The Importance of Critical Thinking

After talking with Executive level business leaders about people strategies over the last 15 years, the challenge of finding qualified talent is more difficult than ever. In an article a few days ago, I discussed the insights that these leaders have taught me about recruiting individuals with strong decision making and critical thinking skills. So, why is this shortage so severe? While there are societal factors of which we can argue (you have heard them with conversations about Millennials’ work ethic vs Boomers’ inability to be flexible), there is another factor. I recall going to school for approximately 15 years where I was taught history, math, grammatical rules, gym (what’s the point?), and science. Certainly, the subject content was valuable, but there was almost ZERO emphasis on how to think, process decisions, or analyze situations. Some of the content classes required these skills to a degree but never as a focus. In the real world we face a dynamic environment. The circumstances are not static. This dynamic economic environment rewards smart people. Smart people understand how to think critically and assess situations to make decisions for the best outcomes. Can we at least get a little focus on these important skills?

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