Posts Tagged ‘data’

The Three Questions That Drive Critical Thinking

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Critical thinking isn’t just stopping and stroking your chin. It’s a very specific set of steps that helps you get the right answer—and your boss expects that.

The next time you make a major decision, STOP. Ask yourself three questions:

1. Is there more than one way to interpret the data? The answer to this is almost always “yes.”

2. What interpretation would you prefer to be true? That’s almost always one answer that makes you look better, or casts your department in the best light, or shows your company headed in the right direction.

3. Does your conclusion match your preference? It’s amazing how often our conclusions line up perfectly with our preferences.

It isn’t magic—it’s our natural bias. If the decision is an important one, there’s only one thing to do—march out the door and find someone outside of your own zone of bias to look at the data independently. Better yet, become a critical thinker and outline the best, worst and mostly likely case scenarios and evaluate your options based on how they line up with your choices. Your supervisor will be thrilled to see how you’ve developed a rational case that isn’t biased.

A company full of critical thinkers who follow these three steps will be more in touch with reality and better able to thrive as a result.