April  2007     Edition 24
What is Critical Thinking anyway?

What is Critical Thinking anyway and why should you care?

If you do a web search

on critical thinking you’ll get between 100 MILLION web pages to read about it.   Alternatively, you can read this one page and get a pretty good idea.  Your choice.

You may remember the slogan “Think Smarter, not Harder”

   Well we haven’t heard it for awhile, but I don’t think that’s because everyone in the world is now thinking smarter.  One of the newer terms for “Thinking Smarter” is “Critical Thinking”!.

So what is it and how do you do it?

  Critical Thinking is a merge of “logical thinking”, “scientific methods” and “fact vs. fiction”.

It consists of a logical progression of analyzing and evaluating data and statements that are known to be true, or proposed to be true with a degree of probability, observations of symptoms and consequences of actions, and connections between these observations, statements and occurrences.  

More simply:  It’s the process of looking at information, determining what is important, and understanding the relationship between the information and a selection of possible outcomes or decisions. 

Is there Subjectivity in Critical Thinking?

   Yes there is, and Critical Thinking helps you understand where and when it is being used. 

How do you do it?

  There are probably as many ways to implement critical thinking as there are websites that describe it, but most of the methods include asking a lot of questions, many of them “thought provoking”.  Such as “how do you know this information is correct?”, or “assuming those facts, how does it explain the observations”, or “if you make that decision, then what will be the consequence of that other decision you’ve made”, etc. etc.   The number and kinds of questions are a function of the kind of problem you’re working on.   Most of the information we publish monthly in the HeadScratcher Post are critical thinking techniques.

Can anyone become a better Critical Thinker?

  We say yes, and we also say that it’s not hard at all.  Most of the time it takes a little coaching and practice, and a little more coaching.  BTW (sorry, here comes the pitch), this is what our one day workshop is all about … we call it Effective HeadScratching, i.e.   HeadScratching for problem solving and decision making.

What’s the benefit of Critical Thinking?  Here are just a few:

- Faster decisions and those more likely to be the correct ones.  
- More innovative solutions to problems, goals, and strategies.  
- Better understanding of the dynamics between different aspects of a business or project.  
- Higher quality decisions and actions from individual employees. 
- A more equipped work force that tackles problems and makes decisions on a daily basis.

Bottom line

… Critical Thinking will benefit your bottom line!

The Takeaway
.  Critical Thinking … A process that let’s your brain do just a little bit more work for you as you make decisions, solve problems, make the plans, and execute.

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  A monthly post with tips and techniques about problem solving, creativity, innovation and critical thinking.

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• Critical Thinking for Problem Solving and Decision Making (Core, Core+Advanced)
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• Advanced Critical Thinking and Decision Making
• Critical Thinking for Supervisors, Managers and Leaders

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Previous versions of The HeadScratcher Post

Critical Thinking Techniques for Problem Solving, Decision Making, Innovation and Leadership.
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To help people become better HeadScratchers! We teach critical thinking techniques to managers, leaders and individuals resulting in the improved performance of an individual and organization.