The HeadScratcher Post Archive
March 2009
3 reasons why we don't Think
        March 2009  The Headscratcher Post © Headscratchers LLC   Edition 47
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3 Reasons why we don’t Think.

Most people get paid to “DO”.  Do you believe your boss would pay you if you sat in your chair and just thought about things?  No.  You need to produce, whether it’s writing plans down and passing it to others, or building a component, or making a phone call or email.   Companies are in the business of delivering products or services, and in order to accomplish that, you have to DO something.

However, the #1 challenge that managers bring to our Critical Thinking workshop isn’t about doing more, or improving products or services; it’s the desire for people to become better Thinkers.  Why?  These managers are smart, and they know if there is improved Thinking, then quality and productivity will rise, innovation will improve, frequency of mistakes will go down, opportunity recognition will go up, and all of this will be reflected in the quality and quantity of what gets Done.

So, if Thinking produces better Doing, then why isn’t there more “Thinking”?  Many people say that “they don’t have enough time”, but that’s hogwash!  They just don’t make the time because of these 3 reasons.

1. We don’t think we need to.   Some managers do a great injustice to their employees because they allow them not to Think.  Their employees don’t Think, because they don’t have to.  Great managers insist that their employees “Think”, and instead of giving them an answer, they give them the tools to find many answers.

2. We don’t know how.  Thinking Critically needs to be learned.  You’re not born with this skill, and just like other skills, you need to learn how and you need to practice.

3. We don’t like to.  This is the primary reason.  We just don’t like to think.  Martin Luther King said that people will go to all efforts not to have to think.  Why?  People like to Do, not Think.  Doing is what gets rewarded and is satisfying.  Companies and employees get paid for what they produce, and Doing is what accomplishes it. Thinking also exposes ignorance, i.e. you get a lot of “I don’t know” answers when you Think.   Sooner or later you’ll find out what you don’t know, but getting it in big doses is hard to take, and so you would rather “Just do it”, than “Think, then Do it”.

The Takeaway.  The next time you have something important to DO, spend a little time to THINK, and you’ll be more successful when you DO. Of course we all think, but we don’t often Think Deeply or Critically.  Recognize that your work will improve if your Thinking improves, so make it a necessity, learn how to do it, and finally, look past the fact that it may take more effort, because the rewards are worthwhile.

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