Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Critical Thinking & Strategy Management

Critical Thinking is an important skill to deal with multifaceted truth and multi-logical situations in today's digital dynamic smoothly.

Digital businesses are complex with many moving parts, it requires multiple management disciplines and has valid viewpoints. The radical digitalization brings organizations into information intensity, varieties of complexity, strategic paradoxes, business maturity challenges, and organizational structure pathologies across digital ecosystems dynamically. 

Critical Thinking is an important skill to deal with the multifaceted truth and multi-logical situations in today's digital dynamic, either for strategy making or implementation smoothly. 

Critical Thinking is contextual, both reality-oriented and evidence-oriented: It involves the induction and deduction continuum. Critical Thinking has a lot to do with diagnosing the root causes of real problems via analysis & synthesis, logical reasoning, and bringing different perspectives, thoughtfully thinking about the specific issue and common challenges. It’s a multidimensional thought process both reality-oriented and evidence oriented, to make effective decisions and craft a good strategy wisely.

A critical thinking strategist can initiate open conversations, see the two sides of the coin, adapt to business dynamics, examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles, evaluate the impact of the strategic decisions, the scope of impact, the possible blind spots, who are being impacted, how important they are and how critical the decision really is to them; how likely the situation is to change or better information will become known. All these are important aspects of crafting a good strategy.

Critical thinkers grow a larger perspective: The true critical thinking has creativity embedded in it. We cannot predict anything beforehand but can imagine with many experiences involved in current or in the past. Envisioning a clear destiny is an important part to craft a good strategy. With today’s business dynamic, the perspective of change unfolds into a wider multi-dimensionally systemic business continuum. However, many business managers today still apply silo mindsets to new ways of organizing, creating a multitude of gaps blocking the way of the radical digital transformation. Critical thinkers can see or understand the situation from different angles, reimagine the future creatively, grow a larger perspective, and shape an executable strategy holistically.

It would be wonderful if everyone can apply Critical Thinking most of the time to most of their work. From a strategic problem-solving perspective, there needs to be a better appreciation to leverage critical thinking and other thought processes to see the larger system and their part in the mess, invoke further reflections of the focal scope and purpose of changes, as well as the generic perspective of the problem, in order to come out with the optimal solutions without too many side effects.

Apply critical thinking to close cognitive gaps caused by “Group Thinking” in strategy management: Being divided by so many gaps across leadership, management, and innovation, many companies suffer from group thinking or decision inertia, and further leading to business stagnation. People may have varying values and different judgments based on different information as well. It’s important to apply critical thinking, step out of what they are trying to understand, remove the “old box” shaped via outdated perception or group thinking, learn to be impartial, think more independently and in an out-of-box way, in order to develop and implement a strategy smoothly.

To deal with the unprecedented change and velocity, it is crucial to encourage digital professionals to think critically and objectively, fill out cognitive blind spots, to see the big picture, and be able to gain a different view in order to develop and have a better understanding of certain topics or problems that may occur. The approach to dynamic strategy management involves practicing critical thinking to deal with uncertainty and unpredictability; includes planning in a short time and taking incremental effort, and allows the acquisition of new information along the way.

Strategic risks are about uncertainties, ambiguity, inherent variability, and the unknown interdependencies among sources of risks that could have an effect on the delivery of strategic objectives or plans. Thus, either for strategy making or implementation, Critical Thinking is an important skill to see both the forest and the trees, deal with multi-logical situations in today's digital dynamic smoothly, and lead the business forward effortlessly.


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