How to Crush It in Business, Anywhere & Everywhere

Dec 11, 2013 | Business, High Performance, Influence/Persuasion, Leadership, Modeling Excellence, Sales | 0 comments

Do You Want to Crush it in Business, But You’re Not Yet Getting Results Yet?

This post is dedicated to everyone looking to measurably improve their business careers.  We published this post in 2013 precisely when we shifted to a greater focus on NLP in Business.  The term “Crush it” was made popular by Gary Vaynerchuk, whose first big success was creating an online store for his parents’ wine business.

Most people who hear about NLP aren’t interested in NLP for its own sake. You’re interested in results. There’s something you want, that you don’t yet have,  and you’re hungry for it. Or you haven’t built it yet.  Meanwhile, you’re looking for resources that will help you get it.  Ideally, these resources must be proven successful, or you won’t waste your time or money investing in it.

Yet the world isn’t quite so black and white. If they sold promotions or successful ROI in a pill, everyone would be buying them. Your success in business is by its very nature going to be a sophisticated result of an ever-unfolding evolution, over time. We cannot escape that fact, so don’t try. Instead, you’ll see best results from experimenting with things other people have found effective.

What could prevent you being ready to crush it in Business?

You’ve likely been held back either by Risk-Aversion, Oversimplification, Confusion, Poor Decision Strategies, or Fear of the Unknown.

Risk Aversion

If you try to develop yourself only by reading books, that’s a good start.  But then you’ll eventually reach the age of 60, before you elevate from entry level up to middle management. If you try to do it by doing what the guy or gal next to you is doing, then you’re still not distinguishing yourself from the pack.

You can only do it by choosing to invest in yourself, and take managed risks. The most successful folks are voracious students, notoriously experimenting, taking risks, and learning from failures. If you catch yourself not taking small risks because you’re afraid of failure, you’ve already lost the game. Being smart about evaluating and managing larger risks is important. But if you’re risk-averse at the lowest levels… game over.


Oversimplification happens… when someone can’t make sense of complexity on their own without generalizing beyond what’s useful.   In other words… how comfortable with complexity are you?

Human beings love “top 5 lists” and “top 7 lists.”  If you regularly need the complexity of the world oversimplified for you, then you’re not at the top of your game.  But if you can whittle complex situations down to “top 5 lists” for others’ consumption, that’s evidence of a valuable leadership trait and ability to create order from chaos.

The world needs people who can simplify complexity.  However, if you’re complexity-averse, you may as well receive the same salary for the rest of your life, with no opportunity for advancement.


This nearly always boils down to poor information gathering and/or not having the expertise to evaluate that information.  All true, whether the expertise is yours, or acquired/consulted externally.  Solving this is easy when and if you’re willing to hire someone who does have the expertise, knows what information to gather, and where to get it.

Confusion must lead to actions taken.  If you fail to recognize the symptom of confusion and know what to do with it… we would call that a lack of behavioral flexibility.

Poor Decision Strategies

Chances are if your business career is already moving forward, you’ve already got at least one if not several good decision strategies, and they probably serve you well in some circumstances.  The more you find yourself in unfamiliar territories, though, the more uncertain most people become about how and when to make decisions.  This sort of uncertainty and lack of direction can lead to career problems.

Fear of the Unknown

You need to develop and exercise your ability to embrace the unknown, step into what you don’t yet know, and explore. Play. Attach a sense of adventure and fun into the process. If you only stay inside your “comfort zone”, then you’ll remain stuck inside a lie of gargantuan proportions.  Or… you could remain open to constantly challenging your own assumptions…

The Top 3 Skillsets You Must Keep Sharpening

You could be a CEO, Manager, Customer Service Representative, Bank Teller, Entrepreneur, or Venture Capitalist.  You could be a Salesperson, Financial Strategist, Attorney, Doctor, or Lemonade Stand owner!  It doesn’t matter!  Your success and growth — your ability to crush it in business — regardless of career track always depends upon all of these three skills:

  1. ASSESSMENT: The ability to enter a situation and rapidly gather more than enough high quality information to make the best possible decision, moving forward.
  2. STRATEGIZING: The ability to (a) determine a strategy or course of action, or (b) identify or gather choices, and then make a decision about how to move forward.
  3. SMART, DECISIVE ACTION: The ability to execute steps towards the action or decision you’ve made, which may include leading, communicating, acting, and more.

“The most successful businesspeople in the world” are probably better at some or all the above, than you are.

Every single one of these… are considered “Soft Skills.”

“Hard Skills” may have taken you from resume to interview, or from phone call to client visit, or from college degree to 1st job. The lists of hard skills are conscious check-lists. But always remember that its the “Soft Skills” that got you the offer letter, or the client, or the raise, or the promotion. It’s the “Soft Skills” that led to the other decision maker’s “impression” of you.  They made that impression based on many factors.  Hundreds of pieces of information went into that impression, and the most important were your soft skills.

All three of these soft skills can be used to prevent or avoid or eliminate any of the above 5 areas:  Risk-Aversion, Oversimplification, Confusion, Poor Decision Strategies, or Fear of the Unknown.

Amazingly, for the most part, they don’t teach many “Soft Skills” in higher education.

An entire field of personal and professional development outside of academia has sprung up to help people improve themselves. Some call it the Self-Improvement field, which of course, is ill-named, since when you explore that field, you’re still seeking advice from others about how to help yourself.

If it were truly self-improvement, people wouldn’t be quoting authors.  They wouldn’t be reading books, listening to CDs, or attending training courses, to learn from other people.  Call it what it is — learning from experts and geniuses to enable growth.  And the better the teacher, the longer the mentorship relationship, the faster and more effectively you grow.

So throw away the myth of self-improvement.  If you want to crush it in business, find experts you align with, and learn from them in whatever ways you can.

Naturally, NLP provides profoundly effective tools, techniques and abilities for All Three Skill-sets.

There’s not a person on the planet that wouldn’t benefit from being able to more quickly and effectively connect with another human being.

Everyone would become more effective in their careers if they understood themselves more accurately.  They’d see similar benefits if they could also better understand how others think, what drives them, how to communicate with them, and how to motivate and influence them in ethical ways.

NLP in Business – Lessons for the USA from the UK.

I began training NLP in 1997 and rapidly began travelling overseas to the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia. In particular I visited and ran courses in the UK 20 times from 1997 to 2008, and have spoken in London, Richmond, Southampton, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Manchester, Leeds, & Glasgow (just to mention UK cities).

During these training visits, I noticed that there was widespread and increasing acceptance and fascination in the UK for using NLP in business.  Though, for them, its not intended as much to crush it in business, but instead to become a more elegant, effective communicator, with greater emotional intelligence.  In the UK, they emphasized developing emotional state-management, creative problem-solving, team development, personal excellence, and more effective communication skills.  People exhibited an openness to accepting that their unconscious minds were as or more important than their conscious minds.  There was an openness to investing in their own development, and a willingness to play.  We align with this result most closely.

Perhaps equally important, the culture of business life in the UK and Europe allowed for and encouraged far more “vacation time” than US-based employees receive.  In the UK, they call it “holiday” time. Employees in the UK can expect 3-6 weeks of holiday per year.  By contrast, employees in the USA can expect 1-3 weeks of holiday per year, usually no more than 2 until after 10 years of employment (or they reach executive levels).

Obviously, with less vacation/holiday time to spare, people feel pressure to use that free time for relaxing or re-charging.  In response, many NLP trainers have felt a need to keep shortening their courses in order to keep getting people in the door.  They’re short-changing their students – and the field.

The history lesson is only useful for reminding readers that…

The “Jedi-like” results written about during the early years of NLP, were mostly achieved by people who’d been trained for months.

They aren’t typical of anyone who attended a 3-5 day workshop and got a piece of paper lying about their supposed abilities. The field is now chock full of people who are just bloody awful at NLP, and who’ve been told they’re as good or effective as people who were trained 20 years ago. They’re not.  The false idea that a person can get good at these skills in just a handful of days, and somehow magically transport their career into the stratosphere with that low a commitment is unrealistic at best.

Study Groups augment Live Training benefits, and will help you “crush it” in business.

I also noticed that in the UK, there were NLP study groups all over the place. In every major UK city, there are multiple NLP study groups. People make a long-term commitment to exercising and developing their skills. That only rarely happens in the USA. There’s a catch-phrase in the field that says “the training begins when the training ends.” This is well exemplified in the UK. In the USA, it’s ignored. If you want to get damned good at using NLP in any area – especially in business, you should actively seek out post-workshop local study groups that meet once a month.  Even better, find one and go once every couple of weeks, for 2-3 hours of active exercises.  Seek out any evening presentations from visiting trainers to get variety!

Lets contrast the emphasis on applying NLP to relationship-building in the UK, with the USA.  In the US, the emphases has been on being pushy… on influence… on hypnotizing prospects… on ‘getting a leg up over someone else…’ and on getting one’s own way.  That win-lose frame will leak in your communication.  And this, I believe, is why here in the USA… NLP got a bad rap, from some unsavory characters using it badly.

So that stands in stark contrast to the UK, where mentioning NLP on a business card or resume is widely valued and accepted.  It’s a badge of honor — for the right reasons.

Science vs. NLP ?

Academics and social scientists have criticized NLP for years, suggesting that many tenets of NLP are either false or unproven.  Yet in fact, science is increasingly supportive of claims made by NLP as much as 35 years ago.  Visit our blog entry on science to learn more about this issue (as well as how and why science does support NLP).

The Direct Response Marketing crowd are ALL aware of NLP.  Many of them are NLP Practitioners, Master Practitioners, or NLP trainers.

There’s an enormous direct response copywriting world out there. Years ago there were just a handful of major names — Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Gary Halbert, John Carlton, Gary Bencivenga and others.

Now there are hordes of effective Direct Response Copywriters, and they ALL know about NLP.  Why?  Because many NLP-trained people have been going to their bootcamps and conferences for years. Some use it more effectively than others. Some use it more or less honorably than others.

Additionally, most of the major information product and internet marketing course launches over the past decade have intentionally used NLP.  NLP is extremely helpful for eliciting specific emotional response chains in sales-letter readers (or video-sales-letter viewers).  This leads to more effective funnels, increased ‘conversion rates,’ and of course, sales.

However, effective use of certain skills, does not necessarily equate to honorable use.  Both effectiveness and integrity are what contribute to improving the reputation of NLP in the marketplace.

Real Estate Professionals crush it…

Real Estate agencies across the country have studied aspects of NLP, though it’s often done in tiny piecemeal bits (like “Sleight of Mouth”).  Many real estate agency owners are notoriously cheap when investing in external training; they’ll try to get their agents to pay for their own training wherever possible (it’s very short-sighted of them to do it this way!).

That said, extremely smart Real Estate Agents or Brokers with Agencies will do whatever they must.  Their goal is to place themselves head and shoulders above and beyond their competition.  NLP is an extraordinary tool for enabling that result.

Competition in the real estate marketplace is often extreme.  Many people today can’t earn a living doing just real estate, which is a problem, because to do it well, a realtor often has to be “on-call” 24/7.  But taking another job can make a realtor unavailable to serve their buyers and sellers.  NLP helps you get inside the minds of your clients, connect them to you strongly, and create loyalty and referrals, for all the right reasons.

Attorneys crush it…

There are a select few attorneys that use NLP in a variety of ways.  Most focus on making a persuasive court presentation, doing voir dire, discovery, and more.

However, it can be difficult to get attorneys to realize the value of NLP to their practice, because:

  • Many attorneys are know-it-alls. When you know better than others, why would you believe a course outside your field is valuable?
  • Most attorneys are extremely busy, working 60-70 hours per week, with very little vacation time.  How much free time for training can a lawyer take for themselves, when they’re that busy?
  • It’s nigh impossible to offer them an in-person course on Law and NLP, because every attorney has a different schedule.  Trying to get multiple attorneys to sit in a room together, long enough to get them really good at NLP, is a virtual impossibility.  This is why most attorneys will never get good at NLP until they can take the time to invest in learning it well.  And remember, 3-5 days isn’t remotely enough time, and home study on one’s own isn’t remotely effective enough.
  • The best NLP-trained attorneys learned NLP, first.  Most of the attorneys I know who are actually deeply skilled at NLP learned it before starting their practice, or over 20+ years.  They also made it such a high priority, that they could devote a couple of weeks per year to NLP courses.

Now, all that said, law may be one of the best professions around for using the skills provided by NLP.   But only a select few attorneys will ever get good enough at NLP to realize that potential!

Salespeople crush it…

This is one of the best possible areas where NLP can become extremely useful.

There are some truly wonderful salespeople out there, and some utter frauds.  Most are on the ethical side, but not yet high performers.  Many less-than-ethical sales people have been forced into certain sales behaviors.  They often work for demanding and cold-blooded sales managers, who’ve taught them despicable tactics.   We wonder if those tactics evolved entirely because people didn’t know there was a better way?

Recently, when shopping for a car, I walked out of 8 dealerships when faced with clear examples of fraud (true!).  That series of unfortunate experiences was fortunately overshadowed after I found the right dealer, at the right dealership.

Finding honorable salespeople can be a challenge.  Why did I encounter so many negative sales experiences before finding a positive one?  What if every salesperson refused to work for an unethical sales manager — and had the skills to identify that during their interview? What if every salesperson were so good at connecting with people and helping them make the best decision possible, that they all earned  their commissions ethically?

If all those things were true… that might enable them to take better advantage of every opportunity.  Their happy customers might then actively send them more future business.  Then their income would inevitably grow far more than it would have done, by using smarmy sales tactics.

With NLP, you’ll convey a sense of higher value, that people will attach… to you.

Executives crush it:

Executives need to lead.  They need to be able to influence minds both gently and strongly.  These leaders need to collect other insightful and incisive minds.  Then, they need to radiate charisma, listen profoundly well, and effectively communicate a strong shared vision.   True leaders need to be able to establish, simplify and streamline a company culture, a mission, and a public message.

They need to attract the best people to their teams, and retain them by challenging and rewarding those people properly.  Finally, they need to find and project confidence in their choices and in their strategic planning.  In short, there’s very little in NLP that isn’t extremely helpful to executives!  NLP teaches incredibly useful skills for all of the above areas, and all of them would help execs crush it in business.

Politicians try to crush each other:

Most politicians don’t need any reminders of the value of NLP for influencing the masses.  After all, Al Gore had NLP training.  President Clinton got coaching from Anthony Robbins.  NLP books have actually been seen first-hand laying on tables at No. 10 Downing Street (British Prime Minister’s office).  Many politicians actively study the more hypnotic aspects of NLP.  They would typically focus on Milton Model hypnotic patterns, rhythmic cadence to minimize resistance, and tonal shifts during key moments of a speech.

If you’re a politician or planning to run for office soon, and you don’t yet know NLP, rest assured:  You’re way, WAY behind.  Get yourself registered for as many NLP courses as you can, ASAP.  Your competition probably already has.

Specifically, we now offer an NLP Business Practitioner training called “PeopleGenius Level 1″ that would knock your socks off!

author: Jonathan Altfeld