Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Thinking Point: How to Leverage Critical Thinking in Change Management

A systematic Change Management scenario is based on ‘logic’ which is a key component of the critical thinking process generally.

With the “VUCA” digital new normal, Change Management becomes an ongoing capability to enable strategy execution. However, more than two-thirds of Change Management fail to achieve the expected business results. The reason so many change initiatives are not comprehensible is that they don't make fundamental sense, or lack of the logical scenario to manage change effectively. Therefore, critical thinking is more critical than ever to analyze the root causes of failures. In fact, the businesses, and the world as a whole become over-complex, with the increasing speed of changes, uncertainty, and ambiguity, how to leverage critical thinking in Change Management in order to improve its success rate and catalyze digital transformation?

Leverage Critical Thinking to figure out the “Big Why” about changes: Critical thinking as the core skill is concerned ultimately with the status of claims such as evidence, recommendations, predictions, principles, analysis, especially when inferences are drawn from them. Change is chaotic, but change management needs to be well designed and practiced systematically. It starts with leveraging Critical Thinking to figure out the “Big Why” about changes. Asking big WHY question is to leveraging critical thinking to dig through the root cause of changes, how to manage it and achieve more tangible results. Often, many organizations focus so heavily on the "doing" (the "how"), they lose sight of the "purpose," the "WHY" part of changes. It is the key to thinking critically and presenting the “WHY” first. Real change and improvement are deprogramming old mindsets, letting go of the outdated traditions or the voices from the past, and think both critically and creatively, to reprogram collective minds with new mentalities, norms, and behaviors, and successful changes are often linked to the DNA of the organization itself.

A systematic Change Management scenario is based on ‘logic’ which is a key component of the critical thinking process generally: Change Management needs to be the logical scenario of goal-setting, decision making, mindset reprogramming, process tuning, and performance indicator selections & measurement. Most decisions on problem-solving are based on ‘logic’ which is a key component of the critical thinking process generally. You think critically when you begin to focus and delineate the factors associated with the problem, critical thinking is a multidimensional thought process which includes many other thinking processes such as analysis, synthesis, creative thinking, strategic thinking, holistic thinking, etc. This requires one to slow down with the way they think; as some people are prone to immediately jump to conclusions based on what they see and not necessarily based on what they know or how they perceive. Leveraging Critical Thinking in Change Management means taking multiple perspectives into account, minimizing "agendas" or "spin," understanding the emotional component, working through the logic, reconciling differences and inconsistencies in data or sources, using a set of criteria for evaluating information and conclusions and considering unintended consequences. "Why" concerns should not just precede "How" elaboration, but should be reaffirmed at each step in the "How." Every process, every expenditure of time, money, or energy, and every assignment of resources should directly relate back to the "Why."

Critical thinking is ever-improving - it’s the fundamental of Change Management - Change for better: Critical thinking as an iterative process leads to a series of refinements based on learning and experience, rather than "good" or "bad.” Change leaders and managers should leverage critical thinking in understanding both psychology and methodology behind changes. Making the observation and deepening understanding by asking the right questions, and open for varying answers. Keep pondering which factors motivate people who like changes, and the same question could be asked of those who don't like change, learning the best change practices from others, also open the eyes on the bad experiences and realistically defining and communicating the need for a change. Figure out the tailored change management solution. Thinking critically, and take what is known and which needs to be understood to come up with the right solution. With a thorough understanding, people learn to adapt over a period of transformation slowly and steadily.

There are many flavors of changes. It could be as natural as taking a breath, or as complex as playing a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces. Do not just confuse change as the simple “Let’s do it.” motion. There are many thoughts and planning behind it. Change is never for its own sake, leverage Critical Thinking to figure out the WHY, WHY, WHO, HOW, WHEN, WHERE about behind it, and build change as a critical ongoing business capability to fuel digital transformation.


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