June 6, 2012 Leave a comment
I came across an interesting post recently in Forbes regarding leadership and critical thinking. The author describes 5 five kinds of critical thinking that are crucial for leaders to employ. Strategic leadership requires all five types of thinking. Knowing when and how much to utilize each one separates effective leaders from the rest.
Critical thinking is the mental process of objectively analyzing a situation by gathering information from all possible sources, and then evaluating both the tangible and intangible aspects, as well as the implications of any course of action.
Implementation thinking is the ability to organize ideas and plans in a way that they will be effectively carried out.
Conceptual thinking consists of the ability to find connections or patterns between abstract ideas and then piece them together to form a complete picture.
Innovative thinking involves generating new ideas or new ways of approaching things to create possibilities and opportunities.
Intuitive thinking is the ability to take what you may sense or perceive to be true and, without knowledge or evidence, appropriately factor it in to the final decision.
In our experience, leaders come “pre-wired” with strengths in one or two of these areas. However, without knowledge, training and coaching, they tend to overuse one approach, often with less than desirable results. Case in point: I’m currently working with a CEO of a medium sized organization on creating a strategic plan. He is a strong critical and implementation thinker, but lacks the ability to engage in innovative thinking. This will severely limit his ability to grow the organization in new and creative ways. As a result, our planning process will include more emphasis on the creative element, and I’ll focus additional energy on assisting the CEO in discovering new ideas for growth and converting the promising ideas into tangible action.
Which kind of critical thinking is a blind spot for you? Where are the critical thinking gaps of your leaders?