“Critical Thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better” – Richard W Paul
A recent survey conducted by SHRM and the Conference Board found that a full 70% of employees with high school education were deficient in Critical Thinking skills. Even among employees, with a four-year college education, 9% were deficient in Critical Thinking skills, 63% had adequate skills and only 28% were rated excellent critical thinkers. Another recent study shows that; in today’s dynamic economy, Critical Thinking takes the top position in the list of top 5 competencies that are lacking in the next generation leaders with a figure as high as 42%!
So what do these indicate? The facts indicate that Critical Thinking is the most important skill but there is a definitive lack of it. What is Critical Thinking? What is its importance at the workplace and how is it linked to job performance? How can organizations infuse Critical Thinking in their Learning and Development curriculum? What are the visible business impacts that Critical Thinking will have on the leadership pipeline?
These were some of the questions that were addressed during the Critical Thinking Week organized by People Matters and Pearson TalentLens in the last week of May 2015, where the role of Critical Thinking at the workplace was analyzed and a closer look was given to what organizations can do to enable Critical Thinking into their systems for enhancing the leadership talent pool.
Besides content focused newsletters, 2 webinars and a tweet chat formed a part of the week. The first webinar ‘Mitigating the Risk of a Wrong Hire’ was conducted by Shashir Shetty (National Sales Manager, Pearson TalentLens India) and Wyn Davies (Global Lead-Cognitive Ability Tests) who discussed how organizations can identify objective predictive indicators for an efficient way to hire the right talent and mitigate the risk of a wrong hire. It was pointed out that in today’s business scenario, with demands of scale and the pressure of work, the quality of hires can suffer. A wrong hire inadvertently can have a big impact on productivity, which in turn leads to a huge opportunity cost. The webinar chiefly discussed how organizations can be sure if the time, effort and money on recruitment are invested well by concentrating on assessing cognitive abilities, a reliable indicator of performance.
The second webinar was held on ‘Building An Organizational Culture that Propels Growth-The Critical Thinking Way’ by Prof. Sattar Bawany (CEO, Centre for Executive Education (CEE Global), Managing Director, Master Executive Coach and Facilitator with Executive Development Associates (EDA), Asia Pacific) where he discussed the key to success for operating in a VUCA world. Prof. Sattar provided an overview of Critical Thinking, how it can be taught through following Pearson’s RED model, and how can one start to learn this skill. Today the need for Critical Thinking is driven by the pace of change, globalization, global economy, availability of information, complexity of roles and organizations. The competency that next-generation leaders lack the most is strategic thinking, which hinges on Critical Thinking skills. Critical Thinking, perhaps more than any other business skill set, can make the difference between success and failure.
The Tweetchat on ‘Building the Critical Thinking Muscle – An L&D Mandate’ focused on how L&D can be the owner and architect in enabling individuals to take “right” decisions for them, their teams and their organisations. The pertinent questions that were entertained in the Tweetchat focused on how Critical Thinking is an essential skill to be built across the organisation in today’s context; how this skill can be developed; the kind of interventions that work best to build Critical Thinking skills across the organisation; the different stakeholders involved in this process of infusing Critical Thinking across an organisation; the road blocks that L&D practitioners are likely to face in implementing these kind of change intervention; and the benefits that organisations can derive from these training interventions?