Time to think…? In teams

Take your Thinking Environment into a team context and transform the effectiveness of team meetings 

My previous blog [Timetothinktake5] focused on a simple way to develop a Thinking Partnership, drawing on Nancy Kline’s idea of a Thinking Environment. This piece takes that idea beyond the two of you – Thinker and Listener – to adopting this in your teams. Imagine how free your thinking can become when of a group of people are listening attentively and unconditionally to your thoughts? And you, by listening in return, can contribute to a colleague’s clarity of thought; igniting the minds of your team collectively.

The Thinking Team is a transformative approach to team meetings – literally the meeting of minds.

Kline maintains this approach “produces better ideas in less time, provides participants with the courage to act and leaves the group feeling good about itself”. Importantly, this is a great platform to demonstrate how individuals in teams are valued.

If you’re chairing or leading a team meeting, try these 5 steps – face to face or remotely – and see what happens.

At the start of the meeting, having explained the process and ground rules

  1. Give everyone a turn to speak, asking each person to say what’s going well in their work or in their team’s work without interruption 
  2. Then, after each person has spoken and you’re moving into open discussion, give attention again without interruption, except to ask an incisive question, to remove any limiting assumptions and ideas eg “if you knew you could do x what would you do differently?
  3. Divide into Thinking Partnerships when thinking stalls and give each person five minutes to think out loud to their  partner without interruption
  4. Ensure everyone has a turn to say what they think, permitting sharing the truth and sharing feelings as well as information
  5. End on a positive by asking everyone what they thought went well and what they respect in each other/ each other’s  thinking

Then reflect on the quality of this meeting compared to previous meetings. Any different?

And as a result, maybe there is time for us to think collectively…?

If you need to know more about Thinking Teams, turn to chapter 15 in Nancy Kline’s Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind https://www.timetothink.com/