Well, they can’t, not without people. It is the people who think, then act to get stuff done via organisational processes. It does not matter if you are BHP, or a two person consultancy, it works the same way. Indeed, if you are a one man business, find others against whom you can test your individual thinking, and it will improve.
The essence of “thinking,” really teasing out the guts of a problem or situation is to make use of all the available data and opinions, not just those that agree with yours, not just those that rise from a similar set of assumptions, and certainly not those that lead to a semi-predetermined outcome.
People avoid conflict, it is uncomfortable, they avoid being on the outside of the crowd, but guess where all the really new stuff comes from, so the challenge in enabling organisations to think is to encourage conflict of the mind, to welcome ideas that challenge ours, and embrace the conflict.
The worst thing I have seen in 20 years of consulting on strategy, marketing and improvement is silence. It is always a strong indicator that the organisation is not thinking, but looking to the bosses to make the decisions, because they know best.
Bullshit I say, give me the friendly, heartfelt noise of active debate any time.