Problem Solving and Creative Thinking

Remember, the Yoruba proverb that says ‘okunrin meta’ invokes a concept of one person having the ability of three people. This concept is magnified in the principle behind De Bono’s six thinking and problem solving styles. In his model, a problem solver takes on the ability to be six people in one, by being able to think through a problem from six different thinking dimensions. These dimensions are characterized across six colour styles that symbolise the different attitudes that premise our individual problem solving and creativity.
Harnessing this tool gives one the capability to become a six person individual think tank, transforming your ability to analyse issues and create solutions from six different dimensions.
Next week, we will touch on what these colours are, and thereby providing you with insights as to what your own natural thinking style may be.
Look forward to receiving an immersion into a powerful tool that transforms you into an incredible thinker and powerful problem solver.

What is my Ethical Standard?

 

Remember……………..Lawrence Kohlberg’s 6 stages of Moral Reasoning are grouped into 3 levels: Stage 1 –Pre Conventional Morality, Stage 2 – Conventional Morality and Stage 3- Post Conventional Morality. Over the last two weeks, we looked at the 2 stages in level 1. Now we move into level 2,Conventional Morality. Unlike level 1 where ethical decisions are made due to fear of consequence or a relative benefit/consequence analysis, at level 2,ethical decisions are made due to a desire to conform to a societal definition of right or wrong. It is important to note that the need to conform to a societal standard becomes the incentive for the individual to adopt moral positions that are now based on right and wrong. While this may be based on the individuals innate sense of right or wrong, we still end up with an ethical decision due to this conformist desire. This is why this stage is known as the Good Boy/ Good Girl orientation. Next week, we will look at the second stage of level 2 Conventional Morality which is known as Law Order Orientation.

What is my Ethical Standard?

Remember: When our ethical actions are based on the relative impact of a consequence versus a gain, then we have entered the second stage of morality development; Instrumental Relativist Orientation.

 

At this stage, we consider our actions based on our assessment of the impact of the worst consequence, relative to the benefit of the unethical action .  Where the benefit is preferable, we will then make the unethical decision, because we have determined that the consequence is minor, relative to the benefit we will gain.

 

For example :. Bode is determined to attend Vivian’s birthday party and the only way he could achieve this, is to sneak out from school, which is a suspension offense. He weighs the benefit of going for a popular friend’s party on his social image, versus a possible consequence of being suspended if caught. Bode may yet end up going for the party, thereby making an unethical decision, because he sees the social benefit outweighing the suspension consequence.

 

Identify your moral development stage to ensure you are making the right ethical choices………….Today!

 

What is My Ethical Standard?

Remember: Our reaction to ethical dilemmas is primarily determined not by our sense of right or wrong, but where we are on Lawrence Kohlberg’s three levels of morality development. This week, we will examine the import of the first level;Pre- conventional Morality Development. At this level, we exhibit two reactions to any ethical dilemma. The first; stage 1, deals with the fear of consequence being the motive for an ethical decision, as opposed to a sense of right and wrong.

Let’s look at an example:

Kunle  is newly promoted into the treasury department. He now has access to the company safe. He is tempted to temporarily use some money from the safe to pay off an urgent loan. Kunle decides not to take the money, therefore presenting himself as a person with high morals? Not exactly.  Kunle has not taken the money due to the fear of being found out and the impact that would have on his career. This is the typical behaviour at  stage 1 of moral development.  Our actions at this stage look ethical, but our motives are not.  Look forward to our discussion on stage two, next week.

Avoiding Task Procastination

Remember: Procastination is the bane of Time Management. Ever had a task to do and you just don’t seem to know where to start from? Well, one reason why you may tremble at the thought of beginning such tasks is because you are looking at the task in its totality. When you break down such a seemingly huge task into small chunks however, it becomes easier to deal with mentally.

This is where the Five Minute Method comes in! How does it work? The next time you have a task to do that you’re dreading or can’t seem to find the time for, take five minutes at the end or beginning of the hour and get started on it.

The Five Minute Method is especially useful in curbing procrastination as it provides a definite time to get started on things you may have been putting off for long. This is effective both for simple chores like cleaning off your desk or setting up your planner for the next day and big tasks such as writing a proposal or planning your presentation.

What task have you been postponing till now? Apply the Five Minute Method to disintegrate that seemingly huge task… … …Today!

Supervising Effectively

Remember: The greatest thing you can do as a leader is to inspire your team. While coaching, leading and directing all form an important part of your formal authority as a supervisor at work, today we would be calling out some of the inspirational behaviours which leaders should exhibit in the workplace.

  • Good supervisors do not act superior. They value their subordinates and treat them with equal respect.
  • They avoid throwing their weight around. People are happy to be around them and they are easy to relate with.
  • Boastful statements are never made by good supervisors. They draw on their experience to teach their subordinates, and make their boast in them instead.
  •  At no instance do they make mean, cutting remarks, or attempt to put down their employees. Rather, thoughtfully stated feedback and words of encouragement are the norm.

Why are we calling these out? Constantly implementing the options above creates a relationship between you and your team members and driving teams through relationships creates a bigger impact compared to driving teams through transactions.

Hence, constantly make effort to be one who is approachable, easy to be around, encouraging to share ideas with, and watch your ratings soar as a real team builder, manager and leader… … …Today!

Conduct Your SWOT Analysis

Remember: Constant analysis of current trends makes for effective prediction of future events. One way these trends can be analyzed is by conducting periodic SWOT analyses. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The SWOT analysis is used for understanding your company’s Strengths and Weaknesses while looking at the Opportunities and Threats the organization will face.

Conducting an organizational SWOT analysis can help carve out your niche in the market, while growing your business. It can also be conducted on teams to help identify a team’s strengths, weaknesses, areas for growth and potential problems that lie ahead. It can even be applied in a personal sense, to develop your career.

As well, a SWOT analysis of the company can help to strategically direct the company and make it more productive. For example, if the SWOT Analysis conducted by the Strategic Planning and Insight team of a confectioneries company reveals that the company has a great opportunity to extend its mentholated sweets market into Eastern Africa, it may discuss ways that the team can help the company achieve this goal and partner with various arms of the organization with a view to achieving this aim.

The merits of conducting periodic SWOT analysis both for the company, the team and personally are numerous. Begin to identify areas where you need to conduct a SWOT analysis and implement it… …. … Today!

Craft Your Team Action Plan

Remember: Before embarking on a team task, it is of utmost importance that all team members agree to a systematically laid out action plan. A concise, unambiguous plan that is fully supported by your team mates will help you avoid disappointing outcomes as well as provide a definite line-of-sight for the project.

A good action plan must provide answers to the following questions:

  • What is doable? How much improvement activity can we manage over the next few weeks?
  • What is fair? How can we ensure that everyone on the team is an equal partner in our improvement project?
  • Where do we need help? For what areas will we need the help of other work groups or managers or external resources? How will we go about getting the help we need?
  • What could go wrong? What obstacles are we likely to face and how can we prevent or work through them?

Ensuring that all these questions are answered before embarking on any project creates buy-in from all team members while also securing participation on all fronts. An action plan will also serve to lay a realistic framework before work is embarked upon.

Embarking on a team project this week? Create a mutually agreeable team action plan before kicking off the project… … …Today!

Learn to Listen

Remember: It was Larry King who said – “When I’m talking I’m not learning anything.” Listening helps you learn, while encouraging other people to talk. Also, saying the right things to the right people at the right time requires good listening skills.

To draw people out, you have to do a little more than just stop talking yourself. You want to make them feel comfortable. If you feel a smile is inappropriate, at least look alert and interested. Ask a question and then make supportive sounds or movements as they continue talking. Encourage them to expand on their ideas or opinions.

Getting other people to talk can pay some rich dividends for you. Not only do you learn facts and observations you might not otherwise have known, you are showing the other person that they are valued.

The art of listening indeed is an invaluable and often ignored skill in the workplace. As you start this new week, make a conscious effort to practice active listening, starting… … … Today

Why Bother With Ethics? (2)

Remember: Over the past two weeks, we started discussing the concept of ethics and we also began exploring the pay-offs of ethical business behaviour.  Today we shall conclude on this series, with the final three ways by which operating ethically can yield great gains for your organization.

Why bother with ethics?

3. Employees are more loyal to an ethical company.

If you’re working for a company that lies, cheats, and steals, you’re apt to think that the company will do the same to you, and you’ll probably be less loyal to them as a result.

 

4. Ethical companies are more productive.

At one time or another, most of us have taken a sick day when we’re really not sick. This is, in essence, lying to and stealing from the company. Studies have shown that employees in ethical offices take less time off and are more productive when they’re in the office.

 

5. An ethical office means less legal costs.

If your staff are in the habit of lying to, cheating, and ripping off their customers, someone is going to get caught eventually and it could likely mean a big legal headache for the company. For a company, nipping unethical behaviour in the bud can reduce your chances of a lawsuit, boost your company profile and save you some money.

As we conclude this series, one major question you must always ask is – “Can our company really influence customers with the way it conducts its business?” Ponder on this… … … Today!