5 Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

by NU Online on 3/24/16 2:54 PM

improvecriticalthinking.jpgCritical thinking is a valuable skill to have in your toolbox. Honing this skill set may help you tackle everyday decisions and excell in new areas of your professional life.

In a study conducted by Global Strategy Group found that today's young professionals are lacking in the skills most prioritized by business leaders and it's not the skills you may be thinking - like technical or specialized skills - as critical thinking skills topped the list. What does this mean? If you want to stand out at work or in a job interview, you may need to improve your critical thinking skills.

Take the next step in your career with a degree that sharpens the skills employers desire.

Start Improving Today

A recent TED-Ed lesson [video below] describes how a simple 5-step process may be the key to catapulting your ability to match difficult decisions or find solutions to problems. Here's how you can start improving today.

  • Formulate your question. Know what you’re looking for specifically. If you’re considering going on a diet, for example, know whether you’re trying to lose weight, have more energy, or just to improve your nutrition. Break things down to their base level.
  • Gather your information. Now that you know what’s relevant to your problem or decision, research it. Reach out to an expert, read up on the subject, or talk to people who have experience with the same subject matter.
  • Apply the information. What concepts are at work? What assumptions exist? Is your interpretation of the information logically sound?
  • Consider the implications. Look beyond the short-term and think about how your decision will shape things in the long-term. Something that will benefit you now may not benefit you in the future. What’s at stake? What can go wrong?
  • Explore other points of view. By understanding other perspectives, you learn more about the subject. You’re also given an opportunity to reflect on the information you have and how you feel. For example, if you learn why people are against the diet you’re considering, that may affect your decision.


Why is Critical Thinking Important?

A manager applies critical thinking when he/she looks at all sides of a situation and weighs several possible solutions before responding. In a society where most people rush through decisions and respond from emotion rather than logic, many businesspeople overlook the importance of critical thinking. But by gathering all the information to generate solutions and solicit feedback, managers develop better business solutions and help create a more productive workplace.

In an article for Harvard Business Review, John Baldoni speaks to the nuances of critical thinking. Today’s graduates should not only understand critical thinking principles, but also know how they apply on the job.

Let Norwich Help You Go Further

Doing well in your job isn't just about what you know; it's also about how you think. Being able to research and analyze information and develop innovative solutions to problems are both necessary skills for professional success - no matter the field. Norwich University's online Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program focuses on developing these essential skills and how to take principles learned in the classroom and apply in the workforce.

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