Are you using your brain to its optimum capacity? What thinking skills should you develop? I read in Harvard Business Review that successful organizations of the future will place a premium on our thinking skills.

“… in today’s marketplace, the smartest companies aren’t those that necessarily out-produce the competition. Instead, it’s the organizations that outthink them. And while there are plenty of tools that help us quickly understand what our teammates do, it’s harder to tell how they think. ~ Mark Bonchek and Elisa Steele, “What Kind of Thinker Are You?

In my most recent posts, I shared that we have preferred thinking styles. Not everybody approaches a problem or a decision in the same way. Understanding your own preferred thinking style and those of your coworkers helps teams collaborate more effectively. You also should know that your brain has an amazing capacity to grow new cells.

This is one of the most important findings of modern neuroscience. You can teach old dogs new tricks! If you want to improve your thinking skills, you can. In How Successful People Think Smart, by Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler, the author suggests activities we can use to expand our thinking skills in seven areas:

  1. Use both hemispheres for whole brain thinking
  2. Improve the ability to focus
  3. Ensure unstoppable motivation
  4. Improve flexible thinking
  5. Unleash outrageous creativity
  6. Raise resilience power
  7. Engage a future orientation

No matter what your preferred thinking style is, you can improve your thinking skills. If you’re primarily a right-brained thinker (creative, non-linear) you can improve your abilities to use your left brain (rational, logic). Since none of us operate solely or completely using one side of the brain, you will gain perspective when you use more of the whole brain.

It all starts with awareness. How conscious are you of how you approach a problem? How observant are you of other people’s thinking processes? The more observant you become of your thinking skills, the more of your brain you’ll be using.

The problem is our brains love to take shortcuts. We jump to conclusions and automatically respond without thinking. This is because it takes a lot of glucose to run neural networks, and the brain is geared to conserve energy.

But you can change that by simply becoming aware of mental activities, just as you would observe an athlete engage in physical actions. When you do start noticing mental actions, you also notice alternative perspectives. It opens your brain to more creativity.

What do you think about this? I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me here or on LinkedIn.