Friday, 7 September 2007

Newsletter Issue 137, September 2007



Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 137, September 2007
Hi guys,
If any of you are interested in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, read on.
Being green is the flavour de jour, but how do we go about Measuring Corporate Social Responsibility?
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Neuro-linguistic programming, or 'NLP', is an approach to psychotherapy co-founded in the 1970s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder as a method of personal development. By developing a set of practices and techniques based on modelling successful psychotherapists of the time, they created a "model of interpersonal communications" based on the subjective study of language, communication and change. Borrowed from a range of disciplines, NLP's theoretical foundations includes psychology, linguistics, cognitive science and occupational therapy.
However, NLP's application has not been limited to psychotherapy. Bandler & Grinder have suggested that these patterns of interpersonal communications can be applied generally. Taught through seminars, workshops, books and audio programmes, NLP is a loosely spread field and is resistant to a single, comprehensive definition.
NLP assumes that our perception of our world is already filtered by biology and beliefs, which form our 'map' of reality. Further, our emotions, thoughts and behaviours are influenced by sensory-specific 'modalities'. These modalities are visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory or gustatory. NLP assumes that our individually preferred modality affects our consciousness, which influences how we learn and how we relate to others.
We show others our modalities by unconscious choice of words, sensory-specific predicates (eg use of verbs and adjectives from a particular modality) and non-verbal cues (such as intonation, gestures, posture, facial expressions and eye movements).
In addition, our primary learning style is from one of four groups; kinaesthetic (doing), auditory (listening), visual (seeing) and auditory digital (thinking/computing). By identifying which way we absorb and retain information best, we can make the most of any training we undertake.
NLP aims to be a tool which increases an individual's behavioural choice. In theory, through answering specifying questions, we can determine which modality we operate in so we can:
  • Clarify the intended message in communication by recovering what has been left out and by reframing faulty thinking when the communication is distorted or over-generalised
  • Alter sensory-specific sub-modalities (eg brightness, size or location of visual or sensory memories) to affect the intensity of mental states and affect changes in behaviour
  • Help people anchor new and more resourceful mind-body states (eg creativity, confidence, etc), rehearsing them to make them available so a person can act differently in future
By matching predicates and mirroring non-verbal cues with people we are communicating with, we can build a better rapport, develop more influence and communicate more clearly.
There is no evidence-based research that supports the assumptions or concepts of NLP. Research literature reviews have also found little empirical support for NLP, in particular claims that matching sensory predicates improves rapport and influence.
Having attended a weekend NLP course recently, I have come away somewhat ambivalent about the usefulness of NLP. While understanding our own preferred learning style does indeed assist us to learn more efficiently, I am not comfortable with consciously matching predicates, language and non-verbal cues. It feels a bit slimy, contrived and manipulative; rather car salesey.
The natural matching of language and non-verbal cues we tend to do quite naturally when we meet people, if we want to get on with them. If we want to break down established rapport, I am sure that we are all well aware of how quickly we can change posture, intonation and response times to convey boredom or how cool we are from when we were once teenagers! This is completely common knowledge and common sense, so glorifying this as new-found NLP wisdom feels like the cheat that it is.
I also found the NLP terms, concepts and models quite difficult to come to grips with as the developers have used analogies to illustrate their models and NLP trainers tend to rely on teaching through intuition, anecdotes and personal experience. There is also a lot of semantic arsing about such as "The Map is not the Territory" which I still couldn't get to the bottom of even after an entire weekend.
I am a member of the "If I can't define it, then it is not real" school. If the trainer can't define what a concept is, how can they effectively teach it to me? Whether I can use NLP as a tool in my professional practice is less than questionable. At present I cannot see how I could apply NLP effectively as a tool.
All I can say is, try NLP and see if it suits you; but don't expect it to deliver anything.


Measuring Corporate Social Responsibility

Way beyond hardware recycling comes a way of green, called ‘social responsibility’. Used in triple bottom line reporting (a reporting format that socially responsible companies such as Hubbards Foods have adopted), social responsibility embraces more than lower power consumption and thoughtful design to ensure recyclability. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) includes responsibility to the organisation’s employees — providing them with decent salaries and benefits, as well as a good work environment and appropriate career guidance. There is also a responsibility to the wider community around the organisation, too, and to the other companies it works with.
CSR also links strongly with the sustainability theme of not plundering tomorrow’s resources to meet today’s needs. It is summed up well in ecological economist Herman Daly's statement “It is morally and economically wrong to treat the world as a business in liquidation”. 
Increasingly, people look for a CSR rating in the companies they deal with, partner with or invest in. They want details on just how that organisation demonstrates CSR. And it is at this point that we find that there is a problem.
The problem is that there are no clear reporting standards or measurements for corporate social responsibility. There are respected consultancies, but they have inconsistent methodologies. This makes it very, very difficult to benchmark one organisation against another.
One consultancy, for example, gave British American Tobacco (BAT) top marks on almost all the measures pertaining to its operations, but its methodology did not take into account the effect of the company’s product on the general population. Another agency, that does take account of the product’s effect, declined even to measure BAT’s social responsibility.
In the finance world, if Moodys credit rating agency gave a company an A+ rating, you can be sure that a Standard & Poors rating would not result in a D.
Charting and setting globally recognised standards for CSR will be a fascinating - and wide - field. It will be interesting to see who decides to take on the challenge.
 

Missing '.exe' File Extension Fix

Woody Leonhard of Woody's Office Watch (http://office-watch.com/) has just reported an unusual problem with Windows XP systems.
Despite being set up to show file name extensions, they adamantly refuse to show '.exe' file names; ie, of showing "setup.exe", these PCs just show "setup".
It is really important that executable file extensions should show, otherwise you could run a programme that you shouldn't run.
After a lengthy forensic IT investigation, Woody discovered that the missing .exe problem is a lingering symptom of a once-present Rungbu virus infection. PCs which had been infected with Rungbu at one point, then disinfected, still had the missing '.exe's.
To fix:
  • start Regedit (click Start, Run, type regedit and press Enter)
  • In the left pane, navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile.
  • If you find an entry called NeverShowExt, right-click on it and delete it.
  • Reboot your machine.
Now all your .exes will come home to roost :-)

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you:
  • CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility. Sustainability approach to business, not plundering tomorrow’s resources to meet today’s needs.
Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we look at some more handy font changes:
  • Excel, Frontpage, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word "Select the toolbar font type field" Ctrl & Shift & F
  • Word "Change the selection to Symbol font" Ctrl & Shift & Q
  • PowerPoint "Change the formatting of characters (Font command, Format menu)" Ctrl & T

Hot Linx
Check out this world clock for a surprising insight into just what is going on around the world at any second of any day at http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf
For a bit of topical political comment to go, check out http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/. The links down the right-hand side of the main page also provide some entertainment!
If you are about to travel and want to know the locale like the locals, get individuals' comments - the gen from those who live there - on all places global at http://www.platial.com/splash
If you want to know where the phrase and cartoon "Kilroy was here" comes from, go to Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilroy_was_here

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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