Leaders need to be proactive in finding solutions to problems before they arise. Pinpointing opportunities for improvement through creative brainstorming, and logically evaluating options assists in decision making and avoiding issues before they develop—enter critical thinking.
What is critical thinking you ask? Great question! Critical thinking is the ability to think in an organized and rational manner. It refers to analyzing/evaluating information, data, research, and facts to draw reasonable conclusions. Sounds tough, but really it can be summed up as thinking about thinking or a logical thought process or simply taking the time to understand.
So how do you learn this skillset and put it into practice? Well, it takes practice and patience, but here are some steps to help you get you into the process.
Identify the problem/question.
Employ visualization and fact finding to verify that you identified the root problem. The more specific you can be, the better.
Gather the data.
Look for different sources exploring different ideas and points of view so you can see it from all angles and make an educated decision.
Analyze and organize the data.
Make sure that the data you have gathered is reputable, that it checks out. Is it assumptive or fact-based? Do you have enough data to support coming to a solution? Is your data relevant?
Is the data you gathered unbiased? Did you take any bias in when gathering data based on preconceived notions? Can you argue your decision? Do you have enough data to support your argument when opposed?
Make a decision/conclusion.
Now it’s time to come to a well-reasoned conclusion and solution to the identified problem. Using the data you have collected and reasoning you have done, come up with a solution.
Here comes one of the most important steps—communication. Present your findings to your team and open up a conversation. You will need to be able to communicate how you got to your conclusion and to convey reasoning while staying open to the possibility of teamwork to further solve the problem.
Employing innovative approaches for visualization and fact finding, you’ll identify root causes of problems. Understanding the problem is half the battle! Once you evaluate issues clearly, you’ll be ready to generate fruitful solutions and make decisions that transform your business!
“Get all the facts. Weigh all the facts—then come to a decision. Once a decision is reached, act!” –Dale Carnegie