Interim Solutions Showcase – May 2020

In our continuing state of lockdown, many of us have had unexpected time on our hands. Some have turned to fitness regimes, many are gallantly raising money for our wonderful NHS (especially well done, Captain Tom and Frank Mills in Bristol), whilst others are consuming box sets apace, getting used to “Zooming” and consuming a little too much red wine…

I’ve had time during my very welcome, Audible enhanced, walks to enjoy a book called “More Time to Think – The Power of Independent Thinking”, by Nancy Kline. And we have had time to think, haven’t we? Perhaps too much. It seemed an apposite choice, in any case. The Power of Independent Thinking

Nancy has cheered my days and warmed my spirits, with her positive take on life and her soft American accent. She is the founder of Time to Think, an international coaching and leadership development company with offices around the world, and poses a central question

How do we help people to think for themselves, with rigour, imagination, courage and grace?”

Nancy concludes that the answer was not about IQ, education or experience – the single most important factor was the way people were being treated by those around them.

Expanding on this she outlines the Ten Key Components of a “Thinking Environment”:

  • Attention – listening with respect and without interruption
  • Appreciation – offering genuine acknowledgement of a person’s qualities; practicing a 5:1 ratio of appreciation to criticism
  • Ease – offering freedom from internal rush or urgency
  • Encouragement – giving courage to go to the cutting edge of ideas by moving beyond internal competition
  • Diversity – welcoming divergent thinking and diverse group identities
  • Information – supplying the facts; dismantling denial
  • Feelings – allowing sufficient emotional release to restore thinking
  • Equality – treating each other as thinking peers, giving equal turns and attention, keeping agreements and boundaries
  • Place – creating a physical environment that tells people “You matter
  • Incisive Questions – removing assumptions that limit our ability to think for ourselves clearly and creatively

Powerful stuff I thought – does it ring any bells with you, times when you might have been able to think more freely, to be more comfortable, to say what you really think? The approach is widely applicable, and is really a way to BE rather than just act. As she says

When people use these processes to decide, to create, to coach, to chair meetings, to teach, to develop policy, to restructure organisations, to design products, to build family life, to market, to strategise, to debate, to mediate, to start their day, to love, they bring into being a lissom thinking culture.”

Many of us are wondering what our New World will be like, as we’re not going back to the old one any time soon. It will be different – I do hope that we can take on board at least some of Nancy Kline’s thoughts and unleash the power of many, whose thinking and massive potential contribution to our joint wellbeing may not have been well heard. It’s time to change in many ways…

I recommend this book highly, do read it if you have the chance.

As ever, our Showcase of excellent, thinking, Interim Managers can be found here. I would be very happy to introduce you to them, whenever the time is right.

Best wishes

Richard