Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is multi-layered, multi-dimensional

It is not simply considering more than one solution to a problem before making a decision. It is also looking at the problem through multiple lenses. What is our vision and mission? Which solution is most consistent with them? Will get us closer to them? Which one will help us achieve our goals, or at least getting closer to achieving our goals? What organizational values come into play in this decision? Which solution is most consistent with our values? What behaviors will be exhibited under each alternative? And what do those behaviors say about us as an organization? What about short term vs long term? Which interest do we pursue? What about when different solutions each support competing priorities? Every year hospitals look at their relatively small bottom line (relative to revenues anyway) and have to decide how to allocate those funds. Do we get an MRI machine or spend on a new cardiac treatment center? Do we hire more nurses or bulk up our emergency department? How do we decide? One filter may be to look at things strategically and not tactically. Which alternative, if any, best fits our strategic plan? Which will have the most positive impact on our culture? Decision makers are not just going through alternative solutions and picking one. They need to run them through a checklist of filters; look at them from different angles and make decisions based on the most relevant factors. Nobody said it was going to be easy. And after all that, you still may not be right. But your chances are better using a solid decision making framework.