Critical Thinking: Getting to the Right Decision

I was interested in this session because critical thinking is something I need to be better at as I move forward with my career. It was a good session and I was able to take some good lessons away.

Here are some good notes taken by Holli Henslee.

Rebecca Jones from Dysart & Jones and Deb Wallace of the Harvard Business School Library led the discussion.

I’ve included the slides here for reference but I encourage you to visit them on slideshare because the notes are very helpful.

My takeaways from this session:

Critical thinking isn’t about criticism. Critical means it’s important. It’s about thinking productively and effectively. When being critical it’s important to be fair and open minded. Being open minded is very important to having a productive dialog because you need to be open to new ideas you may not have thought about.

In a collaborative and connected world we can’t make decisions alone. They affect others. Our interactions have implications on other things we may not realize. We should try to think about those implications but it is definitely not easy. That’s why we should involve others and be open to their ideas.

When thinking critically it is important to:

  • Raise the right questions
  • Focus on real problems
  • Gather and assess relevant information
  • Develop well-reasoned conclusions and solutions
    • testing along the way
  • Look at the issue/problem differently
  • Don’t criticize
  • Realize that tendencies and assumptions drive our decisions
  • Challenge our usual practice
    • we cant get to where we want to go by doing what we’re doing now
  • Frame the problem
    • what is your view of the issue?
    • how to re-frame?
  • Define the status-quo
    • what is it?
    • what is it not?
    • breaking from it means action and opening ourselves up to criticism
    • evaluate other alternatives
    • ask outsiders
  • Keep your goals consistent
    • don’t change your goals like you change your clothes

Definitely a good session. There is a lot here that I can use as I progress in my career. I sure do have a lot to learn.

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