What Is Agile Critical Thinking

Become a Better Thinker and Decision-Maker

Agile Critical ThinkingTM  is a simple but powerful framework for applying critical thinking to business situations. It's one of the most important things you can do for your personal success. Why? Because better decisions lead to better choices and that makes a big difference to you personally and professionally.

What is Critical Thinking in Business?

In business, critical thinking is used to solve problems and make decisions. The better the decisions, the better business will operate. But traditional concepts of critical thinking need to be re-thought when they are applied to business settings.

Critical thinking is about understanding a situation as deeply and accurately as possible. A situation might be a problem, an opportunity, a question. Whatever the situation, no matter how large or small, critical thinking consistently leads you to good decisions and effective actions.

Agile Critical Thinking focuses on how critical thinking skills and techniques are applied in the workplace.  We think through how critical thinking is affected by such issues as:

  • How a company’s culture can affect how you evaluate information and make decisions
  • How working in teams can affect how you evaluate information and make decisions as a team
  • How influence and power in organizational settings can affect how people process information and make decisions

Critical thinking is a basic skill. It is the foundation of strategic thinking and creative thinking. There is probably no job that cannot be done better when critical thinking is applied.

Why "Agile?"

Critical thinking in a business setting is not always neat and tidy. You may not have all the data you would like. You almost certainly don't have the time and resources you want. Office politics comes into play. People withhold and spin information. They will try to "sell" you on the ideas and solutions that meet their agenda.

Staying agile helps you navigate these complexities. As new information comes to light you can incorporate it into your thinking. This may require you to reassess the situation, do more critical thinking and shift some of the actions you are taking. Learn to be agile and you will be far more effective.

Learn to ACT

It's no accident that Agile Critical Thinking can be abbreviated as ACT. In business, critical thinking should always result in action (or occasionally in a decision not to act).

Three Elements

There are three essential elements to the Agile Critical Thinking process:

  • Assess the Situation
  • Consider the Evidence
  • Take Action

1. Assess the Situation

Let's say you want to solve a business problem. First you need to assess the situation:

  •     Exactly what problem am I trying to solve?
  •     What are my priorities?
  •     What are my resources and time frame?
  •     What organizational and political issues will I face?
  •     and others!

2. Consider the Evidence
With a clear understanding of the situation, you can begin thinking critically about your options. There are a number of frameworks for approaching critical thinking. To keep it simple, we focus on three dimensions:

  • Reason
  • Emotion
  • Decision

3. Take Action

In a business setting, the outcome of critical thinking is taking action.

The Agile Thinker takes action and carefully observes and measures what works and what doesn't. The critical thinker is always willing to consider mid-course corrections so that the actions are focused, effective and efficient.