Time to Think by Nancy Kline is a bestseller business and self-help book that will help you to become better at listening to others. Many people nowadays have not been able to mastered how to pay attention to others. Why is that? Without listening to others, you are not creating a conducive environment for thinking.
Listening is respect, listening means understanding. When you listen you enable others to think clearly. Read the ‘Time to Think’ summary below for a full overview of the ten enablers of thinking that she teaches in her book.
Attention – in this principle Nancy discusses how to pay attention to enable the other person to think. She indicates that many people are unable to pay attention because attention requires discipline. When you pay attention, it means that you are “listening with palpable respect and without interruption.” Many people are unable to do this today.
Many people nowadays make limiting assumptions about others and about themselves that make paying attention to a problem. When you listen with an open mind, you are able to connect at another higher level.
Equality – Equality means that you will provide equal turns for people to think and to speak. This means that you treat each other as thinking peers. Equal attention is given to all, agreements and boundaries are kept. When equality is exercised even if you are a leader, the people you are leading will respect you more because they recognize that you give them a chance to exercise their mind.
Incisive questions – usually people will have some limiting assumptions about others and also about themselves. The only way you can get rid of the assumptions that limit ideas is by asking the crucial incisive questions. These incisive questions will remove the assumptions that distort thinking so you can free your mind.
Information – information is what really builds up thinking and removes denial. It is vital to ensure that all the facts needed have been supplied. Also, ensure that you provide a complete and clear picture of what reality is like.
When the mind is able to operate with facts and with a picture of the reality, then it can wander far and wide in the boundaries of what needs to be achieved to come up with a solution that is relevant and applicable immediately.
Ease – in this case, ease means that you offer freedom from rush or urgency. Many people are not able to think clearly when they are exposed to that feeling of internal urgency because they feel they are competing with time. Any first thought that comes to mind, therefore, seems reasonable enough without knowing that they have limited their thinking.
Diversity – this principle is about encouraging divergent group identities and divergent ideas. When you allow diversity you add value because you accept and appreciate the differences between people. It is our differences that make us stronger.
Encouragement – to ensure that there is high-quality thinking you need to eliminate competition. Where there is internal competition, it becomes impossible for high-quality thoughts to happen. When there is no competition, there is no conflict, and therefore even with little time, you can see great ideas coming up.
Feelings – as the old adage goes feelings cloud judgment. It is therefore essential to ensure that there is sufficient emotional release so that thinking can be restored. Provide an opportunity to share feelings that could be on the way and get the out to allow free thinking to happen.
Appreciation – in this chapter, Nancy discusses the 5:1 ratio. This is the ration of appreciation to criticism. When you criticize someone more than you appreciate them you do not cultivate a good environment for thinking because you make that person feel intimidated.
When you appreciate the thoughts more and criticize less, you give the person the courage to let their mind wander into deep free thinking that brings results.
Place – this is about creating an environment where people will feel that they matter. When people feel they matter, they are able to think freely and without fear. Having a thinking environment means that you have provided conditions within which people can think for themselves and think together with others that are around them.
When all of these ten conditions are met, then thinking time automatically is created. Thinking time becomes a by-product of the thinking environment. For instance, if you have a meeting and all the ten enablers discussed here are put in place, then there is more time for thinking, and the meeting might even end early with excellent solutions. There is always time to think therefore if the right conditions have been met.
What I Like About the Book
I like the level of detail that Nancy has put in the book. It is highly detailed with 10 enablers to thinking. The message in this book is simple yet very profound and relatable to many. The book is excellent because it is about giving everyone a chance to think for themselves. Adopting the principles taught in this book can bring astounding results, but it is not that easy.
Nancy, however, takes time to show you how you can adopt the changes. Many organizations have already adopted the use of these principles and swear by the results they are seeing. The book is well written, with a simple yet astounding message that can bring significant change in our lives.
Why You Should Read the Book
This book can help you turn your business or organization around by allowing your employees to be critical thinkers and providing the atmosphere to do so. It is also essential to read this book so you can be able to adopt great customer experiences that can help grow your organization. Do you take the time to listen to others? As a leader, you are not expected to provide answers all the time.
Create space instead for others to provide the answers for themselves. It is an excellent book for anyone that wants to learn how to think and apply active listening and thinking in all aspects of life.