If you’re looking to level up your personal or company performance, you need to develop critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is the ability to question, analyze and effectively break down an issue in order to make a decision or find a solution.
The importance of critical thinking
Critical thinking comes easier to some of us based on how we are wired, but it is a skill that can be developed and practiced, improving our abilities over time. Critical thinking will help you be able to better connect ideas, scrutinize and develop arguments, be more strategic in your thinking and solve complex problems all while being highly introspective. This style of thinking allows you to break out of the cycle of doing things the way it has always been done as well as move yourself away from any confirmation and personal bias. This is why critical thinking is such a highly sought after skill in the workplace, critical thinkers are able to reliably make sound decisions and evolve with rapidly changing workplaces.
How to improve your critical thinking
By learning and creating an awareness of what thinking critically is, you’ve already taken the first step towards improving your critical thinking skills! The second step is also relatively easy, you need to start asking lots of questions. When you’re presented with a problem or challenge you can start by asking questions to help you understand and evaluate the issue. Don’t be afraid to question everything, including your own assumptions, this will help you expand how you think about problems and solutions. Once you’ve helped get all of the questions on the table, you can follow up by researching the answers.
In looking through the answers try to connect pieces of information and see how they interact with one another. Point out any correlation, causation or interaction between the pieces of information. As you’re going through this process, be mindful of listening more than you talk. You are there to get all of the information before formulating an opinion, so you need to hold your hypothesis and opinions very loosely as you evaluate the information.
When you have all of your information, be creative in thinking through solutions. Take nothing off the table in your initial approach, being mindful of new and different ways of operationalizing. Don’t restrain yourself into thinking that you need to make a solution fit within an existing process, technology or structure, think about what the best way is to solve the problem.
By using critical thinking to analyze your next personal or workplace problem, you will come up with a more holistic and sound resolution.