Entrepreneurs need to make decisions, create strategies, plan projects and constantly face risks in order to manage day-to-day business challenges. In a global business environment, alertness and the right pace is the key to success. Critical thinking is the most important skill needed by entrepreneurs that can help them move ahead consistently and diligently.
The fundamental aspect of critical thinking is a clear and rational thinking process involving critique. The National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking defines critical thinking as the “intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.”
When you think through a business problem, your thought process is naturally motivated by biases, such as your point of view and your assumptions about the situation. Such ideas and biases affect your reasoning. If you let your biases drive your thought process and overlook blind spots in your logical thinking, you’ll unintentionally make decisions filled with flaws.
So what is the right method?
Here is a step-by-step process that can help you get better in critical thinking:
1. Knowledge or insight: The first step is to ask the right questions that can help deep understanding about the problem. The questions in this stage should be open-ended to allow the chance to discuss and explore main reasons. At this stage, two main questions need to be addressed: What is the problem? And why do we need to solve it?
2. Understanding: At this step you understand the material read, heard or seen. In understanding, you make the new knowledge that you have acquired your own by relating it to what you already know. The better you are involved with the information, the better you will understand it. The best way to know if you have understood and comprehended something is by defining what you have read or heard into your own words.
3. Application: This is the step where you build a linkage between the information, your understanding and resources available. An example would be to use Mind maps to analyze the situation, build a relation between it and the core problem, and determine the best way to move forward and take action.
4. Analysis: This is the stage when you deep dive into the problem and divide it into smaller sections or workable actions, so that you have a clear understanding of how ideas are ordered, related, or connected to other ideas and steps.
5. Synthesis: At this stage you put it all together. A decision should be formed about how to solve the problem and the initial routes to follow to take this decision into action. Synthesis involves the ability to put together the parts you analyzed with other information to create a solution.
6. Get going and take action: The result of critical thinking should be transferred into clearly defined actionable steps. If the decision involves a specific project or team, a plan of action could be implemented to ensure that the solution is adopted and executed as planned.
Last but not the least; it is highly recommended that you consider implications of your options and decisions. Every choice and action has consequences, and you can improve your decision-making by anticipating what those might be. In order to do that, try to look at the problem from all different viewpoints and angles and repeat the above steps if needed.
Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist, philosopher, author, and is perhaps the most influential scientists to ever live. He published many scientific and non-scientific works and is popularly known for his explanations & research on the Quantum theory. He is considered the father of modern physics and has influenced many modern day entrepreneurs. Here are a few business lessons to learn from Einstein:
Curiosity is the key
Ask yourself this question: What piques your curiosity? What makes one business to succeed and the other to fail? Always searching for the right mix or the right answer is what drives a business owner. The pursuit of your curiosity is the secret to your business.
Use the power of Imagination
Imagination is everything. It is more important than knowledge. Are you using your imagination in your business? It is always important to remember that imagination pre-plays your future. Are you exercising your “imagination muscles” daily? Einstein once said, “don’t let something as powerful as your imagination lie dormant”. Imagination gives birth to innovation.
It’s simple: Time + creating value = SUCCESS
Don’t waste your time trying to be successful, spend your time creating value: value for your customers, value for people and value for society. If you’re valuable, then you will attract more business and therefore more success.
Through sheer determination and perseverance you can break all boundaries! Are you willing to persevere until you get to your intended business goal? Are you willing to be focused with a clear cut objective and mission? Do you have the tenacity, courage and will power to sail through tough times? A business built on the core values of determination and perseverance becomes the ultimate gainer in prospective.
Be more present
There is a popular saying: “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
Learn to be present where you are; give your all to whatever you’re currently doing. Multitasking is a killer to productivity and innovation in any business. Focused energy is like burning power, and it’s the difference between success and failure of any business or business owner.