Good At Critical Thinking?

by Jay Deragon on 10/18/2012

Do companies hire people with critical thinking skills?  I did a search on the job boards and couldn’t find a single post that said “Wanted, Critical Thinkers”.

It would seem as though that critical thinking skills are strategically important to any company.  In a world where change happens at the click of the mouse, where understanding and using data is “critical” to strategic development and most answers to perplexing organizational problems are not on the surface, critical thinking skills ought to be in big demand.

The Art & Science of Critical Thinking

There isn’t a college course you can take to learn how to master “critical thinking”. Rather it is an art that gets developed over time based on experience and a diverse knowledge inventory. Critical thinking is also a science in that it relies heavily on proper data collection and analysis methods.

Critical thinking clarifies goals, examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, accomplishes actions, and assesses conclusions.

Critical thinking calls for the ability to:

  • Recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems
  • Understand the importance of prioritization and order of precedence in problem solving
  • Gather and marshal pertinent (relevant) information
  • Recognize unstated assumptions and values
  • Comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discernment
  • Interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments
  • Recognize the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions
  • Draw warranted conclusions and generalizations
  • Put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives
  • Reconstruct one’s patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience
  • Render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life

Critical thinking skills are not sought after by the many rather learned by the few. Critical thinking is a valuable skill in times of rapid change and uncertainty.   We are living in those times so finding people with the skills of critical thinking will help your organization to think clearly and meaningfully in times of uncertainty.

 

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