Last week, I was invited as a guest on PeopleMatters #TChat (Twitter chat) on the topic of developing critical thinking muscle within the organization and the role of learning and development. I was joined by Mahalaxmi R who is the CLO & Global Head Talent at Airtel and Rajesh Lele. It was fun contributing and learning a great deal in return from the Twitter HR community. Here are the highlights from the chat. (You can see more tweets at the storified version of the chat)
Q1: Why do you think Critical Thinking is an essential skill to be built across the organization in today’s context?
A1 Organization grows (or doesn’t) one decision at a time. Critical thinking is an enabler of effective decision making. – Tanmay Vora
A1. Helps in reducing risk in & raises quality of decision-making. Helps problem-definition & solving by testing assumptions. – Rajesh Lele
A1 It’s a VUCA world! Crucial decisions are needed to be taken at every level in the organization, everyday without much guidance – PearsonTalentLensInd
A1 Critical thinking skills are basic building blocks for higher level competencies like strategic thinking. – Tanmay Vora
Critical Thinking is identified as one of the core skills of 21st century workforce to deal with an evolving landscape. – Sahana Chattopadhyay
A1 Several important workplace competencies hinge on critical thinking – PearsonTalentLensInd
Q2:How can Critical Thinking be developed? Share interventions that work best to build Critical Thinking?
A2 Assessments are a good starting point – both for evaluating current competencies as well as when hiring talent. – Tanmay Vora
A2.“Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.” ~ Thomas Szasz –Develop courageous conversations – Rajesh Lele
A2 When you need quick strengthening of CT skills, selecting critical thinkers during hiring yields faster results – Tanmay Vora
A2 Having leaders in organization who are critical thinkers sets the right precedence for everyone to think critically – Tanmay Vora
A2. Developing Critical Thinking requires skills like reflection, assessing assumptions and biases, evaluating options. – Sahana Chattopadhyay
A2. Projects that bring divergent thoughts and multi stakeholders together =best way to learn. – MAHALAKSHMI R
A2 Case studies, Simulations, Summary of past business decisions Experience, if not forgotten, can be a guide to the future. – Gurpreet Bajaj
A2/2 Leaders to encourage others to voice their thinking. Ensure employees have the ability to get to an answer by solid reasoning – Gurpreet Bajaj
A2 Beyond training, experiential learning sessions & workshops involving problem solving, thinking and writing helps. – Tanmay Vora
Don’t forget traditional problem solving tools –5Why, TRIZ, etc & go beyond. Build a “love for solving problems” – Rajesh Lele
A2 Developing CriticalThinking needs practice to train the mind to think in a certain way. RED model helps – PearsonTalentLensInd
Q3. Who is the owner and stakeholders involved in this process of infusing Critical Thinking across the organization?
Critical Thinking is every corporate citizen’s responsibility. Begins at the individual’s desk. Institutional approach secondary. – Rajesh Lele
A3 Senior leaders of the organizations are the first stakeholders in creating the culture of critical thinking. – Tanmay Vora
Most orgs now anyways look for leaders who can connect the dots +build strategy that’s inclusive which is a clear case for CT – MAHALAKSHMI R
Everyone, it is part of organizational culture – Subir Chatterjee
a) Leadership to Demonstrate open culture to challenge status quo b) L&D to Drive c) People to be naturally inquisitive! – Gurpreet Bajaj
Managers, leaders & each individual. Managers as coaches. Individuals as self-driven learners. It’s a life skill everyone needs – Sahana Chattopadhyay
It is the leadership teams role. If all decisions are data driven and not people dependant then it will percolate – Gautam Ghosh
Anyone who decides in an org context is a stakeholder – esp. senior leadership and middle management – Tanmay Vora
Q4: What are the road blocks that L&D practitioners & Managers are likely to face in implementing these change intervention?
Danger in focus only on tool/ methodology without behavioral anchors in implementing critical thinking skills – Rajesh Lele
Biggest challenge: aligning every single decision making individual to the critical thinking agenda. – Tanmay Vora
Roadblocks in the form of established processes, drive for productivity/speed over quality, mindset of what worked in the past – Sahana Chattopadhyay
Biggest roadblock would be if CT becomes a HR agenda instead of biz demand – MAHALAKSHMI R
When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there, Zig Ziglar – Ester Martinez
A4. Fixed Mindset is the biggest challenge. Leaders, by majority, have a bias towards action. CT hence lags behind – Tanaz H Mulla
A4 Over reliance on best practices and past experiences without aligning them to current context can be a major roadblock. – Tanmay Vora
Managing resistance – Critical thinking isn’t easy and doesn’t come to everyone naturally. – Tanmay Vora
A4 a) Conflicting Cultural Hypocrisy- Open vs Closed; b)Training Program vs Change? c) Limited business grounding for mentoring CT – Gurpreet Bajaj
Q5. What are the benefits that organizations can derive from these training interventions?
A5 Better decisions and planning. Better problem solving. Improved analytical skills. – Tanmay Vora
Thinkers at all levels; Empowered and engaged employees who can see their impact on bottom line,Transparency,Respect,Innovation – Gurpreet Bajaj
Sustained biz success due to a.Well thought through strategy. b. Higher thought diversity & inclusion c. Long term view – MAHALAKSHMI R
A5 An organization with critical thinkers is likely to be more collaborative, strategic, innovative, make better decisions & grow well. – PearsonTalentLensInd
Critical thinking and creative problem solving are intricately linked – drivers of innovation. – Tanmay Vora
This is the reason why I love tweet chats – in just about 30 minutes of time, so many diverse perspectives came to the fore from equally diverse participants – talk about the power of community in learning!
Also read: My article series on critical thinking at Pearson TalentLens Blog.