Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Applying Critical Thinking to Three Management Disciplines

As the saying's going: The quality of your life is given through the quality of the thinking you have done.

Critical thinking is to apply objective analysis for either making judgments or decisions. More specifically, in which circumstances, does critical thinking is in demand? Do tasks or activities require problem-solving or decision making that has important or high-value outcomes? If so, then Critical Thinking should be applied. Does the task or activity require influencing of other people's thinking, behavior, or decisions? If so, then apply Critical Thinking. What is the risk associated with the situation? The greater the risks are the greater need to apply critical thinking, it really takes critical thinking to identify situations that involve risk. Here are three perspectives to apply critical thinking in a variety of management disciplines.

Change Management: We live in a world with an increasing pace of change. Change is chaotic, but change management needs to be well designed and practiced systematically. First things first, it starts with leveraging Critical Thinking to figure out the “Big Why” about changes, how to manage it, and achieve more tangible results. 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. It starts with leveraging Critical Thinking to figure out the “Big Why” about changes. Real change and improvement are deprogramming old mindsets, letting go of the outdated traditions or the voices from the past, and think both critically and creatively. Therefore, critical thinking is the right mindset for changes, and real critical thinking has creativity deeply embedded in it and has independent thinking as a strong pillar. Critical thinking as an iterative process leads to a series of refinements based on learning and experience, rather than "good" or "bad.” Make the observation and deepen understanding by asking the right questions, and open for varying answers. Change leaders and managers should leverage critical thinking in understanding both psychology and methodology behind changes, reprogram collective minds with new mentalities, norms, and behaviors, and successful changes are often linked to the DNA of the organization itself.

Strategy Management: Businesses are complex with many moving parts, or require multiple management disciplines, or have multiple valid viewpoints. Critical Thinking is an important skill to deal with the multi-logical situation in today's digital dynamic, either for strategy making or implementation. Critical Thinking is contextual, both reality-oriented and evidence-oriented. It involves the induction and deduction continuum. The investment in Critical Thinking or the extent of effort in Critical Thinking has a lot to do with diagnosing the root causes of real problems, a sense of urgency, the impact of decisions, the scope of impact, who is being impacted, how important they are and how critical the decision really is to them; how likely the situation is likely to change or better information will become known. All these are important aspects of crafting a good strategy. Critical thinkers grow a larger perspective. They see or understand the situation from different angles. It would be wonderful if everyone applied Critical Thinking most of the time to most of their work. It is a strategic imperative to close the cognitive gaps caused by “Group Thinking in strategy management. To deal with the unprecedented change and velocity, it is crucial to encourage digital professionals to think critically and objectively, be able to gain a different view in order to develop and have a better understanding of certain topics or problems that may occur.

Risk Management: Digitization brings unprecedented opportunities and risks to today’s organizations. Thus, it is important to apply critical thinking skills to manage risks effectively. There are strategic risks and systemic risks. Strategic risks are about uncertainties, inherent variability, and the unknown interdependencies among sources of risks that could have an effect on the delivery of strategic objectives or plans. Strategic risk is knowingly assuming a risk because it is believed that the potential reward outweighs the potential downside. Systemic risks concern the external factors that can affect the delivery of any set of objectives; strategic, operational, etc. Systemic Risk is a Macro/ helicopter view of the entire system or significant chunks thereof. Critical Thinking plays a crucial role in managing both types of risks accordingly. Critical Thinking implies some systematic methodology, employing and applying the criteria deemed appropriate by the thinkers involved, to arrive at the tangible and reproducible truth - the commonly accepted objective, testable or measurable, time-bound reality. Further, critical thinking is commonly understood to involve the commitment to the social and political practice of participatory democracy, willingness to imagine or remain open to considering alternative perspectives, willingness to integrate new or revised perspectives into better ways of thinking and acting, and willingness to foster criticality in others. All these critical thinking perspectives help to mitigate risks and improve organizational risk management effectiveness and intelligence.

At the individual level, as the saying’s going: The quality of your life is given through the quality of the thinking you have done. Critical thinking skills further impact leadership effectiveness or professional quality and problem-solving capability. In other words, what you are experiencing is the total sum of the decisions you have made. If you're happy with your place in life and the world, then keep going on. If not, then it’s time to thinking critically and independently, for making better decisions and sound judgments to achieve premium outcomes


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