Critical thought must precede action. It’s surprising how often business decisions are made without sufficient analysis of the objectives, options, and potential consequences of those decisions. Knowing this, right now members of your organization are making decisions. Are they the right ones? Will those decisions impact your organization’s future negatively or not?
The Association for Talent Development published a survey a few years ago showing that organizations are doubtful about the readiness and competence of the next generation of leaders. Having enough time for critical thought is certainly a factor for leaders in any organization, especially during those times in life when choices need to be made quickly. This doesn't mean failure has to be the result. We believe the right kind of preparation and training can help leaders think critically even when time is an issue.
First, what is critical thinking? In our work, we define the critical thinking process as, “a leader’s ability and personal discipline to use a rational, reflective, and evidence-based approach when analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach a conclusion or make a decision.”
A leader who displays genuine critical thinking ability keeps an open mind, tests assumptions, and challenges beliefs to make stronger decisions.
How can leadership development and preparation help?Here are two initiatives to assist leaders in building higher-level decision-making skills:
1.The development of business acumen—an in-depth understanding of how a business works, how it makes money, and how strategies and decision impact the financial, operational, and sales results.
2.The development of stronger leadership accountability—a comprehensive view of the leadership responsibilities demanded by today’s successful organizations and the skills to fulfill those accountabilities.
It’s a one-two combination to generate powerful results:
Leaders who connect business drivers to their daily decisions and actions are more likely to contribute to financial metrics and strategic goals.
Leaders who think in broad terms, beyond their narrow functional silos, show greater initiative and creativity in reaching their objectives.
Leaders who embrace the full range of their accountabilities, and use that view to make decisions, inspire others and accelerate workforce alignment across all levels and departments.
A Paradigm Learning exclusive whitepaper concluded that there is, "No room for old-school leadership development in the new normal.”Instead, today’s big-picture thinking is about broadening business acumen and leadership accountability to help ensure leaders evaluate decisions more critically—an approach that aligns organizational goals with their personal responsibilities to the organization.
Let us know what you think below by sharing your thoughts and comments.