What are ‘well-formed outcomes’ in NLP?
“Well-formed” is the for some an unfamiliar term that is widely used in NLP to describe goal setting, objectives or targets that have been designed according to specific criteria.
The NLP outcome setting process is somewhat dissimilar to the well-know SMART objectives method because it is more thorough and rigorous than the SMART method.
Why ‘well-formed outcomes’?
The term ‘well-formed’ has been around in NLP for around 40 years and, as with many of the rather arcane NLP terms, the name can get in the way of understanding the simplicity of the model.
Some people, to make things even more obtuse, even refer to the ‘well-formedness conditions for an outcome‘. The original version is described by Robert Dilts in the excellent Encyclopaedia of NLP. You can find more about this process by clicking here.
Simply put, what the term really means is that the outcome has been refined or checked against a series of tests and once it has ‘passed’ these tests it is well-designed – or, if you must, ‘well-formed’!
You can use this process to clarify your own wishes so that they are more realistic and action-focussed – and to assist others in doing the same.