You don’t need a high IQ to gain workplace success, most especially in Nigeria, but more AQ (Adaptability Quotient). People are gaining the advantage from this to make workplace success stories. Find out what that means in this exciting interview with a record-breaking Mechanical Engineer and Inspirational Speaker: Dr Wisdom Patrick Enang.
Dr Wisdom Patrick Enang: A Lead Design Engineering Consultant shares his story on life beyond gaining the academic certificate. He is a Mechanical Engineer whose international education and exposure has impacted a great deal on his lifestyle, work and family. A combination of his research competence and practical experience in mechanical piping design has positioned him to provide solutions to some of the most challenging issues and problems to engineering. He is a catalyst to those around him, who discovered himself at a very early stage in his career and is ready to inspire you into excellence.
LBC Crew: Please introduce yourself.
Dr Wisdom: I am a mechanical piping design engineer in the Oil and Gas industry. I studied mechanical engineering as an undergraduate program at the University of Bath in the UK, then went on to do my Masters and PhD in Automotive Engineering at the same university.
LBC Crew: How do you see your current career and experience line up with your academic history? Does it match?
Dr Wisdom: The whole essence of learning is not to succumb to just one area. I can summarise the university curriculum as “training you in learning how to learn”. This is because there are two parts to this: The product part which is the certificate you get upon graduation, and then the process part that produces you, empowers you with various competencies, and trains you to adapt to real-life scenarios. It is important to note that every student that wants to succeed must have an open mind to learn. He/she should not be conditioned to the abstract. They must be exposed to find the right information by themselves, learn quickly, and adapt as fast as possible to current realities in their industry and country. I started my oil and gas work life in 2015, when I returned from my academic journies abroad, and within three months, I was saddled with the responsibility of re-designing a high-pressure relief line. That relief line had failed four times, including several attempts by much more experienced colleagues. I didn’t have any training whatsoever for this, but as a person trained to learn and adapt, I took the challenge and discovered a solution that was adopted, and became a real success story. What worked here was that rather than approach the problem with the mindset of “this is how we do it”, I approached it with the mindset of “what is the best possible solution”.
My secret for workplace success is keeping an open mind that is neutral and unbiased. Sometimes the enemy to innovation is convention.
LBC Crew: So how do you see the education you acquired abroad? Do you think you would have achieved this fit if you had studied in Nigeria?
Dr Wisdom: My education abroad was very different. Taking from my experience in a year 1 thermodynamic exams. I went into the examination hall with full assurance of success, having crammed all the formulas, only to meet the formula as an attachment to the test questions. I was surprised, thinking I would have the advantage of having memorised all the formulas. I approached my lecturer and asked why he did that. He said, “You are missing the narrative. We are not testing your memory, but your understanding.” That changed a whole lot about my perception and education. That is the major difference between education abroad, and that of Nigeria. In Nigeria, your memory is tested. You are expected to write it, sometimes word for word, and if you use a different formula or approach, you might be failed. In my school back then, we were taught not to stress our memory, but to utilise our understanding. That is because, in the real working life, if you are presented with a problem, you have the liberty to search everywhere for any available information and resources that will empower you to provide the solution. The most important thing here is your ability to understand the problem, and define a clear, auditable and repeatable solution process. I am using more of the skillset I learnt at school to excel, and not the actual knowledge I gained.
LBC Crew: At what percentage are you using these skills?
Dr Wisdom: When I graduated from the university, a hundred per cent of my skills were IQ based. As I began working, I needed to lose some of that for forty per cent of emotional intelligence. In the furtherance of my career, and as I experienced more challenging career odds, I needed to develop Adaptability intelligence, which is the difference between a person that starts out really smart and gives up, and a person that starts out not so smart and keeps going. Currently, my Adaptability Intelligence is about forty per cent of my whole intelligence. This is because in the terrain of my country Nigeria, you need to be very adaptable to survive. If I was living and working in the US for example, I might not have much need for Adaptability Intelligence because they are lots of opportunities over there. With the ability to adapt, even if you don’t have such a high IQ, you can still succeed in Nigeria.