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An interview with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair 1997

This is a second interview with Dr John Grinder (co-originator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and co-developer of New Code NLP) and Carmen Bostic St Clair by Chris and Jules Collingwood of Inspiritive.

1. John what is your definition of “Personal Evolution”?

JG:

In the world of biology, evolution is a predicate which typically refers to the logical level of taxonomy – the biological unit – referred to as species. For, while it is individual organisms – the fundamental unit of survival – which exhibit individual differences which are associated with differential individual reproduction rates, we say that it is the species which evolves. These differential reproductive rates associated with the individual genetic differences followed over time form an image of what we usually see as evolution.

The term Personal Evolution, then, is intended as a challenge to this image. It is sometimes proposed that Darwin’s system proven appropriate and useful even illuminating for biological, genetically driven change while Lamarck’s proposal serves well for cultural change. Personal evolution is the art of living impeccably, pursuing change as a way of life – learning as its focus. The focus then is what are the patterns at the individual level which promote change – especially a sensitivity to redundancy at the personal level and its defeat. Imagine the game of chess with the ability of the pawns to learn from their experiences and thereby move beyond the rules of movement which presently bind them.

CB:

Personal evolution to be effective for the individual and the context within which the individual moves must give equal emphasis to co-operation as a principle of the same rank as competition in transmitting Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest, thereby achieving a balance between personal power and the larger ecological issues of the larger system. Constancy occurs in such systems only at the higher logical levels where one finds constancy in learning and the ability to wonder.

2. How did you come to choose Personal Evolution as an area of exploration? and what is its relationship to NLP as a field of endeavour?

JG:

What other game is there in town? The heart of the endeavour of living impeccably is sensitivity to patterning and a commitment to continuously shift the stability points around – to preserve the distinction between the hunter and the hunted.

The field of NLP was from its first moment for me in the way in which I perceived it originally the study and capturing of excellence in its many splendoured forms. Excellence can be interpreted as living at the extremes. Like surprises, exceptional experiences are the substance of such living.

CB:

Learning to identify the edges of all aspects of our lives – recognizing them and having the choice to travel to the edge as well as comfortably find the middle when the context suggests it is appropriate.

3. What is the context you perceive for creating the Personal Evolution seminar?

JG:

I will offer three responses to this question and leave it to you to select the one most useful for your purposes. They are:

  • Schizophrenia
  • I have no idea what you are talking about
  • The twinkle in Gregory Bateson’s eye.

CB:

A group of individuals who have the flexibility to dance with a cyclone as well as a gentle breeze.

4. The fact that you will be teaching a seminar called “Personal Evolution” suggests that:

a) we as individuals can evolve,

b) that this is in some way desirable,

c) that there are patterns involved.

Could you please elucidate?

JG:

Yes, to all three. When Europeans first began to explore the great Amazon basin, it wasn’t because the Amazon was in some sense better. Rather it was different. Or as Marcel Proust says the purpose of exploration is not to see new lands but to see those lands with new eyes. The practice of impeccable personal change as a way of life implies a personal discipline to ferret out the repetitive portions of our own behaviour and through the ecological patterns such as holding intention constant and varying behaviour or wanton capricious variation to move the assemblage point – the focusing of our attention on other aspects of the world around us. Thus it is not that any particular change we make in this practice is better than what we had previously but that the change itself at the higher logical level is desirable to avoid complacency or the falling into a routine which robs us of our appreciation of the unknown which surrounds us.

Of course, there are patterns involved – this is precisely the point. Such patterns are the web of redundancy through which we must pass. The mastery of personal patterning is the prerequisite to escaping its tyranny.

CB:

Different is not necessarily better but better is always different. The evolution of the person provides that person with choice not before available.

5. You draw on ideas from Gregory Bateson in your seminar Personal Evolution. How are Bateson’s ideas relevant to someone who wants to evolve themselves personally and professionally?

Bateson has made the opening move in a game which will continue as long as there are representatives of the species. Through his insistence that the laws which govern the short term and local interactions of biological systems are fundamentally different than the laws which govern non-organic physical systems, through his exploration and application of logical levels to the patterning of communication and learning and through his precise pointing at many of the phenomena which must be incorporated into a theory of mind, he lights some of the paths which we must travel to leave the valley of the blind.

6. I understand that Bateson was a mentor of yours. Would you like to talk about your experience of Bateson and his impact on your life and work?

JG:

I shall never succeed in appreciating the deep and inspiring ways in which he influenced me and my work in NLP. These experiences range from the time he borrowed a pair of socks from me on the occasion of finding himself without socks on his way to a University of California Regents’ meeting (he was a Jerry Brown appointee) – thereby teaching me the pitfalls of being a narrow band genius as opposed to a broad band genius – one who is a genius in all those areas of experience which impinge on his or her well-being. He demonstrated an utter lack of competency and willingness to learn group theory on the occasion of a disagreement we had over his use of the word formal, thereby pushing me to make a commitment to seek out my own monumental areas of incompetence and ignorance to face them squarely. But mostly, he continued to astonish me with the clear and swift shifts in perception in his ability to focus on the synthesis of ideas in very large systems driven by years of detailed and focused study of any number of fields ranging from classic evolutionary theory in biology through anthropology and animal studies to the balanced relationships in the plant communities in the redwood forests which surrounded us at the time of our connections. Perhaps most importantly, he paid me the ultimate compliment of presenting along with any number of awesome puzzles to which he had worked out answers, the puzzles to which he had no answers.

7. What is your definition of a pattern?

JG:

Imagine a description of some sequence of events, whether internal to you (intake of glucose with a subsequent shift in heart rate) or external to you (the shift in the type and frequency of the marine wildlife associated with the change in the temperature of the water in the ocean off Santa Cruz as a consequence of the seasonal up welling from the deep submarine canyon off Moss Landing in the center of Monterey Bay and connected with the Davis current) to all the astonishing mixtures of internal and external events.

Consider this description as a series of snapshots over time. Now, if you can place a slash mark “/” anywhere in that sequence of events such that you are able with better than random chance to predict what is on one side of the slash based solely on what is on the other side of the slash mark, you have a pattern. In this technical sense, pattern and redundancy are names for the same thing.

If I provide you with the sequence of consonants str… and tell you that they are part of a well formed word in English and then ask you what kind of creature will follow, you will after a moment’s reflection correctly tell me that the creature is a vowel.

I have done professional patterning in linguistics, mathematics and NLP. Each discipline has its own requirements for presentation and proof. In this latter field, I would propose that the author of a pattern has the responsibility to be explicit about certain aspects or is, in fact, doing something other than professional patterning. In NLP, I would propose that the author of a pattern must descriptively specify:

The internal structure of the pattern – what are the elements which define the pattern and in which specific order do they occur.
The consequences which will occur if the pattern is employed in a disciplined and congruent manner.
a set of contextual markers which indicate under which conditions its use is appropriate.
Please note I said descriptively specify – by this I am placing a gate through which would be patterns must pass – for example, more years ago than I care to count, on the occasion of spoofing patterns and to amuse myself and Richard, I created a set of pseudo-patterns now known as Meta Patterns. These are, in fact, not patterns at all but non-descriptive chunks of content which apparently people are unable to distinguish from actual patterns or forms. This exercise backfired on me in that people reverently go on teaching these strange things passing them off to the next generation as patterns when in fact I designed them to distinguish between actual patterns and content. Ask someone who fails to make this distinction what the difference is descriptively between moving in time and through time. Or to describe the difference between moving away from pain and towards pleasure in the case of a masochist or sadist. The third criterion – the specification of appropriate context is easily the most difficult requirement for patterning and the one which typically receives the least amount of attention – this was true in the original work classic NLP patterning as well as in more recent endeavours.

CB:

Patterns are a series of arcs. These arcs when linked in a series over time and in certain contexts create loops. Loops when linked in a series over time and in certain contexts become predictable segments of behavior.

8. How is enhancing one’s ability to detect patterns useful to an individual?

JG:

If you are unaware that you are in a box which you call your life, how will you ever liberate yourself?

CB:

Hamsters in a cage run in circles within a squeaky wheel.

9. How do you know when to look for a pattern?

JG:

Only before breakfast on odd days of the months which begin with the letter J. The art of living impeccably is in part the art of continuously extending your competency to detect patterns. The ones you don’t detect are the ones that will get you. Sensitize yourself to surprise, differences between what you are unconsciously anticipating and what happens and all auto pilot sequences. Seek the unpredictable. Is it possible to tickle yourself?

CB:

It is only important to ‘know’ when you haven’t been looking.

10. How do you know what to look for when seeking patterns?

JG:

You never do if you are actually in pursuit of a serious pattern. That’s what makes it an art form rather than a science, the pursuit of heuristics rather than algorithms.

Take any significant, let’s say, physical endeavour – any sport or dance form… How can you determine by observing a group of people engaging in this form who are ones who are experienced and adept and who are amateurs who have little experience. The rock climber who is hanging out over a 1500 foot exposure but who shows only tension in the fingers of the hand which is locked into a crack and nowhere else in her or his body is a pro. The accomplished and experienced sports person is the one who does less – the one who uses less effort and who is clearly ignoring large portions of the situation in which they are performing and focusing on only those portions of the situation they need access to perform.

The art of patterning is the art of ignoring most of what is happening and attending to only those few leverage points which allow the manipulation of the situation. In this sense, patterning is an exercise in the fixing of attention.

11. How do you know where to look for a pattern?

JG:

Since this is a continuation of the last questions I will continue with the answer …only before breakfast on odd days of the months which begin with the letter J and under rocks of a size larger than the ambition you have to become a patterner.

12. What are 2/3/4/n point patterns?

JG:

The numerals indicated simply refer to the number of points of attention described by the patterner in presenting the pattern. A 2 point pattern is one in which there are two events described, one on each side of the slash mark, a 3 point pattern is one in which there are three events described and distributed on different sides of the slash marks. Please note that the number of attention points will vary for the same pattern depending on the rigor of the description by the patterner. In other words, the chunking – how many points you fix in the pattern – is relatively arbitrary.

13. When dealing with nested patterns at different logical levels, how do you find out;

a. How many there are

b. Which ones are relevant

c. Which is the controlling pattern

d. If there is a controlling pattern

JG:

Well now, there’s one hell of a question! Let’s unpack it a bit. First of all you are going to want to distinguish between properly nested and improperly nested dependencies – the difference between

The house owned by the man who drove a car built by a woman who said that her son was hired by Alan Ginsberg to carry the suitcase which contained the manuscript that…

The horse the cow the dog the cat chased bit saw ran away

Both of these are technically grammatically well formed fragments of American English – the first one is an improperly nested dependency as well as being intelligible and the second one is a properly nested dependency which while technically well formed exceeds all short term memory processing abilities. I offer a build up to it more gently in the sequence below:

  • The horse ran away
  • The horse that the cow saw ran away
  • The horse that the cow that the dog bit saw ran away

and finally

  • The horse that the cow that the dog that the cat chased bit saw ran away

or deleting the relative clause markers (normally an option) we have

  • The horse the cow the dog the cat chased bit saw ran away

The terms properly nested and improperly nested, while a classification based entirely on the structure of the phrase has powerful consequences for processing.

I have already commented on the question of how many there are – how many depends on how you decide to count and in particular, what descriptive vocabulary you allow yourself. Every technical field is a demonstration that with finer and finer distinctions we invent a denser and denser vocabulary to create the shorthand we need to overcome some of the limitations of short term memory and facilitate our thinking and communication. The code system in a well organized Emergency Room (Casualty Department) or the pixel or superconductor are dense signals unique to a specific context and fully grounded in the sense defined in Precision. Clearly such terms embody a number of components which under normal circumstances we would distinguish as separate elements but which are rolled up into a single term by definition. Similarly with patterning, the development of an explicit well defined vocabulary will change the count.

I confess that I am at a loss as to what a controlling pattern would be in such a system.

14. What are the necessary and sufficient conditions which must be present to enable people to develop the ability to recognise previously unexperienced and unnoticed patterns?

JG:

OK, what are they?

CB:

The study of your successes and failures.

15. How does a working ability to detect patterns in our environment facilitate learning?

JG:

It doesn’t facilitate learning – it is learning.

CB:

I learned French in the university. I learned Spanish in the streets of Mexico. I speak Spanish a hell of a lot better at present than I speak French.

16. Is it necessary for pattern detection and utilisation skills to be available consciously, or is it sufficient to have these skills well developed at an unconscious level

JG:

The goal of all learning is to master the skill sets to the point that they become unconscious competencies. This clearing of conscious by pushing competencies down into the unconscious has a cost however and specifically in the art of pattern detection, one of the most useful tools is the ability to perceive context and its contents from multiple perceptual positions, including a conscious one as well.

17. What qualities and attributes would you recommend be present in a state that is designed specifically for detecting ‘new’ patterns?

JG:

Please review questions and answers 1 through 16.

CB:

Breathing is good.

18. What contextual markers would you use to attract the interest and application of people in a content oriented society to learning to detect and use patterns in their lives?

JG:

As always the most powerful contextual marker to attract the interest (if that is in fact what you want to do) of content oriented people is your personal competency. People are attracted to people who are remarkable. So be remarkable!

CB:

Go to university, read books and explore. Or explore, read books and go to university. Or…

19. How do you ensure that people in a content oriented society learn to make and keep the distinction between patterns, illustrative content examples of patterns and content?

JG:

Personally, I don’t. I just keep on discovering patterns and presenting some small portion of them to the interested world. I wish the rest of the world a good day.

CB:

A horse can be shown the location of water; the drinking has to be the horse’s choice.

20. When you detect a pattern at a given logical level, can you assume there will be a related pattern at a higher logical level?

JG:

No, please assume nothing and check everything of importance. Like the 2 cent ‘O’ ring at the connection between the air hose and the pressurized SCUBA tank, it’s a little thing and critical to your health and well being.

More sympathetically, the present of a pattern at one logical level is an invitation to search for an associated pattern at the logical levels above and below but no guarantee. The presence of a track of a large cat on the ground just outside of the window in front of me as I write this sentence here in Bonny Doon does not guarantee that the cat is still in the neighbourhood – he may have already faded into the mists surrounding us.

CB:

If you are successful today, can you ‘assume’? that you will be successful in 10 years?

Interested in comprehensive training in NLP find out about our postgraduate qualification – 10250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

© 1997 Chris and Jules Collingwood

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An interview with John Grinder 1996

By Chris and Jules Collingwood

This interview with John Grinder co-creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was at the end of part one of a two-part seminar on Pattern Detection conducted in July 1996 in Boulder, Colorado with NLP Comprehensive. Part two was held in September 1996.

1. As one of the few individuals who has developed a whole new field of endeavour, do you have any thoughts regarding the circumstances that make it possible to be in that position?

There is a metaphor which is extremely common in western European traditions in which an investigator establishes his or her contribution while simultaneously paying tribute to the work which forms the foundation which makes possible their specific contribution.

This is typically expressed by noting that the new contributor can see farther than the original giants who established the foundation for their new work by standing on their shoulders. But for me, personally, this is quite misleading and not at all congruent with my experience.

Rather than a physical metaphor – that is, the additional height achieved by standing on the shoulders of the giants who preceded me, it seems to me that what Bandler and I did in our original work – the classic code of NLP – was much more accurately captured by the idea of seeing in a totally different way rather than seeing farther.

So while one of the circumstances which made it possible for us to create NLP certainly was the previous work, especially by Russell, Turing, Godel, Chomsky, and Bateson as well as the specific models of Perls, Satir and Erickson, the actual value added by our activity was an audacious style of provoking the world by refusing the common sensical wisdom, most assuredly by rejecting the presuppositions of the vast majority of researchers active in the field, by seeking to extend the patterning to its limits and by creating the process tools (at a higher logical level than the content of the investigations) to enable others to follow the paths of discovery which lie all around us. As Stephen Jay Gould said beautifully (The Panda’s Thumb, p243):

“The best thinkers have the imagination to create organizing visions, and they are sufficiently adventurous (or egotistical) to float them in a complex world that can never say ‘yes’ in all detail”.

Thus, I believe, anyone seeking to create such a paradigm shift would be wise to develop a healthy respect for the research which has preceded while cultivating an equally healthy disrespect for the presuppositions for precisely the same body of research. As George Bernard Shaw once said (corrected for sexist language):

“Reasonable people try to adapt themselves to the world
Unreasonable people try to adapt the world to themselves
That’s why all progress depends on unreasonable people.”

So be it!

2. When you and Richard Bandler were first developing NLP did you have any ideas or expectations about what would happen to it over time?

My memories about what we thought at the time of discovery (with respect to the classic code we developed – that is, the years 1973 through 1978) are that we were quite explicit that we were out to overthrow a paradigm and that, for example, I, for one, found it very useful to plan this campaign using in part as a guide the excellent work of Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) in which he detailed some of the conditions which historically have obtained in the midst of paradigm shifts. For example, I believe it was very useful that neither one of us were qualified in the field we first went after – psychology and in particular, its therapeutic application; this being one of the conditions which Kuhn identified in his historical study of paradigm shifts. Who knows what Bandler was thinking?

3. If so, in what ways has it conformed and deviated from your expectations?

One of the expectations which I personally carried at the time of discovery and development of NLP was that people interested in our work would cleanly make the distinction between NLP and applications of NLP. My hope at the time was that given this distinction, there would arise a group of committed men and women who would recognize the meta levels tools which we had either discovered (the Milton Model…..), or created (the verbal patterns of the Meta Model or Precision Model, Representational Systems….), and go out and identify and create new models of excellence to offer the world. This has not happened and is very disappointing to me. NLP is popularly represented and commonly practiced at least one logical level below what it was clearly understood to be at the time by Bandler and me.

This inability to distinguish either behaviorally or cognitively the consequences and applications of NLP from core NLP itself (modelling of excellence) is extremely commonplace.

4. How would you like NLP to progress from here on?

As I indicated in my response to question 3, I would like to see NLP cleanly distinguished from its spin-offs – its applications – and a dedicated group of modellers go after new models of excellence. This would constitute for me a validation that the message I set out to deliver to the world has been received.

“I would like to see NLP cleanly distinguished from its applications”
– John Grinder

5. What prompted you and Judith DeLozier to develop the New Code?

The context which stimulated the development of the New Code by DeLozier and myself in the mid-80’s contained two characteristics which I wished at the time to correct:

There were a large number of people who had trapped themselves in a ritualistic practice in a mechanical way of the patterns which we had created. The New Code carries with it an elegant simplification of the classic code as well as certain presuppositional traps which serve as a gate against ritualistic behaviour. This was one of the objectives of the development of the New Code. In effect, the New Code was the creation of a second description which I hoped would shake people out of their ritualistic behaviour. Alas, the net contribution was to create a set of new exercises and patterns which were incorporated into the rituals of the trapped practitioners of NLP.

“The New Code carries with it an elegant simplification of the classic code”
– John Grinder

The second objective I had in the development of the New Code was to provide a context at a logical level much higher than had been previously attempted. This involves the setting of ethical, cultural and intellectual frames which indicate in what way specifically, NLP is a step or stage in a larger historical process – that is, where it fits into the western cultural and intellectual development.

6. How would you describe the difference between the Classic Code and the New Code NLP?

The New Code differs in two important ways from the Classic Code:

One, as mentioned above is the placement of the higher level frames to indicate the positioning of NLP with respect to larger issues.

Two, the New Code contains a series of gates which presuppose a certain and to my way of thinking appropriate relationship between the conscious and unconscious parts of a person purporting to train or represent in some manner NLP. This goes a long way toward insisting on the presence of personal congruity in such a person. In other words, a person who fails to carry personal congruity will in general find themselves unable to use and/or teach the New Code patterns with any sort of consistent success.

This is a design I like very much – it has the characteristic of a self correcting system. On the other hand, as we say, these built in gates have had the result that few people who were originally trained in the classic code of NLP are able to adapt themselves to the New Code.

7. There is a common misconception both within and outside the NLP community to the effect that some people are labelling themselves or others as if “a visual”, “an auditory” or “a kinaesthetic” were terms of identity. Could you describe the function of representation systems and their place in NLP?

Yes, easily! The entire problem would be resolved if anyone using the representational system material (e.g. eye movement patterns, unconscious selection of predicates….), would recognize and act congruently with the following proposition:

The temporal value of a representational system diagnosis is 30 seconds.

This would ensure behaviour congruent with the original intent I carried at the time we discovered the patterning – namely, its use as a precise way of knowing what the unconscious preferences and strategies (and failures) of the person in front of me has from moment to moment – that is, a very precise form of feedback in which the practitioner samples every 30 seconds to verify the continuing preference or strategy (or failure to access and employ one of these great resources).

8. If you could change three things between the origins of NLP and the present time, with hindsight, what would they be, and what would you imagine the effects to have been?

Sorry, I’ll pass on this one. It is a question about what would have happened had I done something which I did not do. Since I am never going to do this, I have no interest in exploring it. The principle is clear for me – I will not attend to issues which I will not act on. For me, this is a waste of time, and it may be a guiding principle for someone interested in actually accomplishing something in the world.

“I will not attend to issues which I will not act on. For me, this is a waste of time”
– John Grinder

9. If someone seeking their first NLP training were to ask you to advise them on choosing their training providers, and how to get the most out of their training, what criteria would you suggest they use, and how would you suggest they approach their training?

Yes, to me this is an important question. First, I would say to such a person that they select by the congruency of the trainer. More specifically, I would recommend that they deliberately provoke the potential trainer and appreciate the way in which the potential trainer handles their state and the response they make – more importantly at the relationship level than at the content level.

Secondly, I would ask the person entering a training to be an active skeptic – more specifically, that they question everything, demanding first hand evidence (that is, personal experience) for each and every claim issued by the trainer(s). In addition, it is my ethic that a trainer has a responsibility for ensuring that each pattern presented includes three elements (the sequence of presentation by the trainer may vary as a function of their style):

The definition of the pattern, including its decomposition into its elements and their sequencing
the consequences that a congruent person employing the pattern may anticipate when the pattern is used
The condition which must be present in the context to indicate that this particular pattern (as opposed to some other pattern) is the appropriate one to use in this particular context. Further that a person entering an NLP training make two personal arrangements with themselves:

That they successfully resist the tendency to translate what is being presented into mental maps that they already carry (e.g. oh! Anchoring is just like Pavlovian conditioning). The patterns which are at the heart of NLP are not like any previous X, Y and Z, and the person who translates into X, Y and Z robs him or herself of the experience of learning something new. That they test each pattern offered through personal experience for which they arrange to enter a state of congruity for the test period. To test a pattern incongruently is to waste your time.

“To test a pattern incongruently is to waste your time”
– John Grinder

10. What background skills and knowledge would you like to expect working NLP trainers to possess?

Personal congruity, sparkling intelligence, a deep, bottomless curiosity, a driving desire to discover new patterning, a phobic class response to repeating themselves, a continuous scanning for evidence that they are mistaken in every aspect of their personal and professional beliefs, solid personal ethics, physical fitness, actual real world experience in any field in which they intend to present NLP and an excellent sense of humour.

11. In recent years you have been doing very little in the way of formal NLP training. What have you and your partner Carmen Bostic St. Clair been doing instead? Where are you attending to the world and what for?

Within the corporation QUANTUM LEAP, partner, Carmen Bostic St. Clair and I have focused ourselves on co-developing at the group level (companies, work teams, governments, institutions, sporting teams,…) a new set of tools and models roughly equivalent in precision and power to what Bandler and I originally developed at the personal level. Our work thus typically takes the form of a consultancy, often initially labeled Re-Engineering or Re-Design of Critical Business Processes, into which we always accomplish the following:

  • the client organization is more productive
  • the client organization is more profitable
  • the members of the organization (typically through the mechanism of work teams which ultimately involve all members of the company) achieve local control over the work processes in which they are involved (they become owners of those processes) as intelligent and participating members of the company, recognizing and valued by the co-workers, and demanding, recognizing and valuing the quality of the contribution from other members of the organization.

In part this activity is a concrete expression of a commitment to make the world we live in a better place and the recognition that if we are to realize this grand goal, one of the leverage points we can use to succeed is the work context. Since everyone participates in some way or another in the work context, to create a new standard (or paradigm) in this field would have the greatest influence.

12. Your company is called Quantum Leap Inc. What prompted you and Carmen to name your company Quantum Leap?

QUANTUM LEAP was originally created by Carmen Bostic in 1987. While engaged in a business consultancy contract for her working in some of the companies which she as the CEO ran, I recognized in Carmen Bostic a genius in the fields of negotiation, relationships, and business. I joined her corporation in 1988.

The word QUANTUM (contrary to popular use) refers to the smallest unit of energy (or light) while the word LEAP suggests a discontinuity. Thus the phrase QUANTUM LEAP contains a tension approaching paradox. The idea is quite simple: in total opposition to Michael Hammer who insists that Business Process Re-Engineering begins with a wiping clean of the organizational structure in order to design from nothing the new company, we take pride in being able to identify the what and the where to put that what to initiate the change required for a corporation to succeed in achieving its potential, according to the three criteria listed above. The alert reader will recognize that we are referring to the necessity of systems thinking and actions congruent with it in succeeding in changing organizations – something often spoken of and rarely achieved.

More specifically, the phrase/name QUANTUM LEAP refers to our ability to make the smallest difference consistent with achieving the greatest change for all classes of our clients. This correctly implies that one of the features of our consultancy is rapid and ecological change.

13. Pattern detection is obviously a topic that is important to you. Would you like to comment on its place in NLP?

Pattern Detection is indeed one of the first steps in the modeling process, and clearly, without it, it is not possible to create a model. Or more generally, without the ability to recognize (some people would argue that the more appropriate verb would be a blend of create and recognize) patterns, learning itself of any type is impossible – I agree. Thus what could be more fundamental than the ability to detect pattern.

“Pattern Detection is indeed one of the first steps in the modeling process”
– John Grinder

14. Carmen Bostic St. Clair and you will be making a rare Australian appearance in May 2007 to present a seminar on advanced use of metaphor. What is its significance in terms of individuals’ approaches to the world?

All which is not concrete is metaphoric – clearly, this involves the vast majority of our everyday experiences. The structure of the unconscious – easily the factor most influential in our success in life – or more correctly said, the relationship which we have with our unconscious is easily the factor most important in our success in life – is that of metaphor.

The unconscious contains no nouns, only verbs – the part of language which carries the representation of the relationships and processes which determine the quality of our lives. This in part accounts for the fact that the typical production of the unconscious is metaphoric – dreams, poems, dances, songs and stories. In this presentation by Carmen Bostic and myself, we will address ourselves with the participation of the members of the seminar to two primary issues:

  • the discovery, examination and replacement or refinement of the deep metaphors only dimly glimpsed which govern our lives.
  • the specific strategies available which we can use to identify or create newly the metaphors we need for specific purposes – such as influencing our bosses, spouses and children (assuming they are different) at the unconscious level – an extremely satisfying way of influencing important people in your life.

15. What is the significance of metaphor with reference to the success of organizations?

The influence of metaphor with respect to organizations takes two obvious forms:

  • the mental maps often called the vision, the mission, the ethics or value statement which guide the behaviors of the members of an organization can be made explicit or conscious only to a limited degree. Much of the success of the coordinated efforts of well-intentioned people who form the core of an organization depends on unconscious (or partly unconscious) maps which form a larger and encompassing image of the direction, mission, values,… of the organization. In the case that these unconscious maps are coordinated, the organization will succeed. To the degree that they are not, there will be grave difficulties in organization and much friction and uncoordinated movement, with the team members pulling in different directions.
  • the corporate mythology is the official mechanism by which the organization builds its own inspiring (or not) image to which the members of the organization subscribe (or not) at the unconscious level – this is strongly connected with the values of the organization, especially with respect to its customer base. Thus, the organizational mythology typically contains founder stories, unexpected and against all odds successes emphasizing certain specific qualities of the people of the organization involved. Once recognized by the leadership of an organization this becomes a powerful tool to influence the behavior and values of the company members.

16. What are the benefits an individual would be likely to derive through attending the Advanced use of Metaphor seminar in Australia?

The benefits I would insist on walking away from the Advanced use of Metaphor seminar presented by Carmen Bostic and John Grinder in Australia in May 2007 would be:

  • the ability to recognize deep metaphors in my own life, in the lives of close friends and in organizations such as the company in which I work
  • the ability to design new metaphors, including deep metaphors which carry the values and associations at the unconscious level which I want to enhance in myself, the people close to me and the organization in which I operate as a productive member of society,
  • the ability to implement new metaphors, including deep metaphors which carry the values and associations at the unconscious level which I want to enhance in myself, the people close to me and the orgnization in which I operate as a productive member of society,
  • the ability to influence others at the unconscious level through metaphor
  • the feeling of having had a hell of a good time learning all of the above.

© 1996 Chris and Jules Collingwood

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