PORTSMOUTH, Va (NNS) -- Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) training tends to focus on processes to illustrate or improve how work is conducted.
In a refreshing change of pace, Command University's one-day Right-Thinking training instead focuses on personalities, revealing how one's mindset affects motivations and influences interactions.
Hoke Rose of Shipley Communication, the contractor and owner of Right-Thinking's course content, said, "As I started to look with Command University at the various leadership development courses--and this is something you find pretty much find anywhere--you find the lack of a common language, a common framework, and a common process," said Rose. "The best metaphor for Right-Thinking is that it's really an operating system. The second big idea is that it's all based on emotional intelligence and agility. Really, what that means for a shipyarder is, 'how am I showing up in life?' Right-Thinking is kind of a life gift, it's not just a shipyard thing. We're actually hoping that most people take some of this home. We've heard people who've had major breakthroughs in marriages and child-raising issues."
Right-Thinking focuses inward to challenge how you view yourself, how you accomplish things, and how you get along with others. It aims to improve interactions by helping you realize why you think the way you do, and ultimately encourages shipyarders to better manage time by determining what matters most and how to best nurture those prized pursuits.
The course is neatly segmented into two parts, with the morning focused on the person and the afternoon centered on priorities. The morning session examines individual temperaments, culminating in the four lenses assessment determining one's predominant type. If you crave adventure and excitement, you're likely an orange. If you cherish compassion and understanding, you're probably a blue. If you demand organization and structure, you're inevitably gold. If you seek independence and logic, you gravitate to green. During the training, it's both fun and insightful to speak to others with the same temperament and discover similarities in approaches to work and life issues.
Right-Thinking facilitator Jason Roberts said it's this aspect of the training that resonates most with participants. "It's the section that they are most engaged in and where the most 'a-ha moments' happen," he said. "I think it is really meaningful and productive to be given language to explain why you and others act the way they do. When we can open up awareness and then think about practical ways to apply that in their workplace or home life, it can be a really powerful tool for equipping people to be more understanding, more patient, and more effective."
Code 1120 Security Specialist Teresa Coon, who took the training last month, agreed. "In attending the Right-Thinking class I truly learned a lot, not just about myself but about others. I am someone who must have structure and a routine; when something deviates from that routine I find myself struggling to cope with that change. While in the class I was able to meet others just like me, which definitely makes me feel more welcomed."
As far as interactions, Coon added, "I learned some of my coworkers truly thrive on relationships and the compassion they have for others. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of my coworkers and what motivates them based on their preferences, and what I have learned in this class, I feel it is definitely now going to be easier for me to understand and relate to their processing of certain things."
Having worked with NNSY for three years, Rose said there's little doubt where most shipyard employees fall on the color spectrum, and that the cobalt contingent can be more effectively tapped. "Our shipyard is a very green/gold construct," he said. "Very left brain, engineering oriented, lots of rules. We're trying to get people more mature in all temperaments. We need a lot more blue temperaments for trust building, confidence building, and making connections with everyone on the team." Rose encourages people actively partner with those of different temperaments to improve individual shortcomings--for instance, working with a predominant blue may improve a green or gold's sense of empathy.
The second part of Right-Thinking is based on Hyrum Smith's book The 3 Gaps: Are You Making a Difference? Participants are asked to determine their level of personal happiness, and consider how they live their lives in accordance with their values. "Wouldn't we want the remainder of our days to be full of things that are nearest and dearest to us?" asked Roberts. "I want [participants] to see that if there is a value gap in their life that it is worth doing the hard work of clarifying their values and then do the even harder work of realigning their life around those values."
As of mid-March, 710 shipyarders had taken Right-Thinking training since the first session was held in January 2016. For his part, Rose is enthused about the possibilities of an entire shipyard familiar with the four lenses and their own beliefs and values, and how that can improve workplace interactions and, ultimately, the shipyard as a whole.
"All of life is relational," said Rose. "What everybody says at the end of their life, at the end of their journey, is they wish they spent more time working on relationships instead of working on stuff."
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