Six Minds and Petroleum Technology

The Journal of Petroleum Technology recently published a piece by David Goldberg on how the Six Minds of a Whole New Engineer can be applied to the petroleum industry:

Petroleum engineers have played a pivotal role in the rise of the modern engineer, and they can once again join hands to rejuvenate their own discipline and engineering as a thriving whole.

Read the full article, here.

Studies of Expert Engineers Show Us Why Engineering Education Needs to Change

Misunderstandings about what it means to be an engineer are outlined in James Trevelyan’s “The Making of an Expert Engineer”— a book based on extensive studies of several hundred engineers in four countries, several of them true experts in their own domains.

An unfortunate reality exposed by this research is that engineering education has become almost completely divorced from practice:

The separation of practice from the curriculum allows students to develop many misunderstandings, partly because real stories about practice are absent, and partly because of myths that are repeated without being questioned or critically examined.

Learn more about these misconceptions, here.

The Coming Revolution

Olin College admissions officer Grant Hooton reviewed Dave Goldberg and Mark Somerville’s A Whole New Engineer.

The purpose of the book is to give insight on how to bring about change successfully, and explain and justify the necessary changes. These are captured in the five pillars of education transformation: ‘joy,’ ‘trust,’ ‘courage,’ ‘openness,’ and ‘connectedness, collaboration, and community.’ The authors propose that letting these pillars guide our instruction, we will produce the kinds of constructive education experiences that are necessary for tomorrow’s engineer. This should not be surprising to Oliners, because we live and breathe these pillars in all aspects of our lives.

Read more of Hooton’s thoughts, here.

Six Minds of the Whole New Engineer

David Goldberg and Mark Somerville’s A Whole New Engineer outlines the challenges facing engineering today and offers solutions on how to adapt to 21st century needs.

Today’s civil engineer increasingly needs to combine the leadership spirit of the profession’s pioneering days in the 1800s with today’s technical and social knowledge and know-how. This situation calls on today’s civil engineers to be more broadly educated and capable than in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, when a narrower kind of training and practice were the norm.

What are the Six Minds? Learn more here.

A Whole New Engineer Ready for Pre-Order on Amazon & 800-CEO-READ

The book, A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education is available for pre-order on Amazon or for bulk orders at  800CEOread.com.

  • Amazon: Pre-order here.
  • 800-CEO-Read: Bulk-order here

See the link here about the making of the book (here), a press release from Olin College (here), and an early review of the book by Gary Bertoline at Purdue University (here).  

For more information about the book write to Dave Goldberg (deg@threejoy.com).

7 languages for educational transformation

7-languagesIntroduction

Coming home on a long flight I was reading Kegan and Lahey’s book How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation.  In working as a coach, the power of language, story, and reframing is hard to overestimate.  As clients work to change, the role of talking differently about themselves and others is often a key element to making the changes they say they want to achieve.  

What We Want & What We’ll Do to Keep from Getting It

What clients “say they want to achieve” is one thing.  What they will do to keep from getting it is critical here and is is driven home in the book in the introduction.  There, the authors quote Harvard colleague William Perry as follows:

“Whenever someone comes to me for help, I listen very hard and ask myself, `What does this person really want-and what will they do to keep from getting it? ‘ ”  

In change, the major obstacles to change are often internal, not external, and the client’s own actions against his or her own stated interests are often obstacle one.

7 Languages for Transformation

The book discusses 7 shifts in language as follows:

  1. From the Language of Complaint to the Language of Commitment
  2. From the Language of Blame to the Language of Personal Responsibility
  3. From the Language of New Year’s Resolutions to the Language of Competing Commitments: Diagnosing the Immunity to Change
  4. From the Language of Big Assumptions That Hold Us to the Language of Assumptions We Hold: Disturbing the Immunity to Change
  5. From the Language of Prizes and Praising to the Language of Ongoing Regard
  6. From the Language of Rules and Policies to the Language of Public Agreement
  7. From the Language of Constructive Criticism to the Language of Deconstructive Criticism

The choice of complaints to commitments as the first shift is an interesting one.  It can be an important first step away from playing “ain’t it awful” with oneself, one’s colleagues and co-workers and toward making clear requests, commitments, and agreements toward actions that matter.   

Educational transformation is a difficult undertaking.  Reading this book and applying it’s lessons can be an important step toward utilizing language in productive ways to bring about transformation.

Journey to the emotional floor of A Whole New Engineer

Mark Somerville and I are wrapping up production on our book A Whole New Engineer: A Surprising Emotional Journey (see more here), and I was reflecting on large writing projects such as books and how easy it is to underestimate the amount of work required and the amount of learning that goes on in writing one.  The tendency is to think, “This will be easy. I’ll just write down what I know about subject X and it will be good.”  Of course, you start the project, and find that (a) you didn’t know as much as you thought you did, and (b) you had a lot of learning and figuring out to get to the end.  Of course, some of this is the human tendency to underestimate difficulty and overestimate capacity as pointed out in The Invisible Gorilla and related research.  If we were more realistic about the scope of such projects, few would start them.

This time, however, with A Whole New Engineer, the misestimation took on an a different flavor.  Yes, I both underestimated the task complexity and learning required, but this time I also missed the deeper nature of the task.  In the past, what started as largely a textbook or monograph project turned out that way.  This time, I thought Mark and I were writing a how-to manual on engineering education reform with some personal anecdotes, but the deeper nature of the project didn’t reveal itself until we were well into the project.

And the subtitle, A Surprising Emotional Journey, starts to characterize the book we found inside of us.  As we started to tell the stories of what happened at Olin (www.olin.edu) and iFoundry (www.ifoundry.illinois.edu), we started to recognize that the usual rational code words used to describe educational reform (content, curriculum, pedagogy, learning outcomes, active learning, project-based learning, etc., etc.) were inadequate to describe the underlying experience of authentic reform.

Instead, we needed to admit that the secret sauce to both efforts was profoundly emotional in nature and that words like “trust,” “courage,” “joy,” “connection,” and “openness” (the pillars of Chapter 5) were necessary to convey and understand the experience.  And this was excruciatingly hard for a couple of engineers to grok, but once we did, we knew there was no going back.  Those distinctions sounded like were talking about the underlying essence of authentic reform in foundational terms in a way that previous descriptions lacked.

And once we reached the emotional floor of the enterprise, we recognized that many of our colleagues would have the same difficulty we originally had in accepting and understanding this emotional language, that the natural tendency would be to reject these terms as “too soft” or “insufficiently rigorous” and to retreat to easy and safe words like “content,” “pedagogy,” “X learning (where X = active, experiential, project-based, etc.).  Nevertheless, once the journey had come to this place, we knew that our job was to tell the travelogue as we had experienced it, as we had felt it.

And we hope that this is one of the lasting contributions of the book: to shift a discussion that continues to be held in largely rational terms to one that can unapologetically use the language of emotion in ways that contribute to a more effective and holistic educational system.

A Whole New Engineer: A Surprising Emotional Journey will be ready in Fall 2014.  Keep an eye on www.bigbeacon.org/book on twitter @deg511, @threejoy, and @bigbeacon, or write to me at deg@threejoy.com or deg@bigbeacon.org about hosting book-related talks, workshops, and events. 

Top 5 regrets of the dying

I was doing my morning tweet practice of inspirational quotes, and I came across a quote, which I posted:

“The same view you look at every day, the same life, can become something brand new by focusing on its gifts rather than the negative aspects. Perspective is your own choice and the best way to shift that perspective is through gratitude, by acknowledging and appreciating the positives.” 
― Bronnie Ware @goodreads

I noticed that the quote was from a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departed (book here), and I quickly found a summary HuffPo piece here.  The insights come from Bronnie Ware’s work with the terminally ill.  The five regrets are expressed as wishes, and I reproduce them in capsule form below:

  1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  2. “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”
  3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
  4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
  5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

Many of these regrets or wishes are part and parcel of coaching work.  Authenticity, work-life balance, emotional awareness & expression, connection, and the realization that happiness is a choice of guided by the quality of our awareness and framing of our thoughts and feelings about what happens are the text or sub-text of many, if not most, coaching conversations.  

Seeing the five in such stark relief has me wanting me to go grab my journal and reflect on the five wishes and my own life.  Which of the five regrets would be yours if you were suddenly to find yourself at death’s door?

Scarce Time versus Creating Time

CreatingTime_cvr2.indd

In working as a coach, a topic that comes up frequently with clients is time. It comes up in different guises and claims.  “I don’t have enough time to spend doing X,” where X may be something at work, a hobby, a project.  “I don’t have enough to spend with Y,” where Y is a loved one, a relative, a friend, a new acquaintance.  Oftentimes there is a request from the client to work on “time management” skills so the “scarce” resource of time can be managed, prioritized, and allocated to things that matter more.  In the past, I have often approached the move to the skill development of conventional time management with some caution as it often has seemed that there was something much deeper at stake for client; thinking of time as a scarce resource that can only be allocated can mislead clients that this is their primary (only?) option. A book recommended to me by a client helped put this into clearer perspective.  

Marney Makridakis’s delightful book, Creating Time (here)makes the point that time is as much about perception and framing as the passage of hands on a clock.  The book is divided into three sections.  The first section explores time as something that can be treated subjectively and creatively, not necessarily objectively.  The third section considers applying the book’s lessons in real life.  The second section is, for me, the real meat of the book, and it creatively reframes time in 7 different ways:

  1. Flow time
  2. Gratitude time
  3. Love time
  4. Ritual time
  5. Stillness time
  6. Visualization time
  7. Permission time

Each of these perspectives is valuable.  If only one of these is helpful to you in thinking about your days, weeks, months, and years differently, it will be worth the price of admission.  Give Creating Time a scan here