Having a process to work through can take the anxiety out of problem solving and make decisions easier. They’re the choices we make in light of how we interpret the events we observe.
We all have heard about critical thinking, vaguely remember covering it in college, and often downplay it as simply common sense. Of course, critical thinking isn’t limited to technical problems.
The most successful professionals tend to be the people with the best critical thinking skills, who look beyond the rote facts and figures of their discipline.
Since most business problems are complicated and too complex to be comprehended in their entirety, a model contains only those features that are of primary importance to the purpose at hand.
Think of frameworks as mental scaffolding to guide thinking while allowing flexibility to solve problems based on actual data; not a rote formula that may not apply to the situation at hand. Presentation: Once the data is analyzed and interpreted, it’s time to present the findings. Time is the most precious commodity for executives, so present the results so that they anticipate and answer the reader’s most likely questions, in a sequence that supports a natural storyline.
As important are professional skills: the ability to identify and overcome business challenges, with the same acumen used to solve technical ones. There’s too much to analyze, too little time to accomplish goals, and too many pressing problems that need immediate attention.
In other words: to increase your impact and grow your career, develop critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is a process by which anyone can consistently and accurately solve problems, by seeing the world more clearly than others and envisioning solutions others do not.
" Instead, as a professional, the initial task is to identify and frame the real problem.
Scan available data, develop an initial hypothesis, then use that to guide a narrower, deeper collection of relevant data.
In a world where infinite data is instantly available, critical thinking and the ability to learn quickly are the long-term competitive differentiators.
How to improve critical thinking To improve critical thinking, follow the same four-step process many of the world’s top consultants follow: analyze the most relevant data, interpret that data to create actionable solutions, present the findings in a compelling manner, and thoughtfully evaluate the success of the solutions involved. Analysis: When faced with an actual problem to solve, too many professionals fall victim to analysis paralysis.