We had a chat with Mark Woods, Managing Director of Statius Management Services Ltd who shared some useful insight into how he’s successfully used NLP and emotional intelligence in his business.
What was the driver for you to explore NLP and emotional intelligence skills?
My background is in engineering which is very process-oriented I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to people management of any sort. So, if I wanted to develop myself and my staff then I needed to understand both them and myself better!
How have you used your NLP skills in your business?
It’s really helped me uncover what the issues are with both staff and the potential clients we’re trying to work with. With the latter our job is to try to get them to come to the solution they need themselves. And once they’ve done that our service may or may not be the answer. But we have helped facilitate that learning process for them.
What’s been the impact of using NLP in your business?
Two or three years ago our conversion rate for sales was anywhere between 27 and 34 percent. Now it’s anywhere between 46 and 54 percent, and this is a result of a whole series of things that have been done differently, including, using a lot of NLP.
As an example, one of the things that we do now is to have a telephone call prior to visiting potential clients, to better understand their needs and expectations rather than having to find that out on the day. This has had a significant impact on the percentages I’ve mentioned.
Why is it important that you work this way?
One of the founders of the quality management movement, Dr Deming created his fourteen points for management, two of which were joy in work and joy in learning. If I am going to be working every day, and weekends, I want to have both of these. I think it’s important but I think that it’s something that’s sorely missed in many organisations. With this in mind, we’ve also implemented NLP ideas into our recruitment as well as our sales strategy. We use NLP to identify and weed out people we do and don’t want to work in our business, by creating meta profiles with which we use throughout the interview process. These profiles help us pull in the types of people that not only match our business needs but also want joy in work and joy in learning.
It’s made a real difference to our team over the last three to four years. I think prior to our NLP work our recruitment was down to luck whereas now there’s a lot more structure to it.
Is there any other advice you’d like to give other business leaders?
I’m always surprised at the lack of genuine business reading that most people do. To me, that seems like a huge mistake. Many leaders “come off the tools” into the job and the company ends up growing beneath them and they haven’t quite worked out how and why. I’m forever reading and looking at YouTube. I guess it’s putting yourself in uncomfortable positions and exposing yourself to what you really don’t know. I think to learn as much as you can about yourself and others is critical. If this doesn’t come intuitively, learn a framework that enables you to do some of that more easily.
What’s been the biggest gain for you exploring a new route through NLP?
So, we’ve adopted a completely different approach to selling now and a completely different approach to recruiting. They are the two big changes within the business. There’s also been a whole change that has taken place in me as an individual. I think I’m considerably more tolerant and understanding. Whereas previously I guess I would have been trying to change other people. It’s now the realisation that I have no chance in hell in changing people. The only thing I can do is change the way I interact with other people. So, I can’t change them, they can’t change me, but if I don’t like what’s being done, it’s me that’s got to change in order to move whatever needs changing forward.
My whole journey with NLP keeps uncovering those things that help make better emotional decisions and to be in contact with your emotions and not to feel bad about that.
Mark Woods is interested in helping people and companies improve the way their work works, he’s a systems thinker, improvement practitioner and, coach.