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Critical Thinking is a MUST not a SHOULD

The AMA (American Management Association) 2010 Critical Skills Survey highlighted the need for the workforce to be proficient in the 4 Cs – Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity. The 3 Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) although important for entry-lelve jobs are not sufficient for employees to prepare for the jobs of the future due to the pace of change in the business environment. Routine jobs can easily be replaced. Critical Thinking is a MUST and not a SHOULD for the jobs in 21st century. Employees have been told by their managers that they are paid to think, but does this hold true in the actual working environment? If the manager were to ask an employee, “what have been you been doing this week” and the reply is “I have been thinking”, what will the reaction of the manager be? The manager may now reply differently: “You are paid to do work, not think the whole week”. The employee is now confused: think or do work. In the working environment, we have to be both thinkers and doers.

Another of the competency of Critical Thinking is that of an Unconstricted Thinker. The Unconstricted do not give up easily, but think of ways to make decisions and solve problems. There is a story about a man who owned a house on the corner of a busy street. With a school nearby, all the students cut across the corner of his property which carved out a trench like path in the grass. Each year he tried a new strategy of fixing the problem. For many years he reseeded the grass, then he laid sod, then he raised a fence, he yelled at the children & even got a dog but the problem continued year, after year, after year. He became bitter and defeated & had reached the end of his rope after so many years in grief over the small strip of land. While considering selling his home, he had an new idea. He laid interlocking brick and made the path permanent. It looked wonderful & people appreciated it. His burden was lifted. He felt good about himself, his solution and even the students. He never concerned himself with it again.

The above story tell us of what Unconstricted Thinking can do to change the results. Do we still continue to do the same thing and expect to get different results? Albert Einstein called this insanity.

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