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Forces That Shape our Thinking

by Ketan Panchal, Financial Controller at Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi

On my way down to Auckland, all I was thinking about was what possibly this session will have to offer and why the previous alumni told me that this was going to be the most exciting session of all. Well, two days later, I agreed with their views.

It was a beautiful day in Auckland and meeting with Leadership NZ group added to the excitement. I was about to learn about what are the forces that shape our thinking. Wow! I have never paid attention to this before. I knew that the environment around me has a significant influence on my thinking, and my thinking drives my course of actions, and that eventually makes me what I am. However, have I ever thought about it consciously? The answer is probably not so often.

One thing about Leadership NZ Programme sessions is you can never know what to expect. I never thought that I will be forced to go out of my ‘comfort zone’ and had to engage myself in conversations with total strangers. I thought I would never do that… but I did, and now I wonder how many similar false boundaries I have put around me and trained myself not to break them! On my way back home, I was thinking about what Louise once said to me about ‘ego.’

Design thinking was another skill that I felt I had left behind with my childhood. It's so amazing how natural it is for my eight-year-old girl to think totally crazy and creative and then explain to us how simple it is. Dave brought that child out of me during the prototyping session. One of the slides from his presentation drew my particular attention. It was a quote by Mike Tyson, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” It has changed the plan of a systems project I am currently working on. What a perfect timing of this session!

It was fascinating to know how design thinking can help decision making in our day to day work life. I truly admired Dave’s passion and energy during the entire session. Curating of Culture is something I continuously think about at my workplace.

The next day at Q Theatre was fascinating as well. I was still thinking about the experiences a day later while sitting at Q drinking coffee. The first hour or so again pushed me to think about my dance of ‘being and doing’. I doubted and debated my own thoughts with myself. Is it really actionable? Isn’t it so crazy and impractical? What is stopping me from doing what I have written in my journal? Is it just a day dreaming? Gosh, I felt a bit tired. However, my thoughts refused to bring me back to reality for a while.

And then there was a time for the speakers. While all the speakers were truly passionate about their sectors and their contribution to the society, I was especially impressed and inspired by the works of Qiujing Wong and Lillian Grace. Like Lillian, I am passionate about numbers and data analysis. After the session, I spent hours browsing their websites. I wish I would have done it before the session to take the full advantage of the group discussions.

Well, then there was a long drive from Auckland, with all those thoughts and ideas buzzing in my mind all the way home. It was truly amazing two days in Auckland. I can’t wait for the next session. See you soon Leadership NZ.