Critical Thinking and Decision-Making
What is critical thinking? Diane Halpern, an award-winning professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College, offers this definition of critical thinking is:
"Critical thinking is the use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable outcome. It is used to describe thinking that is purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed - the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions ... it's the kind of thinking that makes desirable outcomes more likely."
By taking responsibility for your own critical thinking processes, you are taking action to analyze and improve your approach to decision-making and problem-solving, and by so doing, you put yourself - and your organization in a much stronger position to lead and succeed. There is an increased recognition that the old ways of doing business are not coming back. While some traditional leadership strategies and skills will continue to be effective, leaders in this brave new world will need to lead differently - and they will have to think differently. This means that the skills that made leaders successful in the past will not necessarily ensure success in the future. In fact, a number of recent studies have identified critical thinking and decision-making as two of the top three essential requirements for successful leadership in the 21st century.
Yet there is evidence that many senior and emerging leaders lack this quality. Thinking drives behavior; behavior drives results, so enterprises that want to change the results - and, for that matter, the organization itself - can only achieve the highest leverage by improving the critical thinking skills of its leaders and managers throughout their organization.