Eight Habits of Effective Critical Thinkers

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There is no 'I' in critical thinking. (Scratch that, there are several of them.) 

Thinking is, in many ways, an individual activity ("group think" and "sharing a brain" are not overly positive terms.) This does not mean that most decisions should be made in isolation, however. The more people who are involved in making a decision, the more successful it tends to be. With differing points of view, you will get better ideas on the table as each person can draw from his or her experience ("My aunt once got very sick from eating a cookie off the floor.")

Effective critical thinking involves four key skills: gathering information, generating ideas, evaluating options and gaining agreement. Nobody has equal strength in all four areas. The best thinking happens when several people pool their individual thinking strengths to arrive at a collective solution.

Critical thinking is the ability to make decisions, solve problems, and take appropriate action in a systematic fashion. It has been identified as one of the key skills required for future success by educators, business leaders and governments. Most managers (97.2 percent) surveyed by the American Management Association for its 2012 Critical Skills Survey believed that critical thinking skills were important to drive future growth of their organizations. The same group, however, believed that only 10 percent of their employees were fully competent in critical thinking.

This slideshow features 10 simple ways to become a better critical thinker at work and in life, as identified by Jen Lawrence. Keeping these points in mind will help make you a more effective critical thinker: You will solve problems more easily, reach better decisions, and will have more agreement from stakeholders. Your life will be easier, you will be more popular, and your enemies will have more reason to hate you. But hey, that's the way the cookie crumbles. 

Jen Lawrence, who holds an MBA in finance, has widely written and spoken on corporate culture, critical thinking, and strategic planning. She has been interviewed by media outlets including The Toronto StarReport on Business TVNational Post, and Toronto Life. A resident of Toronto, Lawrence is a proud mother of two children.

Connect with Lawrence: http://engagethefox.wordpress.com/.

 

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