We recently held our first ‘open’ Critical Thinking Lab, attended by executives from industries including; banking and finance; energy; utilities; construction and telecommunications.

The executives who participated shared the need for improved decision making as some individuals and teams are described as:

  • Too slow to make decisions and with poor judgement
  • Too quick to make decisions without considering the facts and/or impacts
  • Making decisions with bias, limited structure or rigor

A broad spectrum of skills underpin good decision-making including the ability to ‘cut through’ by analysing, verifying and clarifying. Moreover, imagining, perceiving and collaborating are core skills in conjunction with synthesising, prioritising, planning and communicating. All of which are essential elements of good decision making.

Many of these skills are considered ‘critical thinking’ skills and not surprisingly, it is usually the executive leaders within the organisation who have honed these skills through intuition and experience.

The opportunity is to build these skills across the organisation more broadly as “a company’s strategy is the sum of decisions it effectively makes and executes over time” and this needs to happen at all layers on a day-day basis, not just for the executive-led decisions.

To address the issue of building capability more broadly across the organisation, participants were given insights and case study examples of how executive leaders are enabling team-base critical thinking within their organisation. This has been demonstrated through more structure and rigor to the decision-making process particularly at ‘critical decision points’ using a framework that draws on a diverse group of expertise and deeper levels of thinking greater collaboration in solving a complex problem.

A real scenario facing an organisation in the banking and finance sector was shared by one of the lab particpants. The participants were able to stress-test the current thinking on the problem and opportunity and provide a more objective and robust perspective. Facts, assumptions and the ‘main issue’ was clarified and new ideas were generated, drawing upon the expertise in the room.

Feedback included:

  • Representative Leading Energy Provider: “It was fascinating to experience a group of people from diverse organisational cultures using the framework to tackle the same problem”
  • Representative Head of Group Advisory Big 4 Bank: “In less than 90 mins we arrived at some of the same conclusions as many months of internal review”
  • Representative VP Product and Marketing Telecommunications: “A high calibre event with good diversity of sectors/verticals”

We are running a schedule of monthly Open Labs in Sydney and are now taking registrations for June, July and August events. If you’d like to attend or want more information on a customised critical thinking lab, please contact Jonathan.Durnall@Janellis.com.au or download the Critical Thinking Lab Invite now.