07 Mar

NLP Modelling @ Fiat

The following account is a summary of a modeling project on effective leadership skills, conducted at Fiat between 1989 and 1993, that illustrates some of the key aspects ofthe NLP modeling process. The project was sponsored by Gianfranco Gambigliani, the chief executive officer of ISVOR Fiat, the company’s internal training organization. The implementation of the project was supported by Giovanni Testa, director of International Training and Development for ISVOR. The research team consisted of the author and two Italian colleagues: Gino Bonissone and Ivanna Gasperini.

In the early 1970’s Fiat was a company on the verge of collapsing. By the late 1980′ Fiat was listed by Fortune magazine as the second most profitable company in the world (just behind IBM). This dramatic turnaround was largely a function of a number of key leaders in the organization.
Many of those leaders, however, were approaching retirement, and it was recognized that their leadership abilities would need to be transferred to, or developed in others, if the company were to continue to be successful.

This modeling project was part of the effort to define the key skills ofleadership that had helped to make the company successful, and to design ways to teach and help develop those abilities in others.

A zero base seminar was constructed on the basis of theexperimental seminar and conducted in March of 1990. The general sequence of situations (problem solving – delegation – training on the job) were maintained in order to verify and refine the general approach. The instructional instruments (questionnaire, scenario, role play, simulation) was also preserved and adapted to fit a non-experimental training based on those made up by the experimental group participants.

The basic NLP models of SOAR, SCORE, TOTE and Communication Matrix were the essential theoretical and behavioral framework presented in the seminar.

The Fiat leadership project was successful in a number of ways. In addition to identifying important capabilities that were incorporated into Fiat’s training seminars on leadership, many of the skills that were modeled in the study became part of Fiat’s basic training program for their managers. As a result of these contributions, two further experimental seminars on other aspects of leadership were organized. In November 1990 a second modeling seminar, focusing on systemic thinking skills, was conducted with the same leaders who had participated in the initial project. The purpose of this program was to identify specific systemic thinking skills and strategies applied by effective managers in relationship to concrete and dynamic leadership situations. Research included identifying the types of mental maps, assumptions and questions leaders used in order achieve outcomes and solve problems in situations involving a high degree of complexity and uncertainty.
In November 1991, a third modeling seminar focusing on the management of beliefs and values was conducted. The purpose of this study was to apply the tools of NLP to examine the specific skills used by effective leaders to manage beliefs and values. In particular, it focused on issues arising with respect to collaborators, groups and teams in challenging leadership situations involving the accomplishment of a specific job or task.

Robert Dilts – Modelling with NLP

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