Promoting person-centred thinking tools in India

22 September 2016

In this guest blog, National Co-ordinator of the Institute for Person Centred Approaches in India (IPCAI) writes about his experience of introducing person-centred thinking tools to a group of engineers in Kottayam, Kerala. For more information about IPCAI's work, please visit their website:

Earlier this month, I was fortunate to talk to a group of engineers of one of the leading Tyre Manufacturing companies in South Asia for a 90 minute session in their Kottayam training centre. The topic for the session was ‘Stress Management’. I started my talk with a direct question to the participants: do you think that engineers are more stressed than other professionals?
The response was clear. 90% of people replied yes.

I suggested that there are some very useful person-centred thinking tools that can really help to reduce stress and create a perfect balance in life. I started by introducing the tool ‘Important To & Important For’. The centre didn’t have any resources for me to share this information easily, so I decided just to have a conversation with the participants.

I shared my ‘Important To & Important For’ things with them. After listening to me politely, they asked for some clarification on some of the things I had said. A little later on, four engineers shared their own ‘Important To & Important For’ things. Spending time with family especially with their children and spouse is a common ‘Important To’ thing for them. Listening to music, watching films with friends and spending time in a beautiful place like a garden or park were often popular things. People were also passionate about singing and dancing in their own time.

However, due to the nature of their job as engineers, most of them they are workaholics and don’t have a great balance in life. From basic conversations, it was clear that people weren’t spending enough time considering what is ‘Important To’ them. So most of them very stressed, which is affecting their health and wellbeing.

I informed them that it’s very important to strike a balance between things that are ‘Important To and Important For’, as this will help them to lead a successful and relaxed life. That is the basic component of the ‘Important To , Important For’ tool. To start to think more about this balance, we decided to conduct a 15 minute discussion among the participants. Most of the participants shared great suggestions to fulfil their Important To things, at the same time developing an understanding of how these were different from things that are important for them.

We concluded the discussion with a finding that an ‘8:8:8 strategy’, ie.8 hours for work, 8 hours for rest, 8 hours for entertainment/ refreshment in a day would be an excellent way for them to start working towards a good balance in their lives. One participant had a doubt that “This may reduce our productivity at work?”

In response, I suggested that “it will improve your productivity because when we strike a good balance in life, between work rest and refreshment of our body, our brains & minds become more fresh and sharp. Thus we become 100% dedicated to our work, which will definitely improve our productivity.” He was happy with my reply and all other participants welcomed that finding.

Also, we discussed things potentially negative and unnecessary things that people spent their time doing. For that I introduced the ‘Doughnut Tool’, because most of us are spending lots of time involved in things that are ‘Not our responsibility’. From that I shared my experience of using the 3 columns of the Doughnut Tool. This gave them an insight into ‘What are our core responsibilities?’ ‘Where we need to use our creativity and Judgement ?’ And finally ‘What are not our responsibilities?’ We used this as an opportunity for self-evaluation for the participants.

Overall, the participants enjoyed and the session and their introduction to person-centred thinking tools. I received some wonderful feedback from the participants.

After the programme 3 people came to me individually to enquire about the tools, the e-learning and IPCAI as an organisation. I have given them some details, our brochures and our contact details. I would be delighted if they joined our growing team of person-centred pioneers in India.


Anish Mohan

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