Thinking at ease

Wednesday, September 04th, 2013 by hinrich

The Thinker

Last Wednesday I participated in a course on the basic principles of the Thinking Environment. This concept has been developed by Nancy Kline. I tend to be skeptical when people come up with impressive sounding names for concepts ("Thinking Pair", "Time To Think", ...), but I was happy to hear that the people running the course stressed the practicality of the course. A key sentence in their introduction was that they wanted to help participants to see that many things we consider "common sense" are actually not "common practice".

Of course, it is difficult to summarize the course in a few sentences. However, there are a small number of items that I find interesting to consider and which I plan to explore in my team meetings over the coming months, for example:
• Formulate agenda items as questions - this should trigger more thinking (and active participation) than bullet points.
• Go around the table with no interruption so that people have equal opportunity to speak - those who are fastest to interrupt do not necessarily have the best ideas.

While reflecting on the course, one other thought came to my mind: I wish that those "courses" would be given less frequently, but that people with useful insights would rather be invited to utilize/apply their approaches in real meetings/situations. I am convinced that this will have a more lasting impact than attending a course - no matter how good it is. Which closes the circle to "common practice" vs. "common sense".

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