Dead ends @_helenasmith

By Helena Smith

Dead ends can be hard to predict, after all, you wouldn’t be moving in a certain way if you didn’t believe it could be fruitful. And recently I’ve been visualising strategy as a sort of maze game. You obviously don’t know where the dead ends are and sometime you will have to get the whole way down the path to find out. But with using De Bono’s six hat thinking a little more religiously, I am getting better at predicting where the dead ends will be. Red hat is my least favourite hat (the hat that makes you ask what’s your gut telling you?) and you put this hat on whilst trusting in yourself that you can determine whether the message your idea is communicating is believable or not.


Harnessing my habit of avoiding the red hat, or rather not giving it enough stage time has seemed to really open a door of progress for me. As with most of the things I learn at SCA, it’s a steady progress but a sure one. Taking five minutes in the morning to really give myself time to acknowledge how I’m feeling each day has allowed me to recognise the small victories. I scamped over the weekend and found myself sort of instinctively choosing ideas that felt more believable. I then noticed when I went back over my scamps my ideas, that for one I was happy with more than usual. Second, that when I re-thought over some of the scribbly drawings I’d made I was coming to less dead ends.


It got me wondering as to why it’s taken me so long to ask myself the obvious question when I’m creating ideas in order to communicate with people, ‘does this feel genuine?’. Why hadn’t I trusted myself to make this judgement? I’m a person?


Before I came to SCA, my Dad who loves using personality testing on his employees to help him create a successful workplace, suggested it would interesting for me to take one. And as I’m always keen to find out more about myself, be it good or bad, sometimes satisfying and sometimes painful, I jumped at the chance.


This particular type of testing uses for archetypes, wind, water, earth and fire. Without going into too much detail, your general understanding of what the elements stand for is basically translated across into personality traits. I came out as mostly water. The water archetype is defined by his/her desire to ensure they do right by the many. Afraid of confrontation they do everything in the power to satisfy the many.


I remember thinking, “for God’s sake basically, the wimpy one”. I know that’s a little harsh on myself but I know it to be true of myself which kind of explains on some level my reluctance to engage my own opinion or gut feeling about something. So, this reflective moment I had about how using my gut more has improved the idea’s I pursue was a good moment. And with the archetype system, one of the obvious benefits about doing it is that you can acknowledge your weaknesses and aim to employ traits your lacking from other’s. For example, as you’d expect Fire’s are prone to pushing their way to the point of aggravating other people. I don’t think I want to be a full fire, but knowing I’m using my cut more, I confident embers are sparking.



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