January 9, 2012


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 10:27 pm by Iris Mack Dayoub

Time to Think

We have a tradition here at Alpha to read and share books with each other – sort of like a book club or reading group. Last year, at the suggestion of Cheryl Holland (Abacus Planning Group), we spent several weeks reading and talking about the book, Time to Think, by Nancy Kline. Everyone here agrees that the book has impacted both their business and personal lives. One of the results has been a change in the way we run meetings by creating a thinking environment.

Time to Think is a comprehensive discussion of a timely, elegant theory:

  • Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first.
  • Our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other.
  • Thinking at its best is not just a cool act of cerebration. It is also a thing of the heart.
  • A  Thinking Environment is the set of ten conditions under which human beings can think for themselves – with rigor, imagination, courage and grace.
  • Listening of this caliber ignites the human mind.
  • Between you and the wellspring of good ideas is a limiting assumption. The assumption can be removed with an Incisive Question.
  • Incisive Questions increase the functional intelligence of human beings.
  • A Thinking Environment is natural, but rare. It has been squeezed out of our lives and organizations by inferior ways of treating each other.
  • Organizations, families and relationships can become Thinking Environments again, where good ideas abound, action follows and people flourish.

We learned how to be Thinking Partners for each other and to offer each other Thinking Sessions which bring about rapid and dependable personal development. We found that the process works, that ideas turn into action more quickly and confidently, and most of all that the logic and beauty of the process is enjoyable.

Here are the ten components of a Thinking Environment:

Attention  Listening with respect, interest and fascination.

Incisive Questions  Removing assumptions that limit ideas.

Equality  Treating each other as thinking peers.

  • Giving equal turns and attention.
  • Keeping agreements and boundaries.

Appreciation  Practicing a five-to-one ratio of appreciation to criticism.

Ease  Offering freedom from rush or urgency.

Encouragement  Moving beyond competition.

Feelings  Allowing sufficient emotional release to restore thinking.

Information  Providing a full and accurate picture of reality.

Place  Creating a physical environment that says back to people, “You matter.”

Diversity  Adding quality because of the differences between us.

One of the most valuable and exciting aspects of Time to Think for me personally was learning how to create a Thinking Environment for myself. More ideas that work are emerging.

Kline, Nancy. Time to Think: Listening to ignite the human mind.London,UK: Cassell Illustrated, 1999

%d bloggers like this: