It probably isn’t a subject that graduate business students arriving at the Hua Mak Campus of Bangkok’s Assumption University normally expect to tackle. But when their experiences using Brain Technologies’ change tools and models are complete, few other aspects of their studies are likely to have a more lasting influence on their lives and careers.

Thus far, more than a thousand students at Assumption have been introduced to BTC’s dolphin-thinking self-assessment instruments and concepts. This is because Assumption’s B-school has been using BTC’s “greater positive sum” models and four primary assessment tools based on them since 1997.

Assumption University

Assumption University

Most of these individuals have been organizational development majors in Assumption’s masters of business program or businesspeople involved in the university’s mini-organization development program. Many of the degree-seeking students at Assumption come from outside Thailand—from China, India, Russia, Uganda, Pakistan and the numerous other countries that provide students for Thailand’s first international university.

Dr. Perla Tayko

Dr. Perla Tayko

The BTC “dolphin philosophy” materials are meant to help students and businesspersons examine life assumptions and reinvent aspects of their valuing and decision-making skills that they wish to transform. This approach is guided by longtime BTC associate Dr. Perla Rizilina M. Tayko (photo above), supported by Dean Dr. Kitti Photikitti and organized by Associate Dean Dr. Kitikorn Dowpiset.

“Our program seeks to ensure that every participant has a chance to unlearn, re-learn and learn anew—systemically and systematically—the strengths and possibilities of the self at the center of the individual,” Dr. Dowpiset (photo below) told me recently in an e-mail.

Dean Dowpiset

Dean Dowpiset

“We’ve found Brain Technologies’ concepts and tools to be timelessly relevant for all learners regardless of nationality, age or professional interest. The dolphin strategy and BTC’s other approaches help an individual overcome personal ego issues and fear as they seek to reassess and transform their own self-valuing systems and thinking skills.”

I have hard evidence that the dean isn’t just blowing eloquent smoke rings with these laudatory words.

In September of 2004, one of Assumption’s B-school grad students showed up at a seminar we were staging in Texas. There was no question of our participant’s Thai roots—his name, Sirichai Preudhikulpradab, confirmed that. His demeanor was also very Thai: polite, relaxed, deferential. Before arriving, he had told us that he was a supply planning manager and organizational development diagnostician for American multinational sneaker manufacturer NIKE Inc.’s Liaison Office in Bangkok. He had also spent a couple of years working in NIKE’s Oregon world headquarters in vendor assessment and product development and sourcing.

That’s a very well-known company to work for. And those are very solid jobs. But little that I observed in the three days Sirichai spent with us offered me serviceable clues to what was coming.

Within a year, Sirichai’s emails began to reveal that his views of his workplace responsibilities at Nike were changing. “I am seeing my job, team members, bosses, peers and company differently after your seminar,” he wrote. “I have begun to focus on what I really like and love to do in the long run.”

Dr. Sirichai Preudhikulpradab

Dr. Sirichai Preudhikulpradab

Looking outside his work, he was planning to open a school to teach Thai classical music. (As a undergraduate, he’d majored in eastern and western music for education at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.) Also, he began to spend a few days each year in retreat at a Buddhist monastery. And in addition to his duties at Nike, he was now a part-time lecturer-instructor at Assumption University, teaching self- and organizational-development skills using the BTC models and tools.

But the biggest thrill for me was the news that arrived in 2009. He was now “Dr. Preudhikulpradab.” He had received his Ph.D. degree from the Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Development Institute School of Organization in The Philippines.

Even more surprising was the subject of his Ph.D. research. So surprising, in fact, that I had to do some research of my own before taking him seriously. Organizational spirituality? Was he joking?

He wasn’t.

My Internet inquiries quickly made it clear that this field of study is viewed seriously in OD (organizational development) circles. The idea isn’t about turning a company into a church or religious organization. Rather, it’s about helping organizations develop a better workplace and workforce by encouraging their people to transform themselves first at a personal level and then at an organizational one.

For his Ph.D. studies, Sirichai had researched how organizational spirituality was perceived and practiced by the management and staff at each level of a Thai software and professional services company.

He then developed a model for organizations to use to develop organizational spirituality. He called it the “CARE” Model. To get a company to where he wants it to be, Sirichai decided it requires Commitment, Awareness, Readiness and Engagement. To make it more personal, he described the steps a person needs to take to get from his or her first blush with organizational spirituality principles to serious engagement as these: I-Am, I-Care, I-Can, I-Agree and I-Do.

Dr. Preudhikulpradab continues to use his expanding knowledge of organizational behavior at workaday practical levels while working at NIKE, where he is now director, product integrity, at NIKE Thailand Ltd, overseeing the South East Asia Pacific region. But he’s also now an associate program director for the Master of Management and Organization Development program at the Assumption B-school.

Both Dr. Dowsipet and Dr. Preudhikulpradab are moving ahead with expansionary plans for the dolphin strategy and the BTC thinking-skills-development tools. “We apply the BTC tools to some courses but not all,” said Dean Dowsipet. “I want to apply the BTC materials more in MBA studies. Mostly, we apply them in our Master of Management and Ph.D in Organization Development programs. And in the MiniOD and MiniMBA programs that we do for our alumni/business partners in Thai.”

Among their most ambitious plans is translating the BTC models, tools and perhaps even key books like Strategy of the Dolphin, The Mother of All Minds and LEAP! How to Think Like a Dolphin & Do the Next Right, Smart Thing into Thai. This way, the benefits can be made available to non-graduate-school users, such as Thailand’s business managers, executives and business owners.

And Dr. Preudhikulpradab’s interest in Buddhism?

Sirichai tells me he meditates daily as a way to keep his complex lifestyle sorted out. He explains:

“I can better focus on my work and personal life. I don’t overly commit. I dare to say the truth when it comes to what I want to do. I am more mindful and won’t say words that could harm someone’s feelings. In Buddhism, bad words lead us to the creation of ‘karma’ with those we hurt.

“This [meditating] has become my personal habit as if it were my gym workout. My mind can quickly shut down after 20:00 so I don’t allow my busy schedule to consume and take over my evening time. I still take care of my physics/body/health wisely. I eat only two meals (breakfast and lunch) a day so I can have time for my daily meditation.”

Call it “organizational spirituality” or “neuromanagement practices” or “the dolphin strategy”—whatever you wish. I just think all our efforts—in Gainesville, Bangkok, the Philippines—have a primary goal of getting business students and participants to pay more attention to how the brain works and how to get the best outcomes from this knowledge.

In a business world flooded with “best practices”-oriented “change management” models and techniques (OpEx, Agile, WCM, Lean, Six Sigma, BSC, CPD, etc., etc.), there has been very little attention paid traditionally to the consequences that neuroscientific and “biopsychosocial” processes have on our business results. In fact, it almost seems as if most of our so-called leadership and organizing practices have been designed specifically to thwart how the brain best innovates and creates and figures things out.

As carefully designed and executed as Assumption University’s experiment with neuromanagement-based techniques and tools has been, we expect its influence to spread far beyond Thailand’s borders. Because AU has clearly become a unique model for enriching the business school educational experience and in producing customized training to upgrade the thinking skills of participants in the general business community.

So we at Brain Technologies count ourselves exceedingly fortunate to be in the company of experimentally minded spirits and intellects like those of the Doctors Photikitti, Dowsipet, Preudhikulpradab and Tayko at Assumption University. It gives us great satisfaction to have been able to contribute to their cutting-edge educational practices and innovative wave-making in how business people learn about themselves and how they can “grow” their personal and organizational capabilities.

Bookmark and Share