It’s great to list best practices & examples of critical thinking characteristics but lately I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the opposite. What does it look like when a company isn’t critically thinking? To best answer this question I went to Anne & Charlie Kreitzberg, thought leaders behind of Critical Thinking University™ (CTU).
Without hesitation, Anne & Charlie offered these four indicators that suggest your company may not be using critical thinking in their decision making process.
1. People do not openly disagree.
One of the essential elements of critical thinking is to synthesize multiple viewpoints. It allows the same situation to be seen from multiple perspectives which, among other things, bring potential problems to light.
2. Everyone looks to the senior ranking person before making a decision.
This is more common than you might think and, sadly, inhibits the critical thinking process.
3. E-mail distribution is often loaded with “CC’s” with people who are not directly or actively involved.
This suggests that the best decision takes a back seat to building a consensus.
4. Nobody asks the question, “How do we know?”
Anne notes that this was a key point of Peter Drucker. Sometimes we can’t answer this question and should ask ourselves, “How would we know?” The goal is to get empirical evidence to support your claim.
There you go, folks. This is what it might look like if your company isn’t critically thinking. You’re not alone if these warning signs hit a little too close to home. While confronting corporate culture can be difficult, it’s an important part of getting critical thinking to work in your environment. “One of the instructional goals of CTU is to not only teach techniques of critical thinking but to help people understand the organizational context in which decision take place and how to best navigate it.”
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Elizabeth Pauker-Silva