NLP for Project Managers: Making Things Happen With Neuro-linguistic Programming
British Computer Society
PM Rating: 5/5
This book applies soft skills to the normally precise and potentially stressful world of project management. As such it addresses one of business’s greatest challenges – project managers, more than most workers, relate to a large number of different people for a pre-determined duration; these relationships then end, and a fresh set of relationships then needs to be built at the start of the next project.
Parkes begins by defining project management itself and suggests answers to the question: “Why do projects fail?” One reason may be – as in the Millennium Dome – that stakeholders are not sufficiently involved. Other project-management related reasons are summarised by Parkes as lack of leadership, engagement, team integration and skills. These are the issues which are tackled through a mindset and a set of techniques which have emerged under the umbrella of neurolinguistic programming (NLP).
NLP, claims Parkes, gives the project manager an understanding of why he does what he does, while opening up new possibilities and choices of reaching an outcome. Certainly flexibility is a hallmark of NLP. He continues that NLP enables the practitioner to manage stress, enhances connectiveness and rapport with – and understanding of – others involved in the project. Indeed, it enables persuasive and motivational (but not manipulative) communication, as well as raising awareness of how to adapt behaviour to context. Above all, NLP’s tools enable managers to develop new skills and to model excellence – in short to “do the job” better than ever.
Parkes then describes various NLP approaches (but always in the context of project management). These include developing self-awareness, handling stress, assertiveness, chunking up and down, feedback, and much more. The book also benefits from an Appendix “A Virtual Week in the Life of an Effective Project Manager” which draws wisdom from the body of the book by relating an amusing narrative – a fictitious but illuminating “walk of the talk”.