Critical thinking can boost staff performance
Thinking well is important in all aspects of life, but tackling it explicitly is often overlooked in work-world training programs. Never have thinking skills been more important than now, in the 3rd Millennium, when companies worldwide are competing for every competitive edge possible.
Nowhere can you get more bang for your buck than in staff training that boosts people’s abilities in the areas of analysis, reasoning, decision making, problem solving, creativity, planning, etc.
There are specific steps and processes involved in critical thinking, also known as higher order thinking skills (HOTs); articulating those processes, and making the case for staff training in the area, is what this book is about.
It explores the impact of HOT skills training to improve profits, productivity, and staff morale. It also produces evidence that critical thinking skills are often present in managers, but not widely among rank-and-file staff. People who think critically often assume that everyone else knows how to as well, and are often disappointed when it becomes evident that others don’t share the knowledge or skills. When managers think critically but other staff members do not, miscommunication, misunderstanding, mistakes, and even distrust often result. People who think critically think productively routinely and as a matter of habit. When faced with complex decisions or problems, they reframe, attempting to examine the issue from all angles in a search for optimal solutions based on “now,” not the past. Critical thinkers always conduct exhaustive research when it’s warranted so they benefit from others’ knowledge and then they adapt and evolve what they find to the unique situation. This is productive thinking and it generates superior results almost always compared to reproductive thinking which is too often quick and dirty and only as innovative as one brain without research can be.Few people understand that they would be more successful if they approached thinking as an algorithmic process. Instead, energy is directed in a rush toward outcomes — to decisions, plans, conclusions, and judgments. Quick results preoccupy the North American psyche.Herein lays the problem. When people hurry thinking because they don’t know what they don’t know, the fixation on decisions, plans, conclusions, and judgments means they move directly to the latter stages of thinking; they force answers without asking all the right questions. This is backwards thinking and responsible, in large part, for results that are rarely optimal.
Thinking weaknesses are also attributable to the fact that thinking skills aren’t taught explicitly in most schools. Explicit means to do something deliberately so there is no doubt as to intent: Explicit: “…fully revealed or expressed; without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity; no question as to intent.”While our schools teach many subjects explicitly (math, English, even physical education) thinking skills are left to be acquired implicitly, meaning they should be picked up secondarily as a result of other studies.Implicit means: “…capable of being understood from something else, though unexpressed; implied, vague…”Thinking skills are rarely picked up implicitly so we have tens of millions of people who literally don’t know what they don’t know.Thinking well is a skill like any other that must be learned and practiced. Once the skills are used routinely, remarkable things begin to happen as examples, videos, and articles found in the book reveal. If you’re a manager looking for a new challenge, tackling how your staff thinks is one that is very worthwhile. Not only can broadening the intellectual brain resource help your organization, it can positively change people’s lives in every other area as well.
This book provides the management case for HOT skills training and is the companion to Think Well & Prosper A Critical Thinking Guide that is suitable for individual staff members.
Find both of them at the links below:
Critical Thinking: the Case for Staff Training:
Think Well & Prosper: A Critical Thinking Guide