Despite the fact that everyone has the ability to think; only a few engage in critical thinking. Scholars describe critical thinking as thinking within thinking to seek for clarity, accuracy, consistency, good reasons for or against, depth, relevance and fairness. A critical thinker is one with the ability to intellectually and skillfully solve a problem by identifying the problem, conceptualizing on the same, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information gathered and to exercise their best judgment to draw conclusions. It requires a good thinker, clear, logic, thoughtful, attentive to all facts and open to alternatives. Critical thinking is a valuable tool in every area of management whether in office or in lifestyle management.
Critical thinking will enable one to make smarter and quicker decisions. The process also saves time. High profile jobs in society require critical thinkers hence one is highly placed if s/he is a critical thinker. A good manager should keep on learning by attending seminars and workshops and being open minded to stay ahead of the competition. For one to think critically in business, differentiation between facts and fiction is necessary. Verification of the source would help distinguish between the facts and fiction. Close relationship with the source should not influence ones judgment.
Accuracy is also vital as facts and fictions can be hectic to distinguish. Asking of questions is an integral part of critical thinking. One major hindrance to critical thinking is emotional biasness. One should be able to fight the subjective barriers and be as objective as possible. Use of logics and basing ones judgment on good evidence can overcome this barrier. Experts have come up with different models of critical thinking and Phoenix University is among such experts. The models guide one into thinking critically; to act not to react. Quick decisions cost a lot especially in a business set up.
Any model will give one a structured discipline, which will help in focusing on important steps in decision making. Phoenix University “identifies a nine steps model in critical thinking” (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007, p.57), which are placed into three main groups; framing of the problem, decision making and finally evaluation of the decision. Identification of a problem comes first in the first phase before critical thinkers define the appropriate criteria to be used coupled with goals and objectives of the process. In the third stage, members evaluate the intensity of the problem. This phase bears the most weight of the whole model.
A problem can come from any part of the organization and being able to identify the specific problem is the most important thing in the process of critical thinking. Identifying the causes of the problem opens up the second phase followed by formulating the available alternatives before evaluating the same in stage six. After putting things in order to this stage, the second phase closes by making the right decision.
Ultimately, the critical thinkers enter into the third and final phase where they measure the effect of the decision made before implementing the same in stage nine. Reflecting over the decision fosters improvements. The most important step in the decision-making process according to the Phoenix model is identification of the problem, because it forms the platform of critical thinking. Without knowing what to think about, critical thinking would be futile, just like leaving to unknown destination. If one identifies the wrong problem, then most likely everything one does in the subsequent steps will be a waste of time.
Kirby, G., & Goodpaster, J. (2007).
Thinking an Interdisciplinary Approach to Critical and Creative Thought. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall