Clear Thinking - The Business Experience



The Business Experience
Business Performance Improvement Services
for individuals, teams, and organisations

Thinking Intelligence™
Case Studies

Classic Examples of Clear or Unclear Thinking by top management teams to help your teams develop Thinking Power, Range, Flexibility, Focus, and Clarity, to maximise performance and avoid costly thinking errors.

"What the West can learn from China's success - different ways of Thinking"  Dec 2015

Success comes from the mind, the way you think

We spent 16 days travelling around the south of China to get an overview of the country and see how the West could learn from this dynamic economic success story. From big cities like Shanghai and Chengdu, to smaller cities and towns such as Huangshan (near the Mount Huangshan tourist area), beautiful Lijiang in Yunnan province, an unforgettable Li river cruise, and the highly creative Yangzhou sound & light show.

We looked for the drivers of this successful growth and realised that a major factor is the way the Chinese people think.  Read more

"Productivity - what affects a Team's Performance, its Productivity?"  Sept 2015

The great Productivity puzzle

Despite the economy recovering since the financial crisis, Britain’s productivity (output per head per hour) has remained static.

At team level, there are many generic factors that affect any team’s performance, and in turn, team productivity. This story examines some of the key performance factors affecting team productivity at any level from board down, any industry and size of organisation.

We examine the impacts of Team Leadership, Engagement, ... . ...  Lessons valuable to all organisations, all leaders. But we begin by explaining the concept of a Team. Read more.

"Leadership and Motivation - four similar businesses compared"  Apr 2015

These examples of good and poor leadership illustrate basic principles that apply to any organisation.

We compare three Premier League clubs and one Championship club and the contrasting impacts their managers and owners have had on their teams’ results this season:

We examine the impact of Leadership, Motivation, Inspiration, Vision, Teamwork, Talent Management, Brand Value, and Business Thinking. Lessons valuable to all organisations.  read more

"Alps air crash - lessons in thinking about Risk"  Mch 2015

Air travel safety: something else to worry about - suicidal pilots

This is a story about Risk Thinking:... The apparently deliberate Lufthansa/Germanwings Airbus crash in the Alps has caused a rethink of the airline industry’s last safety rethinking after the 9-11 events. We examine the faults in that last rethink, and look at possible Thinking Intelligence solutions aimed at winning back passenger trust.  read more

“Tax Avoidance; Leadership Roles; Accountability – clear thinking on some vague concepts” Feb 2015

Three related examples of poor Concept Thinking  ... thinking about, understanding, and developing concepts - fundamental to all learning, understanding, and communication.

Tax Avoidance, Leadership Roles (the roles of a Leader), and Accountability are all well-known concepts. But many people, even at senior level, are rather vague about the meaning of these ‘simple’ concepts.

Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC, has been pummelled ... read more.

"Agile Thinking - was it lacking at McDonald's and the Bank of England?" Jan 2015

Agile Thinking has two meanings - one is a method of designing and planning new projects, the other is the ability to flex your way of thinking across a range of Thinking Styles as the situation requires.

We examine two examples of the second definition - the costly lack of Agile Thinking; deadly rigid thinking. read more

"Strategic Thinking on a rand scale - Saudi Arabia's oil price influencing - dumping Nimrod"  Nov-Dec 2014

Saudi Arabia made the momentous strategic decision to stop its practice of being the world's oil price controller ...

The frightening consequences of the strategic decision to scrap Britain’s fleet of maritime patrol aircraft, Nimrod, have suddenly risen to the surface.

Via a SWOT analysis, we explore the Strategic Thinking and Consequence Thinking behind each decision to see what lessons can be learnt for all leaders.  read more

"Customer Feedback systems compared, and how businesses miss opportunities"  Oct 2014

We tested the effectiveness and Customer Focus of the customer feedback systems of four companies, two large, one mid-size, and one SME.

The results showed alarming variations and explain why some organisations struggle to keep up with shifting customer behaviours or have no idea why their sales are falling.  read more

"Teams mess up 'simple' £bn projects, yet can chase a comet for 4bn miles"  Aug-Sept 2014

We investigate why projects go wrong and suggest lessons that all organisations can learn from. How did BP, highly experienced Project Managers, agree a contract to pay out claims to people who had suffered no damages from the oil spill?

Despite the National Audit Office producing about 60 Value for Money reports every year, how do so many Government projects go wrong?  read more

"Risk and Safety - how people and organisations have difficulty thinking clearly about these two key issues"  July 2014 

MH17 being shot out of the skies shocked the world and brought the issues of Risk and Safety of flight-paths sharply into people’s minds. Suddenly we became more aware of the importance in life and business of the need to focus minds on these two related ‘ways of thinking’ (Thinking Styles).

Driverless cars, tax-avoidance schemes unravelling, the benefits and risks of daily aspirin, the deadly Ebola outbreak, bank-failure risks. And a host of personal stories. What is Risk exactly? What does Safe mean?  read more

"Heart versus Mind - newsworthy examples of a difficult balancing act"  May-Jun 2014  

We look at News cases where emotions have influenced a £60 million High Court trial, a major European political situation, and several international sporting events.

We examine how the mind and heart work together and the need to find the right balance between  Thinking and Feeling.  read more

"Think your way to success - how Liverpool Football Club massively improved their performance"  Mch-Apr 2014 

Liverpool Football Club were seventh in the league last season. Now they are likely to come second after narrowly missing (probably) the excellent chance to be league champions. There are two major reasons for this transformation – manager Brendan Rodgers, and sports psychologist Dr Steven Peters.

Comparisons v Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Newcastle Utd. We explain the reasons for these wide variations in performance. It’s all down to how they think. ... read more

"Wishy-washy thinking on the UK Floods problem" 
Feb 2014

The devastating storms and floods of this winter has caused a lot of thinking as well as grief in the UK. However, the country, and especially the authorities in charge, seem no clearer about defining the problem.

We examine the clarity of thinking and range of opinions on Defining the Problem, Analysing the Causes, and Creating ideas for Solutions in the multi-stage Problem-Solving Process. ... read more

"Profitable Customer Focus - easyJet shows Ryanair how to do it"  Dec 2013

Ryanair and rival easyJet have announced highly contrasting financial results recently, driven largely by two key performance factors – with easyJet shares up by a massive 240% over three years compared to just 75% for Ryanair.

We examine both of these performance factors (leadership and culture) and their huge impacts on business performance which all organisations can learn from. This story also shows that people who flex their ways of thinking are likely to be more successful. read more

Burberry, a whole-brained 600% success story - but can Ahrendts' successor be equally flexible?  Oct 2013 

Angela Ahrendts developed a whole-brained culture at Burberry which contributed to the company’s outstanding business performance. Shares have risen an amazing 600% in the last five years.

Ms Ahrendts announced she was leaving and Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey, would take over. Burberry’s shares immediately plunged 8%.

We examine the City’s concerns about Mr Bailey’s ability to flex his thinking skills to embrace the full range of whole-brained thinking required for the CEO role. read more

A classic Change story - reforming the dysfunctional UK education system  Sept 2013

Michael Gove, the UK Government Education Secretary, is pushing forward his plans for reforms under a hail of resistance despite a recent OECD report ranking the UK 22nd in literacy and 21st in numeracy for 16 to 24-year-olds in 24 developed countries.

We examine the Change Thinking Processread more

Does Microsoft need a visionary Leader (like Steve Jobs)?  Aug 2013

We examine Steve Ballmer’s Leadership Thinking skills and Leadership Roles capability, and their affect on Microsoft’s 'poor' performance.  read more

The Problem-Solving Process - a classic example of chaotic thinking: the NHS Problem.  June-July 2013

We examine the Problem-Solving Thinking Process and apply it to the NHS situation ... still stuck in the initial stages. read more

Ideas from visiting other countries - a trip to California.  May 2013

We examined what ideas we could bring back to the UK.  Innovative Customer Experiences (Customer Thinking) feature largely in this report. read more

Customer Feedback Systems - how do yours compare with the Pharmaceutical industry and the NHS?  April 2013

The Pharma industry has a major feedback problem, ... missing out on valuable ideas ... could prevent the common cold. Same problem in many industries and organisations.  read more

How highly intelligent teams can make 'stupid' and costly thinking errors - even at board level.  March 2013

BP, and big banks JP Morgan Chase and Standard Chartered, classic examples ... an “unfortunate group decision”read more

 "Are YOU a Clear Thinker?"  98% of visitors to our exhibition stand failed our Clear Thinking Test.  Feb 2013

We challenged visitors to take a one-minute test in Clear Thinking at an exhibition at London’s Olympia ... only two of more than 100 provided clear answers to simple questions ...  read more   

Facts versus Assumptions - Hewlett Packard and Autonomy; Plebgate and Plodgate - what went so badly wrong?  Dec/Jan 2013

One problem – two telling examples. Facts Thinking – and assumptions  ... read more.

Turning Concepts into Products - the difficulties in implementing ideas in an un-Balanced Team.  Nov 2012 

 Several ideas from David Cameron’s Government are visionary but encountered major problems with implementation. ... read more

West Coast Rail Bid fiasco - a Design Thinking failure, with nasty ramifications? Sept - Oct 2012 

 Suspicion that the entire bid process has become too complex to handle. read more

 Reputation of Banks and Financial Advisers shredded - yet again.  Jun - Aug 2012

PPI mis-selling scandal, Libor-fixing scandal ... seen as a ‘greed’ high-risk culture. read more

PastyGate and other Government U-turn thinking calamities.  May 2012

Mr Osborne’s reputation as master strategist took battering ... ‘trivial’ matter.  read more

Petrol Panic, and How long is three months? UK Government thinking challenges.  Mch-Apr 2012

String of problems ... ‘misunderstanding’ about meaning of “three months”.  ... read more

How safe are cruise ships - after Costa Concordia?  Jan-Feb 2012

Valuable lessons for Business and Safety Thinking on large cruise ships. ... read more

Should Marketing merge with Sales? Hot topic gets Marketers steamed up.  December 2011

This is an organisation design and culture change story ... classic customer-focus and teamworking.   ... read more

What is Design? Who can explain this key, but vague, concept?  November 2011

Design is a word everybody uses, yet few people  - even design ‘experts’ - can define... read more 

Hewlett Packard and Netflix get painful lesson in Customer-Focused Strategic Change Communications.  August - September 2011

The way they communicated their change of strategy caused massive problems. Customer Thinking clearly lacking. ... read more

The Customer's Viewpoint on Marketing and Selling.  July 2011

Marketing Live exhibition at Olympia. Numerous examples of NOT seeing communications from customer’s perspective.  ... read more

Britain’s schools get lessons in Concept Thinking from Singapore.  June 2011

Learning concepts in maths, science, English. What Asian ‘tigers’ good at ... read more

Bye Bye PPI? - another Financial Services mis-selling 'scandal' - Business versus Customer Thinking.  May 2011

PPI mis-selling scandal. Business Thinking taken to excess ... read more

The Continuous Creative Process - Pixar's incredible run of success.  April 2011

 Culture and organisation design that fosters creativity – continuously. ... read more

The Joy of Chess Problems - great for developing your Thinking Skills.  March 2011

Playing chess, especially solving problems, improves thinking skills. .  ... read more

Caution - Women on Board. Diversity of Thinking?  February 2011

Balanced Boards  ... read more

Steve Jobs – highly successful Whole-Brained Leader.  December 2010 – January 2011

Whole-Brained, Clear Thinking, with a range of Leadership Styles ... read more

Delusional Thinking - England's 'humiliating' World Cup bid.  November 2010

We analyse what went wrong. … read more

See full list of Case Studies on the News page

Our Research

Our Research

Why strategies, plans, projects, decisions, innovations, and communications … GO WRONG

What affects Business and Team Performance – 30 success factors

Thinking Intelligence

Thinking Intelligence

How do you THINK?
How is your Thinking Intelligence?
Are you a Flexible, Clear Thinker?

World-first Clear Thinking training courses for groups, teams, leaders


Leadership, Team & Talent Development. Change

‘What affects Team Performance’ and ‘Experience the Change’  Workshops

Leadership skills training 
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Collaborative Learning for Teams

Communications Testing and Improvement

Communications Testing
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Test & improve the EFFECTIVENESS of your advertising, websites, selling, exhibitions, brochures, with the world’s first Comms Quality Assurance system ... AdQA

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See your business as customers do.
Spot valuable ideas for improvement across your organisation using a
4-stage Customer Focusing Process

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Business Improvement Workshops

every team in your organisation

Devise/review strategy and plans,
solve problems, create ideas,
change culture, find improvements …