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This week we dive deep on critical thinking and how it applies to problem-solving!
Your future is nothing but the outcome of the decisions you make today. You make better decisions today, your future will be more prosperous, you make the wrong ones, then your future will be full of struggles.
So, today we are going to talk about critical thinking and how it applies to problem-solving.
I’ll give you a weird analogy here. Critical thinking ability is like having infrared goggles and looking at the sky at night.
Without it, You look at the space, you see only three things, you see darkness, stars, and sometimes planets. But the moment You put on your infrared goggles then you get to see all these beautiful things that were invisible before. You see giant gas clouds in the galaxy, you see dust, you see all these things that were previously impossible to see.
That’s what critical thinking is. It lets you identify the actual problems, the root causes, but also it helps you see the opportunities.
Now, critical thinking isn’t only applicable to your work. It’s applicable to every single area of your life.
But my channel is all about your career. So, that’s what’ll cover in this video.
Now, we need a framework. And the framework starts with
The problem statement is very similar to a project charter. It includes;
Goals, as in what are you trying to achieve, your success criteria, as in how will I know I succeeded or failed, your assumptions, timelines, and stakeholders involved.
It’s very similar to a project charter.
I am actually going to call this Problem Charter.
This document is very helpful for two reasons. The second reason being a lot more important than the first.
The first reason why it’s very helpful is that when you get engaged in that problem solving mode, you start uncovering a lot of other symptoms, that may be caused by completely other root causes. We are not interested in that at that moment. You will document those, but you are not going to develop solution alternatives and develop action plans for those. Unless there are dependencies.
So, it helps you understand your scope, who to deal with, the timelines, it basically keeps everything under control.
But to be honest, in my decade long consulting career, I noticed that the biggest help of having such a charter is all about moving through the bureaucracy.
Let me explain.
When you are going through problem-solving stages, you actually do a lot of work, you summon meetings, you request data from various departments, you request for expertise from consultants, so you are shaking things, you are moving things around.
Now, what gives you the power to do it?
What gives you the power to call all these people to a meeting room, what gives you the power to ask for certain analytics data from a completely different department? Why should they attend that meeting or give you the data you want?
Because they like you and they want to help you? What if they don’t like you.
Now if you are a senior employee, you are a manager, director, VP, then fine, of course, everyone will come into the meeting or give you the data you want. But if you are not that senior. Where does your power come from?
It comes from that document. The problem charter. Corporate companies aren’t usually very agile.
They move slowly and the employees are usually very – they are not lazy but they push back –They don’t want to stop what they are doing and join your little problem-solving brainstorm session and go through your little power point of fishbone analysis. They got their own thing to worry about.
So, if you have your problem charter, only a few pages, signed off by a sponsor, someone senior, then you have the power to get the data you want and bring in experts and call for meetings.
Ok, now let’s continue;
I mean you developed the problem statement, you got your buy-in from someone senior, now, you are off to solve the problem.
The 2nd step in your critical thinking towards a problem is identifying the root causes, right?
5 Whys is made famous by Toyota Production System. As the name suggests, you ask WHY WHY WHY until you get to a root cause. Very simple stuff.
This video covers;
critical thinking skills
what is critical thinking
critical thinking steps
how to think critically
critical thinking and problem solving
importance of critical thinking
what does critical thinking mean
characteristics of a critical thinker
how to improve critical thinking
problem solving skills
problem solving examples with samples
Music credit: DJ Regard