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What Are You Measuring?

Posted by Bill Crose on September 13, 2019 at 11:33am 1 Comment

A lifetime ago, my training department colleagues and I were satisfied with training data. We cranked out the requested ILT programs plus the "flavor of the year" content, we kept a busy training schedule, and made sure the coffee was always the right temperature. When accused of not delivering effective training because the learners didn't perform as they were trained, we took refuge in our management support role and not ultimately responsible or accountable for LEARNING or productivity.…



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Rob Jenkins will lead this conversation.

“Lead with Your Brain: Why Critical Thinking is a Vital Workplace Skill.”

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Where do you find opposition to your assertion?

What challenges are you experiencing in proving that your method of preparing people to apply critical thinking is actually resulting in people applying it and accomplishing what they wish to accomplish?

I haven't really had too much opposition to my ideas, so far--not in person, at least. Some comments on a couple of my essays have given me food for thought. Mostly push-back against my suggestion that critical thinking is about objectivity, not "critique," along with a few complaints that my approach is anti-emotional, which was not my intention. Those comments have made me rethink my language a bit and work harder to explain my perspective.


For anyone who is interested, here's a little light reading on the topic. The first piece is from the Harvard Business Review. I'm curious to know if the problem outlined in the opening paragraphs--that new hires struggle to think critically--reflects your experience. The other three pieces are mine, laying out some of my ideas about critical thinking: what it is, what it isn't, and why it's important, especially for leaders.

“A Short Guide to Building Your Team’s Critical Thinking Skills” (Harvard Business Review)


“Why College Graduates Still Can’t Think” (James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal)


“What Is Critical Thinking, Anyway?” (Chronicle of Higher Education)


“Critical Thinking: For Leaders, It’s More Than Just a Buzzword” (9 Virtues Blog)

I wonder (aloud) if there is a deficit in critical thinking or if we have a deficit in understanding people who do not agree with what we want them to do (or believe?)

Perhaps we have a critical understanding deficit?

Being introduced to the "Ladder of Inference" was helpful to me.

No doubt that is often the case, in matters of opinion. Then again, while everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, that doesn't mean all opinions are equal. Some are based on greater knowledge and experience than others. And some, quite frankly, are the product of better thinking. Usually, in any debate, it's those opinions that carry the day. That means, if we want our employees to be better arguers--to be able to make a stronger case for a proposal or a sales pitch or whatever--then we need to help them become better thinkers. 

I loved this session and thank the millennials for chiming in! My thoughts about this....

People of a certain age and older learned by memorization mainly because that was their only learning option. Go back far enough in time and storytelling/memorization or trial & error were THE only ways to learn. Fast forward to today and there are many learning modes and far more to learn.

The people "of a certain age and older" (especially those who depended on libraries prior to online card catalogs) invested large amounts of time reading & memorizing valuable information. You can imagine it's not necessarily in their best interest to change things in ways that would require them to learn even more. I think that explains a lot about multi-generational differences. The "olders" expect rapid responses from memory and view that as intelligence & evidence of learning.

The "youngers" have something new to deal with; the skill of forgetting & rapid adaptation. Things change so fast now, that its as valuable to forget things as it is to remember. Why waste the time and it would be time wasted, to memorize things. Memorization is too static to be of much value in rapidly changing, modern work environments; it's better to Google it than to trust your memory.

Critical thinking = Thinking and Thinking does require memorization. Did I get that right millennial women in the session??


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