Friday, December 10, 2004

Strategic Edge: Radically effective personal development training

Strategic Edge: Radically effective personal development training

A mini-review of a training course.

Along with a sizeable group of colleagues from Philips Semiconductors, I have just attended a two day off-site training course on Personal Excellence given by Nicholas Bate of Strategic Edge. My overall impression of the course was positive and valuable. The material was a a good distillation of the various strands of wisdom collated from a wide variety of sources. It was well presented and there was a good mix of listening to presentation and taking part in activities with other course members. It was not doctrinaire - it did not focus on the teachings of the latest fashion in management gurus. We learned to manage our time and state more effectively, to accelerate our reading and learning, and to use assertiveness as a productive behaviour mode. Course distinctives included the idea of setting a 'personal compass' and having a 'master list' to ensure overall balance in your life, including both work and personal goals.

Why should I BLOG this under Engineering and Theology?

Just three observations, which could be classed as a friendly critique.

1. The notion of beliefs as being highly flexible and readily changed. This should be challenged. The given example of 'Father Christmas' and young children was a rather facile analogy, in my opinion. The presenter gave no acknowledgement that many people have strongly held convictions as beliefs, which should never be abandoned lightly without adequate reasons. Even so, in the immediate context of how people's behaviour is often held back by irrational limiting beliefs about themselves or their situation, there is considerable validity in the proposition.

2. The practice of meditation as several minutes relaxation in which the mind is just focussed on the breathing rhythm. This draws on the now 'all too common' Eastern usage of the word meditation. Though it is fair to say that the speaker was not promoting any religious view as bound up [for example] in Transcendental Meditation. Even so, the fact is that a few sources of the course wisdom did seem to stem from the East, such as [for example] his choice of the Sanskrit word dharma to mean life purpose, on the grounds that there is no single equivalent word in the English language.

3. The principle of self-reference as opposed to external-reference, in the context of being true to our chosen principles of action. Fair enough in the context of not letting what other people might think determine our behaviour, but ultimately futile if the self is our sole reference point for predication and action. For the Christian believer, this should never be so. Our ultimate reference point should be how we stand in relation to the Creator, who is over all and blessed for ever.

Most of us thoroughly enjoyed the course, and all of us were challenged in various degrees by the questions it raised and the ideas and techniques that were taught. It was certainly much better than any other courses I've attended during my engineering career. I'd definitely give it 19/20 as a score.

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