Patrick Keady

Five minds for the future, by Howard Gardner


A colleague mentioned this morning that today is World Book Day. And she asked me if I have a favourite book.  I mentioned the one that I like a lot.

Five Minds for the Future sets out to help us survive and prosper with increasing technology, globalisation and diversity. And unsurprisingly, it is how we think that will be the key to our success. There are five mind-types that will maximise our success.

Knowing something really well, being an expert in surgery, or management, or safer care and keeping it up, are examples of the disciplined mind.


And the synthesising mind is about the information that we receive. What do we pay attention to and what de we ignore, how do we put it together in a way that makes sense to us?


The creating mind is about coming up with something new that eventually affects how other people are and how they think.


When it comes to thinking out of the box, the disciplined and synthesising minds provide the box and for many of us, that’s enough. But for the cutting-edge few, it’s the thinking and doing stuff that really ends up benefiting lots of people.


Our respectful mind enables us to give others the benefit of the doubt, getting to know them, understanding them, suspending judgement and being capable of forgiveness. And the respectful mind is acutely important because of the diverse society we live in.


And the ethical mind is capable of abstraction. This is where we can think about ourselves abstracting. The ethical mind asks what our responsibilities are, what our responsibilities are as residents of where we live, the UK, of the planet?


So much for the theory. And what about this in practice. We can reflect on the extent to which our minds embody discipline, synthesising, creativity, respect and ethics.

And within independent consultancy, respect and ethics are vital. Unless we retain our atmosphere of respect, colleagues and customers will probably not trust us and relations are likely to deteriorate.


Of course we cannot guarantee that our customers will be respectful and ethical. And as we embody these virtues in our interactions, the chances are enhanced that they will reciprocate.

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