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Great entrepreneurs are able to question wide-held beliefs, make connections between seemingly disparate ideas, and essentially see what no one else can see.
This is what is called critical thinking, and you don’t have to be born with it — it is a skill that can be learned. There are many experts available for one-on-one mentor sessions who can help you to look at things differently, whether that is coming up with new ideas or solutions to old problems. Allie Webb, founder of Drybar, and Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine, are two experts in this arena who are available now for one-on-one video calls through the Intro expert platform.
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Why Critical Thinking is Important
Critical thinking allows individuals to analyze information objectively, identify and evaluate arguments, and make informed decisions.
Problem-Solving: Critical thinking helps you approach problems in a structured and systematic way. This is when you put on your consultant hat with a systematic process: Define the problem -> gather info -> analyze the info -> identify possible solutions -> implement -> evaluate -> make adjustments. By evaluating different options and weighing their strengths and weaknesses, you can arrive at an effective solution.
Decision Making: Effective decision-making requires the ability to evaluate information, weigh pros and cons, and arrive at an informed conclusion. Critical thinking skills are essential for making informed choices in both personal and professional settings.
Effective Communication: This starts with active listening. By analyzing information and arguments, you can articulate your thoughts and ideas more clearly and persuasively.
Tips for Improving Your Critical Thinking Skills
Practice questioning: The 5 Why’s is a problem-solving method used to uncover the root cause of a problem by asking “why” questions. The idea is to keep asking “why” until the root cause is found. Here’s how to apply the 5 Why’s:
- Clearly define the problem: Identify what’s happening and what needs to be fixed.
- Ask “Why” questions: Ask “Why” the problem is occurring and record the answer. Repeat this step five times.
- Analyze the answers: Evaluate the answers and see if they provide insights into the root cause of the problem.
- Identify the root cause: Use the answers to identify the root cause of the problem.
- Develop a solution: Use the understanding of the root cause to develop a solution to the problem.
Seek out new information and diverse perspectives: Stay informed and exposed to different opinions, perspectives, and sources of information. This will help you broaden your understanding of the world and refine your critical thinking skills.
Analyze arguments: When evaluating arguments, look for logical fallacies, flaws in reasoning, and biases. This will help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of an argument and arrive at an informed conclusion.
Reflect on your own thinking: Take time to reflect on your own thoughts and beliefs. Consider how your experiences and background may impact your perspective.
The ability to think critically is rare. And vital. By developing this skill, you can raise your ceiling. You can become a better problem-solver, a more effective communicator, and a more valuable employee. The world is constantly changing and evolving, and by embracing critical thinking, we can adapt and thrive in the face of new challenges.
Let’s make critical thinking a cornerstone of the modern workplace.
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