So a friend and ex-colleague sent me a link to an article in the FT titled:
“Companies need fewer mystics and more critical thinkers”
And it got me thinking about the lack of critical thinking, and more so the lack of the application of critical thinking, which I see in many of the organisations I have spent time in, with, and advising. Perhaps the problem here is partly one of self-confidence. In order to fairly and objectively assess what’s happening in your firm, your department, or your team, whether it’s BAU, a tactical project or a strategic plan, you need to be open and willing to accept that you’ve got it wrong, you’re doing it wrong, or that your thinking is wrong. That’s not easy for us all to do. Especially when it comes to what we are convinced is a game-changing innovation which came to us at 3am last Tuesday.
Having the confidence to pick yourself up again when you’ve made the wrong call, to be brave and deliver the news that your project is badly in need of course correction, to be brutally honest with yourself, your co-workers and your investors. These are behaviours which we would see more of if we were thinking critically about what we’re doing, and if we were honestly applying that critical thinking. I’m not suggesting that we should all move to the glass-half-full side of the room, or that passion and optimism aren’t valuable, but self-delusion and the habit of blindly pressing on when stamping on the brakes would be a better course of action do none of us any favours.
Perhaps the key here is not dissimilar to the approach required in many situations. Talking about it isn’t enough. Executing it is where it’s at. So today, and tomorrow, and next week we should all try not just to apply critical thinking to the things we’re working on, but to actually apply that critical thinking, take action based on our analysis of what’s working well, and what’s ineffective, inefficient, or downright counter-productive.
That said, before I get on with any of that, I’m off to finish my half-full cup of coffee …. Happy Tuesday!