1. Integrated Thinking

Productivity Principle 1…

How to Think
for maximum personal productivity

This is the big one.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this personal productivity section of the site.

8 principles of productivity:

  • 8… Manage time by priority, necessity, and availability.
  • 7… The key to organizing things is the ability to ask good questions.
  • 6… Efficiency is far more important than being organized.
  • 5… Effectiveness is more important than efficiency.
  • 4… If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • 3… Sustained performance depends on energy renewal.
  • 2… Gain leverage through synergy.

Of course, there is lots of detail to drill into for each of these 7 secrets of productivity.

But the number one secret to professional productivity is not about any one technique like breakthroughs in time management, getting organized, efficiency, effectiveness, process management, or energy balance.

The greatest secret of personal productivity is… not any one specific technique… is difficult to develop directly… and is difficult to even describe.

Integrative Thinking is…

“The ability to face constructively the tension of opposing ideas and, instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generate a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new idea that contains elements of the opposing ideas but is superior to each” – Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management. (pictured)

Plus it’s definitely difficult to teach: Wikipedia states the main criticism of Roger Martin’s book on Integrative Thinking (The Opposable Mind) is its inability to teach “generative reasoning” or to provide readers with specific conceptual tools and a knowledge system for integrative thinking.

Reminds me of a quote from the film The Matrix:

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what [it] is…… you have to see it for yourself.” -Morpheus

Instead of focusing on what exceptional leaders do, we need to understand and emulate how they think.

How do you know if you are using Integrated Thinking?

As an Integrated Thinker, you relentlessly pursue new integrations as you flexibly develop maximum productivity towards the 4 success factors of the New Professional (productivity, relationships, skills, experience).

See both sides of the coin… appreciate both perspectives… recognise objections before they come up… able to work on many things at once… see the narrow and limited views of people around you… able to create new solutions that never existed before… use both your intelligence and your emotions to make decisions… are comfortable with normal sounding concepts like time management as well as more out there concepts such as Integrated Thinking… curious about new ways of doing things… always asking those questions to gain new knowledge… able to sit down and with pen and paper plan new strategies, work out new opportunities, and then apply all of the other principles of productivity to make them reality.

Roger Martin writes,

More salient features make for a messier problem. But integrative thinkers don’t mind the mess. In fact they welcome it, because the mess assures them that they haven’t edited out features necessary to the contemplation of the problem as a whole. They welcome complexity because they know the best answers arise from complexity.

External articles on Integrated Thinking

(links open new windows)

Highly recommended somewhat esoteric article on Integrated Thinking.

Interview with Margin Rogers on The Opposable Mind, How to Develop Integrative Thinking, The Art of Integrative Thinking (pdf), Three Thinking Techniques, 6 Beliefs of an Opposable Mind, How Integrative Thinkers Think Things Through, List of other references.

In the near future I will be able to share much more on this number one secret to professional success.

Consider this paraphrase from a report “God, The Universe, Everything and Derren Brown by Vincent Lynch

The common view of intelligence is the ability to categorise ideas, to put information into neat little logical boxes…

Infact, intelligence is anything but little boxes.

Intelligence is the ability to realise that the boxes don’t exist, the ability to live a life without the boxes.

To be able to see, without hallucination, hear without distraction, empathise without imagination.

Intelligence is the ability to withhold judgement, to realise that the language structure we use to think and speak limits our own minds.

Try to become ever more aware of using questions to spark creative thinking that remains honest and grounded in reality whilst reaching for new connections between thought, theme and thing.


  • How long would you stay in business without new thinking every day?
  • Who owns the thinking in your business? (or your life for that matter)

Integrated Thinking Resources

  • I have been given the go ahead to begin introducing people to a society that has been kept under wraps for years which teaches Integrative Thinking at the highest level. And to introduce it, as well as some other advantages for integrated thinkers, I have initiated a Lifestyle Alliance.) Check out my Lifestyle Alliance.
  • NovaMind for Mind-Mapping
  • Check out the Your Mind Control section.

Having been through all 8 Principles of Productivity…

…return to the homepage to re-focus on your next step or dive into the site’s Mind Control section.

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Gavriel Shaw

Gavriel is a resilience mentor, coach and counselor for holistic life management, heart coherence, and authentic intimacy, using the combined modalities of mBIT (multi-brain integration technique), HeartMath, NLP (neuro linguistic programming), CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), EFT (emotional freedom technique), somatic focusing, and more.

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