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Critical thinking is a crucial skill for small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially as a safeguard against burnout. It allows us to analyze and evaluate information, make informed decisions, and solve problems effectively. In a fast-paced and constantly changing business environment, the ability to think critically not only gives a small business a competitive edge but also helps us avoid burnout.
As a small business owner, you are faced with a range of challenges and opportunities on a daily basis. You need to be able to sift through the vast amount of information available to you and determine what is most relevant and useful. You also need to be able to assess the risks and benefits of different actions and make decisions that are in the best interests of your business.
Critical thinking helps us to do all of this without feeling like we’re drinking from a firehose. This means examining information from multiple angles, questioning assumptions, and looking for evidence to support your conclusions. It gives us toolkits like RAVEN and the Kepner-Tregoe Decision Analysis matrix to reduce stress in decision-making. It also means being open to alternative viewpoints and being willing to change your mind if new evidence (or metrics) emerge.
Last week, I had the opportunity to teach a critical thinking course in Istanbul. It was a rewarding experience to see the participants develop their critical thinking skills and apply them to real-world business scenarios.
One of the key takeaways from the course was the importance of taking the time to think things through carefully before making a decision in order to reduce one’s own bias in the process. Many small business owners feel pressure to make quick decisions, which can often lead to poor outcomes. By taking the time to think critically and consider all of the available options, you can make more informed and strategic decisions that will benefit your business in the long run.
Done well, this will also change a business’s hiring process (check out my hiring guide here), eliminating personal biases and logical fallacies that may lead to a poor hire. We tend to want to hire people we like, which is an emotional decision, while critical thinking demands we remove ourselves from our personal point of view and look at what truly is best for the business.
If you haven’t previously enrolled in a critical thinking course, I suggest you take the time to do so. It will help you to analyze information, make informed decisions, and solve problems effectively. By thinking things through carefully, you can make better decisions and set your business up for success. Start by reviewing the slides from the course I recently taught, here.