Creating a Thinking Organisation with the Thinking Environment®

We need people who can think for themselves in our organisations. We need Independent Thinkers.

What do I mean by that? 

“Independent thinking is thinking for yourself without relying on other’s guidance or opinions so that you draw on your own experiences, feelings and creativity. It also means being able to think as yourself, rather than complying or conforming to what you think others want to hear. Paradoxically though, it seems that most people do their best independent thinking when others are present and helping their independent thinking by showing interest, being encouraging and listening without judging or interrupting.”   Linda Aspey.


  • Because the quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do for ourselves firstly.
  • From high quality thinking we get high quality decisions and actions.


Independent Thinkers are able to:

  • Identify different options before taking action
  • Weigh up the pros and cons of different options
  • Develop unique ideas and different perspectives
  • Bring creativity and diversity to a group’s thinking
  • Problem solve alone as well as in discussion with others
  • Say yes or no with confidence
  • Choose and be guided by their own values


And the single MOST important factor in the ability to think for ourselves is not education, or experience, or knowledge. 

It’s other people’s behaviour. 

What’s most significant about this is that most of the time we don’t give people the chance to really think for themselves and share it. We interrupt, suggest, get bored, get distracted – anything rather than giving them real attention. Even when its unintentional it’s unproductive because ideas don’t get born and people get trampled on.  So they stop trying. 

And it’s not just the human impact; ineffective thinking leads to ineffective decisions and can result in organisational inefficiency at best and disaster at worst. Think “Enron” or “RBS” and you’ll know what that means.   

So imagine instead that we could enable everyone to be more attentive, creative, rigorous, courageous and focused on what matters. To share their thinking and to welcome others’.

What would that look like?  


10 components card side 1




The Thinking Environment was developed by Nancy Kline of Time to Think.

10 observed behaviours and ways of being that create conditions for optimal thinking – efficiently, productively and collaboratively. Achieving more in less time, without even rushing.  In groups, teams, management, leadership, whole organisations.  They sound simple but they are complex to master because adopting them requires effort.

We have spent the last 10 years working with the Thinking Environment. And it works. Consistently. 


Here they are in more detail:


10 components described from card

If you want to get the best from EVERYONE, creating the best conditions for the best thinking will help it to happen. Can you imagine what your organisation could look like if you had or were a Thinking Environment?


Click this text for an article on Linked In that explains more  

Aside from hard data, how do you know when culture change efforts are working?

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