Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Critical thinking & Decision Management

Critical thinking is crucial for dealing with the uncertainty and complexity of today’s digital dynamic. You should apply it to have clear discernment and make sound judgment.

Critical thinking has been described as “thinking about thinking.” It is an intellectually disciplined thought process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information in order to make effective decisions. 

Real Critical Thinking is hard but a great cognitive skill to deal with the multi-logical situations and multi-culture today, which are complex with many moving parts; it requires having multiple valid viewpoints and interdisciplinary skills to make effective decisions and solve hyper-complex problems facing businesses and our society smoothly. Statistically, only a very small percentage of the population is truly critical thinkers. The real critical thinkers are good decision-makers and logical problem-solvers.

Independent thinking and creative thinking are important ingredients in critical thinking: True critical thinking and constructive criticism are very important for improving the decision effectiveness of the business. Real critical thinking has creativity embedded in it. Creativeness derives from one's ability to let go. Let go of assumptions and stigmas we place on objects, ideas, function, practice how to perceive things differently and empty your mind of how things are "usually" understood or solved. Think out of the box, and make decisions in an intelligent manner. You also need to be good at independent thinking, not always following conventional wisdom or others' thoughts, continue learning and updating kowledge, and shape your own thoughts and opinions.

Most decisions on problem-solving are based on “logic” which is a key component of the process of critical thinking generally. There are multidimensional thought processes behind effective decision-making, especially at the strategic level. Without independent thinking, it surely has blind spots in such thought processes; without creativity, you can't connect unusual dots to think differently and think critically, ask open questions which lead to uncovering situations others do not see at first, discover hidden connections, and make sound judgments.

Critical thinking as an iterative thought process leads to a series of refinements based on learning and experience: The real critical thinking far more outweighs the conventional critical thinking techniques, such as reasoning, logic, calculation, and it’s a multi-threading thought process leading to a series of refinements and the conscious weighing of expected outcomes. Critical thinking helps to avoid the trap of emotional turbulence or individual perception, really dig beneath the superficial layer, and has a vision of purpose besides what is already obvious. In the ever-evolving business world, at least, you can’t always wait for the “best” decision to emerge. You have to make the best decision you can, based on an iterative thought process and have the gut to admit when a mid-course correction is in order. An effective decision is usually based on the right mix of analysis and intuition by “thinking fast and slow” accordingly.

Collectively, practice deep listening skills, understand the circumstance profoundly, make room for others to discover their own insights; or give room for their perspectives to emerge in order to improve team decision maturity. From a problem-solving perspective, more often than not, you need to allow a “bottom up” approach to collect sufficient information and leverage collective wisdom. And then, you can proceed to environmental, organizational and sociological factors that define the environment in which the decisions are made and complex problems can be solved radically.

Decision-making is an analytics-synthesis continuum; analytics and synthesis both are crucial ingredients in critical thinking: Analysis is about understanding the thing by examining it as parts. Synthesis is about understanding a thing by examining it as a whole. Both processes are crucial elements in critical thinking, and thus play important roles in making strategic decisions. Analysis is necessary to have knowledge of an argument, a situation, a problem. Synthesis is necessary to summarize understanding of it and to transfer information about it to others without “lost in translation.”

Either for making decisions or solving problems, in any case, analytics-synthesis are the two ends of the line between understanding the parts and understanding the whole, very different, but also complementary, equally and inextricably linked to the process of understanding the problems, see the trees and forests. They are invaluable intellectual processes for improving decision-making effectiveness.

Critical thinking is crucial for dealing with the uncertainty and complexity of today’s digital dynamic. You should apply multidimensional intelligence to have clear discernment and make sound judgments by respecting cognitive differences and overcoming unconscious bias. You have to envision the future trends and gain a long-term perspective, challenge the conventional wisdom, identify gaps, be able to imagine or remain open to considering fresh views for making strategic decisions and solving large, complex problems skillfully.


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