Nozak Consulting

Parallel Thinking | Team Meeting Effectiveness

William Nozak

Every mind wanders, and other minds take the two second rocket-ship-trip to space. These are the same minds sitting to the left and right of you at meetings.

How can a group of ADD/ADHD, stargazers, narcissists, and the catatonic produce results in a group setting? Unintentionally, this group dynamic further diminishes outcomes by the production of noise, friction, and destructive interference. Dissonant cacophony. Is that the descriptor for your meeting?

Think About The Court Room

In a court room a judge does her best to listen to the arguments set forth by the attorneys. What we forget is taking place is the posturing of two perspective. For instance, in this scenario if I think of something that will weaken my argument then I would not say it. In this system why would anyone divulge contrary findings? How does this style of information gathering get us closer to the truth? It does not.

Instead of argumentative debate, Edward De Bono Author of Six Thinking Hats proposes we use parallel thinking. Instead of starting from a debate mindset, where two people take a stance on opposing interpretations of the same event, we decide to look in the same direction at the same facts at the same time. Parallel thinking.

Parallel Thinking is the Building of a Map

Consider each new decision as a destination and each choice as the route to the destination. Without a map, how can anyone with certainty take the best route to the destination?

Secondly, how can they consider themselves informed enough to decide to travel to the destination in the first place. Parallel thinking is the building of a map.

De Bono teaches organizations six directions a team must think in order to develop the map: (1) Neutral, objective, facts (2) emotional, (3) careful and cautious, (4) sunny and positive, (4) growth, creativity, and new ideas, (5) and the overarching big picture.

Oscar The Grouch is in the meeting

In American thinking, I swear, someone in the meeting will wear one of these “hats” the entire meeting. Parallel thinking forces the group to think in the same direction at the same times.

No longer is it my idea versus your yours, but instead it is what is the best decision and route to that destination, according to the map that has been constructed. If your meetings are long and unproductive, ruled by the loudest most aggressive, intelligent, or highest ranking person in the meeting, consider parallel thinking.