Eight Habits of Effective Critical Thinkers

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Consider the risk

A lot of life focuses on risk mitigation. Think about fire safety: We install smoke alarms, fire hydrants, fire extinguishers and emergency exits. While these things are used to reduce the damage of fire, they do nothing to prevent the fire in the first place. In order to prevent a fire, you must do complicated things like update building wiring to prevent electrical fires, initiate strategic ground fuel burns and tree cuts to prevent wildfires, and disallow smoking and campfires in high risk areas to prevent controlled fires from spreading. Installing a couple of new batteries in the smoke detector each year is so much easier. Effective critical thinkers know how important prevention is, however. They will keep their kitchen floors sparkling clean so that if someone happens to drop the cookie, there is little risk it will make them sick.

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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