Critical Thinking at Work
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical Thinking is the ability to analyse a concept, solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions. Critical Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user.
Critical thinking is a skill—and not just an automatic thought process. Most people naturally think “uncritically” and making decisions based on personal biases or irrational emotions. It is human nature that everyone is vulnerable to this type of simplistic thinking.
The skills we need for Critical Thinking:
1. We need to gather facts about the situation, evaluate the facts and ask questions when in doubts.
2. We need to collaborate and get feedback from people with different background to get various perspectives to the situation and need to ask them to provide ideas and solutions.
3. We need to know our biases and try to look past them. We all harbour unconscious assumption that can get in the way. Recognise them and act to prevent them.
4. We need to generate out-of-the-box ideas and solutions. Consider both short and long-term consequences of each ideas and solutions.
Here an exercise to improve your Critical Thinking skills. Think of something someone recently told you. Then ask yourself the following six questions:
1. Who said it? Did it matter who told you this in how you dealt with it?
2. What did they say it? Did they give facts or opinions? Did they share all info?
3. Where did they say it? Public or private? Did people react provided other views?
4. When did they say it? What was the occasion, was timing important?
5. What was the reason they said it? Did they explain the reasoning behind their opinion?
6. How did they say it? Could you understand what was said?
Employers today value their staff who know how to think critically. Critical thinkers innovate creative ideas and solutions and help businesses to stay ahead and remain competitive. Developing your critical thinking skills will help you become a valued member of any team and staying at the forefront of your career.
BY FRANK KUIJSTERS
Director – Digne Consult Asia Pacific