Pearson's Critical Thinking Blog http://critical-thinkers.com Critical thinking, strategic thinking, creative thinking blog and articles Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:32:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.22 Critical Thinking and the Presidential Election http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/09/critical-thinking-and-the-presidential-election-2/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/09/critical-thinking-and-the-presidential-election-2/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:31:26 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=5237 Every day we are presented with many opportunities to sharpen our critical thinking skills, but every four years we get a unique opportunity during the Presidential Election.  During the Presidential Debates, we are presented with tons of statistics, interpretations, assumptions, political rhetoric, appeal to emotion, and spin.  There is also no shortage of political ads, pundits, and analysts that try to sway the opinion of potential voters.

Whether you’ve already decided who you will vote for this year or you are one of the undecided voters, here are some tips for exercising your critical thinking skills during this election season:

  • Decide what issues are important to you. Instead of voting along party lines or based on which candidate is taller, consider evaluating which candidate can influence issues that you support.  You could create a decision matrix to help you formally evaluate which candidate meets the majority of your key issues.  Start by listing all of the issues that are important to you.  Then rank those issues from most to least important.  Next, research all of the candidates’ positions on those issues.  By the end of the decision matrix evaluation, you should be able to objectively determine which candidate is the right choice for you.
  • Educate yourself.  Presidential candidates often talk about what they plan to do when they take office, but the reality is much more complex.  The executive branch is only one of 3 political branches in the government, and a President (though it is the most powerful position in the United States) does have limited power.  Get to know the power of the Presidency by researching more about the role the President holds in comparison to the Legislative and Judicial branches (as well as local government).
  • Perform your own fact check. When you hear or read a piece of information that could influence your vote, double check that information.  Can you verify it?  Google can be your best friend during the election.  According to a recent survey, 64% of persuadable voters fact check the claims made by politicians online.
  • Evaluate the source. When you are conducting your own fact check, be sure to also evaluate the credibility of the source.  Examine who wrote the news article or blog post.  Are they partisan or simply reporting the facts?  You might want to Google the source to see what other content he/she has written in the past as well.
  • Avoid the Statistics trap. During every Presidential and Vice Presidential debate, it seems as if the candidates are competing to see who can use the most statistics to support their arguments.  Remember that statistics are often used because they sound credible and powerful, but they are often used incorrectly.  When you hear a statistic, you must investigate further to fairly interpret that information.  How was the data collected?  Who collected the data?  Is the sample used in the study a fair representation of reality?
  • Beware of spin and oversimplification. Each candidate is on a mission to spin his/her record in their favor.  In addition, each candidate will try to oversimplify the other candidate’s position.  For example, one candidate could state that Medicare needs to be reformed, and the other candidate could spin that into “This candidate doesn’t care about the elderly.”
  • To predict the future, look to the past. Elections and promises go hand-in-hand.  Every candidate makes big promises that may or may not be possible for a variety of reasons.  It is difficult to evaluate the likelihood of a politician following through with a promise, but what you can do is research the candidate’s history.  The reason why employers perform reference checks is because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.  How has the candidate voted in the past?  What has he/she supported/endorsed?
  • Check your emotions. Are you feeling passionate about something?  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Just make sure that your emotions aren’t running wild while your brain is in neutral.  Remember that politicians are experts at appealing to your emotions.  They want you to like them.  They want you to experience feelings like hope and fear because those are powerful emotions.  Political ads often exploit our biggest insecurities for that exact reason.  They want you to think that the other candidate doesn’t have your best interests in mind.  However, when your emotions are strong, you are susceptible to Confirmation Bias (where you only seek out information that supports your own position and dismiss evidence to the contrary).
  • Check for logical fallacies.  It would be interesting if someone watched a political debate and charted the number of logical fallacies were made by the candidates.  Here are a few examples of common logical fallacies you may see in a persuasive argument:
    • Appeal to probability- The individual tries to convince you that because it is possible that something could happen, that it inevitably will happen.
    • Slippery Slope- The individual claims that if we take action on a certain issue then a series of other actions will likely be taken.  This is done without providing any reasoning for why this is a likely occurrence.
    • Straw man- This occurs when an individual refutes the other person’s argument by dramatizing, oversimplifying, or mis-representing the person’s argument.
    • Red Herring-  A Red Herring is a purposeful attempt to redirect attention or divert the argument on a specific issue.
    • Hindsight bias- A candidate might make it seem as though a past event was clearly predictable.  Hence the term “hindsight is 20/20.”
  • Dig deeper. Check out CriticalVoter.com for some great critical thinking resources related to the 2016 election.  At this site, there are phenomenal podcasts and even lesson plans for teachers.  The author has created some fantastic content using the current and past Presidential Election(s) as a case study to learn critical thinking skills.

What other tips would you suggest for exercising your critical thinking skills during the election?

Learn more about critical thinking by downloading the Think About It! eBook.

Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the National Director for Pearson Talent Lens. 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. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.

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What is Critical Thinking? Why Does it Matter? http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/05/what-is-critical-thinking-why-does-it-matter/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/05/what-is-critical-thinking-why-does-it-matter/#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 14:30:28 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=5224 Critical thinking is regarded as a key competency for all staff, with particular relevance to graduates and managers. In fact, the Department of Labor identified critical thinking as the raw material that underlies fundamental workplace competencies, such as problem solving, decision making, planning, and risk management.

With globalization and the increased speed of business, employees at every level are facing a flow of information ever increasing in its intensity.

Critical thinking is an organized and disciplined way of thinking. It is:

 

  criticalthinkingis

 

Critical Thinking is an intellectual skill.

It’s about you

Work settings are changing rapidly, and employees are moving into new roles, often with limited direction. Employees can no longer rely on others to make key decisions. They often must make them on their own, and quickly. The decisions have to be good ones.

Good decisions require focusing on the most relevant information, asking the right questions, and separating reliable facts from false assumptions – all elements of critical thinking.

Critical Thinking is here to stay

Study after study has confirmed that the skills gap is real for both the current leadership pipeline within organizations and for the talent pool accessed by recruiters.

Specifically, when it comes to skills like critical thinking, it is consistently rated by employers as being a skill of increasing importance, and yet a recent study showed 49% of employers rate their employees’ critical thinking skills as only average or below average.

Additionally, even though in higher education there has been a concerted effort to focus on critical thinking as a measurable outcome, employers are not seeing the results. Employers claim that the critical thinking skills gap is a significant problem with new hires, specifically in recent graduates. In fact, only 28% of employers rated 4-year graduates as having “Excellent” critical thinking skills. So, the burden and expense of training/developing those skills rests on the employers.

Ask any executive about the importance of critical thinking, and you will hear nothing but support and admiration for this essential skill. Most (69%) will even tell you about how they assess critical thinking skills in the selection process.

Measuring Critical Thinking

The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal  is known as the global gold-standard measure of an individual’s ability to think critically. The Watson-Glaser™ II Critical Thinking Appraisal is the leading critical thinking test used to assess and develop decision making skills and judgment. 

It is available as a 30 minute online test or in print and scores are based on the easy-to-follow RED Model of Critical Thinking:see-clearly-with-red

  • Recognize Assumptions: Separate fact from opinion
  • Evaluate Arguments: Impartially evaluate arguments and suspend judgment
  • Draw Conclusions: Decide your course of action.

Watson- at-a-Glance

  • Assesses critical thinking ability and decision making
  • Predicts judgment, problem solving, creativity, openness to experience & more
  • Long history of use in business, government, and education
  • Correlates with other leading ability and personality tests
  • Online administration at TalentLens.com - Register now and start assessing
  • Quick 40-item, multiple choice test with many reporting options

WGII-USUKAUS-NZIN-Sample-Question-1

 

Research conducted in recent years by Pearson, as well as by a variety of independent academics, has shown that people who score well on critical thinking assessment are also rated by their supervisors as having:

  • Good analysis and problem-solving skills
  • Good judgment and decision making
  • Good overall job performance
  • The ability to evaluate the quality of information presented
  • Creativity
  • Job knowledge
  • The potential to move up within the organization

Critical thinking, perhaps more than any other business skill set, can make the difference between success and failure. Fortunately, these skills are not out of reach – they are readily available to employees at all levels. Once gained, critical thinking skills last a lifetime, and become a powerful asset for organizations seeking a competitive edge.

Learn about the benefits of using Watson-Glaser when assessing candidates and developing leaders.

Learn more about critical thinking by downloading the Think About It! eBook.

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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Confirmation Bias in Action: Critical Thinking While Parenting http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/04/confirmation-bias-in-action-critical-thinking-while-parenting/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/04/confirmation-bias-in-action-critical-thinking-while-parenting/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 12:55:20 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=5218 If critical thinking was easy, everyone would do it!

Every day, I speak with customers regarding the importance of assessing and developing critical thinking skills in their employees. I share ways in which they can create a culture of critical thinking. I blog about the topic, speak to HR associations about the topic, and even coach critical thinking in the Critical Thinking University discussion forums.

So, you can imagine my embarrassment when I fell prey to a common cognitive bias recently.

It all began when I saw a dreaded note on my toddler’s preschool class door. “There are 4 confirmed cases of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Be on the lookout for a fever and a rash around the child’s hands, feet, and mouth.” My fears multiplied when I learned that my daughter’s best friend was patient zero. Hand Foot and Mouth disease is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily and quickly among children. The child first develops a fever, then a few days later a rash and/or small blisters appear which cause considerable discomfort. There is no treatment for the virus, and it takes several days for the symptoms to disappear. All you can do is treat the discomfort with Tylenol and encourage the child to drink liquids and eat popsicles to stay hydrated. Once I saw the note, I immediately launched into Worst Case Scenario mode.

2016-03-31 07.51.25So, the next morning, when my toddler felt a bit warm, I grabbed our infrared thermometer and let out a sigh as it flashed a bright red screen and read 102º. I actually scanned my daughter with the thermometer several times to ensure the reading was correct. Being thorough in my analysis, I scanned my own forehead with the thermometer which read 98.8º.  With that confirmation, I resigned myself that we were in for the long haul with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.

We also have an infant at home, so we did our best over the next few days to quarantine the toddler, use hand sanitizer frequently, and Lysol everything in sight. We kept checking the toddler’s temp and it consistently registered between 101-102º day after day. Knowing it was only a matter of time before the rash/blister stage took hold, I checked the toddler’s hands and feet looking for red sports, but nothing appeared. I assumed the virus was just slow to show additional symptoms. After a few days, the toddler would occasionally show me her hands and say they hurt, but I couldn’t see any spots. My own hands began to feel like they were burning, so I wondered if the virus was just presenting differently for the two of us. Day after day went by…Thursday…Friday…Saturday…Sunday…Monday… Still no rash or blisters (or any other symptoms at all, really), but the fever remained consistent.

By Tuesday morning when her fever registered at 102º again, I’d had enough. We immediately headed to the pediatrician’s office for advice. The nurse scanned my daughter’s head with the thermometer, and I saw her make a funny face. She scanned again and wrote something down on her notepad. As I was answering the other nurse’s questions about my daughter’s symptoms, I glanced down at the notepad…98.7º.  Wait, what? I was in disbelief. How can a child go from 102º to 98.7º in a half hour?  We discussed our options (blood work, chest scans, etc) but since the fever was apparently gone, we decided to go home and monitor the situation to see if the fever returned before taking any action.

I left the doctor’s office still baffled. How could her fever disappear so quickly? Did the fever just happen to break on the way to the doctor’s office? As soon as we returned home, I used my own infrared thermometer to scan her. Unbelievably, it read 102º. It took 6 full days for my critical thinking skills to kick in. I grabbed our back-up digital thermometer and placed it under her arm. A few seconds later, I just shook my head as I read the screen- 98.6º.

In just a few seconds of reflection, I realized I had succumb to a common cognitive bias. From the second I read the notice on the Preschool door, I had mentally prepared for my daughter to catch the virus. From the first scan on, I interpreted any evidence as confirmation of my belief. I barely attempted to double check the evidence. Now that I can reflect logically on the only symptoms we experienced, I realize our hands weren’t burning from an invisible rash, it was from excessive hand sanitizer usage. That thought never occurred to me thanks to confirmation bias.

I failed to engage the RED Model of Critical Thinking that week.

redmodel-300x144Recognize Assumptions- Because my daughter’s best friend had a confirmed case of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, I assumed it was only a matter of time before my daughter began presenting symptoms.

Evaluate Information- I never questioned the validity of my thermometer. I never sought out any data to the contrary because my assumptions were so strong. And when new data (burning hands) appeared, I never considered that the cause could be anything other than the virus. I also never questioned the lack of other tell-tale symptoms. I failed to objectively evaluate the evidence, or lack thereof.

Draw Conclusions- Because I had incorrectly interpreted the evidence, I drew the wrong conclusion and lost 4 days of work (and 4 days of preschool tuition) caring for a sick child that wasn’t actually sick.

Confirmation Bias is a very dangerous logical error. Imagine the scenario above, but replace the parent expecting a children’s virus with an individual expecting profit from a financial investment. The same way I waited and waited for symptoms to appear because I was expecting to see them any day, an investor may only seek out information that confirms their bias toward a certain investment and then wait too long to cut their losses because they anticipate returns any day.

To defend against Confirmation Bias, it’s important to:

  • Remain purposefully neutral when evaluating information
  • When you do form a hypothesis, seek out evidence to the contrary
  • Check your assumptions and evidence interpretation with a subject matter expert
  • Engage a trusted person to take on the role of Devil’s Advocate

Learn more about critical thinking by downloading the Think About It! eBook.

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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New Webinar: Closing the Skills Gap for Emerging Leaders http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/03/new-webinar-closing-the-skills-gap-for-emerging-leaders/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/03/new-webinar-closing-the-skills-gap-for-emerging-leaders/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2016 17:52:51 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=5214 Register now for Pearson TalentLens’ latest webinar!

Title: Confronting the Skills Gap: How Great Companies are Creating Leaders in a VUCA World

Date: Thursday, April 7th 

Time: 2:00pm ET

Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6013928754836487425

Leadership is in a transition. Baby Boomers are retiring at a record rate, and Gen Y is now the largest generation in the workforce. As the economy stabilizes, organizations are resurrecting their High Potential programs, but is it too late for the next generation of leaders? Has the skills gap become insurmountable?

Learn how leading-edge companies are developing their emerging leaders to overcome the challenges of a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment.

We’ll share important, research-based revelations that provide a blueprint for trainers and leaders to develop their workforce for the future. This webcast will include the most significant trends in Emerging Leader Development, the major competency gaps of next generation leaders, and which strategies work most effectively to accelerate development and prepare rising leaders for the challenges ahead. Finally, we’ll explore the latest hot topic in Executive Development- Cognitive Readiness.

Attendees will receive a FREE copy of the 2016 Trends in Executive Development Report ($150 value). Combine insights from this report with information gathered directly from the business to align priorities, benchmark, and compare the strategy of your Executive Development strategy.

In this webcast, participants will learn: 
• Best Practices and Programs of Leading Edge Companies
• Strengths and Competency Deficits of Next Generation Leaders including Strategic & Critical Thinking and the Ability to Create a Vision
• Sample Development Strategies and Practical Tips for How to Address Critical Competency Deficit
• How to Define and Develop Cognitive Readiness Skills in Next Gen Leaders

About the Presenter:

amy ferrisAmy Ferris is the Senior National Consultant at Pearson TalentLens where she specializes in developing critical thinking skills of executives, managers and employees at all levels in an organization. With over 17 years of experience in Human Capital Management, in both the private and public sectors, Amy has served as an expert in the development of customized training programs, team-building seminars, career development initiatives, leadership development, and selection and outplacement services. Her goal in working across these myriad human capital applications has been to create customized approaches to meet each client’s specific needs.

Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Austin Peay State University and Bachelor’s Degree in Family Sciences from the University of Maryland. She is a native of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area and lives in Maryland with her family.

Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6013928754836487425

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New Webinar: How to Hire and Develop Effective Thinkers http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/03/new-webinar-how-to-hire-and-develop-effective-thinkers/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/03/new-webinar-how-to-hire-and-develop-effective-thinkers/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2016 14:40:18 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=5209 Register now for Pearson TalentLens’ latest webinar!

Title: How to Hire and Develop Effective Thinkers and Problem Solvers

Date: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Time: 2:00pm ET

Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1298436744118906625

Every day, your employees are confronted with new, complex, ambiguous challenges. The great thinkers identify opportunities, generate new ideas, and solve problems effectively. The ones that lack critical thinking skills keep your PR team, HR department, corporate lawyers busy.

Organizations that attract, retain, and develop the best critical thinkers have a huge competitive advantage.

The better thinker you are, the more effective your decision making and problem solving activities will be. If there’s one thing every organization needs, it’s more effective thinkers. While some argue that critical thinking is an innate skill, we’ll show that critical thinking is not only a skill to be developed, but it is part of a wider set of skills that make up Cognitive Readiness- the latest Hot Topic in Leadership Development.

In this webcast, participants will learn:

  • An understanding of the role critical thinking plays in a VUCA business environment
  • How to Define and Identify Cognitive Readiness skills
  • A proven model for teaching applied critical thinking
  • How to measure thinking ability by assessing a person’s “RED-iness”
  • Identify techniques that can be used to apply critical thinking to everyday business challenges

 

About the Presenter:

pam valenciaPamela Valencia, Senior Solutions Consultant

Utilizing over 20 years of presentation, facilitation and strategy implementation to create value for HR, Talent and Leadership development efforts within organizations.  A former VP of learning and development, Pamela has partnered with senior and mid-level managers for more than twenty years to design and implement customized training programs aimed at elevating skills and knowledge, team cohesiveness, and the effectiveness of leaders. Her expertise includes instructional design, stand-up training, program development, train-the-trainer sessions, and team- building strategies. She is considered an assessment expert in the industry.

Pamela has also had the opportunity to work with California Achievement for Performance Excellence (CAPE) examiners for nonprofit organizations. She was instrumental in the strategic alignment of cascading goals throughout the organization she served, as well as in competency implementation, training metrics, high-potential selection, development, and succession planning. The company won a CAPE silver award.

 

Register here now: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1298436744118906625

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Think Critically, Earn Free Pizza http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/03/think-critically-earn-free-pizza/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/03/think-critically-earn-free-pizza/#comments Mon, 14 Mar 2016 16:19:58 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=5205 Calling all Critical Thinkers! 

It’s National Pi Day, and Pizza Hut is celebrating the math nerd in us all with an opportunity to win 3.14 years of free pizza!

pizza-1562028To win the pizza party of a lifetime, all you need to do is solve one of three math logic problems Pizza Hut posted on their website. If you’re not a math whiz, don’t shy away from the challenge. The questions are as much about logic, reasoning, and critical thinking as they are about math.

In today’s data-driven marketplace, the ability to identify relevant data and interpret it is more important than ever. While academic grades in mathematics demonstrate an ability to learn and apply mathematical techniques, they do not predict how well a person will perform when interpreting data in the workplace. For this reason, many employers test a candidate’s numerical reasoning ability during the selection process with assessments such as the Advanced Numerical Reasoning Appraisal (ANRA). Assessments like the ANRA help employers identify candidates who can identify the most important information from a set of data, compare complex quantitative information, and break down information into essential parts.

Do you have the numerical reasoning and critical thinking skills to solve a tough math logic problem?

Give your brain some exercise with the Pizza Hut Pi Day Challenge, and you may be rewarded with free pizza!

 

(Image Source: FreeImages.com/André Montejorge)

 

Learn more about critical thinking by downloading the Think About It! eBook.

 

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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80 Ways to Think Better http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/03/80-ways-to-think-better/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/03/80-ways-to-think-better/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2016 13:38:59 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=5200
  • Be Your Devil’s Advocate
  • Assign a Devil’s Advocate in meetings
  • Disagree
  • Ask Why
  • Use the RED Model of Critical Thinkingsee-clearly-with-red
  • Try a Brain Teaser
  • Recognize your biases
  • Test a hypothesis
  • Pretend it’s April Fool’s Day
  • Learn from others’ failures
  • Don’t blindly trust statistics
  • Find a mentor
  • Learn your weaknesses with the Watson-Glaser II™ Critical Thinking Appraisal assessment
  • Reflect on your decisions
  • Take the Ctrl + Alt + Del Approach
  • Attend a Critical Thinking webinar
  • Distinguish Fact from Opinion
  • Learn about logical fallacies
  • Don’t censor your brainstorming process
  • Imagine the Worst-Case-Scenario
  • Wait…..
  • Ask for input from others
  • Look for the spin
  • Check your emotions
  • Dig for more data
  • Read Now You’re Thinking!
  • Dig for opposing data
  • Ask for critical thinking training
  • Tear apart your own idea
  • Evaluate source credibility
  • Ask “what if”
  • Ask the RIGHT questions
  • Challenge hierarchy
  • Mind Map
  • Check gut feelings
  • Look for patterns
  • Recognize assumptions
  • Attend a Critical Thinking Boot Camp
  • Accurately define the problem
  • Weigh pros and cons
  • Ask someone to evaluate your thought process
  • Look for critical thinking models
  • Stay engaged
  • Practice
  • Register for the Critical Thinking University
  • Accept ambiguity
  • Listen
  • Think like a genius
  • Define objective data
  • Find a critical thinking buddy
  • Be aware of cultural implications
  • Assess risk
  • Think about the future implications
  • Ignore the distractions
  • Don’t waste time if you have no control
  • Watch “smart” television
  • Try something new
  • Re-frame the problem
  • Reflect
  • Play strategic games
  • Ask the “4 most important words”
  • Analyze cause-and-effect
  • Be curious
  • Research
  • Question everything
  • Watch the news
  • Get a great education
  • Take on a tough debate
  • Defend your position
  • Don’t smoke
  • Do more research
  • Keep practicing
  • Examine alternatives
  • Have a big head
  • Look for hidden agendas
  • Learn your Thinking Style
  • Communicate effectively
  • Delay conclusions
  • Follow the evidence
  • PRACTICE!!!
  • Learn more about critical thinking by downloading the Think About It! eBook. 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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    Is the Critical Thinking Craze Over? http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/02/is-the-critical-thinking-craze-over/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2016/02/is-the-critical-thinking-craze-over/#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2016 12:45:04 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=4990 For years, we’ve been hearing about the importance of critical thinking in the workplace. Critical thinking ranked #1 on the Most Important Skills for Next Gen Leaders on the EDA/Pearson Trends in Executive Development Survey since 2012. The same survey also identified critical thinking as the skill most lacking in next gen leaders. According to Indeed.com, the number of job postings that mention critical thinking skills has doubled since 2009.

    Companies are not only assessing critical thinking skills of new hires in record numbers, but they’re spending millions to train their current employees.

    Yet, in the 2016 Trends in Executive Development Survey, critical thinking dropped down the priority list of key skills for emerging leaders. Is the critical thinking craze over? Are our employees suddenly able to Recognize Assumptions, Evaluate Information, and Draw Conclusions effectively? Not quite.

    According to the survey, employers still want employees with critical thinking skills, but that’s not enough. Emerging leaders must have a cluster of skills that result in Cognitive Readiness.

    Cognitive Readiness is the mental, emotional, and interpersonal preparedness necessary to handle uncertainty and risk, and it is the next big thing in high potential training programs.

    shutterstock_305434472The business that an emerging leader will lead in 5-10 years will be even more volatile, uncertain, and complex than it is now. With ever-changing customer demands, disruptive technology, globalization, generational shifts, and an increase in regulatory/legislative issues, a successful leader will have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. They must be able to maintain self-control in increasingly stressful and ambiguous climates.

    Cognitive readiness isn’t a single skill a person can master. Rather, it’s a cluster of skills including mental toughness, adaptability, learning agility, emotional control, attentional control, sense-making, situational awareness, and of course, critical thinking.

    High potential programs are focusing on cognitive readiness in part due to concerns about Generation Y’s dependence on technology. Do millennials have the attentional control necessary to stay focused on the physical world despite the incoming distractions of the digital world? Do they have the situational awareness and sense-making ability to walk into a board room and read the emotions of everyone around the table? Can they identify patterns and anolomies to determine who’s in control, who’s on board, and who is disengaged? Are they aware of their own thinking processes, emotions, and biases? And if so, can they overcome critical thinking barriers?

    These are the questions that keep current leaders awake at night. Do the millennials currently being groomed for leadership roles have the cognitive readiness skills necessary to focus their attention and quiet their minds in order to think critically? The answer is unclear, but according to the Trends in Executive Development Report, cognitive readiness is a hot topic and will drive the future of executive development programs for years to come.

    To download the full Trends in Executive Development Report, click here.

     

    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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    Skepticism and Making Every Day April Fool’s Day http://critical-thinkers.com/2015/11/skepticism-and-making-every-day-april-fools-day/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2015/11/skepticism-and-making-every-day-april-fools-day/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:21:31 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=4984 We all have at least one friend who consistently shares satire articles and obviously false memes on social media and believes that they are true. Have you ever wondered about that person’s thought process?  Did they just skip school on all the days devoted to critical thinking? Weren’t they told the value of asking questions? Did they eat too much glue in elementary school? Something must be happening to account for how consistently they trust clearly false information. According to George Hrab in his latest TEDx Talk, the issue is that they WANT the story to be true. When we want something to be true, we let our skeptical guard down. We stop asking questions. We stop having doubts. We stop looking for evidence. We stop checking sources.

    Skepticism is most difficult when we want something to be true. #criticalthinking
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    In the video below, he suggests we need to learn to employ healthy skepticism every day. In essence, if we approached every day like it was April Fool’s Day, we would be less likely to fall for mis-information. On April Fool’s Day, we are on guard for pranks and tricks. Why don’t we employ the same level of evidence-based thinking the other 364 days a year? We certainly can. It just takes effort.

    If critical thinking was easy, everyone would do it. #criticalthinking
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    //www.youtube.com/watch?v=orSjZaeyISI

    Learn more about critical thinking by downloading the Think About It! eBook.

      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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    The 10 Commandments of a Rational Discussion http://critical-thinkers.com/2015/10/the-10-commandments-of-a-rational-discussion/ http://critical-thinkers.com/2015/10/the-10-commandments-of-a-rational-discussion/#comments Wed, 14 Oct 2015 14:46:22 +0000 http://critical-thinkers.com/?p=4977 Logical fallacies run rampant during a passionate debate. It’s imperative you know how to spot a logical fallacy in order to elevate a discussion and ensure critical thinking prevails. Here’s a great list of popular logical fallacies you want to avoid when engaging in a rational debate.  Also, check out this post at Relatively Interesting that offers examples for each logical fallacy.

    10-commandments-of-rational-debate-600w

     

    (Image Source)

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