Change your perspective

"If you risk nothing, then you risk everything." - Geena Davis -

Within the module Team Performance and Creative Leadership (TPCL) Dr. Ellen Dreezen, a psychologist teaching social innovation, strategy and marketing, and consumerism at Tilburg university, held a guest lecture for our course. She was teaching us about Teambuilding.

During the lecture, we touched upon a divers range of topics: Starting off with some theoretical backgrounds, we also learned about our own personal qualities and how those influence our group work. We developed our individual Core Quadrants by Ofman. It explains one of our core quality at a time, comprising of other three aspects: pitfall, challenge and allergy. One of my core qualities is being initiative. If this characteristic becomes too extreme it can turn my strength into the weakness realistic. My challenge and therefore my complementary quality is patience. A potentical conflict can be caused towards reflective people. This is the short cut of how the Core Quadrant works.

For sure, every person is formed by his or her own background, family, culture and experiences. Everyone has an own, unique personality and always behaves accordingly - we think...

But when we take a close look at our daily lives, we can see that we are adapting to different roles. I will give you a few examples from my perspective: I am a daughter, a sister, a grandchild, a friend, a roommate, a student, a travel-companion, a sports-mate, an employee and so on. Naturally, in none of the roles I behave in the same way. With my parents I go along differently than with my roommates from school; with my friends from sport I don’t behave the same way as I do with my teachers.

We all play several roles in our theatre of life depending on WHO we are dealing with. And the most interesting aspect: We do it naturally! This is something I will remember from our very special Skype interview with Cathy Salit - author of the book “Performance of a Lifetime”.

The arising questions for us were: Wouldn’t it be possible to adapt to different roles during one project? Can’t we try to switch to another role within our group work?

This was the idea of our following practical exercise. We were doing a role play according to Edward de Bono's technique of the “Six thinking hats”. Within one group of four to six people we had to come up with one agreement on a given statement. The challenge: Everyone was asked to stick to a specific point of view which might not represent her or his reality. These were represented by different coloured hats.

The individual roles and colours of hats are:

The white hat calls for information known or needed. “The facts, just the facts.”

The yellow hat symbolizes brightness and optimism. Under this hat you explore the positives and probe for value and benefit.

The black hat is judgment: The devil’s advocate or why something may not work. Spot the difficulties and dangers; where things might go wrong. Probably the most powerful and useful of the Hats but a problem if overused.

The red hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. When using this hat, you can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves and hates.

The green hat focuses on creativity: The possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas. It’s an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.

The blue hat is used to manage the thinking process. It’s the control mechanism that ensures the Six Thinking Hats guidelines are observed.

In our group of six students we played two rounds. We were supposed to discuss a strategy to travel to the south of Spain without having any money. Firstly, Ellen asked us to choose the hat most suitable to our personality. Although I was undecisive between the red and the yellow hat, I picked the yellow one. I am able to signify feelings, emotions and share empathy. But spreading optimism and exploring the positive sides for value is my bigger strength. In the second round we were asked to exchange hats. I ended up with a hat, the complete opposite: The black hat. Representing judgment - The devil’s advocate.

We experienced that it is possible to adapt to unusual roles. Especially when we switched hats to behave quite unfamiliarly, the craziest ideas were established. We noticed that we purposely exaggerated our ideas by trying to stick to the characteristics of our coloured hat. So it came that someone who usually calls for data and facts had to behave creatively. For me, as someone who usually behaves optimistic, positive and intuitively turned into someone critical and I needed to spot the dangers of others’ suggestions. Definitely not an easy Task!

This exercise proofed that it can be helpful to change his own mindset every now and then. Getting out of my comport zone by behaving really critically towards other peoples’ ideas also worked out. Even though it was not a familiar feeling it showed that it is possible to change our behaviour intentionally. This can also be helpful during group work. It can cause to widen his own perspective even though may not appear authentically.

Great exercise with lots of fun!

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