By Cindy Vallance
Principle 7 to develop a thinking environment is INFORMATION. There is no question that information is power, you get what you measure, and that evidence based decision making requires the right information at the right time. As Nancy Kline puts it “withholding information from someone is an act of intellectual imperialism” while conversely, “not bothering to seek information is an act of intellectual recklessness.”
However, one challenge is to strike the right timing balance when it comes to information exchange. What should we think about if we want to get the timing right?
Firstly, resist the urge to interrupt a speaker midstream. How do you really know what the other person is about to say unless you allow them to finish providing the information they wish to convey?
But what if they are misinformed? Shouldn’t you jump right in to correct them? If you are truly trying to support them to think, the answer may be ‘not yet.’ Think about your goal – do you want to show them they don’t know as much as you do or do you genuinely want to work with them to be a thinking equal? That doesn’t mean being irresponsible by withholding information, it simply means getting the timing right.
Secondly, think about timing when asking for information. Sometimes just listening will bring you the answers you need. If your goal is to help someone else to think then don’t ask them a question when they are in the middle of a stream of thought. Wait, pay attention and really listen.