The Third NLP Leadership Summit — 2014

From: L. Michael Hall


We had 22 of the top leaders in NLP present for our third-year-in a row Summit.  And while we are not so much in the task-oriented mode yet, we are accomplishing something very significant —- we are connecting and relating and communicating — and thereby demonstrating that those who us who have a long history in NLP, those who have been active leaders and others who are still actively leading people into this field — can get along with each other, cooperate and even communicate.


We are also learning about what each is doing and becoming more fully acquainted regarding what’s happening in this field outside of ourselves and the smaller communities in which we live and work.  We began with a statement of our purpose to associate rather than to create an association.  Frank Pucelik reminded us of a commitment we made at the beginning to not speak bad or down about others but if there are conflicts to deal with them directly with the person.


We made two decisions —


  1. We will do a 3-day conference in Nice, France, January 6-8, 2016.  Gilles Roy said that soon the hotel owner will be putting up on a website so the we can subscribe for a room there.   Each of us will sponsor ourselves to be there … and there will be a little bit more that we will throw in for lunch, coffee breaks and the room.   We are planning for a minimum of 30 and possibly 100.  Heidi Heron suggested to make it truly international and see if we can get 2 long-term NLP “leaders” from as many countries as we can.  We created a small committee to be in charge of selecting those who come, myself, Heidi, and Bob Janes.


  1. David Bowman announced in the morning session that this would be the last NLP Conference that Crown House Publ. would sponsor so we talked about the importance of the conference and our commitment to it.  We send Wyatt Woodsmall and Frank Pucelik downstairs to talk with David about some possibilities.  Ideally it was agreed that having someone sponsor the Conference who is “neutral” and not a competing Training Company would be best.  We talked about 5 possible ways to go.  We talked about Karen Moxom being an ideal sponsor and 14 raised hands about tossing in 500 pounds as insurance against lost.  We appointed a group of four to keep us informed about this: Joe Cheal, Wyatt Woodsmall, Karen Moxom  and Jeremy Lazarus.


Announcements were made about the Community Project at Santa Cruz, August 2015, 4 or 5 of the people present said that they would be there and provide information about the NLP Leadership Summit.


Mention was made of widipedia and of the NLP Widipedia .. that Tim Hallboam, Rick Gray, Frank Bourke and others have been working on for some 3 years.  … Phil Parker said he would be sharing what he has discovered and effective with the others.


Mention was made of Research and reference given to several in the group who are currently doing research, or on the Research Conference.  Heidi mentioned Steve Andreas email about Training Videos … and has already gotten that information out!  (Talk about efficient! … someone modeled that woman!)


Frank talked about Meta International and his work with addictions.  It turns out that he’s passionate about those subjects (!) and it took several to do a pattern interrupt (Julia Russell and Judith Lowe)  so we could return to the dialogue mode!  (We love you Frank!)


We left two items for the 2016 Conference when we have plenty of time — standards and associations to be recognized.  If I have left things out — do write in and remind us.  John Seymour took extensive notes, but I did not.


From: L. Michael Hall

re: Overview of where we are

and Proposal for our future







We began the NLP Leadership Summit for a single purpose— getting those who are exercising / demonstrating leadership in the field of NLP together to talk about our future.  That’s all.  When I began talking about this with Frank who had just “returned” to this field … this was to challenge the “culture” that had grown up in our field for more than three decades.  It would be a way to undo one of the big complaints against the credibility of NLP — “the leaders can’t even communicate among themselves.”


So we met, and lo and behold— we were able to communicate!  We were able to be respectful in spite of disagreements.  So at the 2nd Summit (2013) we set out to see if we could talk about our most basic understandings — What is NLP?  What are our values?  What do we think about quality? Etc.  And further we set out also to work together— to cooperate.  So we created six or seven sub-committees and within 40 days we had all of the materials that we are now on the website!


We did all of this as a self-managing group.  No leaders, no one in charge, no one dictating things.  We did it collaboratively.  I think that really speaks well of what we have started.  At the 3rd Summit (2014) we talked first about supporting the London NLP Conference and many raised their hands for providing “insurance” if Karen Moxom took it over and it went into the red.  We also began talking about planning for a 3-day Conference.  What we did not talk about was “Standards.”



We need to do that.  Obviously.  But are we ready to have those difficult conversations?  To do so we ourselves have to be ready.  So following up with what has already been said and especially Julian’s list of commitments, we have this:

1) Relate as peers and colleagues

2) Show respect and compassion to each other

3) Have a humble commitment to ongoing learning

4) Ask questions more than advocate positions


If we begin with the idea of living the NLP Communication Principles and Presuppositions, we could create Ground Rules from them—ground rules about communicating and relating when we have the difficult conversations.  The above list implies the following ground rules:

1) We show ourselves as peer colleagues of each other by taking turns in talking and not engaging in monologues or lectures.

2) We show respect by actively listening and not talking over each other.

3) We show actively listening by repeating another’s point to his/her satisfaction when the conversation gets heated.

4) We show humility by acknowledging we are fallible and could be wrong.

5) We ask questions— especially the precision questions of the Meta-Model when someone uses unspecified terms or nominalizations or lost performatives.

6) We show respect by taking turns talking and giving everyone a chance to contribute.

7) We use a moderator if and when the conversation becomes “heated” when voices are raised.  We will appoint 2 individuals to step into the role of moderator and agree to follow the moderator’s guidance about who speaks, for how long, etc.


This is a start.  It is also the way we have been communicating in the three past Summits.  What else?  What other recommendations for co-creating a set of ground rules so that we can surface controversial issues and manage ourselves — our states, our attitude, and our conversational behaviors?


Future —  Fast Forward 13 Months to Nice, France

What shall we call it?  I’ve been calling it a Conference and then saying, “But it will not be the kind of Conference where we have keynote speakers and lectures.”   We have tried that and it has not really served the community— it encourages jealousy for who gets to be on stage and the idea of a hierarchy.  So here is an idea — what do you think?

What if we called it a Colloquium?   Here is how this term is defined:

col·lo·qui·um (klkwm) n. pl. col·lo·qui·ums or col·lo·qui·a (-kw-)

  1. An informal meeting for the exchange of views.
  2. An academic seminar on a broad field of study, usually led by a different lecturer at each meeting.

[Latin, conversation, from colloqu ,to talk together : com-, com- + loqu, to speak.]


Then, as “an informal meeting for the exchange of views,” our aim will be to come together and use various group self-management processes and practices— Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry, Groups of 8 to work on subjects and sharing results on dozens of flip charts, then sharing the “leadership” by drawing names for who will moderate or summarize and lead a larger group conversation.  These are just suggestions given to begin a conversation about how we will move forward.