Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Thinking Styles

Understanding Your

Thinking Styles

At this point, you are probably saying, “So, how exactly do I figure out my preferred thinking styles?” One option is to take the My Thinking Styles assessment, which is free and takes about 10 minutes to complete (see sidebar). You will receive feedback that describes your preferred thinking styles and how you can use them to your advantage. Each style is positive, and all seven styles contribute in different ways to good thinking. For you, the question is which styles do you use most frequently and comfortably, and which ones are less natural? You might find it easier to relate to the
varied thinking styles if you first assess yourself before you explore the styles. Although that might work best for most people, you can also consider the styles that follow and see which one, or which combination of styles, most plays to your thinking strengths.

Assess Your Thinking Styles
 Go to www.ThinkWatson.com/mythinkingstyles. It will take you less than 10 minutes to complete the assessment, and it is best to take it when you are not rushed or distracted. Give yourself time to comfortably answer the questions. When you finish, you will receive a personal feedback report that describes your preferred thinking styles.

We all use a variety of thinking styles in our daily lives, but we tend to favor some and rarely use others. My Thinking Styles™ (MTS) helps you find the right balance, so you can make the best choices in life and at work!

Discover Your Thinking Style

Thinking styles are positive habits that contribute to better critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. While no one thinking style is better than another, a balance of the various types results in better decision-making. Our 5-10 minute online assessment measures how individuals use seven different approaches to thinking:

Analytical: clear thinking, orderly and rational

Inquisitive: curious, alert and interested in the surrounding world

Insightful: prudent, humble, reflective and strategic

Open-minded: intellectually tolerant and fair-minded

Systematic: conceptual, process-oriented and intuitive

Timely: efficient, reliable and responsive

Truth-seeking: independent, tough-minded and skeptical

Knowing your preferred style will help you approach problems and decisions with the right mindset so you can be more successful.

Personalized Development Report

Your personalized 8-page Development Report (see a sample report) will unlock a unique combination that will help you be more successful with your decisions, relationships, projects, and every aspect of your life.


Analytical Style
Jonathan Malloch had a map on the wall of his office with all of the key players and all of the possible players. He created an algorithm that allowed him to sift through three to five options for every step of the extraction process, so that if one option failed, they could move to the next. At every single point in the plan, they had an alternative option. Jonathan knew that he
needed “to get pieces in place in a way that is ironclad.” As he explained, “We had a lot of plans that we could have launched with, but none of them were secure. I was unwilling to send this team unless I knew—as much as could be known—that these guys would return safely. I did not want to have a conversation with their wives and their family about why they didn’t return.” Jonathan knew that he had to prepare for every possibility and to review every detail.


If you are analytical, you like to anticipate consequences and identify strengths and weaknesses in plans. You are quick to think about if-then scenarios and how they might play out. You like to study situations and think about pros and cons. If something doesn’t fit in a situation or an important detail is missing, you are likely to notice. You are comfortable studying situations and concentrating on the pieces and how they logically fit together. You are likely to sort through facts and analyze information that is received, rather than just accepting it at face value. Analytical people can
be described as clear thinking, orderly, and rational. Having an analytical style helps build specific thinking skills, such as the following:
~ Checking the accuracy of information you receive
~ Differentiating facts from opinions
~ Clarifying situations by questioning
ambiguous or vague language
~ Noticing missing or inconsistent pieces of a plan
~ Analyzing alternatives in an orderly fashion

Inquisitive Style

A top hypertension specialist and Vanderbilt
professor, Dr.Nadeau is the expert, the man with the answers. But he is also the man who wonders why and asks the questions that drive new thinking and innovation. Nadeau wondered what they could do to prevent deaths from battlefield injuries, and, with Lieutenant Colonel Bellon’s support, that question led to medical training for all the Marines in the battalion. Theirs was the first battalion to receive intensive medical training, teaching each Marine to deal with common problems that lead to deaths on the battlefield, such as how to reduce bleeding from extremity wounds.
Dr. John Nadeau’s questions lead to new
training that reduces deaths from battlefield wounds:
Dr. Nadeau left his day-to-day role of caring for patients with heart disease to look after young Marines in a battle zone because, as he said, he “liked the challenge of doing something completely different.” He was also committed to figuring out how to help the Iraqis rebuild their health-care system. That’s why, when he went out to the public health clinics that had been completely stripped by vandals, he asked “Why don’t we hire Iraqis and rebuild these clinics?” That question led to renovated clinics.
In the same way, he helped reengineer the hospital and he actively went out into the community to serve the needs of the local people, including the tribal sheik. After Amenah came back cured, he came across other children like her, and asked, “How can we make this happen more frequently?” Thanks to that question, a second child was helped at the University at Charleston and a third in Amman, Jordan. Dr.Nadeau’s frequent questions led to his continual learning and to a series of improvements in medical care and medical facilities.

If you have an inquisitive style, you are intellectually curious and like to learn new things about the world. You want to know why things work the way they do and are comfortable probing deeply into subjects. You like to learn about different cultures and people. For you, information is an opportunity to learn. You have a tolerance for ambiguity and complexity because it gives you an opportunity to figure things out. Inquisitive people can be described as curious, alert, and interested in their surrounding world. Having an inquisitive style helps build specific thinking skills, such as the following:
~ Clarifying issues or beliefs

~ Identifying the root cause of a problem

~ Questioning deeply to unearth assumptions or
new perspectives

~ Asking how and why questions that help
evaluate information or alternatives
Insightful Style
What does Kevin Jarrard mean when he says that every one of the decisions he made was “the result of the totality of my experiences throughout everything that had happened to me up to that point in my life”?

His Good Samaritan background could have led him to leap to decisions or make bad judgments, like that missionary group arrested in Haiti on kidnapping charges while trying to move alleged orphans across the border into the Dominican Republic. But Jarrard avoided making any assumptions and wanted to consider all aspects and steps before he took any action.
He was aware of the Marine mission at that time in Iraq, of the willingness of Lieutenant Colonel Bellon to consider a request such as his, of the capabilities of Captain Nadeau, which strengthened his case, of the people back in the States he could count on for help and action, and of what he needed to do to respect the Muslim family members and the tribal leaders. Furthermore, he was able to assemble a big picture that led to a dream that would be hard, but ultimately doable, as it turned out.
An example of Major Kevin Jarrard’s insightful style:
If you have an insightful style, you are able to
step back and reflect so that you can gain
perspective on a situation or problem. You are
likely to stand firm on tough issues, if the
evidence supports the position, and you will
follow though despite obstacles. You tend to
see beyond the immediate and you seek clarity.
You are capable of being honest with yourself
and set a high standard for yourself. Insightful
people can be described as prudent, humble,
and reflective. Having an insightful style
helps build specific thinking skills, such as
the following:
~Taking time to reflect
~Maintaining perspective, even in difficult situations
~Willingness to persevere
~Accurately understanding personal strengths
and weaknesses

~Making judgments that fit the evidence (don’t overgeneralize or oversimplify)

Open-Minded Style
Let’s pause to consider again one of the most dynamic aspects of “Amenah’s Story.” A Muslim child and her mother were being sent to the Christian Bible Belt of America, where they would stay in the home of Christian Pastor Steve Berger and his wife Sarah, be embraced by the church’s congregation, have their travel financed from donations all across the area, have their cultural foods and customs respected, and no one would make any attempt to convert them, but rather accept them for who they were and honor them as fellow human beings who needed help.

Following 9/11, some people in America wrote graffiti on and damaged convenience stores owned and operated by members of the American Muslim community. Then, there were people like Pastor Terry Jones from Gainesville, Florida, who burned the Koran(the Muslim bible) in March of 2011, an act that drew angry condemnation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment runs high, causing riots in April in which many people were killed. The actions and emotions of these people mark one extreme of the grassroots mood. There was a lot of confusion and some prejudice about Muslims. Religion can be a very touchy subject, but that was not an issue with all the people who came forward to help.

Deanna Dolan, of World Relief, was one of the first to contact Janet Jarrard and say she wanted to help. One of her key decisions was where to place Amenah and her mother, Maha. She knew her choice was important: “I wanted them to be with people who I trust, people who I know would be committed, and who would be sacrificial. Because it is a huge sacrifice to allow strangers that you’ve never met, who were coming with huge needs, into your home. I mean, it takes pretty solid people to be able to do that.”
She weighed the options and chose wisely: Steve and Sarah

Deanna speaks some Arabic, but she also helped provide Zainab, an interpreter who could help Maha and Amenah communicate. She helped with respect for food and cultural needs, and when she saw fear in the eyes of a mother afraid her child might die on the operating table, she made sure there were people available to support Maha, especially during those stressful hours in the waiting room. She brought together caring Christians from Grace Chapel whose only purpose was to comfort and support a worried mother, one who just happened to be of the Muslim faith. Deanna’s approach, though a Christian herself, was to offer support, empathy, and solutions without reservation or judgment.

If you have an open-minded style, you are typically tolerant of the opinions and viewpoints of others and can put yourself in the position of the other person. You can think of different options, different possibilities, and different conclusions. You are comfortable not rushing to judgment, and prefer to thoughtfully weigh information and alternatives. You tend to avoid extreme positions. You value fair play and like to think things through. Open-minded people can be described as intellectually tolerant and fair minded. Having an open-minded style helps build specific thinking skills, such as the following:
~ Using an approach that is fair minded

~ Seeking information from people with different views or
~ Suspending judgment to evaluate information

~ Generating alternative solutions

~ Making connections across different situations or topics
Systematic Style
Recall that when David Bellon listened carefully to Kevin Jarrard’s proposal, he was assessing Kevin’s thinking and putting what he was hearing into context. Kevin’s plan was well crafted, but David needed to step back and consider how this plan could affect the larger operation. As he mentally scanned the system, he immediately recognized the challenges and he silently muttered, “Oh, my God, this is going to be a car crash with higher headquarters.” He understood that he needed to navigate the system and get buy-in, or at least, avoid the command to stop. He needed to harness relationships that had been developed and protect respect that he had earned from three tours of duty in Iraq. David needed to take a systematic approach in his support of Kevin.

People like Jonathan Malloch, as you saw, can be analytical and systematic when it comes to safety in a well-thought-out plan.
If you are systematic, you are able to size up a situation and place it into context. You are able to see the bigger picture and how the pieces fit together. You approach problems with a logical framework or scheme. You have vision and can anticipate the consequences of different alternatives. Systematic people can be described as conceptual, process oriented, and intuitive. Having a systematic style helps build specific thinking skills, such as the following:
~ Comparing perspectives, information, and alternatives

~ Developing criteria for evaluating information and
~ Analyzing alternatives

~ Making connections across different situations and topics

~ Evaluating plans

Timely Style
Few people get bounced a bigger ball that calls for timely action than was Janet Jarrard, Kevin’s aunt. When she read the e-mail from Kevin asking her to be the point person in Nashville, she immediately said yes and went to work on December 14th, not knowing exactly what she needed to do, but being fully committed to quickly figuring it out. The time pressure was incredible—a few weeks to secure fund-raising, complete logistical planning, and nail down a
multitude of details. Within three days, she had found Jonathan Malloch, and that led to the extraction team being put into place. World Relief, Deanna Dolan, and Grace Chapel church came next. Every single day, she managed to fit another piece of the puzzle into place. Janet describes this time as the most intense period of her life. She didn’t know that she could do something like this, but she did. Her efficient, resourceful, and timely approach kept the
Nashville side of the operation in sync and moving forward.

Timely people can gather information and make decisions without undue delays. They don’t typically get caught up in analysis paralysis or procrastination. Instead, they are able to actively search out relevant information and work their way though situations in a timely manner that is neither too cursory nor too slow. Timely people can be described as efficient, reliable, and responsive. Having a timely style helps develop specific thinking skills, such as the following:
~Being conscientious about working through a problem or
~Making a timely decision

~Calling for action when it is appropriate

~Appropriately pushing for plans

Truth-Seeking Style
Major Mark Lamelza’s job as Operations Officer was to support Lieutenant Colonel Bellon by asking the tough questions and giving honest advice. He said, “The truth is that you always know the right thing to do. The really difficult part of it is actually doing it.” Establishing and maintaining local governance, legal systems, and security for the cities in their region all fell under Mark’s responsibility.

He laughed when he admitted, “I wasn’t one of those who
jumped on the bandwagon.” He knew it was the right thing to do, but he also knew that he had to ask the tough questions and dig deep to make sure that this humanitarian project did not jeopardize anything within the vast umbrella of local governance or security. Mark wasn’t naïve; he knew the fragile state of these emerging systems, and he knew that an American-driven plan to move a baby girl and her mother to America for surgery and then back again was risky. Mark’s job was to find weaknesses in the plan and then eliminate those weaknesses. He needed to apply a truth-seeking style so that the team could avoid mistakes and recognize potentially dangerous problems.

People who are truth seeking are able to ask tough questions of themselves and others in an effort to get at the truth. They will push deeper for clarity even if it causes some discomfort. They may be skeptical and not willing to accept information at face value. They are not likely to be gullible or passively rely on others for a point of view. Truth seekers can be described as independent, tough minded, and skeptical. Having a truth-seeking style helps people build specific thinking skills, such as the following:
~Thinking independently without undue influence of others

~Clarifying issues or beliefs

~Evaluating information and seeing potential holes
~Minimizing group think

Making the Best Use of

Thinking Styles

Now that you understand your preferred thinking styles, let’s look at how they play out in your daily life. Write down a situation you have experienced recently (e.g., a decision you needed to make or a problem you solved at work/home).

Which styles did you use in this situation?

How did they help you accomplish your goal?

Were there styles that you could have used, but didn’t?

These questions are intended to help you become more aware of how you are currently using your thinking styles. If your top style is analytical and your bottom style is systematic, you are likely to approach situations by looking for missing details and inconsistencies, but less likely to begin by putting the situation into a larger context. Knowing your preferences helps you use your strengths more effectively and become more aware of things that you might

Consider the value of each style as you practice your critical thinking skills (see Figure 3.1). For example, a systematic style, the tendency to see the big picture and anticipate consequences, is particularly helpful when you are trying to evaluate information and draw conclusions. A timely style helps you bring a plan of action to life.
Critical Thinking

Skills:1. Stop and Think; Styles: Insightful

Skills:2. Recognize Assumptions; Styles: Inquisitive,
Truth-Seeking, Open-Minded.
Skills:3. Evaluate Information; Styles: Systemic
Analytical (Insightful).

Skills: 4. Draw Conclusions; Styles: Systemic
Analytical (Insightful)

Skills: 5. Plan of Action; Styles: Timely (Analytical)
Source: Pearson
Figure 3.1 Consider the value of each style as you practice your critical thinking skills.

You’ve explored several positive thinking styles that support skill development and good thinking. Hopefully, you visited the Website and have a better feel for your own thinking style or styles. When you have done so, you will know more about your own tendencies, the styles you use more frequently, and those you use less frequently. You can also hone and improve your thinking skills. The key lesson here is about being intentional, and the key piece of advice you can take with you is to know your style and grow with your style. It’s easier to build your thinking skills when you use your preferred style. You no doubt recognize that some thinking skills will require more work to develop because they don’t match your preferred style. At some point, it will be valuable for you to take a tough look at your least preferred styles and work on improving those, but that should come after you build a solid base of skills.



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