Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Critical Thinking and Multidisciplinary Management

Critical thinking with multidimensional thought processes is imperative to understanding business complexity. Trans or interdisciplinary science needs to be applied to management practices.

The business dynamic today is full of uncertainty, velocity, complexity, ambiguity, fierce competition, and continuous disruptions. The digital paradigm has many dimensions. It is like solving a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces, easy to get lost.

Thus, digital leaders and professionals need to develop critical thinking skills for making logical reasoning and practicing multidisciplinary management scenarios skillfully.

Seek multidisciplinary knowledge: Nowadays information is only a click away, the knowledge cycle is shortened significantly. The border of knowledge domains is blurred and the scope of knowledge is expanded in the continual base. It requires fundamentally different mindsets and paradigms. Today's digital leaders or professionals must have a humble attitude to admit known unknown and unknown unknown, keep learning to seek multidisciplinary knowledge, and have the courage to challenge conventional wisdom. The point of practicing critical thinking is to gather the knowledge or details around the subject under scrutiny, broaden the lens and increase perspective, absorb fresh knowledge, do analysis & synthesis all the time, in order to make fact-based decisions in a consistent way.

With “VUCA” new normal, the outdated knowledge will stifle change and decelerate the progress both individually and collectively. The linear management practices are simply not sufficient to manage the business dynamic with continuous disruptions and fierce competition. Business leaders should practice critical Thinking as a multifaceted thought process to induct and deduct, be logical and creative accordingly in order to gain an in-depth understanding of issues, and solve complex problems with a logical scenario smoothly.

Work across the multiple boxes: The very nature of the digital era is about high velocity, hyperconnectivity, and interdependence. In the digital era, we will be confronting a number of high-complex problems in the hyper-connected world. The linear business system perception needs to be replaced by the adaptive digital system viewpoint, silo and linear thinking should be replaced by multidimensional thought processes. Critical Thinking as the thought process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment, enables the business professionals to dig into the root cause of problems, not just point out symptoms. The multidisciplinary knowledge helps the business professionals to not only work in the box but also across the multiple boxes, in order to approach problems via the multifaceted lens and solve them in alternatively.

The interdisciplinary business insight via critical thinking and system understanding should lead us not only to understanding the holistic digital ecosystem but also to predicting, and leverage interdisciplinarity to solve problems systematically. It is also important to understand how the people factor affects the business system and then, managing the complex system and the people of the complex system. Interdisciplinary science can be applied to digital management which involves applied both hard science (engineering, math, etc.) and soft science (psychology, sociology, etc.) Quality information and business insight allow business leaders to envision emerging opportunities, predict risks, have the right level of ambiguity tolerance, and lead the business forward confidently.

Master the art and science of uncertainty management: Due to the complexity and ever-changing business dynamic, the territories between functions, companies, and industries are blurring, or often converged, uncertainty is new normal. Everyone perhaps has some blind spots blocking the way. Business leaders today can’t predict every turn or curve on the journey of business transformation, sound judgment is a hardcore leadership competency and the prerequisite quality of being a great leader. Bright digital leaders and professionals are skeptical about the conventional understanding of issues so that they examine everything before accepting it for the real truth or advising it to others. They need to leverage critical thinking to understand which factors contribute to uncertainty and how to manage them effectively.

Critical thinking, interdisciplinary knowledge and even transdisciplinary insight would help business leaders both gain insight and work hard at investing in a positive relationship with their executive peers by first “seeking to understand, and then being understood”; practice digital management by leveraging nonlinear lens, developing critical thinking skills, taking a holistic view, experimenting with better ways to lead, and applying interdisciplinary management approach to business planning and taking wise actions.

Modern businesses are dynamic systems, the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation. The linear thinking and management practices are simply not sufficient to manage the “VUCA” digital new normal. Critical thinking with multidimensional thought processes is imperative to understanding business complexity. Trans or interdisciplinary science needs to be applied to management practices by integrating multidisciplinary methodologies, enables leaders to frame bigger thinking boxes, and manage the digital business by taking the multi-faceted approach, technically, scientifically, and culturally.


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