Critical thinking is a mental process of solving problems giving proper consideration to the current evidence, the entire context in which the problem exists; and, the relevant methods or techniques for forming a new judgment. These elements also happen to be the key defining characteristics of professional fields and scholastic disciplines. This is why critical thinking can occur within a given subject field, industry, social community; and in all those realms where humans need to interact and make final conclusions.
What are the attributes of a refined critical thinker? These thinkers use many of the following elements:
- Raise vital questions, uncertainties, topics for debate, formulating all of these clearly and
precisely for discussion
- Gather and assess relevant information, testing the information against relevant criteria and any standards in place
- Assesses opposing statements and current standing arguments
- Are able to admit a lack of understanding or comprehension of subject matter
- Are genuinely interested in finding new and unprecedented solutions
- Are willing to suspend personal beliefs, organizational assumptions, subsequently weigh them against facts
- Listen carefully to others and give constructive feedback
- Look for all evidence, internal and external, to support pending assumptions
- Are able to adjust assumptions when new facts are found
- Look for proof without judgment of others involved in problem resolution
- Maintain a commitment to overcome native ego-centrism and socio-centrism
- Communicate effectively & in a timely manner with all others in determining new solutions to complex situations
When you need to develop ‘critical thinking’, ask yourself:
- What other resources do I/ we need to really address this problem; and, can I/we enlist these resources without the risk of violating company policies?
- Are we educated enough to know what it is we don’t know about this problem, project, or company matter? What other resources do we truly need to make this decision effective in the competitive industry space?
- What current conditions exists that keep you or your colleagues from solving the current problem with rationality, reasonability, and empathy for all others assigned as resources? How will you change those conditions?
As always, great to hear your comments and practices around critical thinking.