Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills

Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills

Michael Kallet

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1118729838

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Learn Critical Thinking techniques for better decisions, problem solving, and innovation

Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills
is the comprehensive guide to training your brain to do more for you. Written by a critical thinking trainer and coach, the book presents a pragmatic framework and set of tools to apply critical thinking techniques to everyday business issues. Think Smarter is filled with real world examples that demonstrate how the tools work in action, in addition to dozens of practice exercises applicable across industries and functions, Think Smarter is a versatile resource for individuals, managers, students, and corporate training programs.
Thinking is the foundation of everything you do, but we rely largely on automatic thinking to process information, often resulting in misunderstandings and errors. Shifting over to critical thinking means thinking purposefully using a framework and toolset, enabling thought processes that lead to better decisions, faster problem solving, and creative innovation. Think Smarter provides clear, actionable steps toward improving your critical thinking skills, plus exercises that clarify complex concepts by putting theory into practice. Features include:
  • A comprehensive critical thinking framework
  • Over twenty-five "tools" to help you think more critically
  • Critical thinking implementation for functions and activities
  • Examples of the real-world use of each tool

Learn what questions to ask, how to uncover the real problem to solve, and mistakes to avoid. Recognize assumptions your can rely on versus those without merit, and train your brain to tick through your mental toolbox to arrive at more innovative solutions. Critical thinking is the top skill on the wish list in the business world, and sharpening your ability can have profound affects throughout all facets of life. Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills provides a roadmap to more effective and productive thought.

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need to survive. In 2000, I was working at a company that had fallen prey to the communications industry collapse. Prior to 2000, the availability of investment money to grow communications networks was like water pouring from a faucet. There were 50 medium-sized communications companies, all of which were spending investment money like there was no tomorrow. Then Wall Street investors did some math—and oops! The spigot was turned off completely. We needed a plan to become profitable, and fast.

approve. Your ingredient diagram may uncover the need to get various people or groups—colleagues, vendors, or even your customers—involved sooner in the process. • When figuring out where to put your energy: When you fill in your ingredient diagram, you’ll assign weights to the ingredients. Ingredient 1 might weigh very heavily in your headscratcher, whereas ingredient 2 might not. This will help you determine where to put your focus and energy as you look for solutions. c11.indd 69 2/20/2014

facts. Science creates rules that, until proved otherwise, are considered fact. Unfortunately, there aren’t many facts. We can’t be absolutely sure about the future, and because facts are absolute truth, nothing about the future is a fact. If someone makes a statement about the future, whatever it is, it certainly can’t be a fact. For example, let’s say the sun will shine somewhere on Earth tomorrow. Is that a fact? Although it is extremely probable, there is no guarantee the sun will be around

unless the world dramatically decreased carbon emissions? What do you think we would do? How would you get to work? How would you get home? What would you eat? 3. If you had to cut your personal expenses by 75 percent, what would you do? Are there any ideas you can apply to reduce your expenses by 10 percent? 4. If your normal product development cycle took 18 months, what would you have to do to shorten it to 3 months? What can you implement now? c29.indd 175 2/21/2014 7:39:49 AM 30  S 

for each are very different. For example, you probably have a to-do list of your tasks. You haven’t decided to do them yet, because if you did, they would not be on your to-do list; they would be on your done list. Although you might be the one who is responsible for coming up with a solution or a conclusion, you might not be the decision maker; it might be your boss. To review, the critical thinking framework is a three-step process, as illustrated in Figure 3.1. • Clarity: Get clear on the

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