Posts Tagged ‘critical thinking skills’

Reactive Thinking

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Critical thinking is the systematic attempt to avoid errors in reasoning. A critical thinker is someone who learns and uses skills that make for organized, disciplined thinking. It’s not about what you KNOW—it’s about how you THINK.

There’s another kind of thinking that’s the exact opposite of critical thinking. It’s called reactive thinking— the kind of automatic, unexamined thinking we all do at times.

This kind of thinking isn’t always bad. You don’t want to stop and ponder when a train is headed your way. You want to react.

Author Malcolm Gladwell calls this “rapid cognition.” It’s not completely separate from a critical process, but it’s much less conscious. And sometimes that’s what we need, especially when there’s too little time for a full critical process.

BUT…when it comes to deciding how to approach a large project, or whether to make a big investment, or how reason out the obstacles that would keep a key initiative of the company from getting stuck—that’s when you need a systematic process that helps you avoid errors in reasoning. It is how you take the most relevant facts and process through them to make the best recommendation—understanding the best case, worst case and likely scenario of moving ahead. And a workplace filled with people who develop that skillset is going to be more engaged and more productive as a result.

Critical Thinking Skills

Monday, April 14th, 2014

A recent study of executives showed that their number one concern is not having people with the critical thinking skills to fill the corner offices.

Another study showed that the average American student shows zero increase in critical thinking skills after four years of college. Whoa! No wonder employers are worried!

But critical thinking has to be more than a vague buzzword, and that starts by knowing what it is and isn’t.

Critical thinking is not about what you know, but how you think. It’s the systematic attempt to avoid errors in reasoning, especially errors that creep in because of our own biases and preferences. Everybody has those biases, but a critical thinker knows how to counter them effectively.

Done right, critical thinking can be the secret weapon that allows for massive effectiveness and powerful results and returns for your organization, and for your career.