advantages and benefits
POV Point Of View
I have been a Technical Industrial Engineer, specializing in the branch of mechanics for the past 25 years.
For those who are not familiar with engineers, we are often “perceived” as a species apart. We have a reputation for being cold and/or objective; and that often the first thing that we detect are problems; that we are not always very communicative; and that we think in terms of systematic processes, etc. Of course this kind of assessment is generic with no real statistical value.
It is likely that this reputation comes from our academic training. Having studied physics, chemistry, technical drawing, thermodynamics, electrical machines and differential calculus, among others, accepting much of what we learned as dogmas of faith.
All this has probably conditioned our paradigm in some way,our way of seeing the world and how we relate to the job. In general, we apply a modus operandi which is entirely rational, anticipating risks and finding logical solutions, which is in line with what we were taught at university, and what
we have gained with experience.
However, not everybody is an engineer (luckily for the rest of the world), nor are all engineers equal (lucky for engineers), but like everyone else, we must face the trials and tribulations that are presented to us in life and work, just like all mortals. Although we have a great capacity to solve problems, we need to face challenges to be able to address problems together in a satisfactory manner and in addition, if possible, in an encouraging way.
Who has not attended lengthy meetings, where the ego of some participant exceeds the rationality of another? Or where the inertia of our thoughts do not let us see the potential opportunities that are hidden behind a creative proposition, or even worse, when one cannot come up with new ideas for fear of criticism.? Meetings that go round in circles, stretching out endlessly, vague, instead of focusing on the real issue.
Conducting meetings in this manner should be declared obsolete, as not only are they clearly inefficient, but because today, there are undeniable solutions. Here is where the systematic tidy, respectful tools of de Bono come in. Which can put an end to communication/ relationship difficulties. All team members get to use a method (which is also simple and easy) as if it were a game (taking it seriously – but also enjoying the ride) respecting the rules. Thanks to the tools, we can better organize our thoughts to be in tune with the rest of participants, with everyone on the same page “looking” in the same direction, keeping time democratically, consciously looking for opportunities, generating ideas using precise techniques and harvesting satisfactory results for one and all.
As engineers, we have the added advantage that due to our professional deformation we have already acquired the mental dexterity to deal with systematic processes, which probably makes us excellent candidates for the de Bono tools. However, to be truly effective it is important that once you have installed this “software”, the team sets goals supported by management, to incorporate the system into the corporate culture and cascade it to the rest of the employees.
Once acquired and set up, the organization is speaking a “language” of its own that makes all the competitive difference. There is no going back.
There was none for me!
Jaime Rossello, Engineer, Spain, Certified Trainer
Kevin Neeson lost his eyesight in 1993 due to diabetic retinopathy. As a coping mechanism, Kevin visualizes his surroundings and any activity around him. Kevin says that ”While this is a useful coping mechanism the down side is that it can lead to unfocused and cluttered thinking. Edwar De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats has helped to arrange my thinking so that I can focus on a specific element at a time.”
Kevin has a number of qualifications including a MBA and over his working life has attended a number of courses. “While these qualifications are all great and have been beneficial, not one has taught me how to think. We are only taught to think critically and to use argument as a mechanism to defend an idea or view- this is deconstructive”. This view is based on the work and opinion of
Edward de Bono- the creator of the Six Thinking Hats methodology – in which Kevin is a certified trainer.
Kevin says that he often has to seek alternative ways of performing tasks. “Being blind you often have to do things differently and make use of different tools in order to achieve the same or better result than your sighted counterparts”. He adds that “The Blind community are ideally positioned to make use of the Six Hats process as blind or visually impaired individuals are consistently looking for alternative solutions and ways to work around a specific challenge. By making use of Edward de Bono’s Tools for Creativity, We as part of the disabled community can create our own solutions to our own requirements.”
“We are best positioned to know and understand our own needs and to understand the gaps in existing offerings. By creating these solutions, we also create our own opportunities”. He adds that the Six Hats is empowering as “We need to view the Thinking process as a skill”. In the work place, Blind individuals can make use of the Six Hats. Kevin adds, “One weakness that blind individuals have is that we can take a little longer to perform tasks which our colleagues can perform more quickly”. By making use of the Six Hats Kevin finds that he is able to turn around deliverables quicker than his sighted colleagues. “The Six hats methodology is a massive time saver.”Because you allocate time and focus on one mode of thinking at a time, you are able to get to better decisions far quicker. “It moves the focus away from my disability and highlights my performance”.
The Six Hats process also enables more comprehensive thinking and decision making as it provides for all modes of thinking and manages natural biases. The Six Hats process facilitates creativity. Kevin states that “In the work place we are often challenged to “Think out of the Box”. The business and organizational need for innovation combined with the need for individuals within such organizations to be creative does not happen easily or even naturally.” “A specific framework for thinking is required to facilitate this and the Six Hats fulfils this requirement”. As a certified trainer, Kevin adds that “this has provided me with a new and different skill in the work place and has enabled me to add another dimension to my abilities”. He continues, ”In today’s working environment you have to be seen as adding value all the time. Just doing your job is not good enough”.
Kevin concludes that the ”Six Thinking Hats is a skill and ability which everyone should be exposed to. The value that it can add, not only in your professional life, but also in personal relationships, is immense”
“Kevin is the first blind trainer in our organization, we are deeply grateful for his testimony, boundless optimism and his leadership skills”, says Donna Pace who had the pleasure of meeting him in person in Cape Town.
Kevin Neeson, Director Insurance Company, South Africa, Certified Trainer de Bono Thinking Systems