Remember the Future? 1

We train, to no avail because we don’t address thinking preferences…

  • Thinking skills determines performance, not technical skills!
  • Steve Biko said psychological change before anything else…
  • We need to raise managerial awareness levels in the workplace in order to create an inspired workforce
  • The way we think determines our future, so why don’t we develop our thinking ability?

It was suggested that 2012 is the end of the world. There are those that imagined the world to blow up, explode and disintegrate on 21 December 2012. The apocalypse, the end of days to be upon us all. Religion predicted the Day of Judgment whilst doomsday experts are building bunkers…

However, the truth is probably far less dramatic, but in a way, to some of us, perhaps even more scary as the winds of change are accelerating at hurricane speeds. Amidst a tense climate in the mining sector, political rhetoric is exchanged in anticipation of the next election. Perhaps that would be where the end of the world starts after all…or perhaps it may signal the end of the world, as we know it.

Lets face it, are we really happy with the results of our young democracy? Is this the vision the struggle had in mind? Are we really just going to allow spiraling non-delivery and accept that we are to pay more and more for less and less? Perhaps the end of the world could represent the end of our complacency, our ignorance and lack of awareness…

Maybe 2014 signals the arrival of a new way of viewing the world where we could play a more active role in our future. There are those that believe that the “age of enlightenment” is upon us. That humanity itself is moving towards a new consciousness that suggests a better way of life. However, this could simply be an “airy fairy” view, unless we really look at what higher-level awareness could mean on a day-to-day basis.

To be more aware could mean so much – at the outset, if we could be more aware of the consequences of our actions… To be unaware, is to “not know what you know” and more alarming “to not know what you don’t know…”

The impact of low-level awareness, or low consciousness on skills is profound. The impact on training and education has far reaching effects. It is important to note that low awareness does not indicate low levels of intelligence. The effect is often a highly trained or educated individual with limited ability to apply said skills.

We have all heard friends and colleagues complain about the limited ability of new employees to implement their knowledge. Although young graduates passed exams and assessments, skills are often de-contextualized. More often than not, the young learner finds the workplace a strange and scary place. This strangeness is due to the fact that we have failed to address the learners “Thinking Skills”.

In fact, training and education seldom addresses the issues of thinking skills. According to Dr Ingrid Koch, a Johannesburg based psychologist, your work performance and success in life is determined by your thinking preference, as opposed to your qualification level! So, we could be well qualified, but without effective thinking skills success will be very limited. Thinking skills includes not only the ability to reason, but also attitude. Thinking skills directly influence the creation of actions, and our actions create our reality.

Steve Biko viewed psychological transformation as at the forefront of change. A view supported indirectly, by an army of motivational gurus, all in support of a new approach to the way we think… In the business world the use of words like awareness and consciousness is often under-rated. Ill informed management often dismisses the concept as a “soft skill”.

Consciousness is the result of thinking skills and as such, the driver of performance. Such increased awareness is the enabler of “seeing what you see”, of understanding the big picture and taking business thinking to a higher, or Meta Level. Business and management needs to develop systems to drive such awareness levels. The development of a Meta Business Framework suggests a business consciousness that recognizes the role of thinking, and the development of alternative realities that recognizes the evolution of humanity.

Meta Business suggests that business honours the relationship between mind and matter as well as the interconnectedness of all things. Thus, the evolution of educational thought, being integral to Meta Business, suggests the development of learning to serve business requirements, whilst business is designed for the benefit of humanity at large.

De Martini discusses the evolution of humanity on a personal level and suggests the management of evolution of self via skills and techniques that can be learned. The purpose of the exercise is to open the mind to a level that incorporates a more spiritual and much more aware sense of existence. Such skills have great application and benefit to both individual and business.

Lowenstein discusses the issue of perfect wisdom. The idea should be to lead all beings to a state of bliss, where the sense of self is diminished. Braden calls this the “terra incognita”, (literally: land unknown) that what science tells people about their brains and that which they experience via the brain.

The integration of such thinking in the business world would increase to ability of all people involved to be more engaged in what they do on a daily basis. Thus, the purpose of the individual becomes clearer. Victor Frankl, a Nazi Concentration Camp survivor once said “he who has a reason why can cope with any how”. When we operate with purpose, we are driven, motivated and engaged. Thus, if we could find purpose in our lives, our way forward is inspired. This could be the cornerstone of empowerment.

How we think and what we think, creates our reality. Thus, if our results or reality is not what we want, we should seriously consider the path of thinking that got us to this reality! Undesirable thinking, like a cancer, can metastasize and create a snowball effect of negative thinking and ultimately lead to disempowerment.

The great philosopher, Osho believes that, by allowing governments to decide what we read, believe and what we learn, we surrender who we are. We surrender our sole purpose and we lose our motivation to learn, to grow and to act, both spiritually and corporately. Therefore, the success and failure of our education system itself rests on its ability to be open and to allow itself to be challenged.

Des Squire believes that for the education system to be successful in the future, it will need to be more sophisticated than it is today. If we are to address the education backlog, the skills gap, poverty and productivity, in South Africa, the system will need to be more flexible and adaptive.

Van der Linde discusses the role of good educational management in a changing South Africa. Commitments to change should include the following:

1. All qualifications should demonstrate a sense of understanding towards industry driven needs

2. Scholastic educational needs will have to be considered, including aspects related to pedagogy and didactics

3. Innovation skills will have to be a priority in developing qualifications and heuretic thinking will have to be evident in qualifications

4. Certain industry-based training and workplace learning will have to carry educational credits and a qualification will have to indicate how credit can be accumulated over time

5. Quality Assurance would have to be relevant, flexible and implementable

6. Qualifications would have to become the benchmark of contextualization and move away from being recognitions for knowledge only. According to the SACP, the role of, government in education should be to bring education to the masses.

One of the ways in which education can be brought to the masses, is the massification of delivery via e- learning. Various e-learning systems are available and many of the world’s leading universities are using a wide variety of such systems.

Whether the Internet can be used to develop thinking skills needs further exploration. New Internet applications are developed every day that address all fields of learning.

The integrated conclusion suggests a redesign of the current educational system in South Africa, to become adaptable and effective, serving the needs of industry and society at large as opposed to creating skills in a de-contextualized world.

We have to think happy and successful thoughts to be successful. We have find ways to became aware of our thinking process and develop ways to channel our thoughts to a brighter future.

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