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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would struggle to recommend a better book on PM soft skills, 30 Sept. 2011
This review is from: NLP for Project Managers: Make Things Happen with Neuro-Linguistic Programming (Paperback)
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) for Project Managers in its purest sense is a book for any project practitioner who wants to improve on their behavioural competencies in project management. In other words it is that area of development that often gets neglected or overlooked in favour of more technical aspects of project management like process and methods.

If you have heard little about NLP yet been put off by the stories of manipulation or its just psycho babble, now is the time to take another look. The book takes a comprehensive look at areas such as communication and interaction with others - all vital parts of the project practitioner's working day.

Peter's experience in project management coupled with expertise in NLP makes this book a directly relevant read for a practitioner. He covers the "science" part of NLP before going on to relate the NLP elements to everyday occurrences in the project management world.

The book kicks off with the world of project management - a scene-setting chapter which is equally applicable to seasoned practitioners, as it serves as a reminder of the people aspects in projects, as well as those new to project management.

The second chapter focuses on the world of NLP and starts to introduce the concepts - like presuppositions, meta-programs, representational systems and so on. There is a lot in this chapter that often requires a reread too, not because it is difficult to understand the concepts but rather there is a new "language" to learn. Maybe this was my approach to the book in that I wanted to ensure that I understood the terms and would want to recall them later (I should declare my interest in psychology here, having graduated some years ago in the subject, and NLP is very much about some psychological aspects of people). However, this book can be read without studying as Peter intersperses the concepts with his own personal stories and exercises.

The third chapter brings the two worlds together - project management and NLP.

There are so many great things in this chapter and I suspect it is a chapter that many practitioners will delve into time and time again. Take the area of time management, something all project practitioners have a real sense of. Wouldn't it be interesting to know how all your team members view time management? The meta-program for time looks at "through-time" and "in-time" and a simple visualisation exercise can quickly show you if you are more likely to be aware of deadlines and planning ahead and vice versa - a neat little exercise that would help not only your own work, but also give an indication of how your team views the world. The area of negotiation and persuasion, a top skill for any practitioner, and again dealing with conflict, motivating the team, listening skills, giving feedback, stress management... the list goes on. So many areas of a project manager's daily work life are here, with practical, clear tools, exercises and real life examples to making small changes that have a big impact. And that's the key to this book: its about taking one area at a time and trying it out in real life situations (having a go with friends and family first before rushing into the next project meeting!)

The final part of the book gives a "week in the life of" a project manager using some of the NLP techniques. I think it's a nice touch to the book which really demonstrates that you don't really need to remember the names of the concepts or even remember the details of the concepts.

My recommendation is that the second and third chapter should be read straight after each other without a break (there was a two-week period between me reading these chapters). Whilst Peter does layout the concepts again more briefly in the third chapter, I had to do a bit of back tracking just to make sure I understood the concept again!

The target audience is very much the project practitioner and I think the book hits the mark perfectly. It has a good balance of theory and practical interpretation through models and tools which should appeal to a project practitioner.

I would struggle to recommend another book that covers the tricky subject of how we become better at the people aspects of project management. I think the mark of any good book is that you find yourself recommending it when in conversation with others, which is what happened just the other day. A friend, who is currently working in a change management environment, was talking about interesting times in her organisation. It was the age-old problem of a few "trouble makers" who are showing resistance to change. I piped up that there are loads of examples and approaches you could take with NLP, and there's this book I'm reading...
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