From Engineer to Entrepreneur

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Posted by APM on 18th Jan 2013

The first monthly APMHK event of 2013 was held at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club on Tuesday, 15th January 2013. The speaker is Stephen Lam, Director of STEP Coaching & Consulting Ltd., which is a Hong Kong based company. He delivered a talk on the topic of From engineer to entrepreneur as related to personal growth through neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). He is well placed to address this topic, which is sub-titled "An overview of personal growth through neuro-linguistic programming".

With over 25 years working experience in business, service management and engineering management, Stephen specializes in personnel and management coaching and development. As a volunteer Director in Fullness Vocational Training Centre, he is currently coaching some young delinquents to develop their skills and help them get back to track to society. His presentation largely covers the human communication model and information filters, and the key elements and applications of NLP.

To begin, Stephen described his growth and development of his career journey from an Engineer to Entrepreneur through the operational/business management and regional management stages. He started his career in Hewlett Packard in 1984. He was fully in charge of over US$1B computer service business and took up different roles as engineer, project management, country business management, and as Regional Business Development Leader in the last ten years. He then set up his business in 2010. During the various stages, he used hardcore skills (project management skills, technology, etc.), soft core skills (team management, business marketing, etc.) and personal mastery (high level communication skills) to move his career transition from one stage to another.

Turning to NLP, Stephen stated that NLP described the fundamental dynamics between mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how their interplay affects our body and behavior (programming). NLP was created and developed in the early 1970s by Dr. Richard Bandler and John Grinder. It is a collection of modeled skills. He emphasized that neuro was not limited to the brain, but extended to neurological processes, such as sight, smell, hearing , taste and touch.

We use language to order our thoughts and communicate with others. Human communication is very subtle and it takes place at more complex levels, e.g., body language and pheromones. Programming is the patterns of how we organize ideas and actions. NLP has principles of how the mind and body work together, communicating between each other and the external environment. The external events are gone through our filters by eyes, ears, feeling, etc. and form our internal mental maps. Filtered thoughts are stored in our unconscious mind. Mental images, emotions and personal experiences can be utilized to bring about change in behavior and state of mind and psychology. Once a pattern is learned, the brain will continue to use it until something different is programmed. Stephen quoted two examples of a drowning person and the sour lemon juice.

The six key elements of NLP are: NLP pre-suppositions, Preferred Thinking Styles (PTS), self-management, language patterns, change strategies and model/techniques. One of the pre-suppositions of the NLP Communication Model is that our mental maps are not just the world as others see, hear and feel them; our thoughts and memories have a pattern to them. Changing that will change our experience. PTS refers to our five senses sight, hearing, feeling, taste and smell. It represents the five ways to process and store information. Stephen highlighted four kinds of NLP techniques: Anchoring, reframing, circle of excellence and timeline.

According to Stephen, anchoring is a process by which any stimulus or representation (external or internal) becomes connected to and triggers a response. Anchors can happen naturally, or we can set them up intentionally anchoring others for profit. This subtle NLP anchoring technique can be used within a sales environment. It is possible to build a strong state and keep accessing it to get the customer to change their beliefs and to remember a time when they were in that state. NLP works at business, education, health, and it can be used for personal changes. One of the benefits of NLP is more choice: In how you respond, the ways you communicate, and how you feel. For personal changes, NLP provides freedom from old habits, fears, limiting beliefs, and gives a structure for a new and empowering ways of being in the world. It influences ones mindset and behaviors. For business, NLP skills will improve business and operation, communication, rapport building, relationship management and goal setting. Finally, NLP strategies also provide powerful ways to free and stimulate your creativity.

From the example of his personal career growth from Engineer to Entrepreneur, he asked the audience to take control of their destiny, plan their career and development goal, and achieve personal mastery.

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