The current digital economy is a true testimony of the success of companies that have embraced critical thinking as a mission-critical activity. For example, Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, and others continually collapse their product development time-frames, with critical thinking, and thus significantly upending competition while positively impacting revenue and profitability. So, what is ‘Critical Thinking’ and why is it important for executives to seriously consider adopting as a corporate competency?
Critical Thinking is the intellectually disciplined approach of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information obtained from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.
Critical Thinking Elements
Critical Thinking is:
- Self-monitored and
- Self-corrective thinking.
Critical Thinking presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails direct and effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and socio-centrism while engaged in the problem or opportunity analysis.
Successful critical thinkers generally display many of the below characteristics:
- Curiosity for a wide range of interests and activities.
- Continually well-informed on many topics.
- Intellectual honesty without personal biases, prejudices, stereotypes, or egocentric tendencies.
- Self-confidence to effectively reason and use abstract thinking.
- Open-mindedness for divergent views.
- Empathetic to appreciate other people’s opinions and mindful of alternatives.
- Fair-mindedness in appraising reasoning.
- Generate conclusions when warranted – but with caution.
- Formulate and presents credible hypotheses.
- Prudence in suspending, making or altering judgments and decisions.
- The inclination to reconsider and revise views where honest reflection suggests that change is warranted.