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What is The Thinking Environment and how can it help your business?

Creating The Thinking EnvironmentThe Thinking Environment is based on ideas from Nancy Kline. The idea of The Thinking Environment is to create a culture where clear critical thinking is encouraged so that good decisions can be made.

Anything that happens in a business depends on decisions made by managers or employees. These can be good, well thought out decisions, or bad ones. Every action taken within the business, every piece of planning, and every conversation depends on these good, or bad, decisions.

The Thinking Environment is about creating a culture of good, well thought out, decision making. If the people within a business are able to consistently make good decisions, and avoid bad ones, then the business should be more successful. The Thinking Environment gives a structure and principles for this decision making through the ‘Ten Components’. If the Ten Components are used correctly then office politics and personal issues should not play any part in making business decisions.


What are the Ten Components of The Thinking Environment?

The Thinking Environment works on the basis that most decisions come as a result of dialogue between people within a business. This can be a face to face conversation, a formal meeting or an exchange of emails. Whatever form that dialogue takes there is likely to be some exchange of information before a decision gets made. The Ten Components of a Thinking Environment, are the principles on which such dialogue should be based. Different people list the Ten Components in a different order but everyone agrees on the basic list which is:

  1. Attention –listening to what other people have to say with respect and without interrupting them
  2. Equality – allowing everyone to contribute equally, regardless of where they fit in the management structure
  3. Ease – allowing time for good decisions to be made
  4. Appreciation – actively praising people for their contributions. A 5:1 ratio of positive to negative comments is suggested.
  5. Encouragement – note getting bogged down in competition and office politics and encouraging other people to contribute
  6. Feelings – often referred to as ‘allowing sufficient emotional release’. It basically means allowing people to rant or vent their emotions so that they can get to a point where they can make rational decisions.
  7. Information – making sure you have all of the facts and that everyone in the discussion has the facts, and accepts them, before making decisions.
  8. Diversity – accepting, and listening to, different opinions before making a decision.
  9. Incisive Questions – removing the assumptions that we often base decisions on and basing decisions on facts instead.
  10. Place – creating a physical working environment that shows people they are valued and that represents the values of the business. So a creative design agency might have a creative and inspiring office space to match.


Improving Communication

We call our approach ‘Therapy for Organisations’. The Thinking Environment principles are one of the tools that we use to improve communication within businesses and organisations. It is our belief that the solution to most business problems are held within the business. Our job is to encourage dialogue within businesses to help those solutions come to the surface and to motivate employees to engage with them.

To find out more about the consulting services that MCS and Partners please call us on 01469 531580 or email us at