How to Gain Critical Thinking Skills?
Questioning assumptions, Reasoning correctly, Being open to different thoughts. Having these 3 habits makes you a more successful person in the long term in business life.
A few years ago, a CEO announced that they were the biggest company on the market and said: “Our customers do not leave us and go to competitors. This causes a huge financial expense for them. " A few weeks later, Protecter & Gambler, a huge manufacturing brand, did not renew its contract with this CEO's company, and the CEO was shocked.
Companies sometimes have tough times due to mismanagement, sometimes not keeping up with changing technology, and sometimes irresponsible managers. At the root of all these problems is a lack of critical and strategic thinking.
Many company bosses do not thoroughly examine the positive or negative situations they encounter, but jump straight to the conclusion. In other words, he tries to react to this issue without fully understanding the issue. Making decisions without thinking about their mentality leads them to unnecessary self-confidence.
But critical and strategic thinking is a skill that can be learned and acquired later. In order to gain a habit of strategic thinking, it is necessary to focus on the following 3 elements:
- Questioning assumptions
- Reasoning correctly
- Being open to different thoughts
"I'm doing these already." You might think. You probably do. However, it is more important to do this kind of thinking consciously and in detail. Having these 3 habits makes you a more successful person in the long term in business life.
1. Questioning Assumptions
A leader must first of all know his assumptions. A brand may see the income level of its customers higher than it really is. This causes the brand to inflate the price of its products. However, if the product prices exactly match the income level of the customers, this company can sell more and earn more profit.
It is of course difficult to question everything. "Is the sky blue?" or "How do I know that the economy will not go into crisis tomorrow?" With such a constant skepticism, life becomes unlivable.
Therefore, the first step to questioning assumptions is to know when to do this. An inquiring approach is much more useful in situations that are risky and can have severe consequences.
For example, while thinking about the company's long-term strategy, ask the basic questions of your beliefs: How do you know that this company will grow 80% in 5 years? What does the research say about the future of the market? Have you had the opportunity to go to your own brand's store as a customer to observe the shopping experience of the customers?
Another way to challenge assumptions is to evaluate alternatives. "What if our customers go to another company?" or "What if our wholesaler stops providing us with goods?" Questions like this give you new and important perspectives.
2. Reasoning Right
The growth of a lingerie brand had been stagnating for a long time, and no one knew why.
It turned out that the brand made the mistake of overgeneralizing. It turned out that the company was mistaken that all its international customers prefer the same type of underwear. So this underwear company was exporting the same style of underwear to both the Asian, European and African markets.
According to the surveys conducted with customers, it was seen that people in different countries have different tastes and preferences. In other words, it was observed that while British women preferred lace underwear more, American women showed interest in more sporty underwear.
Correct reasoning for this underwear company has noticeably improved the company's performance.
For this reason, it is vital to conduct logic in a company at every stage from production to marketing, and to support this logic in objective research. So try to have evidence in all aspects of a thought. "Event B caused event B because it developed after A event." Do not make a logic mistake like.
For example, a manager may think that the X factor is effective in the increase of sales in the spring period. However, it is not possible to know whether the X factor is effective or not until this assumption is proven correct.
3. Being Open to Different Thoughts
The nationality, gender, beliefs, education etc. of people in a company. this may cause people to have very different opinions about issue A. One employee is bland able to adapt to group thinking, while the other can think more independently.
It is natural for people to move in groups, to adapt to group behavior. Especially, thanks to internet algorithms, we only meet people who think like us and people who have the same interests as us on social media. In other words, social media algorithms can be an obstacle for us to reach different opinions.
This is a big problem. If everyone in our social circle thinks and does the same thing as we do, it causes our thoughts to solidify. We will have a more defensive attitude towards new information. So we become more closed to innovations.
For this reason, a manager or everyone should get out of the bubble around them. So if you work in the accounting department, try to be friends with the marketing department. If you are interested in cinema, get friends who paint. If you are constantly having lunch with senior executives, then eat with interns a few days a week. The habit of being in contact with different environments enriches your mindset and enables you to obtain more qualified opinions.
When it comes to teamwork, give people the opportunity to talk on topics that don't fit the general thinking of the group. When you ask someone his opinion, don't condition that person by explaining your own thoughts in advance. Thus, it frees the people around you from having to think in harmony with you; you will get very useful opinions and comments.
All of these tactics may seem easy and obvious. However, no matter how easy it may seem in theory, especially in the context of business life, it takes a lot of effort to put it into practice. Most companies may not have the time to act on such logic, difference and questioning grounds. It should not be forgotten that if critical thinking is given importance, it will be paid more. Chance can more or less play a role in a company's success; however, one should not rely solely on luck in business. If you look at the founding story of the great brands that have become the bread of our lives today, you will see that all of them have succeeded with their critical and strategic thinking habits.