What is a Critical Thinking Boot Camp?

Training for skills such as problem solving, decision making, and strategic thinking have been around for decades, so what makes a Critical Thinking Boot Camp different?  I recently met with Scott Dannemiller of Executive Development Associates and asked him that exact question.

Scott responded: “What the boot camp adds is a more in-depth look into critical thinking using the Watson-Glaser II ™.  So, participants learn about their own strengths and challenge areas, as well as some key “critical thinking questions” to ask in any situation.  These key questions are layered on top of the very situation-specific questions taught by the tools.  It makes for a very rich program.”

The Critical Thinking Boot Camp is an intense 2-day program where participants learn the RED Model of Critical Thinking, and then learn to apply that model to every day problem solving, decision making, strategic thinking etc through the support of an expert coach.  Participants work through a real-life decision or situation they are struggling with while being coached by an expert critical thinking trainer.  The application of the theory happens in the moment, which makes the likelihood of continuing to use the new skills much more likely.   In fact, recent surveys of Critical Thinking Boot Camp attendees showed that 74% reported they continue to to use the skills they learned during the Boot Camp in their day-to-day job.

After the Boot Camp, Scott explained that participants are encouraged to submit any success stories from their experience at the Boot Camp.  Specifically, they are encouraged to show how and where their newly acquired critical thinking skills were applied, and what the results were in terms of innovation, creativity, and dollar value (either saved or gained).  While submitting such results is voluntary, one telecommunications organization recently reported that they tracked a ROI of 17 times the cost of the training program itself.

In other words, they tracked either a cost savings or revenue generation 1,700% greater than the cost of the Critical Thinking Boot Camp.

Other companies have reported similar successes. A Director in a manufacturing facility used the strategic analysis tools to find $420,000 in savings, and a Core Team Leader for large health care supplier used creative problem solving and decision making tools to identify $9.2M in additional revenues over 10 years and plan a product release 10 months ahead of schedule.

Next week, I will attend the Critical Thinking Boot Camp as a participant along with the rest of my team.  I can’t wait to share my experiences along the way, and will be sure to report the results of our new critical thinking skills.  In the meantime, if you would like more information on the Critical Thinking Boot Camp, please feel free to email me at breanne.potter@pearson.com.

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Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens.  She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training.  She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting.  She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson.  Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.

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