Managers and business owners often work in an environment that is constantly changing. This can present new challenges. One of the biggest challenges we face is where to locate our offices. How can we increase our customer base? How can we find a supplier that meets our needs? How can we deal with a disruption in business, such as a power outage?
Creativity, innovation, and problem solving are essential activities in business management. These activities can be performed with more clarity through critical thinking. Decision making is not made based on quick conclusions but on reasoning, open-mindedness, and evidence. Because it encourages creativity and enables us to think outside the box, critical thinking is essential.
Critical thinking skills can be used in many management tasks, including problem solving, decision-making, evaluation of proposals, prioritising and communication, as well as resolving disputes and resolving conflicts. Critical thinking has a key component. It broadens your perspective, keeps you from being narrow in your thinking, and improves your judgment, evaluation, and problem solving skills.
When we think about ‘thinking’, we often assume that it involves the left side, which is the part of the brain that controls logic and rational thought. Critical thinking, however, uses the right side of our brain, our creativity, imagination and functionality. It uses non-traditional thinking (creative left side) that is grounded in traditional, rational thought (logical right side).
What is critical thinking? Critical thinking is a way of thinking that questions assumptions and draws inferences. It uses facts and evidence to make decisions about what to believe and how to evaluate information. It is not about accepting things as they are, but asking questions and seeking out evidence before making any decisions.
Simply put, critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze and evaluate information.
These 5 tips will help you improve your critical thinking skills and assist with innovation and problem solving.
1. Ask questions.
Keep asking questions about the problem and the information that you have gathered. Don’t make assumptions without fully understanding the details. You may need to look at multiple sides of an argument, and perhaps ‘push back’ on certain viewpoints or assumptions. As new evidence emerges, assumptions might need to be modified. Most importantly, you will have a better understanding of how these conclusions were reached so that you can identify the facts and what is not.
2. You need to distinguish fact from opinion.
It is important that you seek out multiple views or sources of information on the topic. This will allow you to see the whole picture and not just one. Recognizing and understanding assumptions will help you identify biases and persuasions in your reasoning.
3. Balance is key
to evaluation because most decisions require a balanced approach. Information must be evaluated for relevance and accuracy, with a balance of logic and emotion.
4. Be open-minded:
This can sometimes be a hard skill to master, but it is possible to think with an open mind and recognize and evaluate different assumptions, implications, and consequences of different scenarios and solutions. This helps to make well-thought out decisions and solutions that are tested against the relevant criteria. It also reduces the risk of being influenced by others’ thinking.
5. Openly evaluate:
Every solution and conclusion should be compared against applicable standards and criteria. This will ensure that well-thought out decisions are supported by sound reasoning and evidence. This allows for inferences, educated guesses and inferences to be made based on evidence. So conclusions and solutions can be justified and explained.
Management and business owners face enormous challenges, including rising global competition, rising cost, new technology, and the political and economic backdrop. To be competitive, you must be able to solve complex problems and issues in these constantly changing times. Critical thinking is a skill that allows you to make well-informed decisions, innovate and solve problems. This will help your business navigate the many challenges it faces.