NLP Neurological Levels
Neuro-linguistic Programming deals with bringing about personal change. This change is not just in outward behavior, but our underlying aspects as well. The change can be in our values, beliefs and unconscious parts of the self that we might not be consciously aware of. Our inner representations determine our behavior and affect us at several different levels. An actual change can only occur after the change is conceived and imagined in the person’s mind.
When the different levels of thinking are in congruence with each other, the person is experiencing a meaningful life. Neuro-linguistic Programming terms this as alignment. Alignment occurs when every part of the person is heading in the same direction. On the contrary, when inner misalignment occurs, there is an inner conflict between various levels of the mind. In order to bring about a lasting personal change, these different levels must be brought in harmony with each other.
Anthropologist Gregory Bateson developed the original Neuro-linguistic Programming model on neurological levels, which was later on adopted by Robert Dilts in his Neuro-linguistic Programming pursuits. There are six neurological levels organized on top of one another. A set of rules apply for changing something at any level and these rules differ from each other. Changing an attribute of one level may or may not affect the upper levels. However, changing an attribute at the upper levels will always affect the lower levels. As per Neuro-linguistic courses, the model can be considered as a cascading waterfall, where the upper levels translate their effects on the lower levels. Moreover, a change in behavior of a lower level will not last for a long time if a value of belief at the upper level does not support the new behavior. If these neurological levels are not carefully understood, it could result in problems for changing a behavior. On the other hand, identifying and understanding the significance of each level and help make and retain a desired change.
In order to understand these Neuro-linguistic levels, we must start with the lowest level and work our way up to the highest level. Starting with the lowest neurological level:
1) Environment: This is the lowest level of the neurological model. It helps you consider the surrounding world, in terms of location, people, objects etc.
2) Behavior: This level comes above the environment. Using this level, you can identify your specific behaviors that you are good at, such as negotiating, making schedules etc.
3) Capability: This level comes above the behavior. Using this level you can identify what the overall capability is that your behavior translates to, such as marketing, time management etc.
4) Belief: This level comes above the capability. This level indicates who you are and what you believe about yourself. What is the belief that is true for you in order to have the capability? For example importance of value of a product, or importance of time.
5) Identity: This level comes above the belief. It sums up you as a person by stating your identity. For example, you are a business oriented person, or a timely person.
6) Spirituality: This level comes above the identity. It indicates what metaphor or symbol can be used to identify your spiritual connection or any higher ideal. For example, it could be a swan, a blue sky or a tropical garden.
As per Neuro-linguistic training, the model can be traversed to identify the higher level attributes of a lower level behavior. Choose different behaviors that you excel at to find the higher level aspects. Every level feeds the level below in a logical hierarchy. For example, a person who believes in the importance of people will have the capability of relating to people. This capability will feed his behavior related to people skills such as listening, rapport etc. Moreover, these behavioral skills will support the capability of the person, and thereby his beliefs.
As per Neuro-linguistic courses, the model can be used to address problems or taking important decisions as well. You can begin by identifying the level in the Neuro-linguistic model where the problem exists. Then identify the cause of the problem in terms of its level, by tracing the issue at each level. You can then find out how a personal change in a level can be done to tackle the problem.
This Neuro-linguistic model can be applied to all kinds of self development. It can also be used for problem solving. The Neuro-linguistic model can be used for understanding others and communicating with them. The six neurological level of the Neuro-linguistic model portray the mental map generated by the mind and the different neurological filters applied.
Neurological Levels and Organizations
Five out the six neurological levels of the Neuro-linguistic Programming model can be translated in terms of an organization. As per Neuro-linguistic courses, these translations are:
• Identity : Vision and mission
• Belief : Culture and philosophy
• Capability : Knowledge and skills
• Behavior : Practice and customs
• Environment : Surroundings, equipment and location
Some organizations also have the sixth spiritual level, which is the highest level. This is especially true when the organization seeks a bigger cause than itself, such as for charity, health or environmental concern. Non-profit organizations are based on the spiritual level.
The neurological levels are used by organizations to motivate and inspire their staff, and bring about positive changes in the organization. As per Neuro-linguistic training, the neurological level usage is:
1) Vision and mission: The mission and vision states the organization’s ultimate goal. The organization work force operates on this goal, by identifying with it and gaining inspiration from the goal. According to Neuro-linguistic courses, it gives the employees a mutual sense of purpose and direction. The employees feel a sense of pride for being a part of this company and its unique personality and purpose.
2) Culture and philosophy: The culture and philosophy of a company is derived from the organization’s belief system. As per Neuro-linguistic training, when an organization respects a set of values, the employees feel a sense of respect as well. The company sets a culture or a way of doing things. It applies its philosophy while recruiting staff or dealing with customers. Organizations create company policies for rewards, training, salaries etc. that adhere to their beliefs.
3) Knowledge and skills: As per Neuro-linguistic training, this reflects the capability of the organization. The management specifies the knowledge and skills required for the job, and the work force meet these demands since they understand the task at hand. The management takes care of essential training required for updating the skills. The staff in turn participates and contributes their time for getting acquainted with new technology for efficient operation. The staff also gets to contribute towards decision making and take on higher level responsibilities.
4) Practice and customs: As per Neuro-linguistic courses, this translates to behavior of the organization. The organization rewards individual excellence and rebukes undesirable behavior. The staff adheres to the acceptable guidelines of the company such as intellectual property protection, copyright protection, honesty, integrity etc.
5) Surroundings, equipment and location: As per Neuro-linguistic training, this translated to the environment of the organization. The organization provides facilities to its employees such as good working conditions, cafeteria, coffee machines, smoking area, crèche, sports facilities, tended gardens, library and hi-tech equipment. The organization provides an environment that is conducive for productive work and happier employees.
Every level needs to be in congruence with the level above it, in order to bring about huge changes that last for longer time.
When the different levels of an organization are not in congruence with each other, failure is imminent. In this case, it is best to ask these set of questions for finding out at which level the problem exists:
1) Spirituality or purpose: Who else?
2) Identity or mission: Who?
3) Belief systems or values: Why?
4) Capabilities: How?
5) Behavior: What?
6) Environment: Where?
The neurological level model can be used to identify problems at personal or organizational level and elucidate them. The level at which the problem exists and needs to changed can then be found. You can better understand yourself, your goals and self motivation. Using these levels, you can understand other people better, create stronger rapport and relationships. Using the levels, you can establish a sense of meaning and purpose in your life and get a broader perspective on your actions.
The neurological levels can be used by organizations to bring about positive changes and achieving significant goals. Some organizations seem to live in a lie, by stating a certain mission or belief, although their actions speak otherwise. Such organizations are bound to fail, since their neurological levels are not in congruence with each other. These organizations become the playground for cynicism, hostility, fraud, frustration and resentment. On the other hand, organizations that have their neurological levels aligned with each other breed excellence. The organization and its entire staff share the same set of beliefs and values, and move together in the same direction.