howard gardner : five minds for the future

now we do have a great book by howard gardner again (you remember, his last one did not excite me that much two posts ago).

at first sight it resembles pink’s ‘a whole new mind’, but it is much more fundamental, offering a broader view on life.

in his studies and reflections gardner identified five ‘minds’ we need to master in the future:

1) the disciplined mind

2) the synthesized mind

3) the creative mind

4) the respectful mind

5) the ethical mind

“individuals without one or more disciplines will not be able to succeed at any demanding workplace and will be restricted to menial tasks.

individuals without synthesizing capabilities will be overwhelmed by information and unable to make judicious decisions about personal or professional matters.

individuals without creating capacities will be replaced by computers.

individuals without respect will not be worthy of respect by others and will poison the workplace and the common.

individuals without ethics will yield a world devoid of decent workers and responsible citizens: none of us will want to live on that desolate planet.”

it makes sense to get not only aquainted to those minds, but to develop the underlying capacities inside yourself. the book is about explaining those.
while the creative and the synthesizing mind are not much of a surprise any more, i very much support his disciplined, respectful and ethical minds.

the disciplined mind: “knowledge of facts is a useful ornament but a fundamentally different undertaking than thinking in a discipline. …” “… a discipline constitutes a distinctive way of thinking about the world. …” a discipline exists in two ways: “… mastery of a craft, and the capacity to renew that craft through regular application over the years.”

simply spoken: it still makes sense to learn and to understand and to be really good at one or two things in life – as a base for success.

and without respect and ethics in life and management, the market will destroy “the very virtues on which in the long run it depends”.

i believe we do see that in every market: automotive, energy, oil, etc., and if the managers do not have enough ethics politicians, ngos and citizens will have them to make managers think again.
a greater problem is that our education systems and strategies do not offer help or support on mastering a discipline, because they just offer facts-and-data-learning and no real comprehension of a topic. this might be due to the ‘fact’ that even our teachers do not comprehend the topic they teach and that they are not engaged enough to do so.

there is no comprehension experience in our schools, not to mention a synthesizing experience.

the same with our managers: relying on facts and data, on things they see and touch, on information, instead of knowledge, insights and gut feeling – and this in a world of discontinuous ever accelerating change which is not to be mastered by our old ways of thinking and acting.
every single manager and leader, but also every single human being, will have to decide which path to follow, the path of least resistance or the path to personal and professional growth and success by aquiring the capabilities of howard’s 5 minds for the future!