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Time to Think by Nancy Kline helps you build a Thinking Environment.

Time to Think

Time to Think

by Nancy Kline


2.33K reads

Everything We Do Depends on The Thinking We Do First

Thinking for ourselves is still seen as quite a radical act. Traditionally, most of our societies have not created the conditions for us to think for ourselves. Many of us are therefore profoundly unsettled when confronted with the simple question: ‘What do you really think?’


The Quality of A Person’s Attention Determines the Quality of Other People’s Thinking

How we give others our attention, listen, and say that ‘you matter’, directly correlates to the thinking quality of the person sitting in front of us.

The ‘mind that holds the problem also holds the solution’. You help cultivate this solution discovery through the quality of your attention...

The Ten Components of ‘The Thinking Environment’

Attention, Equality, Ease, Appreciation, Encouragement, Feelings, Information, Difference, Incisive Questions, Place.

These components can be used both at the organisational (‘The Thinking Organisation’) and at the individual level (‘The Thinking Partnership’).

All ten are i...


Attention, the act of listening with palatable respect and fascination, is the key to a Thinking Environment. Listening of this calibre is enzymatic. When you are listening to someone, much of the quality of what you are hearing is your effect on them.

Allow Others to Speak Fully

When you interrupt or finish someone else’s sentence you are saying that either your words will be better (or that you know their words) and that they cannot finish their own sentence. Let others do and finish their own thinking, let them formulate their thoughts, let the words be their words.

Take Turns

Create meeting structures where everyone has a turn to speak, knowing they will not be interrupted.

In a Thinking Environment, everyone is a thinking equal, regardless of hierarchy, giving everyone a turn increases the intelligence of the group and will save time in the long run.

Listen to Surface Any Assumptions and Ask Incisive Questions

Being able to craft an incisive question can free up more thinking and thought.

A few brilliant ones for leaders to ask themselves:

If I were to be my real self in leadership, what would I do differently?

What is limiting my leadership? If I were to...


Take time to appreciate those around you.

A 5:1 appreciation to criticism ratio helps people to think for themselves. For example, at the end of meetings to take time to say one quality you respect of the person to your right (nowadays the next person on your virtual meeting screen!). Ofte...

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