No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Paradigm shifts underpin soft skills development for systems engineers


The power and versatility of the 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' is that Stephen Covey identified a small number of fundamental paradigm shifts that could be developed to many different ends and applied in many different contexts. 

He did this because his extensive study revealed that behaviours, tools and techniques operate at a surface-level and are contextually limited leading to unhelpful 'gaming' rather than genuine shifts in character, thinking and action based on robust, effective principles. This is even more so if performance appraisal and competency models are then layered on.

Of course it was no random chance that there were seven habits. The key few things that really mattered rather than trying to sift the ocean. The seven habits can each be developed separately but remain interdependent. Each supports a cluster of soft skills that can be enhanced grown and developed.

Each paradigm shift is supported by a series of specific and strong explicit 'mental models'. Each is compared to the existing paradigm and the limitations of the current view exposed. The emphasis on developing new frames of thinking to change outward behaviour is paramount to his approach.

It seems appropriate to take a similar view in creating a soft skills development agenda for systems engineers. To identify the existing paradigms and their shortcomings. To create new paradigms and new mental models to guide thought and action. 

If the soft skills development agenda for systems engineers were to focus on paradigms and mental models rather than techniques, tools and behaviours what paradigms would you identify and what mental models lead to highly successful systems engineers? Think about what is currently used and what needs to change. The more specific the better - even more so if you can substantiate with an illustrative anecdote.

Join in the discussion here or at

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!