Are you using your brain to its optimum capacity? What thinking skills should you develop? A recent article in Harvard Business Review proclaims that successful organizations of the future will place a premium on our thinking skills.

“… in today’s marketplace, the smartest companies aren’t those that necessarily out-produce the competition. Instead, it’s the organizations that outthink them. And while there are plenty of tools that help us quickly understand what our teammates do, it’s harder to tell how they think. ~ Mark Bonchek and Elisa Steele, Harvard Business Review, “What Kind of Thinker Are You?

In my work in organizations, I’m trained to notice different thinking styles. But most people don’t notice the clues to their own preferred mental models.

Not everybody approaches a problem or a decision in the same way. Understanding your own preferred thinking style and those of your co-workers helps teams collaborate more effectively. Here are examples of thinking styles:

• Analytical: clear thinking, orderly and rational

• Inquisitive: curious, alert and interested in the surrounding world

• Insightful: prudent, humble, reflective and strategic

• Open-minded: intellectually tolerant and fair-minded

• Systematic: conceptual, process-oriented and intuitive

• Timely: efficient, reliable and responsive

• Truth-seeking: independent, tough-minded and skeptical

Mental Awareness

No matter what your preferred style is, you can improve your thinking skills. There’s a difference between style and skills. If you’re primarily a right-brained thinker (creative, non-linear) you can improve your abilities to use your left-brain (rational, logic). Since none of us operate solely or completely using one side of the brain, you will gain perspective when you use more of the whole brain.

It starts with awareness. How conscious are you of how you approach a problem? How observant are you of other people’s thinking processes? The more observant you become of your mental processes, the more of your brain you’ll be using.

The problem is, our brains love to take shortcuts. We jump to conclusions and automatically respond without thinking. This is because it takes a lot of glucose to run neural networks, and the brain is geared to conserve energy.

But you can change that by simply becoming aware of mental activities, just as you would observe an athlete engage in physical actions. When you do start noticing mental actions, you also notice alternative perspectives. It opens your brain to more creativity.

You don’t have to be a psychologist or brain scientist to see thinking skills in your work group. But you do have to become more aware. Doing so will improve your communication and ability to work well with team members.

What do you notice in your work group? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This