Clear Thinking - The Business Experience



The Business Experience
Ideas Consultancy in Improving Organisation
and Team Performance

Clear Thinking

The NEED for Thinking Intelligence® 

 Thinking "What could go wrong?" is better than "What went wrong?"

Clear Thinking♦  Our research into Why plans go wrong; How people and teams think ... or don't!

♦  Ten reasons why people and Teams make costly thinking mistakes.

♦  How Thinking Intelligence® evolved – a need waiting to be discovered. Nobody before has applied quality assurance tools to business thinking.

♦  Classic Cases in Unclear Thinking – avoidable thinking errors.
Costly failures that would have been avoided had leaders and teams been thinking in the right ways. NOTE: most so-called 'execution' failures are actually due to Thinking Errors at the planning stages.

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Our research into:

Why plans go wrong,


How people think


The Business Experience has conducted extensive research into:

  • “Why Strategies, Plans, Projects, Innovations, Decisions, and Communications go Wrong” 
  • How people, especially teams, THINK ... and how Whole-Brained Thinking maximises success and minimises the risk of costly mistakes

Key finding: even highly intelligent and experienced leaders and teams are prone to costly thinking mistakes which may only emerge after the damage is done. 

In every case of failure or under-performance we examined we could see exactly where thinking mistakes were made ... and how they could have been avoided.

Ask for our White Paper on "Why Strategies, Plans etc go wrong - 10 causes of costly Thinking Errors."  Email

Examples of Ten Reasons why people and Teams make costly thinking errors

... often blindingly 'obvious' in hindsight



♦ There are no tests for clear thinking.
You can never be sure that you are thinking absolutely clearly. You may only find out that you haven’t been thinking clearly after the damage reveals itself.

♦ Everybody suffers the delusion that they are clear thinkers.
At a Learning & Development exhibition we asked over 100 visitors if they believed themselves to be ‘clear thinkers’. Every person said “Yes, I like to think so”. So we challenged them to define a few common words that people use every day. One was in the title of the exhibition.

Virtually every ‘contestant’ struggled to articulate clear, concise descriptions. They were all sure they knew what the words meant, but they used vague language such as “Well, it’s about …” or “It involves …” or "Well, it depends ..."

♦ People don’t check their thinking against the dozens of unconscious Thinking Traps. Groupthink, in particular, can be deadly (eg Bay of pigs). So can the various types of Bias.

How Thinking Intelligence®


… the need you didn’t know you had.


Most Sales & Marketing people suffer the delusion that they can see and hear their products and selling communications from the customer’s viewpoint.

In reality, nobody can.


The Business Experience's co-founder Michael Barrett developed the concept of Thinking Intelligence after studying Whole Brain thinking and analysing why plans go wrong, including the dozens of unconscious Thinking Traps everyone can fall into without being aware (eg Bias, Delusion, Fallacy, etc). 

He realised that his broad work experiences on £multi-million projects had developed a wider range of 'ways of thinking' (Thinking Styles) than the average person deploys, including polar-opposite ways of thinking.

For example, Michael had initially worked in sales and marketing but switched careers to design and purchasing. These 'opposite' roles require two polar-opposite Thinking Styles (Business Thinking v Customer Thinking). Michael can switch easily between these two Styles, two opposite perspectives on the same transaction.

Other thinking skills (Styles) developed included Process Thinking, Concept, Design, Overview, Detailed, Planning, and Risk Thinking.

So when he researched why strategies, plans, decisions, and ideas etc went wrong he found that he could see the reasons why. He could identify exactly where mistakes in these Thinking Processes had occurred, which Thinking Styles were missed or rushed, and which of the dozens of Thinking Traps people had 'fallen into'.

From trials he found that people can learn the key types of Thinking Processes used in business, the range of Whole-Brained Thinking Styles required, and all the major Thinking Traps to check for. 
See Thinking Intelligence® Training and Applications Workshops

Classic Cases in Unclear Thinking from our library


What were they thinking?

A gap in Detail Thinking

We have an extensive library of Classic Cases across all types and sizes of organisations that we draw upon in our Training Courses in Thinking Intelligence. We also show current/recent examples in our Case Studies tag.

Gerald Ratner famously lost his entire business due to one simple speech mistake. Causes: he assumed (a very dangerous Thinking Trap) that the media would 'see' his 'crap products' jokes. Instead they crucified him.

♦ TV company£1 billion loss. Causes:  20 thinking errors made by senior management, eg failing to see an 'obvious' lack of demand (poor Customer Thinking). 

♦ St Helena airport debacle: £285 million wasted building an airport that can't be used. Causes: poor Design Thinking and Facts Thinking. Dangerous wind shear at that mountain site had been known for decades. 

♦ 2008 Financial Crisis: Causes: many, eg poor Controls Thinking (admitted by the Bank of England), in turn caused by two types of Thinking Trap - GroupThink on a massive scale, and Delusions: "It'll never happen" and "I can deal with it if it does go wrong".


See What is Thinking Intelligence®?

See Thinking Intelligence® Training and Applications Workshops

See The benefits of Thinking Intelligence®

See classic examples Email us at to ask for our White Paper on "Why Strategies, Plans, etc go wrong - 10 root causes of costly Thinking Errors" and details of our Training Courses and Applications workshops in Thinking Intelligence®.