Entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners alike constantly need to make on-the-spot decisions.
It’s important that those decisions are made in a rational, level-headed state of mind, weighing all the options fairly. Carefully-honed strategic thinking skills are imperative to the profitability, growth, and general success of a business. Taking the time to hone those skills is time well spent. At CMOE we offer experiential training to improve strategic thinking skills to ensure your business will stand tall in today’s ever-changing business world.
Someone who thinks strategically is very open-minded and able to question and evaluate information. Critical thinking improves comprehension, challenges generally-accepted systems of thought, opening the way for innovation. Individuals with these qualities are valuable assets and sought-after by forward-thinking employers.
At the World Economic Forum Meeting on January 20, 2016, critical thinking is ranked number 2 in the top 10 skills needed to thrive in today’s workforce. Developing the skill of critical thinking is important not only for personal success but society as a whole. The world’s greatest minds and innovators were critical thinkers who weren’t afraid to challenge their own thoughts and try new ideas.
Start Thinking Strategically Now
Below are 5 tactics that can help guide your process of improving strategic thinking processes now. At CMOE we offer comprehensive team training and these tips that can help prepare your critical thinking skills at the individual level. Begin practicing these techniques now to prepare you for CMOE’s Strategic Thinking Workshop Solutions.
1. Make Time For Progress
CMOE has found that one of the biggest challenges to progress with any organization is being so overwhelmed with mundane business tasks that being able to focus on strategic direction is derailed. Taking care of daily problems is important, but you need to find time to focus on the future too if progress is to occur. How do you find the time, energy, and discipline to break away from daily activities?
- First, understand it is time well-spent. You are investing in the lasting progress of the organization.
- Prioritize tasks, and determine which can be temporarily put on hold.
- Introspectively discover any anxiety that may be holding you back personally.
2. Be Aware of Your Own Biases
An important part of being a rational critical thinker is being self-aware enough to monitor and question your own thoughts. Critical thinkers are in charge of your own mind. Acknowledging that your thoughts or ideas could be flawed does not impinge your own credibility, it does quite the opposite. You are open to verifying facts and thinking outside the box to create new ideas.
- What are my current circumstances?
- Is my perspective realistic?
- What other points did I not consider that I should have?
- What does my point of view imply?
3. Improve Listening Skills
A critical thinker accepts that their ideas may be flawed and therefore listens to others intently to learn more from others’ perspectives. Every team member is valuable and should be heard. Developing keen listening skills will encourage others to voice their opinions and foster an atmosphere where everyone contributes strategically as a cohesive unit. These tips will help you make the most out of listening opportunities.
- Have an open mind free of biases
- Be open to feedback from others
- Listen attentively with a desire to learn a new perspective
- Evaluate what was heard and identify the most valuable point(s) learned
4. Hone Questioning Skills
Thinking critically requires you to question everything. Not from a cynical point of view, but in a way that constructively allows you to see ideas objectively. Just because a system of thinking or idea is commonly accepted as the standard doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be questioned. Taking the time to question something opens the door for improvement.
Here are a few example of questions to ask in the process of critical evaluation:
- Is the idea rational?
- Is the source credible? Was the information from a trusted expert, or was it hearsay?
- What are the assumptions and biases with each option?
- Identify proof that exists to support the theory
5. Understand the Consequences
Every choice has consequences. After questioning different sources and points of view, think through the repercussions of each option. This step is important in final decision-making, and with practice, it will become easier. Identifying the effects of different scenarios rationally is important to final decision-making. Ask these questions to gauge what outcome will align best with the vision of your organization.
- What are the pros and cons of each?
- What does each imply?
- Which will help meet our goals best?
- Is there an option that will open long-term opportunities?
The ability to overcome one’s own egocentrism for the purpose of open-mindedly seeking new perspectives for the most credible solution leads to creativity, progress, and innovation. When those in leadership positions are experienced critical thinkers, meetings become more productive, and business goals are met faster. Fostering an environment where all perspectives are valued, and encouraging all employees to think critically will pave the way for future success.
Learning critical, strategic thinking skills is valuable for anyone. Everyone has the potential to influence future progress. Discover how CMOE can improve strategic thinking skills. Investing in training initiatives today will cultivate high-performance productivity tomorrow.