WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKING?

Not sure what critical thinking is?

Find below the definition and meaning of critical thinking. 

Brought to you by Mau, a Senior Leadership Specialist at eDigital.

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WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKING?

I am about to share with you my own definition of what critical thinking is

WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKING?

Critical thinking is the use of cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of better understanding an issue or a situation and coming closer to a desirable outcome. 

Critical thinking has a goal (purpose) and it is reasoned.

Critical thinking is used for making decisions, solving problems, calculating likelihoods and formulating inferences

Critical thinking makes desirable outcomes more likely as it makes you assess different types of information, perspectives and/or opinions. 

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In general, critical thinking is the ability to deal with the inconsistency, contradictions and problems of a conflictive, noisy or harsh environment in a way that is reasoned, purposeful and productive.

Decisions are made using an approach that is fair, objective, accurate and based on information that is relevant to the situation.

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Critical thinking is also reflective and focused, constantly evaluating the thinking process itself.

Critical thinking is thinking with a purpose.

Critical thinking requires a healthy dose of scepticism and an equal measure of good judgment.

WHO FIRST DEVELOPED CRITICAL THINKING THEORY?

For decades, companies have relied on the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, a widely used assessment tool for evaluating the cognitive ability of current and future leaders. Developed in 1925, the model identifies factors that are key to critical thinking and decision-making and predicts judgment, problem-solving, creativity, openness to experience and other leadership behaviours.

Five sub-tests measure critical thinking as a composite of attitudes, knowledge and skills:

  • Inference
  • Recognition of assumptions
  • Deduction
  • Interpretation
  • Evaluation of arguments

Professionals with high scores in these sub-tests can identify and examine the assumptions, influences and biases that might sway them.

They stand back from the fray and strategically assess the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Critical thinkers make business decisions that answer the right questions, solve the right problems, mitigate risk and improve productivity.

They also lead from a position of strength, being able to motivate and move people both inspirationally and intellectually by providing solid reasons for actions.

Whether they lead teams, departments or entire enterprises, leaders who apply the skills of critical thinking to their roles perform at a higher level and offer their organisations a distinct competitive advantage.

Critical thinkers think differently about their impact on the organisation – understanding how their decisions and actions influence business both inside and outside their narrow functional silos.

These leaders can balance department or team issues with broader company issues and embrace a larger responsibility for the success of the organisation. This keen sense of accountability is what enables them to execute for results now while fulfilling their obligations to positively impact the future.

Leaders who engage in critical thinking also understand how organisation and individual parts work together.

It is impossible to apply critical thinking skills to the business of making money without an understanding of the business drivers that connect day-to-day decisions and actions to key financial and strategic performance goals of the organisation.

It is one thing to understand one’s role as a leader. It is altogether another thing to understand how to set direction and directly affect the outcomes.

Critical thinking is big-picture thinking too.

“Critical thinkers comfortably climb to the 6k metre view and analyse a dynamic system and make decisions across levels.”

Critical thinkers operate from a broad perspective to make sure the correct problems are addressed and they are taking acceptable risks.

They recognise the difference between short-term gains and sustainable, long-term results and lead accordingly.

Critical thinking enables leaders to understand the impact of their decisions on the business as a whole and ensures both alignment with organisational goals and accountability for results.

HOW TO KNOW IF OTHERS PERCEIVE YOU AS A CRITICAL THINKER

  • Your colleagues know you do not jump to conclusions and use a reasoned, analytic process as you work towards a goal.
  • Your team members can easily see you put aside biases and assumptions during analysis and decision-making. 
  • Your subordinates see that you are clear about what drives the organisation’s decisions, how financial success is achieved and how you impact both strategy and the bottom line.
  • Your boss can see you make decisions that are aligned with the understanding you have of the business.
  • People can perceive that the knowledge and vision you have of the organisation can help you engage teams and employees.
  • People in your organisation make comments that you generally ask a lot of questions to gather different information, perspectives and viewpoints so you can easily separate facts from assumptions.
  • You are known for not letting distractions get in the way and for taking private time and space to let your mind focus on important and strategic decisions. 
  • People know you check tentative conclusions with others before making a final decision. You are known for using peers, coaches or mentors to critique your thinking process. You are open to hearing other valuable ideas or alternatives before an important decision is made. 

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CONCLUSION

Understanding critical thinking is essential for personal and professional development, empowering marketing professionals to navigate complex issues, make informed decisions, and contribute positively to the industry and society.

eDigital can help you conceptualise, plan, develop, run and optimise successful marketing campaigns that generate leads and sales for your brand.

Our digital marketing services include:

  • Strategic planning for social media and other digital marketing channels.
  • Online advertising management and optimisation (Search, Display, social media ads and re-marketing).
  • Marketing training: social media training and digital marketing training. 
  • SEO strategy and execution. Including content development (articles, stories, eye-catching and SEO-optimised visuals).
  • Celebrity and influencer marketing campaign strategy. 
  • Brand development. Logo creation, brand personality development and design of marketing materials.
  • Consumer contests/competitions/giveaways.
  • Email marketing. Dip sequence design and deployment. 
  • Conversion rate optimisation. It is also called “path to purchase” optimisation. 

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WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKING?

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