Thursday, December 24, 2020


 True critical thinkers are able to see things underneath and around the corner, perceive the invisible behind the visible, catch “implicit” elements, recognize connections and interdependencies, have an in-depth understanding of cause and effect in order to solve complex problems in a structural way.

Modern businesses are dynamic and interdependent 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 traditional “command & control” management practices are simply not sufficient to manage the “VUCA” digital new normal. Critical thinking with multidimensional thought processes is imperative to understand information variety, business complexity and deal with high velocity. 

The core skills of critical thinking include analysis of argumentation, both explicit and implicit reasoning, the ability for examining inference via analyzing, evaluating, and producing coherent argumentation. The goal is to make information based decisions effectively and solve complex problems in a structural way.

Consider the effort of critical thinking as training your mind to seek reason, both explicit and implicit knowledge to reframe its approach to a conundrum in a certain way: Thought is, technically, a nervous response to the world around us. Critical thinking is a multidimensional and multi-step thought process for examining inference via analyzing, evaluating, and producing coherent argumentation; paying attention to the truth and plausibility of the premises, their support by additional 'evidence' data, and the 'validity' of the argument patterns. The core skills will include analysis of argumentation including both explicit and implicit reasoning. Further steps include connecting the proposed connections of single arguments into a larger picture, as well as understanding the inter connectivity of the parts and the whole.

Most people apply critical thinking abilities without even knowing they are doing so. But everyone has some blind spots and skill limitations in evaluating the plausibility of a premise or whether all the relevant considerations about an issue are on the table. It's a continuity of mental representations rather than clean dichotomies, getting input from a broad range of personalities and cognitive differences of the people on the particular matter. Collective knowledge and insight enforces critical reasoning skills for team decision-making. In the past, linear knowledge and skills could survive in isolation. However, in the hyperconnected and interdependent digital era, the faster the dissemination, the better the response. Learning, sharing, and coaching need to become digital new normal for stimulating critical thinking and improving the organizational maturity.

Implicit knowledge is the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of verbalizing it: Knowledge Management is about making all types of information (including implicit, explicit and tacit) accessible in situations and contexts as needed so that viable options materialize. It tends to be based on simple one-dimensional cause and effect structures drawn from experience. Implicit knowledge often hinders explicit learning when the material to be learned is in conflict with its simplistic subconscious structures and schemes. This also explains, at least partially, the resistance and difficulty found in teaching critical or systems thinking with its often 'counterintuitive' concepts.

As digital companies across vertical sectors transform themselves into the digital business that is based on ‎information, their ability to explore intangible assets such as information and knowledge has become far more decisive to build competitive business advantage. The challenge is developing a set of replicable steps for capturing tacit and implicit knowledge and turning it into explicit knowledge that can be accessed by an entire enterprise when needed. A thoughtful and structural knowledge management solution needs to explore the breadth and depth of knowledge, its prospects and practice to improve the collective learning capability and organize knowledge into true understanding. This enables informed decisions and actions to be executed resulting in improvement of quality outcomes of problem solving.

A company's culture, which is heavily ingrained, implicit and not directly perceptible, is also very hard to change and changes slowly if at all: In the digital era with exponentiality, businesses today need nothing less than a paradigm shift in their thinking about the fundamentals of how organizations work to build an authentic culture and an engaging workforce. The management should make an objective assessment: What are the collective thought processes and behaviors that you can see in your organization? A disconnected or distant layer of management or leadership? A sea of administrative bureaucracy? Implicit bias or double standard? Disengaged employees or unhappy customers? Etc. Silo thinking or poor or inconsistent communication down or across the organization? How would you describe the prevailing business mood? The implicit culture can be detected via deep observation and leadership profundity. For instance, how people behave when the management is not around? what are the ideas within the walls that create fresh ideas, keep creative energy flow, derive profitable actions, make positive influence, and build collective confidence.

People have to be given the opportunity to be creative, they have to become empowered and discover the innovative way to do things. The right culture is an implicit but critical success factor to keep the business system running smoothly, with the goal to build a digital-savvy organization. To fine-tune digital culture for striking the right balance, learn to seek divergent views before developing a convergent conclusion; work to see issues from multiple points of view. Then identify trade-offs; make choices, while continually remaining open to discovering errors in one’s reasoning.

True critical thinkers are able to see things underneath and around the corner, perceive the invisible behind the visible, catch “implicit” elements, recognize connections and interdependencies, have an in-depth understanding of cause and effect based on the identification of relationships and behaviors within a model, context, or scenario, be sensitive to the emergent factors, take the balanced view of digital flow, and reach the high level of professional maturity.


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