Time to Think

I feel very thankful to Karen for coming along and introducing me to Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment at the (rather grey and chilly) June CPD day. I had yet to hear anything about (let alone read) “Time to Think” so the session really opened my eyes to a different way of being.
The session started with us going around and talking (and being listened to!) in turn about our expectations for the session. This seemed like a natural and respectful way to start any meeting, but on reflection is not how most meetings I’ve attended have begun.
Then we broke into groups to look at and discuss in more details the 10 components to a thinking environment (If you haven’t read the book yet, I won’t spoil it for you by putting them here!). These, again, make so much sense – it’s completely obvious that these 10 components would lead to an environment that allowed people to be at their best – however, I can’t think of a single meeting I’ve been at in any of the companies I’ve worked for where this kind of environment has been cultivated. (I’m tempted to sneak the book onto the Boss’s desk and see what happens!)
Next we had a go at “Thinking Partnerships”. It was a first for me, and an absolute joy, to simply listen to my partner talk for a full 10 minutes about what was on his mind. Knowing I was forbidden to ask anything other than the prescribed question “Is there anything else you think, feel or have to say about that?” allowed me to really listen and pay attention to my partner. It came as a stark realisation that I have never paid attention to someone else for that amount of time without chipping in, offering advice, asking questions, or steering the conversation onto what I wanted to say myself. But I am certainly doing it more often now!
Being the talking side of the partnership was a scary prospect, what on earth am I going to talk about for 10 minutes without any prompting? By now, you’ll not surprised that given the right environment, thoughts just kept on coming into my head. When they ran out, the simple question “Is there anything else you think, feel or want to say about that?” brought a raft of new thoughts forward until I managed to say what I really needed to, something I may never have said out loud in another situation.
To finish, the group got back together and we did a final round of genuine appreciation for the person next to us. Again, so rarely done – short and concise acknowledgement of something good.
Needless to say, this few hours on a drizzly Friday ignited my mind, and I ordered “Time to Think” as soon as I got into the car. I’ve never been as grateful for one-click ordering and next day delivery.
If you haven’t come across Nancy Kline’s “Time to Think” yet, I can highly recommend it.

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