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More Time to Think by Nancy Kline

The power of independent thinking.

Stephanie Wong | 01 Oct 2018

An image of a book cover called More Time to Think by Nancy Kline

Image credit: Act Build Change.

A book all of us and especially managers, community organisers, educators and facilitators should be reading. It will fundamentally change how you work with others, transform your 1-to-1s and build bold and beautiful organisational cultures.

If you knew that you are beautiful exactly as you are, if you knew that listening to you is the most important thing I can be doing right now, if you knew that you could figure this out, that your ideas matter, that your feelings count, that you are important, that you have a choice, that you can face anything, that you can solve this even if the experts havent, that you are a delight what new ideas would you have in this moment?

— Nancy Kline

Three Takeaways

  1. There are ten specific ways to think brilliantly
  2. Bad thinking often comes from untrue assumptions
  3. We are all thinking equals

10 ways to think

The quality of everything human beings do, everything everything, depends on the quality of the thinking we do first.

— Nancy Kline

According to Nancy, for us to think brilliantly we need ten components:

1. Attention

Attention is an act of creation.

— Nancy Kline

2. Equality

Even in a hierarchy people can be equal as thinkers.

— Nancy Kline

3. Ease

Ease creates; Urgency destorys.

— Nancy Kline

4. Appreciation

Succinct, Sincere, Specific.

— Nancy Kline

5. Encouragement

To be better than does not neccessarily mean to be good.

— Nancy Kline

6. Feelings

Crying can make you smarter.

— Nancy Kline

7. Information

Supplying the factsdismantling denial.

— Nancy Kline

8. Diversity

The mind really works best in the presence of realityreality is diverse.

— Nancy Kline

9. Incisive Questions

If you knew that you are intelligent, what thoughts would you dare to have?

— Nancy Kline

10. Place

Prepare the placeso it says to them, You matter.

— Nancy Kline

Watch your assumptions

Untrue assumptions slow you down.

— Nancy Kline

Assumptions drive everything: good and bad. Our negative assumptions could be that we are not smart enough, we are unlikeable, it will never work, people like me are not successful

Nancy asks us a simple question, do you think this assumption is true? and if not what is true and liberating instead? This happens when we ask each other an incisive question (expressing an idea or opinion (a liberating assumption) in a clear and direct way.

For example, you might say I am not smart enough for my manager to take my ideas seriously.

Is this assumption really true that you are not smart enough? Is it true your ideas are not worth listening to, especially to your manager?

You certainly wouldnt have the job if people thought you were not smart or worth listening to. When we test our negative assumption we often realise they are untrue.

A true liberating assumption could be that I am smart and I am worth listening to. All people deserve the respect of being heard. Once we have discovered a true liberating assumption we ask our selves an incisive question

If I knew that I was smart and worth listening to, what ideas would I have next to make our organisation work better?

The ideas you will now come up with will be much bigger, bolder and sharper than when you were thinking with from an untrue negative assumption. The power of liberating our thinking is endless.

Thinking Equals

In this world we are all thinking equals: no matter our age, experience, where we sit in an organisations hierarchy or anything else for that matter. This is rooted in making a decision to have a positive philosophical choice for all people. That we as people are fundamentally good, that we are beautiful, that we have ideas and we want to make things better not worse. A view of human life and human nature that frees the mind and helps each other to think brilliantly.

Listening to everyone is a privilege that deserves our full attention. When we intentionally listen and treat each other with this love and respect, brilliant things can happen we can change the world.