Workshop: Thinking Critically in the Workplace

On April 22nd and 23rd, Phare, The Cambodian Circus staff took part in a critical thinking workshop facilitated by NGO trainer Lim Vannak and sponsored by the EU.


“The workshop began with a question,” says  Hun Kimhak, part of Phare’s customer service team, “Why does the tree grow? There were many opinions. Some people said, it’s because of the roots, others said because of the leaves, or because of a suitable environment. The point is, the tree cannot stop growing, but as humans, we can stop developing and learning because of limited thinking.”

Taking real problems faced by Phare staff at work—everything from employees not performing well to disagreements between staff members—this training sought to help participants look at situations in different ways and come up with solutions.

According to Lim Vannak: “The purpose of this workshop is for people to look at the quality of their thinking and improve it in order to improve their performances at work and be able to contribute better to their communities and families.’

‘Normally people tend to blame other people or other things for their problems but cannot come up with any solution or contribution.’

‘So we look at how we can use our thinking in a better way, incorporating positive thinking, creative thinking, and innovation to help improve our situation rather than blaming the situation or problem.”

Vannak has been a trainer and training program developer for more than 15 years. He has developed and delivered tailored programs including creative thinking, problem solving, leadership development and interpersonal communication to UN agencies, NGOs, governmental programs and within the private sector.

He calls his training a “living training. It continues to change and I continue to improve it.”

“It’s mainly helping people to build confidence in what they are doing, not only improving their skills, but also confidence, leadership qualities, and helping them to see the value of further learning.”

Kimhak says the training will help him with, “the art of thinking, not just normal thinking, but thinking more clearly, in different ways and more big picture.’

‘I learned to ask myself more about what I want and how to think about that. I also learned how to create questions that make people think.’

‘Positive thinking makes you feel powerful, if you think negatively everything closes. If you stay open, you can find an answer. But if you lock yourself, you have to create a question to find your way out of the lock.”

Vannak thinks quality thinking can change someone’s life.  “In Khmer culture, we have always valued the quality of thinking. For example, if you have something as a resource, it depends on the quality of your thinking to best use that resource, whether you use it for yourself or share it. It depends so much on how you think about something, how to best use what you have.”

[portfolio_slideshow id=4012]


Read about past workshops at Phare here.