It’s easy to believe we always approach issues logically, but in fact, our reasoning is often fallible. Sometimes we get ‘stuck’ in different thought patterns, also known as ‘thought wells’.
I recently picked up an easy-to-read book called “Think smart, act smart – 101 ways to be effective and decisive” when I got the chapter about ‘thought wells’ realised how relevant this is for intelligence professionals.
Here are seven common thought wells intelligence professionals might find themselves in:
1) Denial or Avoidance. Refusing to deal with unpleasant facts either by denying their existence or avoiding action needed to deal with it.
2) Yes, But… Coming up with a variety of reason, however spurious, of why a new idea won’t work instead of exploring its possibilities.
3) Groupthink. Automatically accepting the opinions of others without first checking whether or not their assumptions are correct.
4) Selective Vision. Trying to make the facts of a situation conform to your previously reached conclusions.
5) One Track Mind. Refusal to recognise any need for new thinking. People tend to find it difficult to reverse a decision once its made (even if it was a mistake).
6) Over Complicating Matters. Ignoring the simplest explanation or solution in favour of an overly complex or less likely one – remember the principle of Occam’s Razor!
7) Not My Idea. Dismissing an idea just because someone else thought of it.
Can you recognise any of these ‘thought wells’ in yourself? I certainly can. Let me know your best way you overcome any of the ‘thought wells’ above and we’ll feature your tips to help our audience avoid biases, and become better intelligence professionals.
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