Making decisions, forming opinions, making plans, and many other kinds of thought processes that leaders, directors, and managers use on a daily basis demand analytical and thorough consideration. Having a strong understanding of the fundamentals of effective thinking will therefore make this daily process smoother and faster, and bring more consistently positive results.
1. Determine What You Know
The first step is to recognize the pertinent information that you already have. This gives you the opportunity to build a framework for the rest of the process and leads naturally to the second step.
2. Determine What You Need to Know
There is an immense wealth of information that you do not need to know in any given situation. It is imperative, therefore, to narrow down your research to necessary and helpful information.
3. Find Reputable Information to Fill the Gaps
The third step is to find that information. Whether this is information gathered from coworkers, clients, the internet, or archived company data, what you learn in this step will be the basis for the final decision, course of action, etc.
4. Take the Past Into Consideration
Considering pertinent past experiences can give a perspective that no amount of information can provide. While the past cannot predict the future, it will shed the light of experience on any current questions.
5. Allow Room for the Unknown
There will always be factors that you cannot predict. Perhaps there was information that you did not know was necessary in Step 2, and you have to play catch-up with Step 3 further along in the process, and that is normal. Leave room for new data and ideas, but keep following the basics steps to integrate the new with the old.
Successful thinking can take different forms depending on the person and the situation. But following the general steps outlined here ensure thorough analysis, streamlining the process and resulting in sound decisions, informed opinions, and astute planning.
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