Areas of Expertise
Edward de Bono's Thinking Methods can build on, complement and integrate with your present corporate, OD and training initiatives. Click here for (db) NewThink™ Public Programs
A recent survey of CEOs by the American Management Association indicated that 81% considered that innovation will be the single most important factor to assure the future success of their business. Innovation will be the engine that drives the corporate train into the future. Some have said, 'innovate or die'; others 'innovate or evaporate'. Whatever the mantra, you know the long-term viability of your company depends on your continuing ability to innovate. New products and services for customers, innovative and more effective ways of dealing with vendors, ways of strengthening the relationship between key employees and the company, improving quality and productivity. All depend on your ability to be creative and innovative. To address that need some simply hire for it searching the job market for those 'creative ones.' While you may find 'the creative ones, ' we can take you to the next step of systematically building a more innovative company at all levels. Innovation doesn't magically happen. It requires intent and persistent effort, as well as effective, proven tools like (dB) NewThink™. We are specialists in corporate innovation and creativity and can help you develop the 'innovative mindset' of your company.
Click here to go to the recent report by The Council on Competitiveness, Innovate America. To quote, "Innovation will be the single most important factor in determining America's success through the 21st century." What part will you and your company play in that? Or will you be a player?
The U.S. Council on Competitiveness is a nonprofit organization representing the nation's top corporate chief executives, university presidents and labor leaders. Click here to go to their website.
Given the global and competitive environment the need to manage risk has never been greater. Your role as a risk manager has never been more important. In your responsibility as a risk manager, you have several key functions that must be performed. They range from setting the framework for the team to work within, the enforcement of risk policy, explaining to other managers at all levels what operational risk is, to managing statistics, introducing new processes and models, and handling crisis. And of course you cannot fulfill all of those roles, but the team you lead should. So you are a team leader as well. And in all of that you must remain calm and unflappable, the model of stability, the knowing thinker. While you are already an excellent analytical critical thinker, the problems confronting you go beyond the bounds of that particular thinking methodology. The thinking tools of analysis and critique, while strong in their ability to examine what is, are severely limited when you need ways to 'think your way out of what is
' to less risk filled alternatives. That underscores another key responsibility as a risk manager and team leader; the ability to generate viable risk adverse alternatives and ways of doing business that minimize your company's operational risk.
We see Six Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking as the necessary accompaniment to the already strong analytical critical thinking tools you already have. We see Hats and Lateral as the needed generative and complementary side to caution without which can lead to overly protective inaction or increased risk and cost.
In Six Thinking Hats language, we need to be crystal clear about our Black Hat concerns and risks, yet we also need the idea generation Green Hat and Lateral tools to keep us moving forward in a profitable direction.
Whatever your industry, banking, insurance, aerospace, et al., the ability to be able to competently and effectively manage temporary projects to achieve a particular aim is now part and parcel of your every day corporate life. And your ability as a Project Manager to effectively execute each project management phase and be proficient in the necessary project management knowledge is essential. Understanding the project phases and key project management knowledge then is the base line. But there is also parallel and underlying need if you will a need that is right to the point of being an effective project manager; that of being an effective project thinking
manager. Your ability to think as well as lead your team in the process of solving problems, generating alternatives, and finding better means and cost efficiencies is at the heart of effective project management.
The application of skills, knowledge, tools, and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the specific requirements of a particular project is what project management is all about. It is in skills, tools and techniques that we believe we will be able to assist you.
We suggest that the thinking methods developed by Dr. Edward de Bono aka Six Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking will productively enable your project management effectiveness. Your skill as a thinker is always at the test, and we see the tools based approach to thinking developed by Dr. Edward de Bono as part of the baseline along with understanding project management phases and knowledge. In that regard you might want to take a look at our two or three day Course in Creativity.
Managing Cultural Differences
You are on the telephone discussing the new business plans with key players in China, India, Malaysia, Germany, France and Italy. The decision has to be made in three days on whether to move ahead or not. But the conversations continue to deteriorate or be sidetracked by differences of culture. Language and cultural assumptions often function as barriers to the forward movement your company needs. And regrettably too often the solution simply lies in one person calling the play because s/he has the power and authority to do so. The resulting problems however, can often prevent effective implementation; lack of ownership of the solution, absence of forward moving energy, lack of team ownership of the issue. As in all of corporate life mutual trust and respect lies at the heart of effective ongoing relationships, and that is especially true where the players are of differing cultures, countries or both.
If this has been or is an emerging issue for you, we suggest you take a look at the Six Thinking Hats program and methods as a way to help you more effectively and efficiently manage those differences. The accompanying interactive software can be used with distance meetings as above or with your regular onsite meetings. We have had managers say that as they move from country to country into new management positions, the effectiveness of Six Hats in those different cultures continues to impress them with its effectiveness.
Knowledge Creation and Management
A director of Human Resources at a Fortune 500 company said, "Every time our employees walk out the door of the company, I know we have missed something. We miss the knowledge they carry around in their minds, and we don't really know how to capture and learn to use it." Your employees and their intellectual capital are the most important assets your company has. The question then becomes, how do you fully actualize your company's true value, the mind power of your people? How do you move it from being a hidden asset to an asset to be fully used? If innovation is the core competence of the modern corporate enterprise, how is innovation sustained and fully developed? The answer lies in your human capital, and how you call forth their intellectual capital. You can find no better set of tools to fully actualize the intellectual capital of your people than the de Bono Thinking Methods. We call it (dB) NewThink™: the Corporate Framework for Thinking, an intervention that is basic regarding your company's need, yet profound and powerful in its organizational impact.
Organizational Change, Culture Change, Change Management and Organization Design
In today's business environment, change is a given. The challenge of change is not only how to help your people work effectively in the changing environment, but to embrace the changes that are taking place. A basic underlying resistance to any change process is the analytical, critical, adversarial system of thinking we presently use. We can show you how to move beyond the limits of analytical, critical thinking that focuses on 'what is', to the needed design and movement forward you desire in your change process which focuses on 'what can be.' Whether you are dealing with culture change, integrating different corporate cultures, or a new organizational initiative we can show you how you can move forward with less resistance and more productive involvement by more of your people. Much more than exhortation and advice that change is good, the (dB) NewThink™ tools have been proven effective with more than 400,000 users in companies worldwide.
Mergers and Acquisitions
You now find yourself with a new set of relationships and organizational boxes to deal with. Whatever the reason for merger or acquisition; faster growth, reducing competition, a good buy, similar cultures or client base, we can help you more effectively do the transition work that needs to take place to become a fully integrated company. The de Bono tools provide a flow mentality and process that insure the opportunity for breadth of input with focused intent. We can help you turn natural resistance into proactive energy and focus the intellectual capacity of your people in a 'we can do it together environment.'
Organizational teams are formed in order to create higher levels of cooperation and collaboration. The concept and question behind most teams is, how can we work more effectively together, and how can we create more synergy and therefore be more productive? And of course there are a variety of approaches and models for team building and team development. Whatever model of team building or design you are presently using, or wherever you are in the dynamics of teams, we want to strongly suggest you may be missing something. Analysis and critique forms the basic foundation of the way we presently think. With that given no matter how good your intent, or resolute you are in your effort to implement a team based organization, there will always be and underlying drag on team effectiveness. Your immediate answer may be an upgrade in the skills of the team leader or leaders in their understanding of group dynamics. And in the short run, team performance may improve. But the drag is still there. We can show you how to move from the singular use of analysis and critique to flow, parallel thinking and higher performance.
Organizations need leadership at all levels if they are to position themselves as long term high performing corporations, according to research done by John Kotter at Harvard. And with a variety of good programs to select from, many organizations are in process of implementing leadership development programs. In fact, many are developing their own programs based on the needed competencies in their business environment. There are several 'gurus' in the field who still advocate 'more critical thinking.' We couldn't disagree more. Most of the managers you are training as leaders already know how to do critical thinking. Critical thinking for most is simply a default thinking method. They really don't know how to think any other way. The thinking default of critique and analysis is one of the most powerful inhibiting factors underlying the full actualization of leaders. The system is based on critique and attack, point and counterpoint. And that is not what real leadership is all about.
Throwing ideas out in a meeting, then fighting over them to see which idea is strong enough to survive is inadequate. We believe 'fighting it out' is inefficient and an enormous waste of the use of intellectual capital and assets. 'Fighting it out' means you have all of that intellectual and emotional energy pulling against each other, rather that working together and with each other. It's like harnessing a team of mules to plow a field, then hitching them to pull against each other. You know how much productive plowing takes place. Leadership is getting people to work together as they focus on the issues. We can help you make the move from the want to work together to the next level of focused, leadership synergy. The (dB) NewThink™ tools will enable you to create that leadership synergy.
Quality and Continuous Improvement
Quality and continuous improvement forms the basic foundation for all of the major players in the manufacturing and service industries. Whatever the basis for your program (Juran, Deming, Crosby, and et. al.) you are certainly aware of the constant need to improve your quality effort. Maintaining your quality momentum over time is probably one of the most difficult parts of TQM. And the toughest, yet most important part of TQM is creating, nurturing, and sustaining a culture based on TQM. Maintaining quality momentum and quality culture goes hand in hand. The de Bono tools will not only help you sustain these important corporate agendas but enable you to create new, highly generative efforts with more effective and higher levels of employee involvement.
Strategic planning is the way an organization envisions its future and develops the products and services, procedures and operations necessary to achieve that future. Usually developed by the top leadership of the company, strategic planning is done because economic conditions, consumer expectations, competition and other factors change rapidly in today's business environment. While the de Bono tools can be helpful at all phases of the planning process, they are most helpful in the implementation, contingency planning and action planning segments. They provide the creativity tools that provide you with what we call 'dynamic and innovative flexibility'. When one plan or part of a plan is not working, you can immediately produce creative contingencies and new directions. What you have with the (dB) NewThink™ tools is the ability to produce innovation and creativity on demand as an integrated part of your strategic planning process.
According to Peter Senge innovating the learning organization requires your expertise in at least five disciplines: Systems Thinking, Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Building Shared Vision and Team Learning. And a key to organizational learning is that you are always 'becoming.' You never really arrive. Persistent dynamism then is essential to the continued uncovering/discovering of the system you inhabit. Lest you victimize yourself with being 'prisoners of the system', you realize perhaps you are 'prisoners of your thinking'. Building on Senge's Five Disciplines, we suggest the Sixth, (dB) NewThink™, that will enable you to free your self from the thinking circularity you may presently find yourself in. Use (dB) NewThink™ and innovate the learning company you desire.
Research and Development
You know by now that if you never put money into Research and Development, you can probably count on not getting anything out of it. When you put something in though, you know your teams ability to think and explore is essential to success. For many companies R&D forms the foundation for their long-term success, for others R&D is the stimulant to new products and services. R&D units often have the best leading edge technology available in their efforts to find and develop the next new product or service. While we don't provide hardware or software for the technology and equipment you operate, we do provide the 'software for the mind' your R&D people will need to think and explore to their fullest. We can help your already expert R&D group more fully actualize their thinking potential.
Working with Diversity
Managing work force diversity can be critical for the productive success of your company. And often working with and managing diversity means raising awareness of cultural or ethnic differences learning to appreciate and understand those differences. We do this awareness raising not only to create better insight but also to develop more productive relationships and output. While we believe raising awareness to cultural differences is an important part of improved relationships, we also believe increased awareness and sensitivity does not always convert to higher productivity. Building on your present diversity efforts and programs, we can show you how to enable your employees to work in parallel with each other and to convert their energy, willingness, and desire to understand each other into the strength and achievement of productive output.
The Relationship between Management and Unions
There is no longer payoff in adversarial relationships between Unions and Management. Adversarial relationships only produce win-lose or lose-lose thinking that leads to decreased productivity and output. However, moving toward an environment and process of effectively working together presents it's own set of problems. It is difficult to move away from the right/wrong, yes/no way of negotiating. That is underscored further when we realize our basic thinking methodology reinforces the right/wrong, yes/no approach. Our goodwill and efforts then can be undermined by the very way we are taught to think. The parallel thinking methods developed by Edward de Bono can help you address and overcome that problem. We build on your ability to use your good analytical thinking skills to a new level of productively working together.
Product Improvement, New Product and Service Development
Sitting on your laurels with present products and services simply won't do. The search must be constant for improving your present line of products, developing new products and creating new services. The customer demand for better value in all these areas is voracious. Cheaper, better, simpler and with high quality become the voices heard through the megaphones of customer service. And here you are. How do you proceed? Obviously the first step is having the right people. People who are curious, constantly looking for the better way, interested in questions with practical answers, who have the interest of the customer at heart and who are constantly striving in their search for better, cheaper, simpler, and practical. The next step is providing these 'searchers' with the tools to help them get to their destination, tools that will naturally complement their insatiable quest for better and new products and services. The (dB) NewThink™ tools are a natural fit. They will increase your teams skill and ability to drive this effort more productively.
Employee Empowerment and Participation
We live in an age of employee involvement and participation. Companies want and need to have employees who fully participate and feel empowered in their jobs. Employee empowerment and participation lies at the heart of most key corporate initiatives, whether quality, leadership and innovation or diversity awareness, team development or organizational learning. Yet the basis of involvement in most companies is limited by the way they think. Typically the focus on thinking is exclusively on critique and analysis. And while critique and analysis is helpful, the problem lies in its exclusive use. As a thinking system critique and analysis is not designed to move forward. Yet the notions of empowerment and participation are based on forward movement, flow and productivity. We can introduce the de Bono thinking system, which is based on flow and movement, and show you how to more fully enhance your present initiatives of empowerment and participation.
Coaching and Consulting
If your job is to help your clients solve problems, get over obstacles, give them fresh perspectives, or help them develop permanent changes in the way they approach business, then you need a set of thinking tools that go beyond the typical answers given with analysis and critique. We all know that simply analyzing a problem does not design a way forward. And designing a way forward is ultimately what you as a coach/consultant do with your clients. Yet a key underlying restraining force in your work with clients is the almost singular use of analysis and critique as a thinking methodology. Using the parallel and lateral thinking methods, you can on demand enable and help your client produce better answers to their problems. Your tool kit for helping your client is more complete when you use the de Bono methods.
Since the publication of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman in 1995, we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of training and commitment by companies to this important concept. Goleman and Company (aka Boyatzis, McKee and others) make an excellent case for equipping managers with better emotional intelligence and competence. No doubt organizational leaders need to be more holistically equipped. And ownership from the top is essential. Yet, because of the way our mind typically works using judgement and analysis, we will continually subvert, undermine and weaken our efforts to launch and implement our corporate emotional intelligence initiative. For too long we have lived with the almost singular use of analysis and critique as a thinking methodology. This right/wrong-yes/no-fit/not fit method severely dampens our spirit of risk and want to be and become emotionally intelligent. A perceived natural tension develops between logic and emotion. Analysis and critique powerfully reinforce our need to be right. And our need to be right can get in our way of designing new ways forward. What is needed to positively reinforce Emotional Intelligence Training is the tool of parallel thinking. More about flow, rather than right or wrong, parallel thinking refrains from the attack of analysis and focuses our emotions and energy on exploration. Parallel thinking and the methodology, Six Thinking Hats, will reinforce, complement and fully support your emotional intelligence efforts.