Why To Encourage the Participation of Shared Sustained Thinking


What is Shared Sustained Thinking?

Shared sustained thinking occurs when two or more people work together in an intellectual way to solve a problem, clarify a concept or even evaluate an activity, etc.

Both or all the parties must contribute to the thinking and ideas pool and it must develop and extend the understanding.

Sustained shared thinking can happen anytime, any place, and only requires time and interest on the part of all the participants.

The important aspect is the ‘meeting of minds’ and subsequent learning that occurs on both sides.

Why should we be interested in shared sustained thinking?

Here is something for you to think about by John Maxwell on the power of Shared Thinking.

Good Thinkers, especially those who are also good leaders, like Pat Summit, understand the power of shared thinking.  They know that when they value the thoughts and ideas of others, they receive the compounding results of shared sustained thinking and accomplish more than they ever could on their own.

Adults should encourage their children by asking them open ended questions and getting them to think instead of just telling them everything.

Here are just a few examples found that support the effectiveness of Sustained Shared Thinking, especially as you grow up:

  • ‘More sustained shared thinking was observed in settings where children made the most progress.’
  • ‘…adult-child interactions that involve some element of ‘sustained shared thinking’…may be especially valuable in terms of children’s learning.’ 
  • ‘…periods of ‘sustained shared thinking’ are a necessary prerequisite for the most effective early years settings.’
  • ‘Open-ended questioning and modeling were associated with better cognitive achievement.’ 

People who participate in shared sustained thinking understand the following:

  1. Shared thinking is faster than solo thinking
  2. Shared thinking is more innovative than solo thinking
  3. Shared thinking brings more maturity than solo thinking
  4. Shared thinking is stronger than solo thinking
  5. Shared thinking returns greater value than solo thinking
  6. Shared thinking is the only way to have great thinking

Successful organizations practice shared sustained thinking.

shared sustained thinking

If you lead an organization, department, or team, you can’t afford to be without people who are good at shared sustained thinking.  Nothing adds more value to the thought process than many good thinkers putting their minds together. It is amazing to see how more than one head can come up with new and profitable ideas that can catapult a company to success and growth.

Good leadership helps to put together the right people at the right time for the right purpose so that everybody wins.



Michel Maling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *