Critical thinking is the process of getting clear on a headscratcher, concluding what to do about it, and deciding to take action. I've presented numerous tools and techniques to use within each of those steps throughout the book.
Everyone can use critical thinking. Although it may come more naturally to some than to others, everyone's problem-solving and decision-making results will improve by using the tools and following the steps detailed in the previous chapters. The most important step in critical thinking is to begin.
Like any newly learned skill, critical thinking takes practice. You can practice 5 to 10 minutes daily with something you do every day—send e-mails, check your to-do list, or figure out where you might go out or what to make for dinner. Start with one tool, and then add one at a time. There is no expectation that you—or anyone, for that matter—will use all these tools constantly. It's simply not necessary. You might expand and use many more tools on a huge and complicated headscratcher, but most of the time, just a few tools will go a long way.
A note to executives: You have the ability to lead and see to it that members of your organization use critical thinking. There's only one thing you must do to make that happen: you'll have to make it necessary. Insist that presentations include the thinking that went into the conclusion. Use critical thinking in your staff meetings. See to it that critical ...