Time to Think . Sounds so simple right? The reality is that we just don’t have the time – or rather we don’t make the time to do nothing else but think. Our world has become so full of distraction and ‘need to be busy’ that the solitude of thinking, inspiration and meditating on thoughts has become a rareity.
In 2018 I was trained to be a Whole Brain Dominance Instrument Practitioner with Herrmann International, and this really changed my life, how I communicated with others, and how I could support teams to be more effective by better understanding each other’s thinking preferences and ways of showing up.
This already got me on a path of being curious about How People Think. As I became an accredited Executive Coach last year, I continued to search for knowledge and tools that would help me best serve people. I was very blessed to meet a great group of coaches who introduced me to the phenomenal Thinking Environment , groundbreaking and soul-reminding work by Nancy Kline on the promise we make to each other not to interrupt, and to hold space for each other to just think. Some may say ‘but we already do that’ but actually, in today’s world, we don’t – we are always thinking about what we will say, how we will ‘build’ or challenge someone’s thoughts, or push our own agenda.
I love this idea that the Thinking Environment creates equality between us all, and allows us to go back to our truly human connection that is just about BEING there for each other. Our diverse views have a space where nobody can judge, question, or challenge in that moment, and we can feel safe enough to speak. The Thinking Environment is built on ten key components that help create the right environment.
I just finished a foundational training on Thinking Partnerships, with the amazing Ruth McCarthy and as I was supporting a friend with sharing this way of being with senior leaders, to trickle down to their teams, the bulb went off – all these ways of understanding each other and holding space for each other can be really supportive and collaborative with each other, and I would love to explore a little about WHOLE BRAIN THINKING AND THE TIME TO THINK.
What is Whole Brain Thinking?
Whole Brain Thinking (R) is backed by over 4 decades of research and application, based on cognitive science. The four ‘quadrants’ and ‘modes’ of the brain, distilled down from over 180 specific functional regions, are seen as an interconnected, holistic framework which becomes a common language to work with. Some of us prefer to think through the hard facts and data as the first point of making a crucial decision, while others perhaps think of the bigger picture first. Perhaps some of us need to think about the people affected first, or the details behind the situation. In a time of crisis, one of four questions is probably the first to pop up (but also, we are often not all single-brain dominant so it could be a combination): WHAT , HOW , WHOM or WHY.
When people are allowed to operate, or even think, in their most preferred quadrant, their energy stays up and they probably feel more aligned, and are able to operate better. I have a theory, that perhaps when given the space to think, truly, independently think, perhaps we allow ourselves to also stretch much more easily into our quadrants of least preference over time. We know that we have a dominant way of looking at things (for me its most often thinking about the bigger picture and how to do things differently, coupled with thinking about the people element) and it takes alot to think about things we aren’t necessarily excited about all the time (it’s me again – and for me finances and numbers…ugh!).
As leaders, we need to be able to stretch into the quadrants of least preference, and work towards being more comfortable with facts, figures, feelings and futures. And perhaps, rather than struggling, creating even 5 minutes for time to think, and supporting each other as thinking partners, could help create that open space for stretching into those areas!
My support to creating a space where people can truly, independently think and stretch into areas of least preference, and working with space where our cognitive and other diversities can work together to create a better world, is a passion, and I am here to help you!