Search
Close this search box.

How to train your thinking brain.

Being a planner involves thinking, and lots of it. Developing your own style of creating and musing is an important part of this role, find out 4 ways to stretch your thinking.

I am fascinated by how people think. I am intrigued with how differently people can interpret the same situation. How we can read things into emails which were never intended. I’m fascinated by the fact that often there is not a right or a wrong but just a majority….or a lack of  decision making by one party. Freedom of thought is one of the elements of being a planner that I love most.

I’ve worked with a number of people over the years who have been keen to become planners and I get asked “how do you think?” I’m not sure that’s a question I can really answer because everyone has a unique style or approach to how they think which is undefinable. So instead of reflecting on how I think (normally it involves me cleaning my teeth, but that’s another article), I’d like to share with you some ways you can train, stretch and develop your own style of thinking, musing or creating.

4 ways to develop your inner thinker.

1. Think like a politician.

When I wanted to become more focussed on planning, one of my sources of inspiration was the very brilliant Ronnie Duncan from Meerkats. I’m sure I even asked him “how do you think?

Ronnie’s advice was ‘to think about the situation as a politician’. Be able to see a problem or a challenge from many sides, think about all the options and be ready to represent the side which you think is right (have the research to back it up). Be prepared to provoke others, test their thinking and challenge their beliefs, make sure they have considered all the options. This helps you to be more considered and ultimately more definite in your choices.

Some other, less admirable political qualities, we’ll leave alone.

2. Connect the dots.

This great piece of thinking from Ian Fitzpatrick has been shared widely over the last few days. Ian poses a lovely question to consider when you are analysing data,  “I wonder  how ________ is related to _______?”  I love this question within the context of a wider business strategy too.

Never plan in isolation. Always ask yourself how what you are thinking about relates to what else is happening. And, if it doesn’t – how should it? Ideas which connect and contribute towards the bigger picture have a chance of greater long-term success.

3. Live in the moment.

Don’t be afraid to spend time thinking about a situation. Savouring time to reflect and challenge your own mind should be a planner’s ultimate pastime. If you feel rushed to commit to an approach, chances are you won’t be able to develop the idea much further. You need time to look at the problem from every angle and consider everyone involved.

4. Have bucket loads of empathy.

I can’t stress this one enough. Being a planner is not about what you think, it’s about what everyone else thinks.  That’s why tools such as personas, digital profiles and web data are valuable assets. Think about the problem from every one of the target audiences you are being asked to consider. How would they think, feel or behave in this situation? The data is also there to help you from getting carried away with your own storytelling. Be factually relevant.
Having empathy is also critical when you are presenting ideas or facilitating workshops for clients. Be honestly in touch with how your client thinks or feels and the environment that they operate in. Things like this will be critical in helping you learn how to present approaches, and have them endorsed.

As with all things in life, practice makes perfect. Think often. I have been using a set of cards from The School of Life recently. 100 questions are posed to get you to think about a subject a little more deeply. Have a go.

The content and advice contained in this post may be out of date. Last updated on October 7, 2014.

Contact us

to discuss a range of services and support to suit your business needs and goals.

* Required field

Latest Blog Posts

Need Some Help?

We can work onsite or remotely with you and your team to provide capacity uplift or ongoing support as you need.

Need additional MarTech resources to supplement your team for special projects or to provide given expertise?

Data quality and integrity is key to any data strategy. We undertake audits and health checks that can give you peace of mind.

If you know your data could be working harder, but you’re not sure where to start, we can help.

We can help you build dynamic dashboards based on important metrics to fully inform the business.

Is it a CDP or a DMP that is right for your organisation? Let us help you work through the pros and cons.

Let us show you how to bring your online and offline data together to create a best picture of your customers.

Free assessments

Martech Talks: The End Of Cookies

This webinar was recorded in May 2024.

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.

Martech Talks: The Four Stages Of Attribution Excellence

This webinar was recorded in April 2024.

Download the full 2024 Digital Experience Benchmarks report from Contentsquare.

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.

Martech Talks: The Four Stages Of Attribution Excellence

This webinar was recorded in October 2023.

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.

Martech Talks: Privacy and Data Governance

This webinar was recorded in August 2023.

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.

Martech Talks: Privacy Changes and Data Security

This webinar was recorded in July 2023.

 

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.