Leaders in building critical thinking skills for business

 

Critical Thinking Hub

Why the need for critical thinking skills in business?

Organisations have a diverse range of threats and opportunities which could compromise or enhance their strategic objectives.

The capacity to respond well to change is heavily dependent on adaptive decision-making.

Organisations operating during times of ‘extreme change’, experience significantly more stress than during ‘business as-usual’. This is because there is increased pressure on the decision-making capability of the teams, as decisions often need to be made where there is:

Incomplete or conflicting information

The decision-making spectrum runs from ‘business as usual’ to ‘crisis’ mode and the closer the organisation is to ‘crisis mode’ the more likely it is that teams will be forced to make decisions with incomplete or conflicting information.

High levels of scrutiny

Increased pressure from the regulators and greater demands for transparency from customers, employees and communities, expose the decision-making capabilities of leaders in ways that they have not done previously.

Compressed timeframes

Social media, mainstream media and community expectations now have the power to drive the timeframes for when decisions need to be made by leaders, particularly where there are social, customer or community impacts.

Significant impacts

A more agile workforce with distributed decision-making puts pressure onto the quality of the day to day decisions. The cumulative effect of poor decision-making can create significant negative and lasting impacts on an organisation.

What business leaders say

“Good decision-making is the foundation of exceptional thinking”

COO, Global Insurer

“The quality of information is not bad but we get overwhelmed with information”

Head of Project Delivery, Lead Austalian Bank

“We can be too quick to make decisions without considering the facts or impacts”

GM Group Strategy, ASX 200 Agri Business

“We find people rarely think through the problem and go straight to known remedies”

GM Group Advisory, Australian Big 4 Bank

“Decisions are made without clarity and without knowledge of who is accountable or responsible”

GM Asset Risk, Austalian Energy Business

Critical thinking skills in complex organisations

Organisations need teams who are agile, able to learn new skills quickly, solve problems and make decisions with confidence.

The World Economic Forum in its Future of Jobs Report placed complex problem solving at #1 in its top 10 skills for jobs in 2020.

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Why is it important?

“Team-based critical thinking allows us to be both agile and robust in our decision making, drawing upon the brains trust of our organisation”

CEO, Energy Company

“Critical thinking skills are essential skills for our organisation when responding to the rapid onset of change”

Managing Director, Critical Infrastructure

“By developing our critical thinking capabilities our teams can manage difficult situations well and also see the opportunities to execute our strategy more efficiently”

Executive Leader,  Insurance

Why is it so hard?

Critical thinking is a multi-disciplined skillset that relies on input from others.

Currently, there is no universal definition or process to enable team-based critical thinking.

The skills required for critical thinking are:

Verifying

Searching and validating information from multiple sources

Analysing

Understanding the facts, assumptions and gaps in information

Clarifying

Understanding the ‘main issue’ and excluding unimportant information

Actioning

Identifying immediate actions with incomplete or conflicting information

Forecasting

Planning for most likely, worst case and best-case scenarios

Perceiving

Awareness of the broader impacts across the enterprise

Collaborating

‘Active’ listening and building a ‘shared’ view

Synthesising

‘Cutting through’ to develop a ‘common operating picture’

Prioritising

Reaching consensus on key ‘critical’ issues and decisions

Planning

Developing plans to action key items for now and the future

Communicating

Robust, succinct and effective communications to all stakeholders

7 Steps

Enabling team-based Critical Thinking

This 7 step process is currently used by leaders to help them through critical decision points when there is incomplete or conflicting information, high levels of scrutiny, consequences and compressed timeframes.

The seven-steps draw upon a combination of strategic and critical thinking skills from teams and provides thought diversity in problem solving.

The steps allow teams to leverage their individual skills to enable team-based critical thinking.

Access the 7 step process

Developing critical thinking skills in your organisation

Building a culture of critical thinking relies on strong support structures, tools and a willingness to work well together.

The vast number of skills required to be a critical thinker, highlights the need for a team-based approach that draws upon the brains trust of the organisation.

Scenario-based training, eLearning and experiential learning are ways in which organisations can build capability.

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The value of team-based critical thinking

  • Align a diverse group of stakeholders
  • Facilitate deeper levels of thinking on a complex problem
  • Provide a more robust and objective approach to decision making
  • Challenge assumptions and uncover blindspots
  • Build a shared view of the risk and opportunities
  • Enable a more adaptive capacity to deal with change
Speak to one of our experts

Meet some of our expert facilitators

Workforce of the future

85

of companies intend to invest in new technologies like robotics and machine learning by 2022

54

of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling by 2022

41

of employers are set to focus their reskilling provision on high-performing employees

How to develop critical thinking skills in your organisation

The Critical Thinking Training and Accreditation program is designed to uplift and embed capability for individuals, teams and organisations.

The three levels of accreditation are:

Critical Thinking Professional

An individual with exceptional thinking skills who can apply critical thinking process to a range of problems whilst taking input from others.

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Critical Thinking Specialist

A specialist who can lead teams through critical decision points, enable complex problem solving and drive outcomes.

Critical Thinking Master Facilitator

A facilitator who can lead any team, from the executive to the project team, to enable team-based critical thinking and uplift capability across the whole organisation.

Join the experience

Would you like to find out more?

View our roadmap to enabling Critical Thinking

Register your interest to join the Accreditation Program

Meet our Critical Thinking experts

Join our community

Our growing community connects you with other critical thinkers and gives you the tools to enable exceptional thinking…

As a member, you will be exposed to a broad mix of practical experience, senior business leadership ideas, and experts in critical thinking.

7 step process and eLearning

Participation in critical thinking labs

Collaboration and networking with critical thinking professionals

Videos from our experts and leadership feedback