What is your Thinking Style?


Mind is the great lever of all things; human thought is the process by which human ends are ultimately answered. – Daniel Webste



 Thinking is an important skill which enables us to effectively use our basic skills & learning. Computers can solve much difficult problems but are still much behind humans brain, majorly because of one thing i.e. thinking.   Problem solving will be an integral part of your job out in the “real” world. Understanding the process of thinking is an essential part of problem solving. The Art of Thinking by Allen Harrison and Robert Bramson (1985) provides much information about the different way that people think and how to use these differences to advantage.

About 50% of the people think about things only in one way and about 35% of the people use two of the approaches mentioned below. Only about 3% are three-way thinkers. Knowing and understanding your style of thinking and that of those you work with is helpful to improve teamwork within a group.


There are 5 different styles of thinking:


The Synthesist:


  •  takes an integrated view
  • sees likeness in apparent unlikeliness
  •  interested in change
  •  is speculative
  •  sees data as meaningless without interpretation


The Idealist:

  • takes an assimilative or holistic viewBusiness Team Signing Contract
  • welcomes a broad range if views
  • seeks the ideal solution
  • interested in values
  • receptive
  • sees data and theory of equal value

The Pragmatist:

  • takes an eclectic view
  • looks for whatever works
  • seeks the shortest route to solution
  • interested in innovationMP900438680[1]
  • adaptive
  • accepts any data or theory that “gets us there”

The Analyst:

  • uses formal logic and deduction
  • seeks on “best way”
  • Businessmaninterested in scientific solutions
  • prescriptive
  • takes theory and method over data

The Realist:

  • takes an empirical view
  • relies on facts and expert opinion
  • seeks solutions that meet current needs
  • interested in concrete results
  • corrective
  • takes data over theory

Each of these styles of thinks have their own strengths and weaknesses, as illustrated in the following table:

   Style Strengths Weaknesses
Synthesist focuses on underlying assumptions;  points out abstract conceptual aspects; good at preventing over agreement; provides debate and creativity; best in controversial situations. may screen out agreement; may try too hard for change and newness; may seek conflict unnecessarily; may theorize excessively; can appear uncommitted;
Idealist focus is on process, relationships; points out values and aspirations; good at articulating goals; provides broad view, goals and standards; best in   unstructured, value laden situations may screen out hard data, may delay from too many choices; and try too hard for perfect solution; may overlook details; can appear overly sentimental
Pragmatist focus on payoff; points out tactics and strategy; good at identifying impacts; provides experiment and innovation;    best in complex incremental situations may screen out long range aspects;; may rush too quickly to payoff; may try too hard for expediency; may rely too much on what sells; can appear over-compromising
Analyst focus on method and plan; points out   data and details; good at model building; provides stability and structure; best in structure, calculatable situations may screen out values; may over analyze and over plan; may try too hard for predictability: may be inflexible, overly cautious; can appear tunnel visioned
Realist focus on facts and results; points out resources and realities; good at simplification; provides drive and momentum; best in well-defined, objective situations may screen out disagreement; may rush to oversimplified solutions ; may try too hard for consensus; may overemphasize perceived facts; can appear too results-orients


The following approaches can help you extend your thinking strategies:


To become more of a Synthesist:

  • practice listening for conflict and disagreement
  • ask dumb-smart questions
  • develop the third party observer viewpoint
  • look for relationships between things that have no apparent similarity
  • practice improving our tolerance for eccentric behaviour
  • when someone appears to come out of left field, listen carefully
  • practice negative analysis

To become more of an Idealist

  • focus on the long range
  • focus on the whole, not one “best way”
  • think about high standards
  • listen for value statements and aspirations
  • try to fit a number of different ideas into a single framework
  • encourage others to express their aspirations

To become more of a Pragmatist

  • practice thinking incrementally
  • encourage others to experiment and try to enter into this activity
  • look for the short range payoff
  • learn to thing tactically
  • practice being marketing

To become a better Analyst

  • sharpen up you statistical skills
  • learn to gather more data before making a decision
  • learn to make a flow-chart
  • pay greater attention to detail
  • focus on constraints

To become a better Realist

  • focus on concrete results
  • focus on resources
  • practice getting to the point quickly
  • practice short, declarative statements
  • learn to paraphrase for precision
  • practice incisiveness

Then what is your Thinking Style? Are you aiming for some new development or change?

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One Response to What is your Thinking Style?

  1. Extract of my old reading

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