What do you think is an important skill to make good decisions? Many will agree that decisions are good when they are based on facts, its benefits many over few, promotes positive results etc. A few management leaders would also agree when I say that Critical Thinking is particularly important to make good decisions.
However, we come across many people around us who accept the very first solution that is given to them. And quite a few leaders do not take out the time to think all the possible consequences to the decisions.
I agree that not every decision would be full proof, nor can one think of every possible consequence to every step taken, however thinking of everything possible and giving some thoughts to this prepares us for some consequence. Critical thinking is one of those under rated skills which can create the difference between a good manager and a great leader.
Three basic things for Critical Thinking:
To improve our critical thinking, we can focus on three basic things:
- Question all your assumptions, everything you think you know, should be scrutinised, that has an impact on that decision. For example, let us say You have a new marketing strategy, which looks wonderful. Think: Why is this a good strategy and can’t it be improved? Do you have any research which supports or denies what you are planning?
- Take a jab at the logic, even if you think it is based on a strong foundation. Look at all the arguments, find the evidence for those arguments. See if they lead to the conclusion without any gaps or assumptions. Also, try to find any data to support the various arguments and the logic.
- Find completely fresh and if possible radical perspectives. We usually tend to rely on our close friends and family or work colleagues to support our logic and perspective. What most of us tend to forget is that this close circle is usually biased for or against us. That affects their perspective more than what we are trying to put across. This leads to unproductive results and conclusions. Burst your bubble, see people outside your circle, find different perspective. Talk to people who can challenge your logic.
If you can adopt the above three steps to every decision you take, even in small ways, critical thinking becomes a part of who you are. It also creates a better leader out of you. Research supports that people with a developed critical thinking skill tend to be more empathetic towards others. They have a higher EQ too.
I think one of my previous article on Marketing Metrics would also intrigue you. Read it here.