Why has critical thinking risen to the top of the list of the most sought-after business skills needed today?
It’s not because people have suddenly, en masse, forgotten how to think clearly. Somehow we manage to navigate very complicated personal and business lives.
Yet, this groundswell for critical thinking in the business community continues to build.
I believe a perfect storm has led us to the situation we now face, regardless of company size, industry or location.
- We have spent too many years focused on efficiency.
The unintended consequence is that people no longer ask questions or bring new, exciting ideas to the table; they do what they’re told.
- We have spent too many years over-loaded, working in over-drive.
The unintended consequence is that people aren’t sure, let alone able to focus on, what’s really important; we waste a lot of time on stuff that turns out to be a huge distraction.
- The path forward is highly ambiguous.
Big, dynamic, complex issues – like the global economy, political and business climate; technology and the internet; sustainability and resource constraints; shifts in demographics; partnership and collaboration; rapid pace of change – don’t have easy answers.
Now, more than ever, critical thinking is essential to business survival. Why? Because critical thinking involves a set of skills essential for tactical activities, like problem solving, collaboration and communication. These skills also form the foundation for creative thinking, innovation, and strategic thinking.
In a dynamic, complex business environment, critical thinking techniques must go beyond the traditional view of logical reasoning. They must incorporate agility and the organizational context.