Realize the value of this truism in 3 simple steps
The most valuable tool I have used for over 20+ years in my team coaching is “think, write, share”.
These processes have several benefits for teams, including:
- Improved clarity: By taking the time to think before sharing ideas, team members can better clarify their thoughts and communicate more clearly. Writing down ideas can also help to organize and structure them in a way that makes them more understandable to others.
- Enhanced creativity: Allowing all team members to think freely and write down their ideas can foster creativity and innovation, leading to more original and unique solutions. If people blurt out their answers, others need to think about it, distracting their own thinking and it immediately narrows their thinking contributing to potential group thinking.
- Increased participation: Giving everyone an opportunity to think and write before sharing can encourage more participation from team members who may be hesitant to speak up in a group setting because of issues of safety, intimidation, or dominance.
- More thoughtful discussions: When team members take the time to think and write before sharing, it can lead to more thoughtful and insightful discussions, with more in-depth analysis and evaluation of ideas.
- Improved decision-making: By encouraging team members to think, write, and share, teams, can arrive at better-informed decisions that consider a wider range of perspectives and ideas.
Overall, this structured approach promotes reflection and collaboration and can be used in so many situations – all you need is some paper and pens. Here is how to execute the process:
- Think: Begin by giving individuals or teams time to think independently about a question, problem, or idea. This could involve brainstorming, mind mapping, or other forms of individual ideation.
- Asking people to think takes advantage of moving people from System 1 and System 2 thinking as proposed by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist.
- Kahneman suggests that while System 1 thinking is quick and useful, it is prone to errors and biases, such as overconfidence and confirmation bias. By contrast, System 2 thinking is more reliable and accurate, but it requires more effort and can be mentally taxing. (1)
- Write: After the thinking phase, ask individuals or teams to write down their thoughts, ideas, or solutions. This could involve free writing, structured responses to specific prompts, or other forms of written reflection.
Note: be prepared with large sticky notes and easy-to-read Sharpie pens for ease of recording and then working with the responses. If virtual, people to hold off adding to the chat until everyone is ready to share. Or collect in a survey tool and put it on a virtual whiteboard or shared doc. It is important to display each response and keep it visual. If responses are short, word clouds are a fun, fast way to display responses.
- Share: Once everyone has had a chance to write down their ideas, bring the group together to share their thoughts and insights. This could involve a facilitated discussion, group presentations, or other forms of collaborative sharing.
By following this process, you can help individuals and teams to think more deeply about a topic, generate a broader range of ideas, and collaborate more effectively to develop solutions and insights. It helps avoid the group’s tendency to rush to solutions.
If safety and inclusion are an issue, this tool can help by using an anonymous ‘Sharing’ process. This encourages participation and ensures that all voices are equally considered and not discounted or ignored due to cognitive or personal biases.
For more ideas on how to help your team be more productive, innovative, and successful please follow me and reach out to share a current or upcoming challenge you would like some ideas on.