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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sri Lanka needs a paradigm shift

Daily Mirror: 18/08/2006" Change the way we see the world By Deepika Gunasekera

I was inspired to write this article when I was reading the book of Stephen R. Covey’s “The7 habits of highly effective people”.

A paradigm is more commonly used today to mean a model, theory, perception or assumption. In simpler, words the way we see the world (not in terms of seeing something visually but understanding and interpreting). Paradigm shift is to “change the way we look at things”.

In a business sense, it could be applied as new thinking. You look at the big picture through a different point of view. This enables industries to grow and science to develop. According to Ptolemy the earth was the center of the universe. But Copernicus created a paradigm shift by saying that the sun is the center of the world. If Copernicus didn’t find that out what would the world be today? Many a great people who had changed the world and made a difference whether it is scientists, philosophers, politicians, businessmen they were “paradigm shifters”.

Sri Lanka needs to adopt this theory in business and politics as well. But the problem today is that we are frightened to take decisions for drastic changes as we are averse to changes. And we are rigid in our thinking. We do not look at things with an open mind. One has to be reminded that if there is no risk there won’t be any gain and higher the risk the higher the gain. However, it is sad to say that human resources with this type of talent are not given due recognition and put aside, as it’s a threat to the more traditional and conventional school of thought. I see a clash between these two schools in Sri Lanka mainly in the public sector as well as in the private sector.

Companies like Dialog, Ceylinco Insurance grow from strength to strength as they have adopted this technique of thinking out of the box. They make the seemingly impossible, possible. It’s also extremely important that all concerned parties understand the new wave of thinking in order to make it a success.

We have to start teaching this type of thinking techniques at school level as well as in the Universities. We should train our undergraduates as they are going to be our future leaders. Related subjects and case studies should be introduced to the university curriculum. A trained mind can do wonders. By introducing this type of thinking they will be able to contribute more to the ever-changing world today.

In Japan, the 5 S concept is taught at the pre-school level. And they have been successful. Why can’t we?

Covey also says efficient management is nothing without effective leadership. He goes on to say many a leader is stuck with day to day routine management tasks leaving little time for direction and effective leadership. Food for thought. Isn’t it?

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