I used to have a colleague who would say, and often, “We need to think intelligently about this” (you know who your are 🙂 ). Yes, it bothered me – which is why I still think about it. It sounded like an insult – as if “thinking intelligently” about this would be different than how we usually think (hah !).
And yet, there was always a kernal of truth, a resonance of implication that I could not escape from (hmmm).
If I “think intelligently” about this … I have come to beleive that she meant something much smarter than I could process at the time. I beleive she meant we should be more critical, think more expansively, open our minds, challenge our assumptions, etc. Perhaps think “better”. This is difficult to articulate.
Do we know it when we see it? I am currently reading “The Black Swan” (1) and, yes, I see it. In fact, having read “The Opposable Mind” (2) last year I am more aware of the distinctions. As an example, Roger Martin speaks of the ability to hold “two conflicting ideas in creative tension” in one’s mind. He goes on to give us structures for how to think about thinking.
Is it something that we can learn, and share, and build into our team capabilities? Perhaps but most of us still have a ways to go to learn to “think intelligently” let alone communicate what it means and how to do it.
I am taking the “beginner’s mind” approach. More on that tomorrow.
(1) “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Random House Inc., New York, 2007, p 157.
(2) “The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking”, Roger Martin, Harvard Business School Press, Mass USA, 2007, p 7.