Who will you think with this week?

Our daily conversations with people influence the quality and clarity of our thoughts. Individuals that activate higher-level communication and higher-level thinking are difficult to come by, aren’t they?

How many people do you intentionally enter into a thinking conversation with?

Although every person might have an idea who their “thinking pair” is, many individuals do not consciously identify the thinking pair as a powerful tool to generate their higher-level thinking. Creating intentional thinking pairs can be a powerful tool in your leadership tool belt.

Throughout the multitudes of resources available to you as a leader to make your communication more effective, it is the practical interactions you face everyday that really ground your overall effectiveness. Merely understanding a concept is a different experience than realizing what it means to you, and applying it with others in your organization.

Identifying individuals who can be a thinking partner is the first step in effectively exercising higher-level thinking and communication. Our everyday interactions are undefined and are constantly changing.  You need to have a reliable strategy to help stimulate your higher-level thinking, and utilizing a thinking partner is an ideal solution to achieving this goal. An effective thinking partner has the ability to ground the conversation in practical terms, while bringing out the higher level thinking necessary to solve many organizational challenges.

Use these tactics to create thinking pair relationships:

  1. Choose people who will listen to you.  It’s important for you to be able to fully express your thoughts before the other person comments.
  2. Choose people who ask you great, challenging and thought provoking questions.
  3. Choose people who are curious about you or the subject you need to think through.
  4. Pick an environment where you won’t be interrupted.
  5. Be intentional about the time you will devote to this specific task.
  6. Be open to the fact that you might leave having more questions to think  about then when you arrived.
  7. Be appreciative of the other person’s time and effort they have gifted you to participate in this with you.
  8. Keep it to 30 minutes or less so that you can conduct these at least once a week.

Are you looking forward to the New Year?  You may have lots of goals and deadlines to meet before ushering in 2014. Finish strong! Ask not only of yourself those questions that bring about higher-level thinking, but more importantly, engage the people who will bring out the best in you.

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