Problem Solving in Organizations: A Diamond or a Coin?
For a manager, there is no other task that is as important as hiring a new team member. There is a clear connect between quality of your people and success as a team. This becomes even more crucial when you are hiring people in leadership positions because their decisions will impact the whole organization. Organization needs superstars who have the right aptitude, thinking, skills and attitude to make things happen.
Many times, in technical roles people become managers as a natural progression. They succeeded in technical roles through their content skills (programming, writing etc.) whereas in a leadership position, only content skills are not enough – they also need context skills. Leaders are expected to take right decisions after considering various facets of a given problem – just like an expert jeweler looks at a diamond. Logic looks at problems as a coin with just two sides where as critical thinking is all about looking at the same problem as a diamond with multiple facets.
What does this really entail? What goes into applying critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions? Here are a few facets of the diamond that needs to be considered for critical thinking:
- Ability to asking Right questions
- Doing logical inquiry and reasoning
- Formulation of thoughts objectively and precisely
- Clarity in communication
- Separating opinions from facts
- Eliciting and evaluating arguments
- Gathering facts from various sources
- Testing the solutions against relevant criteria
- Being open minded about alternative points of view
- Comprehension and listening
- Weighing alternatives
- Dealing with contradiction
- Making decisions under pressure
- Adaptability and agility in thinking
- Seeing consequences and implications
Quite simply, critical thinking is excellence in thought processes which precedes excellence in our actions.
So, the challenge for any business leader who wants to build an excellent team is two-fold: 1) Ensuring that these facets of critical thinking are objectively assessed during the hiring of new team members and 2) Training existing team members on critical thinking skills and building a culture where critical thinking is appreciated.
The value that these two initiatives bring to an organization is tremendous. It is this value that makes the diamond of critical thinking, a precious one!
Tell us something: What do you think? Is the skill gap in critical thinking visible in your organization? How do you plan to address it?