Critical Thinking Lab

We recently held our first ‘open’ Critical Thinking Lab, which was attended by executives from industries including; banking and finance; energy; utilities; construction and telecommunications.

The executives who participated in the Lab all expressed the need for improved decision-making in their organisations, as some individuals and teams are:

  • “Too quick to make decisions without considering the facts and/or impacts.”
  • “Too slow to make decisions and with poor judgement.”
  • “Making decisions with bias, limited structure or rigor.”

 A broad range of skills underpin good decision-making including the ability to ‘cut through’ by analysing, verifying and clarifying.  Problem solving, imagining, perceiving and collaborating, synthesising, prioritising, planning and communicating are also essential elements of good decision-making.

Many of these skills are considered ‘critical thinking’ skills and not surprisingly, it is usually the executive leaders within the organisation who have honed these skills through intuition and experience.

The opportunity is to build these skills across the organisation more broadly as “a company’s strategy is the sum of decisions it effectively makes and executes over time” and this needs to happen at all layers on a day-day basis, not just for the executive-led decisions.

To address the issue of building capability more broadly across the organisation, participants were given insights and case study examples of how executive leaders are enabling team-based critical thinking within their organisation through:

  • More structure and rigor to the decision-making process particularly at ‘critical decision points’.
  • Using a framework that draws on a diverse group of expertise and deeper levels of thinking.
  • Greater collaboration in solving a complex problem.

One executive shared a real scenario facing an organisation in the banking and finance sector.  The participants stress-tested the current thinking on the problem and opportunity and provide a more objective and robust perspective.  The team clarified the facts, assumptions and the ‘main issue’ and generated new ideas, drawing upon the expertise in the room.

The feedback about the Lab included the following:

It was fascinating to experience a group of people from diverse organisational cultures using the framework to tackle the same problem.”

“In less than 90 mins we arrived at some of the same conclusions as many months of internal review.”

“A high calibre event with good diversity of sectors/verticals.”

If you’d like to attend or you would like more information on a customised critical thinking lab, please contact or visit our register on our Events page.