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Leader Thinking Skills

Effective Leaders have great thinking habits.  Good thinking distinguishes good leaders from mere title holders with prescribed authority.  Their teams excel because of these leader leverage areas:  thinking competence, coaching team members and creation of a climate of trust.

Our Critical Thinking framework incorporates research into what distinguishes leaders with excellent reputations as problem solvers and decision makers.  This previous research studied notable successes reverse engineering them to reveal a common approach. The common thread was a thinking approach anyone can learn – the ability to apply logical, fact-based questions organized by purpose, to focus thinking, pulling together available information quickly to clearly guide inquiry.

The process uses simple, yet powerful questions arranged in a logical order, which can adapt easily to any situation.  No jumping the gun with guesses or needless rushes to judgment.  Now anyone can organize the available facts and use them in making sound judgments and communicating to stakeholders quickly.

CONCERN ANALYSIS (CA): A few key questions separate issues, assess priority and determine the best thinking approach for each issue (CA team analysis 30-60 minutes. See 1-4 below).

[1] PROBLEM SOLVING (PS): Describes the problem, logically develops a few high-quality potential causes, and uses the facts to select the most likely cause before moving on to verification of the true cause (PS team 45-75 minutes).

[2] ROOT CAUSE TRACKING (RCA):  Root causes are problem factories.  But they present golden opportunities to streamline systems and escape the ‘firefighting treadmill’.  Root Cause analysis is how to beat the competition with better processes and take pressure off tomorrow making it more problem free.

[3] DECISION MAKING (DM):  Whether it’s Interim Actions, Corrective Actions, or System Improvement, knowing how to make the best-balanced choice is how creative, practical and timely decisions are created (DM team 45-100 minutes).

[4] PLANNING (P):  Decisions must be implemented.  Project definition is critical to success, reaching Agreement on the project parameters. Planning defines action steps, responsibilities, and timing.  High threat problems are anticipated and threat countered with preventive and contingent actions integrated into the project master plan.

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