Structured Brainstorming

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Management & Leadership Quick Take

Critical Thinking: It begins where closed
mindedness ends


Video Transcript

Critical Thinking Starts Where Closed Mindedness Ends

Hello, I'm Marilyn Bota and I'm a senior trainer and consultant with Corporate Education Group.

Today’s fast-paced world demands that managers become more proficient and comfortable with thinking critically and making decisions without perfect information. However, this can be difficult if you don’t maintain an open mind. In order to get the best results when facing new information or making an important decision, you have to let go of any preconceived notions about the situation at hand. Critical thinking begins where closed mindedness ends; it happens when you step away from your belief system and allow the possibility for a shift in mindset.

Futures Wheel -- a structured brainstorming exercise.Someone who has critical thinking skills accepts that there may be different, more effective ways of getting things done; this is the first step in a productive discussion. A great tool to help with critical thinking is a Futures Wheel, which is a structured brainstorming exercise. By organizing the team’s thoughts about a future development or trend, you recognize a variety of possible impacts, then you’re able to record these in a structured manner. Interconnecting lines help with visualizing interrelationships between causes and resulting changes. From this, impressions about potential future developments begin to materialize and offer different perspectives to better evaluate the development or trend.

It’s also beneficial to not automatically accept everything that you hear. Dig deeper into the thoughts of your colleagues or employees. Do this by asking yourself the following four questions:

  1. How does someone know that information? If an opinion catches you off guard, explore it and find out more.
  2. What counter examples exist that are contrary to their conclusion?
  3. How could my line of thinking be wrong and am I open to alternative ideas?
  4. Are there any issues such as strong personalities or different ethical viewpoints that present a barrier for good decision making?

Critical thinking is about being more thorough with the tools you have at your disposal. Combine your past experiences and professional abilities with new ideas and self analysis when thinking critically and making decisions, especially when there is limited information available.