I am fortunate in that my work carries me all over Australia and Asia.

It was during one of these trips after I spoke at a conference I settled down to a nice lunch and I noticed something wonderful.

The person next to me started talking to me in English then when there was a lull seamlessly talked to her neighbour in Mandarin. I say amazing because I am not bilingual.

I stepped back and watched her move back and forth between these two different languages effortlessly. She not only could connect between two colleagues from different parts of the world but could also pick up more subtle social and cultural cues.

And she could do this automatically.

I wondered just like you could learn to switch languages could you also learn to switch your thinking with similar ease?

If you could, I pondered, how might you do this?

This is the insight behind Switch Thinking.

Then through trial and error with hundreds of managers and leaders I have developed this breakthrough approach.

Watch successful business leaders today for example and you will already see them operate in a multilingual way.

Not so much switching between different languages from different countries but something quite similar.

There is the language of business. Think about words or concepts such as profit, sales, market share, leveraging, efficient, productivity…

Then there is the language of the customer or employee.

Think of words or concepts such as experiences, group, teamwork, engagement, needs, solutions, relationships, partnerships…

And lastly there is the language of technology.

Think of words or concepts such as ChatGPT, AI, big data, cloud, agile, IT, content, Enterprise Architecture, Disruptive Technology…

An adaptive, flexible leader will be able to move between these different languages depending on the situation, need and audience.

It brings a richness to their world and opens better understanding and conversations.

In a similar way it’s now time for these same leaders and their teams to be able to switch their way of thinking when they need to.

Watching bilingual people switch between different languages depending on the situation is an awesome experience.

In Switzerland for example, my wife and I came across hotel staff for example that could change languages mid-sentence and in one case switched from French to English based on our facial expressions only. It seemed effortless and seamless.

In fact, research on bilingual people suggest the bigger challenge is not so much turning on a new language but turning off the dominate one.

Let’s play with the idea of switching back and forward between different languages and apply it to your thinking.

What if you could switch off your default way of thinking and switch on another (different) way of thinking – instantly? For example, wouldn’t it be exciting if you could switch to creative thinking then back to critical thinking and then switch to systems thinking and so on.

And you could do this whenever and wherever you needed to.

All you need is some tools and a bit of practice so that this switching to a different way of thinking can be seamless and effortless.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my workshops is when a participant has a switch in thinking.

It’s often sudden, dramatic with an almost palpable boost of energy.

Much like a Gestalt image where you are looking at it in one way and then suddenly a new image emerges.

You then wonder how you did not see the other image in the first place.

In a similar way Switch Thinking helps you see other ideas, solutions and opportunities.

It also helps you see other people’s perspectives as well.

This ‘aha’ moment is powerful and can inform how you feel and what you do.

It’s a release in the limitations of past thinking and opens up new possibilities.

And what I have found is that once you experience this the old, fixed way of seeing the world is a thing of the past.

You now have greater agency and influence over your world.

Here is the good news.

You are already good at switching.

Think of switching your:

– concentration levels

– conversation

– seating

– roles

– subjects or courses

– outfit or hair style

– way of communicating with kids vs adults for example.

Also consider how you can easily switch between the short term and long term, from diving into the details and sitting back and seeing the big picture. You have been switching all the time even if you have not been aware of it!

Now what  I am proposing with Switch Thinking is a proactive way to take what you are already doing and transforming it into a super skill by first labelling it and giving you a set of skills and tools to do this.

You next and perhaps most valuable skill is within reach

Just imagine how empowering this could be.

You receive a call from your client who has a problem and you can say to them, ‘ok leave it with me and in a few minutes I will have a solution for you that you might not expect.’

Or you are in a presentation and you are asked a tricky question. You instantly switch your perspective and can open up a new discussion.

Or your colleague is stuck and going around in circles and you suggest a different way to think about this situation. Instantly they are unstuck.

Or your group or team is falling behind in a project and you suggest a breakthrough way forward.

These are all possible with Switch Thinking. You can make a difference immediately.

Why wait for a group or team meeting for example? Why wait for the right mood or location? Why wait for an insight that might emerge in a shower for example. Why not solve the problem – right now.

Imagine being able to switch your thinking much like turning on a light for example. And it was as simple and easy to do as that.

And what’s more the result was instant.

Now that would be powerful.

Now let’s take the idea of physically switching on a light a touch further.

What is we thought of a new metaphor:

Your mind as a switching system

Imagine what this might be mean: You can switch your thinking anytime, anywhere:

It would be:





Immediate results

No right or wrong

Switch one way and back again

Small or big switch (leap)


You have agency, control and choice

Individual and collective

Builds on what we do externally (behavior) e.g. switch places to an internal switch

Are you ready for this switch?

Can you imagine this super-power?

Switch Thinking can help you solve problems right at the moment when you most need it.

And here is the other big benefit.

With Switch Thinking you (and others) are not trapped by your previous thinking patterns.

You are free to explore, play and imagine a new world of possibilities.

You can switch from what has worked in the past to what might work in the future.

You can switch from being rational to harnessing your emotions.

From critical to creative thinking.

From logic to imagination and from analysis to intuition.

And you can switch back again much like changing gears in a bike.

In an ever-changing world, why wait and why be locked into one way of thinking?


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