Critical Thinking is the skill of understanding and analyzing facts, identifying what works and doesn’t work and then building strategies, visions, and plans.
Critical thinking is being willing to challenge the status quo and the insights gained from the data. It requires the human ability to understand and logically deduct new from the current. The ability to see both the bigger picture and the challenges that need to be solved to achieve a strategy.
Critical thinking is different from logical thinking. Logical thinking allows for logical deductions to be made in a linear fashion. Critical thinking challenges the logical deductions and the linear process that is used to get to the solutions. It even challenges “why” the thinking was being done in the first place. Although critical thinking is logical by nature, it is also critical, challenging, explorative and curious. “How we have always done it” is a part of what critical thinking challenges. With critical thinking, there are no sacred topics, information sources or explanations.
When we explore critical thinking, we often assume it is the opposite of creativity. Yet, critical thinking is the cornerstone of great creativity. Innovative ideas are born of deep knowledge and insight.
In business, data is the new gold. But data holds no value if it is not critically analysed (interpreted, explored, and mined).
Critical thinking is logical and intensely clever. It relies on the human ability to consider what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what this information reveals for us. It is through critical thinking that opportunity is revealed.
How do we build our fitness at critical thinking?
For most leaders, capacity constraints impact the ability to do sufficient critical thinking. In the new world where AI supports delivery, some of the additional time gained from not “doing” must be re-allocated to critical thinking. Fitness is built through allocating dedicated time to:
When team members are motivated to question, share ideas, and challenge the status quo (all critical thinking), it sparks innovation and growth. Open communication, a culture of curiosity, and a willingness to embrace diverse perspectives all contribute to cultivating critical thinking skills. Advanced critical thinking skills are built through working with experienced and creative critical thinkers that demand critical thinking on ALL aspects of the business. They do not allow there to be any “sacred cows”.
As with creativity, critical thinking requires courage and commitment to applying powerful human skills and capabilities. It requires that we fully embrace our “human” skill to see facts and information with new eyes. It requires deep, well-intentioned curiosity that challenges the known and explores the new. Critical thinking will allow us to remain relevant and impactful in a fast-changing world.
Contact us for information on how we can unlock critical thinking and creative problem solving in your business.