Critical Thinking

  • Article
  • 14 July 2021

In a chaotic, multifaceted, quickly changing business environment with an overabundance of information, opinions presented as fact, and yet one more thing to consider, how do business leaders make good decisions?

Many employ a method called critical thinking, an important skill in a fast-paced workplace.

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. It is disciplined and fact based without bias or judgment, using an analytic, evaluative process to guide decision making.

Critical thinking skills can be employed in any situation and are useful when there is a need to judge, decide, solve a problem, need to determine what to do, or a need to figure out what to believe.

There are eight steps in the critical thinking process:

Clarify the goal: What is the goal or intent of the interaction or decision that needs to be made.

Gather relevant information: The keyword is relevant. Evaluate what is relevant to this situation; discard irrelevant information. Sometimes you don’t know if the information is relevant or not, so you have to travel along the path some distance before you can make that determination.

Examine assumptions: Consciously review the assumptions that you are making about the situation. Determine if your assumptions serve you. If not, discard them.

Discern hidden values: Often we project our values on our thinking. Similarly, others do the same. It is important to realize when we do this and recognize the impact it has on our thinking.

Evaluate evidence: Identify the relevance of information and ideas. Many times people provide us with lots of information. It is important to assess if the information is relevant to the situation at hand. Sometimes individuals will provide us with info that is not relevant, but not realize that they are doing so. Others may do it purposefully. How do you know? Ask the question: “Is this need to know or want to know?”

Draw conclusions: Based on the evidence that you have gathered and assessed, draw conclusions. Make the best decision that you can with the information available keeping assumptions, values, and red herrings out of it.

Take action.

Assess conclusions: After action has been taken, assess the conclusions you made and the action you took. Use this reflection as learning to apply to future situations.

One of Transcend’s Management Moments© learning sessions focuses on learning the critical thinking process with practical application to real-life situations. If you’d like to know more, contact us at pr 403.660.0421.

Dr. Wilma Slenders PhD, PCC

Dr. Wilma Slenders is a renowned change management facilitator, leadership coach, and strategic advisor for organizations of all sizes and industries. Her insights come from over 20 years of hands-on experience and thousands of hours of teaching, consulting on, planning, and executing long-term professional leadership strategies and organizational strategies.

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