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An Introduction to Critical Thinking in Business

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An Introduction to Critical Thinking in Business

  1. 1. Increasing Critical Thinking in the Workplace The Raw Material of 21st Century Success
  2. 2. Today’s Agenda
  3. 3. The success of your organization depends on the quality of the thinking and the decisions made by everyone in your business. Everyone thinks, but few think critically
  4. 4. Lots of people work hard But do they accomplish much?
  5. 5. <ul><li>Meet Jerry, your new salesperson. </li></ul><ul><li>Is he… </li></ul><ul><li>Working on the right things? </li></ul><ul><li>Asking the right questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Making good decisions? </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Meet Pam, your new office manager. </li></ul><ul><li>Can she separate… </li></ul><ul><li>Facts </li></ul><ul><li>Opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptions </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Meet your new store </li></ul><ul><li>managers. </li></ul><ul><li>Will they think about… </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes? </li></ul><ul><li>Consequences? </li></ul><ul><li>Effective </li></ul><ul><li>Implementation? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Critical Thinking Defined It is…
  9. 9. Critical Thinking Impacts Business
  10. 10. Schlitz Loses Its Lead Background : In the 1970s, Schlitz, America’s #2 beer, wanted to compete with Budweiser. Decision : Head of Schlitz Brewing Company, Robert Uhlein, Jr., decided to cut costs in the ingredients used in the beer and to speed up the brewing process. The brew time went from 40 days to 15. Barley malt was replaced with corn syrup. A foam stabilizer was replaced with a cheaper version. Impact : Initial profit was good, but the beer tasted terrible and the ingredients tended to bond together and sink to the bottom of the can – looking like mucus. A reviewer described it as “snot-ridden beer.” Schlitz finally recalled 10 million cans of beer. By 1981, they shut down their Milwaukee plant, and the following year they were sold. A Milwaukee mayor compared it to the sinking of the Titanic.
  11. 11. The Beatles Sign With EMI Background : In December, 1961, Decca Records’ executives Mike Smith and Dick Rowe watched a local rock ‘n’ roll band perform in Liverpool. He invited them to audition on January 1, 1962. The group spent two hours playing 15 different songs. Then they went home and waited for weeks. Decision : Finally, Rowe told the band’s manager that Decca wasn’t interested. He said: &quot;Not to mince words, Mr. Epstein, but we don’t like your boys’ sound. Groups are out; four-piece groups with guitars particularly are finished.“ Impact : The group, The Beatles, signed with EMI Records, and started a trend back to guitar bands. The rest is history.
  12. 12. Background : In 1981, Universal Studios called Mars and asked permission to use M&Ms in a new film. This was common practice. The director was looking for cross-promotion – he would use M&Ms, and Mars could help promote the movie. Decision : The Mars brothers said “no.” Impact : The film was E.T. The M&Ms were needed for a crucial scene: Elliot, the boy who befriended the alien, uses candy to lure E.T. into his house. Instead, Hershey’s cut a deal to use a new product called Reese’s Pieces. Initial sales had been light. Sales exploded when E.T. became a top-grossing movie. Hershey’s estimated that they would have had to pay $15-20 million for this level of advertising. Hershey’s Sees the Light
  13. 13. A 21 st Century Survival Skill We’ve seen bad judgment bring down business giants Enron, Lehman Brothers and AIG. Every business needs to focus on making the right decisions in a complex, rapidly changing environment – with incomplete and imperfect information. Critical thinking is a core survival skill.
  14. 14. A Foundation for Key Management Skills
  15. 15. Identifying and Developing Good Critical Thinkers
  16. 16. How Can You Spot Great Talent? <ul><li>People often appear similar on the surface. </li></ul><ul><li>Similar resume </li></ul><ul><li>Similar communication style </li></ul><ul><li>Similar upbeat attitude </li></ul><ul><li>But how can you predict who will succeed on the job? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Create Success Profiles Through Assessment <ul><li>Assess the critical thinking ability of top performers to create a baseline (e.g., 70 th percentile and above) </li></ul><ul><li>Assess job </li></ul><ul><li>applicants and </li></ul><ul><li>candidates for </li></ul><ul><li>internal promotion </li></ul><ul><li>and compare their </li></ul><ul><li>scores to the </li></ul><ul><li>baseline </li></ul>
  18. 18. Watson-Glaser ™ : The Gold Standard for Critical Thinking Assessment <ul><li>In use for over 85 years </li></ul><ul><li>“ Voluminous research” </li></ul><ul><li>Measures critical </li></ul><ul><li>thinking ability </li></ul><ul><li>Predicts success </li></ul><ul><li>in professional roles </li></ul><ul><li>Development report provides </li></ul><ul><li>custom development plan </li></ul>
  19. 19. Watson-Glaser Users
  20. 20. Watson-Glaser Applications
  21. 21. Watson-Glaser RED Model of Critical Thinking
  22. 22. RED Model Defined <ul><li>Recognize Assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptions are statements that are </li></ul><ul><li>implied to be true in the absence of proof. </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate Arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Arguments are assertions that are intended </li></ul><ul><li>to persuade someone to believe or act a certain way. </li></ul><ul><li>Draw Conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Consists of arriving at conclusions that logically follow from </li></ul><ul><li>the available evidence. </li></ul>
  23. 23. RED Model In Action <ul><li>Recognize Assumptions : the CIA believed </li></ul><ul><li>that Cubans would rise up to support the effort </li></ul><ul><li>they could successfully overthrow the Cuban </li></ul><ul><li>government based on past success (Guatemala, 1954) </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate Arguments : Kennedy reviewed the plan with his closest advisors, who supported invasion. When campaigning, he had criticized Eisenhower for not being proactive enough with Cuba, so contrary views were not well represented in the inner circle. </li></ul><ul><li>Draw Conclusions : Kennedy ordered the invasion, which was an immediate and costly failure. </li></ul>Learning: Kennedy changed the way in which he was briefed so that assumptions would be challenged and arguments better evaluated.
  24. 24. The Next Generation: Critical Thinking In Schools and Early Workforce
  25. 25. “ Everyone agrees that students learn in college, but whether they learn to think is more controversial.” - Wilbert McKeachie Do Students Have Sufficient Critical Thinking Skills?
  26. 26. What Employers Say
  27. 27. We Have a Critical Thinking Deficit
  28. 28. It’s Also the #1 Skill of Increasing Importance
  29. 29. Another Survey: Skills “More Important” Now Experienced Workers New Workers SHRM 2007 Survey
  30. 30. <ul><li>“ I'm calling on our nation's governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don't simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.” </li></ul>Changing Education Policy
  31. 31. Framework for 21 st Century Learning
  32. 32. Critical Thinking Emphasis
  33. 33. Training People to Think Better Is it possible?
  34. 34. Yes, But Not Without Effort… and Feedback <ul><li>Critical thinking is like any other skill (e.g., becoming a good golfer) – it requires practice </li></ul><ul><li>But developing critical thinking is more challenging than behavioral skills (e.g., golf) because you can’t easily “see” it </li></ul>
  35. 35. Critical Thinking Can Be Learned “ There is substantial evidence to show that critical thinking can be improved, especially when instruction is designed to encourage the transfer of these skills to different situations and different domains.” Diane Halpern, 2003
  36. 36. Key Areas for Critical Thinking Training <ul><li>Separating fact from opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Asking the right questions </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluating arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Dealing with politics and spin </li></ul><ul><li>Exploring alternative POV </li></ul><ul><li>Coping with contradiction </li></ul><ul><li>Reading carefully </li></ul><ul><li>Making decisions under </li></ul><ul><li>pressure </li></ul>
  37. 37. Assess to Develop Skills and a Training Intervention
  38. 38. Trainer Readiness <ul><li>Are supervisors equipped to evaluate 21 st century skills such as critical thinking and adaptability? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you currently assessing and developing these foundation skills? </li></ul>
  39. 39. The ROI of Developing Skills Productivity (in percent) 0 25 50 75 100 Manager A Manager B 98% 50% Take a manager making $60,000 per year whose daily decisions impact his/her productivity. If training can move this person from average to superior, the ROI is: $28,000 annually per manager 25 managers/professionals = $720,000 annually $28k difference
  40. 40. Critical Thinking Drives Professional Success Let It Drive Your Business
  41. 41. Questions? Contact Suzan Ramsey at 210.339.8455 or [email_address] to schedule a demo of the Watson-Glaser ™ II Critical Thinking Appraisal

Editor's Notes

  • Recognize Assumptions -- discern facts from opinion; identify when an information gap exists Evaluate Arguments – evaluate the merits of information that is presented Draw Conclusions that are logical and reasonable, given the siutation