Gina Blitstein Article
Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Critical Thinking: A Roadmap for Arriving at Sounder Professional Decisions

Critical Thinking: A Roadmap for Arriving at Sounder Professional Decisions

Every day of the life of a business owner is filled with decisions to make - some relatively minor; others deeply impactful upon the business. It is those more impactful decisions that you want to be prudent, and in alignment with the values of your business. Considering the deluge of facts, opinions and sources of information available, how can you ensure that the decisions you make pertaining to your business fit those criteria?

It’s a good thing that decision-makers have a tool to help make those sound decisions: Employing the principles of critical thinking. According to Wikipedia: "Critical thinking is the analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments in order to form a judgement by the application of rational, skeptical, and unbiased analyses and evaluation." By applying those critical thinking principles to your decision-making process, you can be more certain that your decisions are based on rational factors and sound logic - rather than on faulty intel like hidden assumptions and biases.

The critical thinking manner of decision-making includes such elements as:

  • Collecting complete information from credible sources in the first place
  • Analyzing the information while:
    • defining and understanding terms as they pertain to the decision at hand
    • carefully evaluating the methods by which facts are gathered
    • holding on to any hypotheses lightly
    • questioning previous or fore-drawn conclusions
    • being curious, open minded and willing to consider differing viewpoints and perspectives
    • raising your radar to detect hidden assumptions and/or biases
  • Arriving at a decision based on the broadest, best-informed, least biased, most thoughtfully-considered perspective possible

Critical thinking is a skill that can be honed. A way to adopt a critical thinking mindset is to begin to question everything. A critical thinker breaks a decision down into its elements, steps back and applies a non-judgmental curiosity to each.

Some examples of the kinds of questioning a critical thinker would ask include:

What is my first reaction to this issue?

  • Why do I think or feel that way?
  • On what information was my opinion on this issue formed? Was that information complete and free from bias (mine or someone else’s)?
  • Can I know that the way I feel is appropriate, beneficial - or even true?
  • Can I imagine a scenario of a different decision being reached? How might that look/work? What are its merits/drawbacks?
  • What may have changed since I formed this opinion?
  • What don’t I know about this issue? From what source(s) can I learn more?
  • What might others (staff, clientele, competitors…) think about this decision?
  • What if I made the "opposite" decision instead? Who/what might be impacted?
  • Am I making a snap - or reactionary - decision? Should I slow down to more thoroughly explore possibilities so I can arrive at the most prudent decision?
  • Why is this decision the right one? How does it benefit my business? How does it align with my company’s values?
  • The decisions you make as a business owner can be difficult and deeply impactful - and employing critical thinking provides a road map for making them sound and with greater confidence that they are both appropriate and beneficial for your company. When decisions are reached utilizing the principles of critical thinking, they are based on a broader set of principles that take into account various considerations beyond just one person’s perspective (which includes their viewpoint, assumptions and/or biases - conscious or subconscious - and self-limited intel). This more fully-encompassing way of approaching decision-making provides a wider, more enlightened view of both the underlying issue, and the ultimate decision and how - and on whom - it will have an impact.

    Can critical thinking help you make more prudent professional decisions?

    Read other Gina's articles