16 | Developing Leaders Issue 33: 2019 Viewpoint sense-check the feelings of a group or to get things back on track when discussion gets stuck or diverted. Barriers to change What gets in the way of creating a thinking culture? Embedding new behaviours at a team or organizational level always requires the three elements of leadership, changing habits and aligning systems with the desired change. In addition, we need to be sure we authentically support the efforts to enable people to think independently. Always start with the question: do we want people to think for themselves around here? Issues of trust and safety are paramount. The combination of the insights of brain science with the practices and principles of the Thinking Environment is transformative. Carving out space for real thinking to take place can seem like one more thing on the to-do list. The reality is that it can save enormous time in clearer communication and more effective meetings, as well delivering quality decision-making, a more inclusive culture and more productive relationships. At a personal level too, becoming someone who creates around them an environment in which others can think well brings benefits in unexpected ways. It is a way of being, as well as of doing, and can lead to deeper and more frequent listening, better relationships and personal growth. A fully referenced version of this article is available from Alison Nolan is an organizational consultant and coach in leadership and change, focused on creating environments which foster thinking well. She is Associate Fellow at Oxford Sa ï d Business School. She can be contacted at or via Creating a Thinking Culture