How We Think: Systems 1 and 2

In his seminal book Thinking Fast and Slow1, Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman talks about two very different kinds of thinking that we do. He refers to them as System 1 (fast, but often wrong) and System 2 (slower, more accurate).

  1. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman 

Perils of Why

In a coaching context, asking “why” questions can be problematic. They can often give results that we did not intend and should be used carefully and sparingly.

Logical Levels

Robert Dilts’ Logical Levels Model (also called Neurological Levels), is a framework to analyze and understand human experiences, behaviours, and change. It provides a structured way of examining different levels of human experience and helps individuals identify and work with those levels to create effective change. It’s based on earlier work from anthropologist Gregory Bateson.

Motivation & Self-Determination Theory

We tend to over-simplify motivation into just two buckets: intrinsic and extrinsic. According to Self-Determination Theory (SDT)1, there are in fact six kinds of motivation2 and it’s worth considering the full range.

  1. Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness by Ryan & Deci, 2018 

  2. SDT is a much larger model that encompasses more than just motivation. This chart is one part of the Organismic Integration Theory, that is is turn just one of six mini-theories contained within SDT. 

Five chemicals (neurotransmitters) that drive behaviour

While science has identified hundreds of different neurotransmitters in our brains, there are five that are most commonly identified with behaviour. Each of these are part of our survival mechanism and will encourage or discourage specific behaviours with the goal of keeping us safe.

Pre-requisites for Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is a process of constantly seeking out ways to improve and optimize performance, processes, and overall organizational success. An agile environment hinges on this notion of continous improvement. We don’t expect to be perfect today but we do expect to be improving over time.

Power of words

The words we use are far more important than most people realize. They have the ability to make deep changes in unconscious behaviour in ourselves and the people around us.

Neuroscience of psychological safety

I find that many of the conversations we have about psychological safety tend to devolve into platitudes: “It’s good and we should have more of it” or “managers should create safer spaces”. This doesn’t give anyone any context into why it’s actually important or how we can go about improving it.