Did you know that the average person makes 35,000 conscious decisions every day! Now think of a scenario where there was a tool or tools that helped in ensuring that the decisions made could be the best decisions; for both the organisation and the individual? That, in essence, is the importance of critical thinking and critical thinking tools in today’s corporate and professional landscape.

Critical Thinking in simple terms can be defined as the ability to think and make a judgement based on the facts and information provided. In the present world, everyone is very busy, and hence, the decisions we make in haste might not always end up right. That is where critical thinking gains importance. A person who gives time to think and make the judgement have less chance of making a wrong decision. And hence, most companies prefer people with excellent critical thinking skills when they are hiring for new job roles or even during promotions and appraisals. It’s not just the hiring process; many educational institutes conduct critical thinking assessments to admit students into challenging programs.

A survey of HR professionals conducted by SHRM and The Conference Board found that a full 70 per cent of employees with a high school education were deficient in critical thinking skills. Even among employees with a four-year college education, 9 per cent were deficient in critical thinking skills, 63 per cent had adequate skills, and only 28 per cent were rated, excellent critical thinkers.

Good critical thinkers can distinguish between what is good and bad and hence make more effective decisions. If a person is not capable of thinking critically, he/she won’t be able to advance very well in their career professionally.

Critical thinking skills are basically divided into 6 segments, namely

Analysis: This involves dissecting a key problem from several angles and assess issues which need to be tackled.

Communication: Generally in organization with group based tasks and operations, communication plays a vital role in ensuring all the stakeholders involved in the operation are on the same page. Failing to have proper communication may lead to large errors through the smallest details.   

Open-Mindedness: One of the key parameters in assessing the value and worth of an employee for a senior level position is their open-mindedness. The said individual will have to think beyond the box at times to come up with solutions which may not be within the framework of the organization’s usual operations.  

Problem Solving: This is a given at every vertical of an organization. Some of the best decision makers score high on problem-solving skill assessments.    

Creativity: In terms of critical thinking, creativity refers to how one can come up with new, innovative ideas, without the various filters posed by organizational structure. An experienced product manager might spend a few weeks looking for next-generation product ideas by searching material outside of her domain, attending a new conference, scanning online and print materials, talking to people, all in the vein of stimulating new ideas and connections. At this stage, the goal is to spark as many new ideas as possible, unencumbered by a critical filter. While some people will excel equally at both creative and critical thinking, most tend to be stronger in one mode than another.            

Self-Reflection: This quality is very important as it helps in putting things in perspective with regard to a decision taken. Self-reflection helps assess the factors that contributed to a situation, how it was handled, what steps were taken to address the situation, and what the outcome of those steps was. Furthermore, it helps an individual and work groups to be well prepared from different perspectives, if the same problem arises again.

So, developing your critical thinking skill helps you in taking your career forward professionally. It is now a requisite in almost all the job roles, from a manager to a salesperson, the ability to think critically helps in contributing more to the company.

According to a stat released by the World Economic Forum, the 3 essential skills and core competencies for key personnel and top stakeholders in organisations would be Complex problem solving, critical thinking and Creativity. It is essential for career success.

How to Improve Creative Thinking at the Workplace

Evaluate everything:

Don’t take anything at face value. Always assume there is more to anything you hear, read or see. Question the norm of why something is done in a particular way and figure out how to make it better even if it means breaking the norm. Evaluating everything also means considering the motive of any offer or decision. Assume there is a reason behind everything and find that reason.

Research everything:

Contrary to popular belief that people with the best instincts make for good problem solvers, it is those people who do thorough research about a certain problem who ends up solving it. Gut decisions are great but well-researched ones are better. 

Be inquisitive:

If you find your self in a situation where you want to know more but shy away from asking questions, you will just end up in a place of confusion where you may not be able to operate efficiently. People who have high levels of critical thinking ability arent inherently smart, they get there by asking the right questions and being curious.

Never assume your right:

It can be hard to admit that you don’t know something instead of just giving an uninformed answer to mitigate the embarrassment. You need to realise that you can’t be right all the time and good critical thinkers often consider all perspectives when it comes to exploring solutions.

The devil is in the details:

Looking at the big picture when it comes to understanding a business problem is great but being able to break the problem down and see how the micro level mechanics works are equally important to solving the problem.

Occam’s Razor:

Scientists and law enforcement often use the principle of Occam’s Razor to solve complicated scientific problems or solve crimes. Occam’s Razor or the principle of simplicity is when one looks at a hypothesis that is most likely to be true or in other words, look for the simplest explanation of why something happened. Critical thinkers often use this principle to solve complicated problems.

 

Watson-Glaser™ Critical Thinking Appraisal provided by TalentLens is majorly used by many MNCs to make data-driven decisions on staffing and development. It is recognized as the industry-leading measure of critical-thinking ability. Thousands of schools and business organisations use this assessment to measure the critical thinking ability of the candidates. With this test HR’s and hiring, agencies can assess the candidates’ ability to recognize assumptions, evaluate arguments and hence make better hiring decisions. The tests should be completed online within a time-limit of 30 minutes. It is time-bound so the hiring team can accurately measure how well the candidate cope-up with the pressure of time.

With a large clientele of reputed companies and organisation opting for our assessment tests and modules, TalentLens provides you, the HR vertical, with an array of highly effective tests and assessments, backed by new-age technologies. The assessments offered, are completely online making it flexible and easy to attempt. Offered with varying levels of complexity, there is close to no margin for error while recruiting the right candidate, for the right position.