The term "inadequate productivity" (as a linguistic representation) will be understood in six different ways by six different members of staff, since they have six different experiences with it.
In individual cases, the term "insufficient productivity" could also be hiding deeper structures (previous experiences, assumptions etc.) under its surface, which the individual is no longer aware of or can no longer access, and consequently prevents him from
· experiencing and
The experience is changed in three ways (model formation)
which are precipitated in linguistic changes. These processes have positive functions which make orientation and action easier, but can also cause limitations:
· Generalisation is the process in which the original subjective experience is generalised. "The behaviour of a specific member of staff has limited my productivity." The generalisation is to believe that insufficient productivity is always due to this behaviour from a member of staff, or that this behaviour always leads to insufficient productivity.
· Elimination is the process in which we include selectively determined aspects and exclude others. Functional specification often leads to elimination among staff: the researcher who has no understanding of costs, the advertising expert who has no understanding of ethical principles etc.
· Distortion is the process in which perceptions and data are skewed to such an extent that they can no longer be used to improve behaviour. A staff member (SM) with an "I know everything" attitude responds to an explanation from a manager with the subconscious message, "I can’t learn anything new from you."
Practice Examples For The Meta-Model
I gain no recognition.
I regret my decision.
I need help.
His professional failure met with rejection.
My separation is painful.
My pain is overwhelming.
He rejected me.
He transferred me.
I always show that I like her.
He shows me that he’s not bothered.
He can’t concentrate.
Most people are insensitive.
People act as if I’m not there.
I like friendly people.
You should respect other people’s feelings.
I don’t understand anything.
I find it difficult to speak.
I promised to make an effort.
That moves me.
I have a problem.
He always picks out the best.
1. Nominalisation and non-specific nouns
Any noun which represents something that I can’t put into a wheelbarrow is a nominalisation: courage, rage, productivity, creativity, trust, communication etc. Processes, actions etc. are transformed into nouns which limit the selection options.
Problem statements such as
· productivity has fallen,
· communication has been neglected, etc.
are non-specific and lead to more questions:
The question technique specifies the noun or transforms the nominalisation:
· Which … exactly
· Which productivity exactly …
· Who or what is …
· Who is communicating poorly with whom?
The non-specific nouns and nominalisations are defined more specifically or translated back into a process.
2. Non-specific verbs
Individual aspects of the action or process are eliminated: "The competition has outrun us."
The question technique specifies the problem or process:
· How exactly is…?
· How exactly has…?
· How exactly has the competition outrun us?
· How exactly has productivity fallen?
How exactly has communication been neglected?
3. Rules (modal operators)
· The language uses "should" and "must" instructions (model operators of
of necessity) for expression:
"We must get ready for the new law."
Question technique: What would happen if we didn’t have to?
· Or it uses "can" and "cannot" instructions (modal operators of possibility) for expression:
We cannot afford this investment.
Question technique: What would happen if we could?
Effect: Opens up new options, ideas, opportunities. Overcomes limitations.
Generalisations transfer individual experiences to other situations: Positive learning: I stop at every red light.
On the other hand, generalisations are limiting, since they build fences: We’ve NEVER had any luck with those kinds of ideas. Or: As an innovative organisation, we will NEVER copy things (other symptoms include always, all, the whole company etc.).
Question technique: Never? Is there not an example of us
Effect: Identify counter-examples for the limitation and question
them: breaking open limitations on belief.
5. Comparisons and superlatives without reference
Comparisons which have eliminated reference are non-specific: We are the best. Or: It’s easier for us.
Question technique: In comparison to what…? The best compared to what?
Effect: Clarifies or identifies the criterion for the comparison. Trust through questioning.