How important is critical thinking in business?

The problems vs answers can be difficult solutions at times. We all want to be better managers, employees and overall better people. One of the ways to accomplish this is to be better communicators, listeners and have better critical thinking skills.

Communication and problem-solving skills in business application is a common trait that we all take for granted at times. However, in interviews as the individual that wants a desired position; it’s better to display and provide unique examples of your problem-solving skills. This is what will help you secure the position in combination with your physical abilities that are required of the position. As the interviewer, we seek to hire the individuals who display these valuable characteristics.

We all want to be better managers and leaders. We want better employees and overall we want to be better people. One of the ways to accomplish this is to be better communicators, listeners and better critical thinkers.

What is an experienced critical thinker vs novice critical thinker?

An individual who is an experienced critical thinker would approach an issue with a systematic approach. They would listen to capture as much information as possible and ask thoughtful questions in order to gather more information. Most importantly, not quick to provide a solution without significant reasoning.

A novice critical thinker, would approach situations with hasty solutions with out completely thinking out the causes of the issues at hand. This approach typically, would have individuals that would not be able to completely think through business solutions or see the big picture. This is due to the typical obstacles of critical thinking.

What are the 3 dimensions of critical thinking?

We all make decisions based upon:

  • Experience         (based upon our history of similar interactions)
  • Interpretation   (based upon our translation of the information)
  • Analysis              (based upon our evaluation of the information)

How do we build better leaders in business?

These 5 steps are to identify the process of critical thinking. Once identified, we can then start to help build our manages, employees and even better our own skills using these steps.

If we have a problem in business, the best approach is to work through the steps in identifying and providing a solution to the issue.  

IDENTIFYING A PROBLEM AND NOT PROVIDING A SOLUTION IN BUSINESS IS NOT USING CRITICAL THINKING.

5 Steps to critical thinking

  1. COMPARE: Compare and explain the similarities based upon your 3 dimensions of critical thinking
  2. CONTRAST: Explain the differences based upon your knowledge of the issue
  3. ANALYZE: Determine what are the causes of the issues and break them into parts
  4. CATEGORIZE: Identify what is the type of problem (i.e. personal, communication, lack of knowledge for a particular subject etc.)
  5. EVALUATE: Tell the value (i.e. what is the good/ what is the bad)

What are the obstacles?

  • Resistance – People do not like to be proved wrong
  • Struggling – can be a form of procrastination and be related to the term “analysis paralysis
  • Denial of the facts, anger and avoidance
  • Narrow-mindedness – Self-centered (egocentrism)
  • Rationalize and double think – They make quick decisions based on the alternative that suits our bias
  • Cognitive and social dissonance – New social behaviors or ideas that conflict with our views
  • Stress – A lot of stress can interfere with the ability to effectively make decisions. The ways to neutralize the stress is to rehearse and try to be calm to efficiently go through the 5 steps of critical thinking

What is an example of using these five steps of critical thinking?

John is a new employee that has been with the company for about 3 months. Despite numerous efforts to increase his quotas for the position, he is failing. Therefore, the manager has to provide solutions using critical thinking skills.

Steps

  1. Based upon the 3 dimensions of critical thinking – Has the manager had issues similar with employees before? If so, what were they and the solutions at that time (this may seem like the answer, however we have to continue through the steps).
  2. Explain the differences of the experiences or different individuals.
  3. We have to ask the employee what are his issues and we have to break them into parts.
  4. Categorize the issues. Are they personal, business related, lack of understanding of processes, etc.
  5. What is the good part in this issue?

Is he a valuable employee with potential and shows a strong desire and capability to learn more?

What is the bad?

Solution: Determine the root of the problem before jumping to hasty solutions. This can save a lot of time in the future and allow for you to become a better manager. In this case, the business process could be an issue, rather than the person themselves. However, more information would be needed for this scenario, because it could be the individual as well that his intrinsic motivation is not allowing him to push through difficult tasks.

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