You Think That What You See Is All There Is


Daniel Kahneman, Nobel-winning author of Thinking Fast and Slow says ‘People are designed to tell the best story possible. So WYSIATI means that we use the information we have as if it is the only information there is’. So what’s WYSIATI? It’s believing that What You See Is All There Is, aka the root cause of so many of our biases, assumptions and misjudgements.  Which is why understanding the component of Information is vital to creating a great Thinking Environment: supplying the facts can change everything.  Supplying the facts while being aware that facts are double-edged, with the power to surprise someone into fresh possibility, or startle into denial. (Just think about annual reviews, 360’s and so on).  For more on the power of  WYSIATI have a look here There are lots of good clips on You Tube too:

Information always has potential – it’s the great potentiator of our surprise and enthusiasm, of our shock and denial.  Discovery of facts can change everything, including the creation of a Thinking Environment.  What have you discovered recently in your TE practice that surprised you – do tell me!

Finally: 2018 is now within reach and you’ll be planning your CPD.  Do please check out the website for courses, and my first UK Alumni day on 19th January here:  I would be delighted to hear from you.


Why Diversity matters


There is always something fresh in the Thinking Environment way of approaching a topic, and I truly believe we are never ‘done’ in our explorations of what people need in order to think well and for ourselves – which is a really challenging thing to do, particularly right now.

One of the answers is awareness of Diversity and on last week’s Facilitator course we really focused on that.  We talked about the groups we belong to, the stereotypes associated with that – and the ways in which the world holds back some of those stereotypes.

So I was thrilled to watch this: Thrilled, because it is beyond rare to see and hear a leader be so explicit and direct about honouring diversity, and also because it’s in the context of the US army.  What a great role model for the US right now.  For all of us, in fact.  And if you’d like to do a little consciousness-raising about your own awareness of Diversity (by which I mean stereotypes, and our assumptions about those stereotypes) have a look at this, a renowned test from Harvard used to explore just this:, and then have a go. Quite frankly, ouch!

My final suggestion is about Alumni days – new in 2018 and ideal for refreshing the context of the Thinking Environment, the aim is that you would go away re-inspired about the possibilities and principles of this unique way of being  Let me know if you’d like a place.

Always time for a Fresh Start


This startling image feels like a great metaphor for the energy of fresh starts- which may be a slight exaggeration of this annual Autumnal ‘back to school’ moment – or not.  I can’t think of anything more inspiring for this time of the year than poet philosopher David Whyte’s recent TED talk, ‘A Lyrical Bridge between Past, Present and Future’, it’s a joy to watch and listen to:

How much time are you allowing yourself for reflection, and how do you do it?  It’s a tough question these days, even for those of us who offer that valuable service to others.  As a Time to Think consultant I’m committed to at least one Thinking Partnership every week, and sometimes in the rush even that feels like too much time to give to my own thinking.  Which is ridiculous.  How do you guarantee your own thinking time, and does that include having regular Thinking Partnerships – if not, how would it be if you set up a regular slot with a thinking buddy?

Which leads me to suggesting you have a quick look at next year’s programme of courses and Alumni days, where you might find all kinds of inspiration, and new Thinking Partners.  The Alumni days are for practice, reflection, connection and fun, and they are new for 2018. It’s all here:

Summer ideas for a Thinking Environment


Even though some people may not get away in July and August, many will, and this picture holds so much of what a good holiday might bring… peace, beauty, perspective – and good wine!

Before you go I’d like to pick up on the theme of listening, a perennial favourite, by offering you two very different  videos.  First and briefest is the ‘Power of Why’ creator Simon Sinek with a heartfelt plea to leaders to ‘practice being the last to speak’ which is both pertinent and inspiring (despite the cheesy music, why do they do that?!).

And then there is the pure joy of watching Indian village children getting to grips with the internet with no training whatsoever –just by listening and watching. This is astonishing, humbling and uplifting in equal measure, with vital messages about education and learning.

Then a little light reading.  Nancy Kline has been developing some fascinating ‘Fine Points’ about her understanding of the Thinking Environment principles, available here

And if that inspires you to further thought about developing your own interest by taking a course with me, that’s always welcome, and always available here, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

5 Books to spark new thinking

Each of these offers insight and fresh thinking about subjects that really matter to me. How we think, why we feel the way we do, how to live with joy and honesty – nothing too important!

The World Beyond your Head; how to flourish in an Age of Distraction

Matthew Crawford

In particular: that our capacity to give attention to externals is being consistently monetised for others’ profit, that we need to reclaim our right to undisturbed surroundings (‘an attentional commons‘); that devoting time and concentration to a skill like baking, motorbiking, woodworking, learning a language/ the ukelele creates ‘an ecology of attention‘ that’s hugely beneficial.  We know this!!

The Fear-Free Organisation. Vital Insights from Neuroscience to Transform your Business Culture

Paul Brown/ Joan Kingsley/ Sue Paterson

Vital insights: a theory of Emotions that’s easy to understand and explain;  the   neuroscientific explanation of how it is that we feel (in sensory terms) before we think (in cognitive terms) so Descartes was wrong, it’s ‘I feel, and then I think I am’, not ‘I think, therefore I am’.  How we need to feel limbically ‘safe’ in order to work well (hence the ‘fear-free’ organisation).

The Goddaughter Letters by  Nancy Kline

Just read this.  It’s like a manual for living a life with truth, joy  and energy.  Derived from a lifetime of challenging thinking about what really matters.  Love. Intelligence. Clarity.  Freedom. Equality.  A steely intellect supports a light-touch delivery – don’t be fooled, this is a radical manifesto  for independent thinking.

Remarkable Courage by  Deb Cheslow

I quote this often because it offers such a comprehensive practical framework for building anything – a new business, a relationship, a way of living.  Four key principles: High standards, Discipline, Accountability and Systems.  Thinking about systems alone is a gamechanger – whether it’s the quality of your accounting system, or the value of your personal relationships, pretty much everything that surrounds us belongs in one kind of system or another.  How good are yours?

Reading in Progress: You are the Placebo: Making your mind matter  

Dr Joe Dispenza

I’m interested in this because it seems to be a rigorous examination of the science that explains/ links how the mind and body interract, to the benefit or detriment  of both.  The same thoughts drive the same behaviours which create the same brain chemistry which creates the same results… Becoming aware of this principle invites the question ‘How can we act to change the chemistry?’ and offers the exciting possibility of much greater brain plasticity than hitherto has seemed likely.  Maybe it’s not ‘in the genes’ after all?

Tweet, post or email me your thoughts about these – and any suggestions of your own for books that spark great thinking.



Social housing and a sense of purpose

Spending a morning at the National Housing Federation’s annual Communications Conference yesterday was really inspiring .   This was a major conference for people working (very hard) in the support and supply of social housing across the UK.  These are the people who every day are facing the realities of a shortage of housing stock, and the inevitable consequences that provokes.  I had expected to find a good deal of criticism – of government, economic conditions, the ‘austerity measures’ that have led to the hated bedroom tax and to the challenges of Universal Credit.  And perhaps a certain degree of world-weariness. Read More