Any situation you face that is difficult, complex or important I have named a ‘task’. You have taken it up so it is worth your serious thought, to improve on what you might otherwise do. It matters that you achieve the best result possible.
Effective Intelligence is the system of thought enabling anyone to navigate how you should think to achieve your purpose, the outcome you would like to be realized. It offers maps, clusters of the questions whose answers will be most likely to move you forward toward your goal. Also it reveals how you personally and individually prefer to think, your mental style or approach in general: this predicts what you will usually do without steering your thoughts. Even without being aware of your natural thinking patterns, you tend to be consistent in your approach.
Different types of task or difficult situation actually require you to choose different maps and hence different ways of thinking. Your goal or destination determines which map to use in order to navigate complex problems. It requires different thinking to:-
- choose where to go v. plan how to get there
- diagnose how and why something has gone wrong v. prescribe how to restore the situation
- reach an unusual idea v. evaluate how good it is
- form a new strategy v. gather relevant information
- influence someone else v. learn
- invent a new solution v. win its acceptance.
Effective Intelligence aims to unite or draw closer your inner abilities and wishes to the reality of the outer world. It does this by steering you to match what you do with what needs to be done – to choose what will work. Its unique approach is the language of thinking-intentions which characterises the kind of question needed as opposed to the kind of question you are actually asking. The beauty is that both the task-map and your thinking are described in the same terms, so you can compare and change your navigation course if need be.
Different tasks need different charts, but navigation for any voyage or thinking journey is clearly simplified by labelling. You know where you are – and where you should be. Whenever we fail to reach a good result, we have sailed the wrong course, unable to see where we have gone wrong. The 25 Thinking-Intentions flag and signpost your path. The system of interconnections is more than enough to handle all problems frequently met by everyone and simple enough for anyone to learn and use on some level of depth.
The first thing to decide when tackling a difficult, important or complex issue is how to face up to it, in which direction to steer your energies. What kind of issue is it? Which map in our atlas of thinking tasks addresses it? What questions and thought tactics to deploy? In any voyage, whatever plan you make will be sent off-course by surprise events on the way. You must be able to react appropriately, so you need a chart to know your position and a compass to revise your direction. Effective Intelligence maps label those questions as your ‘thinking-intentions’ so that you can recognise them readily in your head.
John Locke declared that to know what you know is different from to know how you know it. The set of thinking-intentions of Effective Intelligence delivers the latter and applies to any situation where you don’t know how to think about it effectively.