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Critical Thinking

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The one single act that prefaces all words, decisions, and actions is the act of thought. In the workplace, thought is behind every critical decision made by all levels of employees from the beginning employee to upper level management. With decisions that may affect the outcome and success of a company, the thought process behind many of these decisions is immensely important. With so much at stake, the simple task of thought becomes more important than previously imagined. The process of critical thinking is a highly disciplined process of making thoughts into concepts and analyzing and evaluating information. After these conceptualized ideas are gathered by observation, experience, reasoning, and communication, they can be formed together to make informed decisions and actions. It is not in human nature to think critically, actually it is quite the opposite. Without the application of critical thinking, our thoughts can become skewed due to individual bias, prejudice and personal experience. According to Michael Criven of The Critical Thinking Community, "Critical thinking is that mode of thinking - about any subject, content, or problem - in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and

imposing intellectual standards upon them." (Defining Critical Thinking 2005)

A critical thinker follows a few steps while thinking. The first step is to raise important questions and issues, formulating them clearly and specifically. The next step is to assemble and evaluate pertinent information. The next step is to draw well thought out conclusions, analyzing them with possible outcomes and scenarios. Within this step, it is very important for a critical thinker to keep an open mind and consider all other options. In addition, a critical thinker will communicate effectively with others in order to gain new perspective and seek assistance in figuring out difficult problems. In the workplace, employees must recognize the benefits of critical thinking on a daily basis. When an organization trains its employees to consistently follow critical thinking procedures, they are more likely to develop better ideas, make less mistakes and attain better decisions. However, when people act on ideas that have not been carefully thought through, they will be likely to reject ideas before they are fully understood. They will also be likely to take action based on flawed assumptions. The result is often adversity in the organization.

One way that critical thinking greatly improves the business practice in a team oriented organization is how a team can apply critical thought to produce firm concepts and ideas in meetings and daily situations. In an organization where multiple employees work together toward a common goal, one would find that a typical meeting does not produce effective communication. It is difficult to find a common ground when attempting to adapt new ideas and create results. However, when teams come together and apply critical



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