management tools, to improve efficiencies and ultimately lead a happy life. The blogs I have written below are testimony to this.
Every blog will add value to the reader and give insights for free. How does an individual shift their focus for a different posture in life that will bring them grace, satisfaction and a life they love.
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) was no longer a buzzword or trend in the business world. It had evolved and proven itself as an effective business tool. It is the very reason that savvy CEO’s bought in to hiring NLP Training as a corporate wide initiative. They saw it as a strategy to get ahead of the competition.
It was the very reason Janice, a forward thinking CEO decided to make that call to Sylvia Fernandes, CEO and Founder of VIA Frontiers. Wanting to impact and change employee thought patterns and behaviours to generate more consistent and predictable outcomes, she knew she needed the expertise of an NLP coach.
“Does the thought of change make you feel fearful? Does it make you anxious? How did you ride the pandemic storm at work?” these were some questions that Bala, Culture Alignment consultant was posing to John, COO of the organisation.
John felt weathered by the storm, as if he had just stepped off a ship. Having to run with his intuition, he did his best. While he always thought of himself as adaptable, he felt the enormous stress at work. People were living in fear of losing their jobs. They had to adapt to new work from home regimes.
Over years of working with leadership teams, the one common factor that lay ahead as a sticky point was how to get in bed with the new generations.
Most leadership teams comprised IQ driven leaders who were struggling with the newness of what was expected of them. Those who acknowledged their lack of fit for the future hired coaches. Others enforced authority even more, allowing ego to take center stage.
Leadership development was a huge component of the Culture Alignment initiative that Sylvia was helping Janice with. As CEO, she needed an agile team, one who was ready for any challenge, armed with tools of resilience.
The team was made up of 13 members, each owning their own channel of business while ensuring they were focused on the one Vision and Mission of the organization.
The Culture Alignment program began with a Town Hall facilitated by both Janice and Sylvia who were subject matter experts in their respective fields. Both C-suite and Sales teams were to kick off sessions first. They were closest to bumping up revenue immediately.
Module by module they were given bite-sized pieces of tools that would augur well for their respective fields. Sales people were exceptionally excited as they were promised strategies of how to deal with difficult clients. Turning this group of people around would matter a lot to their bottom-line results.
As CEO of the organisation, Janice was aware lack of communication was a major factor that caused relationships to break down. These had massive implications on results at work and home. If people were happy at home, they would also come to work with the same disposition.
The writing was on the wall! She had to do something on this front, build a fundamental foundation of communication tools that would weather most storms. This was the reason she hired Sylvia and her team to do a Culture Alignment for the organisation.
Having left the corporate world in a run down, burnt out state, he was adamant never to let that happen again. Family were neglected while his priority lay in building a career. Not unusual for many he re-invented himself over two years, fueled by a passion to help others see the light before they manifested disease.
He was not conscious of decisions he made. Neither did he realise the impact on family and friends. Consequences were grave. Relationships started to fall down, disintegrate.
The party was going great guns. Music blaring, there were people on the dance floor. Others drinking, happier to be observer. Sarah was chatting with her ex-client who had completed coaching sessions with her. They were discussing how much she had progressed from when they first met.
Somehow music in the background suited them more. They loved getting into deep and meaningful conversations. It didn’t take them long to revert to the topic of their coaching interactions which had gone on for a year.
As interviews with key decision makers ensued, Sylvia and Bala were sharpening their view of strategy they needed to employ. Gathering the team over a drink they liked to keep things informal. Hunkering down with flip charts and I-pads to discuss findings from their numerous interviews, this would pave the way for the entire Culture Alignment program.
“Oh you are so lucky” was the phrase Sylvia heard hurled at her time and again. It incited a tiny bit of annoyance. They hadn’t seen her in the years she was re-designing her life. She thanked her lucky stars she rose to higher consciousness, all from a series of events that had occurred.
A deep feeling of dissatisfaction with her life on every front, though from the outside most would say she had a perfect existence. A great job in the bank, fabulous friends, a wonderful social environment and more. It was precisely that. The perfect life was imperfect. She yearned for more.
Conversations ensued with senior management as the culture alignment project was in its first phase of design. Sylvia and her team worked in their usual top-down approach. Making appointments to interview change agents at every level of the organization they were beginning to see a pattern.
Janice the organization CEO was keen to install purpose-driven leadership at all levels. Her belief was that every individual could unleash the leader within to achieve high performance in their domain. She had spotted a lot of talent in the organization. She felt all she needed to do was give her people tools to blitz it.
“I haven’t been to a training for such a long time! I am really getting tired of being here. Other organisations are a lot better to their staff. I’m thinking of moving” Bala overheard, as he sat in a cubicle working out a flowchart for the upcoming Culture Alignment meeting.
He was about to meet Sylvia who was heading up the team of consultants. His expertise lie in project implementation. Bala had come from an IT background where he worked at a very senior level for large corporates. After more than 20 years of acquiring knowledge and experience he felt he was bored. Leaving corporate, he started his own business.
The Culture Alignment project was in design phase as Sylvia carved out different teams within the organization who had specific needs. She was working on high performers at every level of the organization - creating a mindset to blitz production and fast track their career path.
She reminisced about her mum who was a housewife and a definite high performer though the term wasn’t used then. Some of the things she thought and said to her mum were laughable. Being a very sociable family they entertained frequently.
Contrary to general perception, difficult clients are the exception not the rule. Nevertheless, it pays to be prepared as it can be a challenging experience, even for the most professional sales person or for that matter, any professional!
-Dealing with difficult clients requires empathy, patience and putting aside your ego. Remember it is all about what the client needs at that moment, not about who is right or wrong. It does take up a lot of time and energy however and is certainly a stressful situation to be in for all parties concerned.
You can avoid this from happening if you simply learn some steps to dealing with difficult clients more effectively. Attending an NLP for selling course for instance could help you gain valuable insights into selling techniques.
We were having friends over for dinner again. The lovely aroma of food and sound of the wok clanging was like a cacophony of sounds I was used to. Mum was the ultimate entertainer. She loved to cook and did it effortlessly. It was very usual for our family to have friends and family over for meals.
As a child I looked forward to hearing that my favourite cousins were invited for a sleepover. It was our little reward that Dad afforded us. The deal was that we had to complete our homework for the week, before they arrived on the weekend. That was Dad’s strict rule.
As Sylvia carved out the Culture Alignment plan based on Trevor’s needs, a main part of this was to create high performers at every level of the organisation. She was most enthusiastic about this part of the project as it was sexy, challenging with the most bang for buck.
She recalled a day when she drove out to do a keynote address to heads of private banks. Her mind was systematically going through points she had to raise. A talk back radio show was going on in the car. The DJ asked callers to share how they would celebrate Boss’s Day with their superiors.
Neuro Linguistic Programming is an epistemology – a model of how we know what we know. Co-founded by a Professor of Linguistics, Dr. John Grinder and a computer scientist, Richard Bandler in the late 70’s, Neuro Linguistic Programming found its roots in psychotherapy.
More recently, corporates have begun to realise the power of conducting NLP certification courses in the workplace. Comprising a series of models, an NLP course would typically be most impactful for the higher echelons of a corporate.
As Petra reminisced about how she ended up on a coaching path to help women accelerate to high performance , she was reminded of her love for anything fast. From young she loved fast cars, was fascinated by the Concord invention and gravitated to people who were fast thinkers.
Rising to the top of her career with grace and ease she thought what next? Her effortless ascension and constant inquiry into self was the propulsion to her meteoric rise. Always taking feedback and learning from experience, Petra knew there was something more to her eventual path. She had not clicked in yet but knew she was moving in the right direction.
The Culture Alignment program had begun. Starting with the C-suite, John who was the catalyst to introduce NLP into his organisation was identified as Head, Internal Champions Team. His role would be to pick talent from groups who showed promise, at every level. These were employees who took to NLP like a duck to water. Sylvia called them the naturals like “oysters a la natural.”
John sat in the back of the room as an assistant to Sylvia the NLP consultant who was brought in to effect a culture change. Refreshing his memory of what he had been learnt a year ago, he felt elated at the associative memories that returned.
It was Norman Vincent Peale who said “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” There is no shortage of advice on how to change thoughts, mind-set, perceptions or even the way your brain is wired; on the internet, in books, seminars, courses and workshops. Whether they work or not hinges on the fact that change has to come from within. Anything otherwise is considered coercion. This was Sylvia’s opener as she began her Town Hall talk to address the organisation at large.
John set his sights on being the CEO of a multinational company (MNC) someday. By the end of his career, he had planned for a successful retirement, one that would have him sitting loftily on financial stability.
He was now in Senior Leadership, the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of an MNC, pretty close to his goals and pretty much on track. Like many others globally, he had not anticipated a pandemic and the chaos that came with it.
As news of the Culture Alignment program went through the organisation like wild fire, it was filled with mixed reviews. Some wanted to be left alone while others felt they were open to seeing what the NLP courses were about.
Valerie, Head of Legal was filled with trepidation. She had steered clear of such courses all her life, completely turned off by hype and motivational speakers. She was in the Leadership Team though and this time she thought, not much chance of dodging this one.
As the NLP Culture Alignment project in the organisation progressed, more employees began to show signs of a turnaround. Trevor helming HR could see and hear more engagement. Simply seeing people around him smile more than they ever did before. Laughter rang in his ears and business was starting to show positive signs of an uptake.
The merger that their organisation had been through, had pretty much wiped out any semblance of harmony that existed in the previous culture. It was heartening to note that things were turning around and so rapidly too
Leonard was a sales manager. He had a team of ten salespeople who were performing well. He wanted to migrate them to the next level. Having been in sales all his life he had heard of many sales programs but NLP seemed to be like the master system that would take them to high performance in a short space of time.
He was in the midst of researching NLP further checking for a fit that matched his team when he received an email from HR announcing an organisation-wide culture alignment initiative. Not knowing if it was serendipity or just plain luck that he had created, he observed this was happening to him more and more these days.
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.