Critical thinking is an approach to decision-making that enables you to come up with the best possible solution with the resources you have available. Some consider critical thinking to be essential only during emergency situations, but that is not the case. Good leaders use this skill daily.
- A seemingly small problem could snowball into a major disaster
- If you do not look beyond the immediate issue and identify the source of the problem, you are doomed to face the same problem again and again.
- Most organizations have divisions and departments that are interrelated in some way. If you implement solutions to problems without considering these relationships, you may make the original situation worse and increase the cost of doing business.
- Do you collect a lot of technical facts without considering the effect on people?
- Do you use your past experience exclusively to make decisions?
- Do you consider only the first information you receive in order to move quickly into action?
- It is purposeful and goal-directed thinking.
- It allows you to make informed decisions based on facts rather than guesswork.
- It is based on principles of logic.
- It requires approaches that compensate for problems caused by human nature.
- What results do you want to achieve? Identify your goal so you can be more focused and choose appropriate methods.
- What are the circumstances? Understand the situation and influencing factors.
- What knowledge is required? Discipline-specific knowledge is essential to being able to think critically.
- How much room is there for error? When there is less room for error, you must carefully assess the situation, examine possible solutions, and make prudent decisions.
- How much time do you have? If you have time, think independently and use your resources. If your time is limited, solicit the assistance of a subject matter expert.
- What resources can help you? Become familiar with documentation, manuals, knowledge repositories, and experts who can help.
- Whose perspective must be considered? Consider the perspectives of key players and be aware of potential conflicts.
- What is influencing your thinking? Recognition of influencing factors such as beliefs, biases, bad experiences and stress helps us to gain objectivity and find ways to compensate for them in our thinking.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
– Paul J. Meyer