Multiple intelligences


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Multiple intelligences

  1. 1. LEVERAGING MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES AS PROJECT MANAGEMENT VALUE ADD John Sutherland BA, Dip TP, Dip Tch, M Soc ScMultiple IntelligencesIn the previous article the focus was on Emotional Intelligence and ProjectManagement. Here we look at the broader theory of Multiple Intelligences on whichthose who developed the concept of Emotional Intelligence drew upon.The theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) was developed by Howard Gardner, anEducational Psychologist from Harvard. By examining a range of social contextsand ethnic groups across many countries Gardner was able to identify sevenintelligences that were essential to human functioning. After further research helater identified two additional intelligences. MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES As developed by Howard Gardner Educational Psychologist Harvard 1. Linguistic Intelligence. Entails facility in the use of spoken and written language. 2. Logical – Mathematical Intelligence. Logical intelligence is crucial for any manager whose responsibility includes determining what has happened and what may happen, under various scenarios. Mathematical intelligence is the capacity to move comfortably in the world of numbers. 3. Musical Intelligence. Facility in the perception and production of music. 4. Spatial Intelligence. The capacity to form spatial representations or images in one’s mind, and to operate upon them variously. The designer of tools of all kinds draws on this intelligence. 5. Bodily – Kinesthetic Intelligence. The capacity to solve problems or create products using your whole body, or parts of your body, like your hand or your mouth. 6. Naturalistic Intelligence. Entails the capacities to make consequential discriminations in the natural world. 7. The Personal Intelligences. a. Interpersonal Intelligence. Involves the capacity to discriminate among persons, figure out motivations, work effectively with them and if necessary convince and steer them. Involves social and political skills 8. The Personal Intelligences. b. Intrapersonal Intelligence. This compliments Interpersonal intelligence and is directed inward. Involves the capacity to identify personal feelings, goals, fears, strengths, and weaknesses. Is involved in personal decision making. 9. Existential Intelligence. Is the intelligence with which we access our deepest meanings, values, purposes and highest motivations. *The Personal Intelligences 7&8 were drawn upon to develop the concept of Emotional Intelligence© Paradigm Icon Pty Ltd Page 1 of 6ABN 32 096 709 956 Version 2 dated 16 February 2006
  2. 2. Up to the time of Gardner’s research when people talked of intelligence they werereferring to the first two above 1. Linguistic Intelligence and 2. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence on which the standard IQ tests were based and thatwere the cornerstone of traditional formal education. From his research Gardnerpostulated that human beings possess at least six or seven other identifiableintelligences; that is, a half-dozen or more additional forms of mentalrepresentation. Obviously some of these are more relevant to the world of projectmanagement than others.The Intelligences Foundational to Project ManagementThe intelligences that have been foundational in project management have beentwo and four listed above; 2. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence and 4.SpatialIntelligence. The project manager of substance, the gifted technician, has alwaysdrawn on Logical-Mathematical and Spatial Intelligence to create and weave magic.He is the magician, the technical innovator creating new technologies that have the“wow” factor.All good project managers possess these intelligences, the great ones are the truemagicians. They weave magic making the unimaginable visible, possible andachievable. These two intelligences are still foundational for the project managertoday. stThe Creative Challenges of the 21 CenturyWe live in an age of unprecedented change affecting all areas of our lives includingpersonal, work, social, cultural, political and religious domains. We also live andconduct business in the context of globalization with all the demands, as well asopportunities this presents. On the one hand the rate of change and the amount ofinformation people are required to process can be overwhelming andunmanageable, creating enormous stress and dysfunction in individuals,organisations and societies. But this constant change can be harnessed and thenew opportunities it brings taken advantage of by developing and utilizing multipleintelligences.As has been noted above, the project manager as the gifted technician has alwaysdrawn on logical-mathematical intelligence and spatial intelligence and to a lesserdegree 1. Linguistic Intelligence to communicate ideas.In terms of the challenge of rapid change and globalisation, the question needs tobe raised what other intelligences need to be embraced and developed in projectmanagement? A helpful way to approach this question is in terms of thecharacteristics of the new paradigm that these challenges are bringing about.© Paradigm Icon Pty Ltd Page 2 of 6ABN 32 096 709 956 Version 2 dated 16 February 2006
  3. 3. No longer is the gifted individual directive project manager able to manageincreasing complex and global projects on his own; the rate of change andcomplexity of tasks make this impossible. This dynamic forces a participatoryapproach to project management involving teams, interdependencies andcollaboration often at a global level. If the modern project manager is going to beeffective in this changing environment, they will need to develop and harness whatGardner refers to as the Personal Intelligences.The Personal IntelligencesThere are two types of Personal Intelligences; the Interpersonal and theIntrapersonal. 7. Interpersonal Intelligence is directed outwards and is used todiscriminate among people, figure out their motivations, work effectively with themand if necessary, steer them in the direction one needs them to go. 8.Intrapersonal Intelligence, which is directed inwards, is the complement toInterpersonal Intelligence. The person with this type of intelligence has a goodworking model of themselves; can identify personal feelings, goals, strengths, fearsand weaknesses. It is also used along with 9. Existential Intelligence to makejudicious decisions in ones life. As has been noted the world of projectmanagement today along with most other businesses involves working with otherpeople especially collaboratively in teams. Those project managers who haveknowledge of people, both generically and specifically, have a singular advantage.Whether one is leading a team or serving as a member, sensitivity to others is acrucial asset which adds value at all levels. The importance of the PersonalIntelligences in the business domain is evidenced by the enormous popularity ofthe concept of Emotional Intelligence introduced by Daniel Goleman and othersthat has been discussed in depth in a previous article on this website.Emotional competence and sensitivity to others that is associated withInterpersonal Intelligence is not however a single holistic capacity. There aredifferent separate facets to interpersonal intelligence such as; sensitivity totemperament or personality, ability to anticipate the reactions of others, the skills ofleading or following effectively, the capacity to mediate and resolve conflicts. AsGardner himself states, the deeper personal intelligences are probed, the morefacets emerge. Different varieties of leadership are being acknowledged, along withdifferent approaches to negotiation and wider varieties of personality types. All ofthese help in fine tuning organisations and project management teams to respondmore efficiently and effectively to increasingly more complex demands.8. Intrapersonal intelligence is also important and helpful. To operate effectivelyand achieve various personal goals in the changing and global market placeintrapersonal intelligence is central because it gives one the capacity to distinguishone’s own feelings, desires, needs, anxieties and gives a realistic knowledge ofones own personal abilities.© Paradigm Icon Pty Ltd Page 3 of 6ABN 32 096 709 956 Version 2 dated 16 February 2006
  4. 4. Existential IntelligenceIt could be argued that 9. Existential Intelligence is also an intelligence critical tothe modern project manager and the individuals that make up project managementteams. In a post modern world, societies, cultures, religions and institutionsdeconstruct in the face of rapid change. In every dimension of life people arethrown back on their own personal meaning system and values to develop aplatform from which they can operate and make judgements. Existential intelligenceenables us to deal with what can be called “Iconic Change”; that is, change thateffects us at our deepest belief, value and meaning systems.By using our existential intelligence to build personal meaning and value systemsfrom which we construct meanings, beliefs and values, we build a platform andanchor ourselves. This means we can operate in the world with integrity and acenteredness which stops us being swept away by the “white water” of continuouschange.The Value of Harnessing Multiple IntelligencesBy developing and harnessing multiple intelligences businesses can broaden thethought action repertoires of individuals and teams involved in their organisationsmaking them more effective and successful. Individuals and teams become morerelaxed, less stressed and as a consequence their problem solving capacity isincreased and creativity and innovation flow. Value is added at every level of abusiness and output and sustainability is enhanced in the short and long term.What is referred to as “Flow” begins to happen. “Flow” occurs when the challengespeople and teams face are just slightly above their capabilities/skills levels. Peoplehave the ability to do a task and overcome the challenge, but to do so they have tobecome so focused on what they are doing that problems and resistances seem todisappear and things flow. Time goes very quickly and those doing the workbecome creative and innovative and end up with a sense of satisfaction andachievement when the task is successfully completed and something of quality iscreated. As a consequence people feel more positive, empowered, are moreproductive and find their work and lives more meaningful.In the modern work environment with the ever increasing complexity of tasks andprojects which have to be dealt with, the use of multiple intelligences becomescentral. Companies have to utilize multi-disciplinary or, in terms of what is beingdiscussed here, multi-intelligence teams to get this “Flow” in the workplace thatbrings with it sustainable successful and superior outcomes. Without multi-intelligence teams working in harmony in businesses individuals and teams, evenextremely gifted ones, are overwhelmed and set up for failure being swept away bythe “white water” of constant change and ever increasing complexity.© Paradigm Icon Pty Ltd Page 4 of 6ABN 32 096 709 956 Version 2 dated 16 February 2006
  5. 5. The use of multiple intelligences ends up being a win/win situation for anorganisation. It helps increase managers, workers and client’s sense of self worthand wellbeing in the face of turmoil and chaos that constant change oftenproduces.Effectively introducing multiple intelligences both empowers those in businesses tobe innovative and, at the same time, requires them to embrace innovation. Thisembracing and use of innovation has a flow-on affect producing a successfuloutcome reflecting best practice in the fullest sense.Leveraging Multiple Intelligences in Project ManagementIt is not possible for a single individual to be gifted in every intelligence relevant toproject management. However because of the rise of a multi-disciplinary teamapproach in project management today different multiple intelligences setspossessed by different team members can be leveraged to add maximum value atevery phase of the project. This requires good leadership skills on the part of theproject leader. They will need to develop and harness the Personal Intelligences ifhe is going to be able to coordinate and motivate team members to maximise theirefforts.The Use of Multiple Intelligences at Paradigm IconComing out of its innovative and cutting edge approach, Paradigm Icon hasdeveloped tools which facilitate the use of multiple intelligences and which areenhanced by using multiple intelligences to give businesses a cutting edgeadvantage over their business competitors. The MP-ReMS™ project deliveryplatform developed by Paradigm Icon and used successfully by its clients is onesuch tool.The MP-ReMS™ project delivery platform serves as the “place” where a leadershipteam discerns what is valued and what is valuable to the sustainability and futuredevelopment of the business. From this “place” the leadership team is resourcedwith tools, techniques and processes which give it the confidence to make thetimely and appropriate decisions that are needed and necessary day in day out.An effective leadership team can only do this if they utilize multiple intelligencesand the team possesses within it all the intelligences mentioned above that arerelevant to the world of project management. For example without the abilitiesembraced by the 7. Interpersonal Intelligences and the 8. Intra personalIntelligences along with 2. Logical Mathematical Intelligence and 4. SpatialIntelligence, the intelligences that foundational in project management, aleadership team will founder and be ineffective.© Paradigm Icon Pty Ltd Page 5 of 6ABN 32 096 709 956 Version 2 dated 16 February 2006
  6. 6. While Paradigm Icon has always intuitively accessed many of the intelligenceswhich have only relatively recently been acknowledged it is now working them in amore focused way. The development of the MP-ReMS™ project delivery platformtool is one example of this, it resources Paradigm Icons clients to be able to utilizemultiple intelligences in a way that gives their businesses a cutting edge advantage.Paradigm Icon continues working at ways to further harness and develop the use ofMultiple Intelligences in the project management arena to resource its clients to beeven more effective and successfully face the challenges of the 21st century.ReferencesHoward Gardner (2004). Changing Minds: The Art and Science of ChangingOur Own and Other People’s Minds.Howard Gardner (2000). Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for theTwenty-First Century.John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen (2002). The Heart of Change.© Paradigm Icon Pty Ltd Page 6 of 6ABN 32 096 709 956 Version 2 dated 16 February 2006