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The Adaptive HOW – Assessment of Learning for Today’s World

I enjoyed listening future education expert Sugata Mitra on TV3 this morning. He pointed out that our schooling examination system is based on something 200 years old, and suggested we should allow students to use the internet in their exam process. I wanted to make a few comments, because I think he made some important points, and this goes to modern education and assessment in general.

As an education, training and development professional for more than 25 years, I’ve noticed that modern social and technological changes have shifted younger generations needs in business and life, but the education system’s examination processes have not kept up.

My viewpoint is this: because the internet makes so much info instantly available, we have shifted from a WHAT-based learning requirement to a HOW-based and adaptation style learning requirement. Yes, people need to internally know and understand a certain amount of theory and data. However, when most of the WHAT is on your device, the higher need is HOW to use/apply the info, so it becomes useful knowledge that drives what we do, how we adapt and results we get.

Therefore, to examine students at school or uni, mostly about data regurgitation and calculations (which they can do on their device), is not as useful in life and work as evaluating their integration of application skills – using the learning and theories, ways of thinking and adapting, relating to the people and the applications – to generate results, new ideas, forward moves in their projects, etc.

In short, this is now a HOW-based world (and even WHAT-IF? future thought variance). Therefore, much more evaluation/assessment of learners ought to be based on people’s abilities to use, adapt and integrate knowledge – not whether they can regurgitate data.

Keen to hear others opinions on the future shift of assessment to today’s’ world … whether you agree with my perspective or wish to offer a different one … its all learning …

Have a great day

Mark Klaassen – NLP Master Trainer (INLPTA)

Communications Plus NLP

for Personal and Professional Development

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Values, Beliefs and Decisions in Leadership

by Mark Klaassen

One of the things that determines our success in life is the quality of the decisions we make. Nowhere else is this more important in the workplace, than in our decisions as a Leader.
Do you want to make better decisions and be more effective leader?
Read on…

People make decisions based on their values and beliefs, and how these things interact with the circumstances of the current decision they are about to make.

Firstly, to define the elements involved:

  • Values are labels for what is important to us, and they have strong emotional component.  We are motivated to either move toward the fulfilment of a value, or away from a threat to that value.  When something is really important to us, we are willing to invest time, energy and resources to achieve it or avoid a threat to it.
    As a leader it is important to be aware that our values hierarchy (the priority order of our values) changes with our perception of the context.  In other words, different things may become more important with a change of our context, and/or change of emotional state in that context.  Values most often operate, and are responded to, from a deep place within, prior to conscious thought.
  • Beliefs are rules of operation we believe to be true and use to guide us, based on learnings from our past experience.  e.g. a person says: “based on my experiences of A, B and C in this context, I have found that following path X is more useful than following path Y.”
    Beliefs include repeated patterns of conscious thought, especially around choices of method of how fulfil our values.
    The most important things to realise about beliefs, especially in a leadership role, is that sometimes they are outdated. Just like software on your computer needs regular updates to deal with operations in the current environment, so sometimes our beliefs about what’s the best thing to do, or choice to make, are based on old past experiences, and not always the most appropriate or functional to get top results in new circumstances.
    Hence if we do not have insight and awareness to change our “rules of operation” when appropriate, we can end up making a decision that goes wrong, and asking ourselves “Why didn’t that work? It’s worked in the past several times.”
  • Decisions are choices we make, after evaluating options and resources in relation to outcomes we wish to achieve.
    So what makes for a good decision? And why is it not necessarily the leaders who have the most data, who make the best decisions? How come some people seem to have an innate capability for highly useful and effective decisions in the moment?


Secondly, great leaders have an innate capability for useful decisions because they move beyond simply the logical conscious mind, and rely heavily on the unconscious mind in guiding them.  So what does this mean?

  • Conscious mind: a part of the mind wherein we are consciously aware of our thinking and process at a logical and analytical level
  • Unconscious mind: the bigger and more powerful part of the mind which runs well embedded patterns based on our past experience, and strongly resourced mode one might call our “autopilot mode”.

Many things effect the way we make decisions and do or don’t do achieve our goals. Paradoxically, the ‘Conscious Leader’ in today’s world is also conscious of the autopilot power of their unconscious mind, and the importance of emotional intelligence and values-based decision making.

Allow me to show you the following diagram which illustrates key aspects that internally influence us in our goals and decisions.  Think of an iceberg, which typically has 10% above the water and 90% below the water …

You will see in the lower 90% of the iceberg, a representation of why the unconscious programming of our mind has become so conditioned by powerful contributors from our past experience and current patterned ways of being.


Thirdly, bringing all the above together, top decision-makers are aware that their decisions in leadership are guided by their “map or model of the world”, i.e. the internal guidance system everyone has about how they perceive the world to be, and the best ways to get by in each set of life and work circumstances.   They learn to develop, adjust and upgrade those things in the 90% area – the powerful unconscious mind.

So back to our decisions – as each set of circumstances arise, decisions are required, and people use their best available guidance at the time from their “map”, to make decisions that fulfil their contextual values (what is most important in the context according to them) and align with their beliefs (their experience driven rules of operation which determine the most likely path of success, based on their guiding “map”).

If decisions in leadership based on one’s own map are not well founded, leaders in this situation will keep repeating unuseful patterns of behaviour and struggle with effective leadership.  Alternately, the leader who learns the skills of how to develop their internal world, and also how to have more effective values-based conversations with their team members, then finds themselves to be more adaptable and be making wiser, more productive decisions.


Fourthly, we must ask the question: “based on which set of values, does a leader in an organisation or a team, make the best decisions?”

Here are some pointers:

  • the obvious to any conscious leader, is the importance of taking into account the 5 main values maps that will exist:
    • the values of the leader
    • the values of those being led
    • the values held by the organisation where they are
    • the values of those being affected by the decisions and subsequent actions (inside and outside the organisation e.g. clients and suppliers)
    • the values of other key players who have influence in or on the context


And finally, the mature leader (which, by the way, is not necessarily to do with age) is most effective because:

  1. they are aware of all the above about values, beliefs and decisions
  2. they understand the power of the unconscious mind and the existence and key content of their “map/model of the world” which guides them instinctively
  3.  they make mistakes and learn from them, and
  4. most importantly, they are wisely adaptable and so their guiding map evolves, creating for them to become more effective in the leadership of self and others.

The key thing in the personal and professional development of the leader as a person, is recognising that it is essential to learn how to upgrade your “map”, and know how to ongoingly grow and evolve yourself – self lead, self-teach, become more insightful and adaptable.

Mark Klaassen is Principal Trainer, Facilitator and Consultant for Communications Plus.  He works in Australia and New Zealand, based out of Melbourne and Auckland respectively, teaching and coaching leaders in corporate, banks, private organisations and community services. Mark is a specialist in the development of Emotional Intelligence in business leaders using models from NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), Spiral Dynamics, mBraining – multiple brain leadership, and the Enneagram.

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The Legacy of Influence

From Mark – “The Legacy of Influence”

Well, my calendar says its 1st December 2016 … what does that mean for you? A time of delight? Or is it wonder at where the year went so fast?

On TV yesterday, I saw Oprah Winfrey interviewed, and she said something like:

“What makes my life meaningful is not the size of my swimming pool, my wardrobe or my car … its my legacy … whose lives have I influenced, and how have I influenced them?”

She further went on to say: “When people ask – ‘how do you decide who to give to from the Oprah Foundation, … what projects to support from all the possible people and causes?’ – I choose on what matters to me. If it doesn’t matter to me, and come from my heart, I don’t give to it. When I was young, and in need, people helped me, did something for me or my family, helped me with education, etc … and so those are some causes I have passion about, they mean something to me.”

As I reflected on that, I thought about some people who helped me in formative days, struggle days, times when many had deserted me, or times when I didn’t know how to solve something or cope with something. They (friends, family, colleagues, teachers, strangers) took time to teach me things, work through things with me, educate my mind-set, ‘call me out’ on stuff, be a good model of something for me. None of them were perfect, or had it all together. All had their flaws, and their own struggles … yet they reached out from that place, and offered what good they could offer, gave from their wealth of life experience and insight and sometimes practical assistance. Investments that continue to pay dividends in my life, and many get ‘paid-forward’.

I valued that. And I realise that’s what rings my bells … helping those I can help in a way that comes from a meaningful place inside me. And honestly recognising that I neither can help, nor want to help, everyone. And some may have been irritated that I didn’t help how they expected.

So to anyone who who’s wondering what to give for Christmas … perhaps you can consider Oprah’s self-reflection above, about who and how you have influenced this year. And choose to give whatever you give, from a meaningful place within you.

I wish you all peace and restoration during the holiday season.

Mark Klaassen


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NLP Trainer Training Auckland New Zealand

Looking for a More Inspiring Satisfying Life? 

If you’re lookng for the easiest thing to do in life, read no further.  But, if you are where you are in your life right now, and you’re looking for something more fulfilling, more inspiring and something that involves a very rewarding ‘giving back’ component … I may have just the recommendation you are looking for right now.

Becoming an NLP Trainer.  To do this, you need to be up for a challenge, something that will stretch you, at the same time as having you realise you can actually do stuff you thought you’d probably only ever watch others do in front of a group.  Imagine, you,  leading that group on how to run their life positively, intentionally and purposefully.  If it were you on this path to NLP Trainer certification – you would be learning the skills, the knowledge and the how to of shaping lives, breaking patterns and enabling people seeking growth to become free and resourceful.  The details of the course and what you will learn and be able to do, are found by clicking that link above “learn the skills”.   What I really want to share with you here, is the rewarding and varied life/work style that comes with gaining and using the skills of an NLP Trainer.  Many people have gone before you, and their testimonials can be read on the 2015 INLPTA NLP Trainer Cert PDF.

There is nothing quite as exciting and satisfying, as watching someone who came into their first NLP training – who was stuck, lacking confidence and feeling flat about the things not working out in their life – who then breaks out of old patterns of belief and behaviour, and keenly steps up to take responsibility for their life with renewed purpose, vitality and “how to” skills!

Which people will come to your trainings depends on you.  For me, its largely people in business – working for organisations or self-employed, coaches (or want to to be), therapists educators, corporate leaders and business owners.  All of them have great strengths interesting and varied personalities, and the curious ‘want’ to find out what else is possible for them.  And, they all have past failures, some unuseful ways of being and relating, and old strategies that dont serve them so well … just like you and me, eh?  They all want to break their unuseful patterns of thinking and doing, so they can move up, feel more free and inspired, once again belief in themselves, their future and in making a more worthwhile contribution.  Those are great goals in personal and professional development.

And what’s most important, is they want you to help and guide them!  Teach them the skills, tell them the stories, create the new brain pathways … that will help them grab their opportunity, and leave behind their previous self-created walls.    The world is not short of people who are stuck and despondent and running too fast on a treadmill that no longer inpisres them.  However, the world is short of people who want to make a difference, and are willing to do what it takes to become that difference-maker, change agent and cheer-team leader that growth seeking people are searching for!

Does it interest you?  Does the possibility intrigue you?  For some of you, I know the answer is “yes”.  Can you do it? This is the point where self-doubt crept in for me about 15-16 years ago.  But I felt is was important for me to find out, check it out, explore what might just be possible and sooo rewarding if I could get there.  And with help and guidance, yes.  Money? It finds you if this is your path, so that’s not the decider.  Capability?  Talk with me, and I’ll tell you what I think.  Now here’s the biggest question – will you?  If the money is possible, and the capability is in your range … do you have the commitment to changing people’s futures – the minds, hearts of others who will make a difference because you were there.  Parents, business leaders, educators, coaches, therapists, sports men and women, doctors and nurses and others you attract.

So.  Are you looking for a More Inspiring and Satisfying Life?

If you are, seriously … and perhaps there is this wondering possibility in your mind …  call me.

Thanks for listening, about something I’m passionate about … Changing Lives … giving people who want to, tools and the belief to GROW !

Mark Klaassen
NLP Master Trainer INLPTA

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What is NLP?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a behavioural science for improving your personal performance in life, in business, in relationships
become better at selling, negotiating, reading people, body language, getting past limitations  –  it’s about  “…. being your best more often.”

Focusing on the structure of human behaviour, NLP helps you understand how and why people behave the way they do, how they take in information,
how they deal with it, and how they act on it. It is both a communication process and a set of tools which enables you to influence, communicate and
respond so effectively that you can empower every aspect of your life.  And … using NLP skills, you can rapidly improve the results you get from how
you relate with yourself … and others, for better business and a more fulfilling personal life.

Free NLP Articles and Video Clips


What is NLP?  According to:      Mark Klaassen &          Richard Bandler               John Grinder            Mark Klaassen & NLP Graduates       NLP onFacebook
NLP Professionals         NLP Co-Founder              NLP Co-Founder       NLP Master Trainer & Facilitator       See our NLP Events

Click here for more Information about NLP Testimonials    Associated Partners and Links  Bookmark this site now    Dilts on NLP Video   INLPTA Website

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Live your Dream

Available from,,,, Barnes and Noble and other fine book retailers. For example, Book Depository, which stocks over 2.5 million books, offers free shipping to over 90 countries and you can purchase in several different currencies. They also have many ebooks, including Live Your Dreams Let Reality Catch Up.

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