The Leadership Circle in Limpopo is off to a good start. Principals and their Business Leader partners have been introduced to one another and explored the broad goals they wish to work towards for the schools. One of the key elements of building a relationship of trust between the partners is creating a secure space for the participants to communicate effectively. The Partners for Possibility program uses the work of Nancy Kline in her book Time to Think (2002, 2009). This session is one of the 3 formal training sessions of the programme and is designed to introduce the partners and Principals to the 10 components of the Thinking Environment:
i.Attention - Listening with respect, interest and fascination
Listening of this caliber ignites the human mind. The quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking.
ii.Incisive Questions – Removing assumptions that limit ideas
Incisive questions remove limiting assumptions, freeing the mind to think afresh.
iii.Equality – Treating each other as a thinking peer
Giving equal turns and attention. Keeping agreements and boundaries. Even in a hierarchy people can be equals as thinkers. Knowing you will have your turn improves the quality of your listening.
iv.Appreciation – practicing a five to one ratio of appreciation to criticism
A five to one ratio of appreciation to criticism helps people think for themselves. Change takes place best is a large context of genuine praise.
v.Ease – offering freedom from rush and urgency
Ease creates. Urgency destroys. When it comes to helping people think for themselves, sometimes doing means not doing.
vi.Encouragement – moving beyond competition
Competition stifles encouragement and limits thinking. To be ‘better than’ is not necessarily to be good.
vii.Feelings – allowing sufficient emotional release to restore thinking
Crying can make you smarter.
viii.Information – providing a full and accurate picture of reality
The thinker needs information – at the right moment.
ix.Place – creating a physical environment that says back to people ‘you matter’
A Thinking Environment says back to you ‘You matter’.
x.Diversity – adding quality because of the differences between us
Diversity raises the intelligence of groups. Homogeneity is a form of denial.
The Thinking Environment is based on the chosen philosophical view that human beings are by nature good, intelligent, loving, powerful, multi-talented, emotional, assertive, able to think through anything, imaginative and logical. Behavior to the contrary is seen as the result of assumptions generated over a lifetime by events, conditions and attitudes in a person’s life.
When you can ‘be’ the ten components of the Thinking Environment, you can generate the finest thinking from people. You can also improve your own wellbeing and health, and enjoyment of life. Your relationships can grow in richness, intelligence and joy.
Our participants are now applying these principles and techniques in their engagements with each other and in the triad meetings with their coach.
In our next report we will introduce you to the principals and business leaders.