Customers and contracts will always be there. Our guest today knows this all too well. Sometimes they needed her because they were mismanaged. Some failed to stay in front of changing technologies. In a few cases, members of the senior team were simply negligent.
Critical Thinking: Where to Begin
But in her experience, all these organizational problems shared one root cause: A lack of critical thinking. Our guest is Helen Lee Bouygues. Based in Paris, the nonprofit helps parents, teachers and employers think more critically about their problems. That just sounds a little surprising to me and I wanted to hear why you say that.
Critical thinking skills are very much predictive of making positive financial decisions, even more so than raw intelligence, but people kind of forget what that actually means in terms of tools and practices that they need to exercise in order to make the right decisions, or at least the better decisions. And part of the necessity of critical thinking is having that ability to take a step back and actually think about your own thinking.
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The opposite of critical thinking could be selective thinking. People in business can get better at critical thinking if they just do three things. One, question assumptions.
Two, reason through logic. And three, diversify thought.
It could be going for a run, or a walk around the block. That alone creates that opportunity for an individual to take the time to stop and think. As much emotions are important, when it comes to true important decisions, we need to put aside the feelings and emotions that go awry in a meeting setting. In addition to that, I think the other element of what we need to make sure that we conduct is making sure that we have other points of views. Go have lunch with people in marketing in your organization.
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Mathilde grew up spending her time in her family vineyards, so her family originally was in the wine business. It just was an idea that sprung from two people from different walks of life getting together and coming up with the business idea. Where have you seen the inability to diversify thought and opinions and host costly that can be? He had experience in mergers and acquisitions, in elements of financing, but not pure accounting.
The number of times you see the board of a company being surrounded, the CEO being surrounded by his or her friends, which is why often I think from time to time, you have companies, publicly listed companies where sometimes the board may not see certain indications. But another point you make is that people need to get better about reasoning through logic. And I think this is going to surprise people too because logical is just such a household word.
Developing a Business Model that Involves Critical Thinking
We think that we think logically, so why is logic a deficit and kind of a prerequisite for the critical thinking you think we need to see more of in management? And the CEO of this company was blindsided by his own fervor and probably unreasonable optimism about the outlook for the revenue profile of this company. In reality, the company was in relatively dire financial straits, but again he was blinded with his hope that his clients would never leave because the switching costs of his clients would be too high, or that at least was his hypothesis. And for some business leaders I think some optimism is obviously a good thing.
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Is the competitive environment actually shifting? Are there low-cost companies that could actually take over my business even if that hurdle rate is high? Critical thinking forces employees and managers to look at a situation and weigh all possible solutions before coming up with a final answer. It can be a long process that requires input from different people within the organization.
The benefits to critical thinking make it a worthwhile practice for any small business. When an issue comes up in the workplace, a common reaction is to assume that it falls into a predetermined category. Critical thinking does not make any assumptions, and using the process of critical thinking in the workplace removes the temptation to immediately classify every issue under something that has happened in the past.
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It forces employees and managers to look beyond conventional solutions and look for new ideas that can help to efficiently address problems. The entire workplace can get involved in the critical thinking process. The more people that are involved, the more solutions your company will come up with.
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- Brings New Ideas;
A diverse workplace can benefit immensely from critical thinking. Not only does it give a reason for people of diverse backgrounds to work together on product solutions, it also encourages teamwork and gives each employee a chance to impact the future of the organization.
Critical thinking exercises promote workplace tolerance and can be used as part of diversity training. One of the benefits of critical thinking is that your company can develop multiple viable solutions to the same issue. This allows your company to offer a range of solutions to clients, and it also assists in workplace innovation. Several solutions to the same problem can allow your company to develop solutions that use the resources that are available as opposed to purchasing new materials.
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