Thinking Quotient

Discover How You See Yourself In The world.

The Thinking Quotient™ is a measure of why and how we do something, not what we do. It measures our “epistemic stance”, which is to say that it brings to awareness those unconscious patterns we do not know are controlling us. If we are to ground this in psychological parlance, we are talking about “Stage Development Psychology”.

We take the output from the Identity Compass profile system and run it through our Thinking Quotient™ system. This returns a value on the scale akin to the pendulum diagram below. From the output we can determine your “epistemic stance”, or how you know what you know about your own thinking. Again, from a psychological perspective, this can be thought of as “meta-cognition”.

When one looks at the existing personality profile systems on the market, and breaks down the questions they use, every single system talks about unconscious patterns, and conditioned responses. By grounding their thinking in emotion, they ignore the cognitive, and as a result, they are not aware that in order to have control over one’s choices, one must move through emotion into cognition. Not one single profile takes into account complexity and as a result, negates the resultant choice of higher level thinkers. If you have ever undertaken a psychometric test and found them to be lacking, this could be why. This renders the question sets pointless to someone at stage 3.6 or above. From my perspective, these systems are aimed primarily Stage 3 thinkers and thus have some validity, but it is very limited. This is the research from my Ph.D and the output from the research is the Thinking Quotient™ system that thus goes beyond the existing profile limitations.

Sticking with the stage 3 thinkers for a moment, their behaviours, in context, are not always as consciously-driven as you would expect. A behaviour that has you, one that you cannot NOT do is controlling you, driving you. An example would be the need to be Procedural. If you find it very difficult to not follow a set procedure, pattern or recipe, then your inability to be more Options-oriented – the ‘unconscious tendency’ opposite to ‘Procedural’ – is actually limiting how you construct “self” in context, and thus limiting your behaviours and your world view. If you’re an accountant or a chef, then it’s probably useful to be ‘Procedural’. But there is no “and/both” thinking. There is only “either/or” which the Identity Compass is also subject to. The Thinking Quotient™ overcomes this by understanding that if someone is Towards an unconscious tendency, then they can also be Away From said tendency. This is thus measured and understood differently in the TQ.

Susan Cook-Greuter says, about one’s Centre of Gravity:

“We define the center of gravity as that level of ego maturity to which a person has consistent access to under ordinary circumstances without special support conditions or under unusual stress.”

What my research is showing is HOW a person does this. HOW their centre of gravity breaks down in their own thinking. This differentiates my research from theirs inasmuch as I am defining the component parts of one’s thinking rather than the cognitive complexity stage of development.

With the Thinking Quotient™, not only do we offer you an insight into these unconscious ways of thinking, but we have a plethora of behavioural interventions that will counter your unconscious patterns, thus bringing you to awareness over time, and ultimately bringing you to Choice, which the existing profile systems do not. This will allow your Thinking Quotient™ to develop vertically.

How it Works 

If you’ve watched the video, you might already understand the benefit of complex thinking. Here is a graphic that demonstrates the growth path of complexity. It’s not the truth, but it is one way of looking at it.

The next way to look at this is via the pendulum arc being the complexity capability of the person, with the fixed point in yellow being their centre.

With the aide of the Vertical Development interventions as mentioned, once the arc of the swing reaches the next level of complexity, the return swing is limited in its return by virtue of the fact that one has grown, and is now not capable of dropping one’s perspective below a new lower limit. Thus, emphasis on shifting the fixed point to a new position to the right in order to swing the pendulum arm further towards growth becomes imperative. This does not mean one is unable to choose to go back down, or indeed, regress under duress, but the centre-point – or the Epistemic Stance – has shifted.

This can only be done by scaffolding the growth of the person using Developmental Interventions. A number of these have already been developed by me as part of my PhD research, tested robustly and implemented in various organisations across the UK.

Stage Complexity Definition

The images below demonstrates the Thinking Quotient™ ideas about complexity and Stage Development. At the lower stages, the complexity is there: it is just not available to the person. They cannot make the requisite relationship connections as their thinking complexity is limited at their stage of life and/or developmental level. The theory suggested by Commons and others is that each stage must organise the stage below. Despite the inference, this lead me to think that the growth is not a ladder, nor is it a spiral, as is currently used, but instead, it is a set of inter-related relationships, pathways and connections, each of which uncovers the pre-existing complexity around us.

So at the Low Complexity stage, the complexity is all around us, but we are unable to see it, tap into it or even recognise it. The green connectors in the image represent the connections between stages. In order to grow one’s thinking, one has to see the hidden connections as well as more perspectives and more inputs. As our inputs and perspectives grow, our thinking takes on new dimensions and uncovers more of the hidden nature of complexity. At stage 2, the thinking is fixed and limited. It takes a traumatic event to push one’s thinking out of the ‘stuckness’, or an event such as having children – equally traumatic – to really open up one’s perspective on “self”, and move a person from Stage 2 to Stage 3. But how do we then move up to Stage 4 or even 5? Growth Interventions for cognitive growth, as mentioned above.

To cut a long story short: by the time you get to the Fully Integrated Thinking stage, the hidden patterns are no longer hidden and you are no longer looking for them: they are just always present and you think in terms of patterns rather than concretes. You consistently think in terms of “and/both” because you understand there is no “either/or”. It is a false choice. I hope the image offers a reflection of this Stage Development Psychology as I see it and as my research demonstrates.


If you are interested in Vertical Development and increasing HOW you think, not what you think, as the next stage for your business’ development, contact us today for more information. Or call us on 01438 894946 now.