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12 Modes of Thinking

The way we think influences what we can achieve. Here I don't wish to explore pop psychology themes such as 'positive thinking' but focus on our cognitive processes. Most people educated in schools are made aware of (and practice) logical thinking, and this shapes the way we both perceive relationships between ideas and implementations, but are unaware of its limitations.

There are at least another twelve personal modes of thinking, not to mention team based thinking methods.

Unfortunately, most people only use a few!

Here are some personal modes of thinking and their use.

  • Reactive Thinking (reaction)
  • Reflective thinking (reviewing)
  • Logical thinking (determining relationships and impacts)
  • Strategic thinking (setting direction)
  • Lateral thinking (opportunity spotting)
  • Imagination or creative thinking (innovation and ideas)
  • Critical thinking (problem solving)
  • Judgmental thinking (quality appraisal)
  • Holistic thinking (environment scanning)
  • Systems thinking (design and relationships)
  • Chaos thinking (handling ambiguity)
  • Decision thinking (action)

And finally, Metacognition (thinking about thinking).

It is important to realise when your thinking mode is inappropriate and change modes. In STARS each of the modes is explored and training helps foster the ability to change as needed.

The Thinker

First there was Rodin's famous statue of the thinker....

But do you ever see anyone really posed like that when thinking?

Very unlikely!

On the other hand, there are thinkers that I admire including de Bono, Senn, Drucker and Deming. Some are thinkers about things (like quality management) and some are thinkers about thinking (metacognitionists). People like de Bono have been reshaping the way to think and are likely to have longer horizons for shaping events.

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