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Thinking Time

How positive, supportive thinking can help you achieve your goals

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules two hours of uninterrupted thinking time every day, and business magnate Warren Buffett famously said that he has spent 80 percent of his career thinking.

The quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first, and the quality of our thinking depends on the way we treat each other while we are thinking. This is the simple yet meaningful ethos behind Time To Think, an international leadership development and coaching company that specialises in creating spaces that help people to
think at their clearest and best.

This might sound glaringly obvious; create the optimum conditions in order to achieve optimal thinking. Yet, few of us (if any) can say that every work environment we’ve ever experienced has done this.

There are many ways that our environment can feel limiting or – worse – can even negatively impact us. This can affect our quality of thought and therefore our effectiveness to achieve goals, both personal and professional.

Organisation Time To Think was set up to combat this problem. It teaches a process called The Thinking Environment, which aims to help people create Thinking Environments within their organisations, teams, and in their lives. Time To Think clients range from multi-national conglomerates looking to implement changes across an entire workforce to individuals who feel worried about not realising their full potential.

Ruth McCarthy is a coach trained to teach The Thinking Environment. She explains that when she meets a client for the first time for what’s called a ‘Thinking Session,’ the client is ‘the thinker’ and she is their ‘thinking partner’.

“My first question to a client is ‘What do you want to think about, and what are your thoughts?” says McCarthy. “This question is as open and encouraging as any question can be, and responses vary hugely with every thinker.”

The question can, McCarthy admits, elicit very long answers and might unleash a flood of concerns, stresses and disappointments.

“It’s vital not to interrupt at a moment when a clear new idea might be happening,” says McCarthy. “I then ask the second important question; ‘What more do you think, or feel, or want to say?’ This is an affirming question that recognises all the work done so far and encourages deeper thinking.”

The process then sees the thinking partner encourage the thinker to express his or her goal (or goals) in a concise way that is easy to memorise. This is discussed in depth, with frequent repetition of the goal, so that it’s held in mind.

“Part Three of the ‘Thinking Session’ is asking the first Assumption Question,” says McCarthy. “That is ‘What are you assuming that stops you from applying yourself to achieving your goal?’ From that point, I focus the question again to find the chief assumption. The next step is to test that chief assumption, using the three criteria of Logic, Information and Positive Philosophical Choice.”

It’s when these three are applied to the thinker’s goal that he or she is usually better able to reframe their issue and visualise achieving it. Changing the way an individual thinks can change their whole approach to work.

Time To Think’s impressive client list includes Time Warner, Shell, GlaxoSmithKline, The NHS, and The BBC. It’s never too late to learn how to generate the finest thinking, a skill that has transformative power for us all.

For more information visit www.timetothink.com

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