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The Fs test is an example of how your brain discards information when it’s operating in automatic mode. Our minds discard things such as this all the time. You throw out some of what your manager tells you; if you are a manager, you throw out some of what your reports tell you. You disregard things your significant other says to you and get lectured about it later.
Think Smarter PDF Book by Michael Kallet
|Name of Book||Think Smarter|
|PDF Size||3.7 MB|
|No of Pages||238|
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About Book – Think Smarter PDF Book
Why do we throw stuff out? Our brains are bombarded with a tremendous amount of information. When your eyes are open, billions of information bits per second are entering your brain. Your ears are always open, but you block out noise. In an attempt to simplify things for you, your brain throws things out that it doesn’t deem important or thinks it already knows.
The trouble is that your brain doesn’t tell you it is throwing things out; it just does it. Thank you, automatic mode! Try one more activity: What predominant shape do you see in the diagram that follows? These reasons mean that you spend as little time as possible in the clarity and thinking stages when you are in your automatic mode—and usually try to make a decision as quickly as you can.
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Usually, a few things happen when you do this, none of which is very desirable. You make a bad call, spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure things out, and realize you’re really not very clear on the matter at hand, or you solve the wrong problem—and then get to do it all over again. You waste a lot of time, money, and effort.
Critical thinking requires that you spend more time in the clarity phase, using a tool set. As a result, your conclusions come faster and are more accurate. Subsequently, you make decisions more quickly, because decisions in critical thinking are go or no-go calls; that is, all the work has already been done.
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Consider the following: If you erected a building or baked a layered cake, which shape in Figure 3.2 would you prefer to use? Although you invest more time in clarity during critical thinking, it usually takes less total time to make a decsion. Problem solving generally speeds up, and the quality of your solutions is enhanced as well.
For example, let’s say senior management issues a directive about a project that they’ve labeled as a top priority. Perhaps you have had experience with this statement, and your initial reaction is something like, “Yeah, this and every other project. I’ll just wait a few days to see if the priority changes.” We don’t want to discount your experience; you might be perfectly correct.
This is your knee-jerk reaction, and maybe it’s accurate; in a few days, the project’s urgency will pass. However, suppose this time the project truly is a priority. Then you’ve made an assumption based on past experience that’s to your detriment. If you empty your bucket, forget about the past, and take a closer look at what this issue is, you’ll get a better idea about what’s different this time. Think Smarter PDF Book
One way to do this might be to ask a few questions about this project’s importance relative to the other projects on which you are working. When looking at a headscratcher, you must have the attitude of there is always a way. Although this might not always be the case, you’re much more likely to find a way if you start by believing there’s one.
You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you approach the headscratcher with the moaningand-groaning-filled bucket containing the stories of how something didn’t work in the past. This is simply the act of determining what all the words in a given headscratcher mean and ensuring all the parties involved in solving it are operating according to these same definitions.
This simple technique can generate some amazing discussions when a group of people gets together to define words such as better, faster, or quality. Here’s a simple example: Have you ever had a passenger in your car while looking for a space in a parking lot? While you’re scanning for a space, you’re also watching out for people walking and other drivers dashing through the lot. Think Smarter PDF Book
Your passenger shouts out, “There’s a spot over there!” Now you either have to take your eyes off where you are driving to look where your passenger is pointing or have to ask, “Where is ‘there’?” It would have been much more efficient if your passenger had said, “There’s a spot one row over to the right and four or five cars ahead of you.”
Although these words take more time to say than “over there,” they are much clearer, and the result will be a faster understanding of the situation—and a parked car. Why? is the most powerful question you can ask during the critical thinking process. Asking why results in answers that provide us with knowledge, thereby giving us choices, and as Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.”
Knowledge lets us be more creative, solve problems, and make better decisions. For example, let’s say that someone asks you to move all the furniture in one room to another. You might ask, “Why?” and discover the carpets are getting cleaned tomorrow. Once you know this, you would make sure to move the furniture to a room without a carpet. Think Smarter PDF Book Downolad
For a more complex example of why, imagine you’re in a meeting to discuss making a particular process faster. You might typically create a process flow diagram and then discuss how you could eliminate or streamline some of the steps. This would certainly lead to a faster process, but imagine if you asked, “Why do we want to speed up this process?”
That conversation might lead you to discover that the real objective is to ensure timely delivery of products to your customers. This knowledge might prompt you to suggest—in addition to speeding up delivery with this faster process—you can make a huge difference by looking at how you forecast product demand so that you know what to make in advance.
Another very powerful critical thinking tool, and my favorite, goes hand in hand with why: So what? Its place in critical thinking differs from its conventional use; here, So what? is not a question you ask if you don’t care. Rather, you ask because you care a great deal. What you really want to know is, “What is the relevance of this?” or “What if this were to happen?” Think Smarter PDF Book Downolad
You’re truly asking, “Why is this important?” Although that’s a question with a why in it, you’re really asking for the so what. However, you must take care when using so what; people could easily misinterpret it as your being a wise guy or insubordinate. I can remember the very first time I asked, “So what?”
A customer care manager came to me and said, “Mike, our call hold time (the amount of time a customer has to wait on the line until a customer service representative takes the call) is down to 15 seconds.” I asked him if I should be happy or sad, and the manager responded that I should be happy.
More than 2,000 years ago, Plato claimed that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” If you want to get something done—if you need to get it done— then you have to understand why it is necessary. Think about how often we use the words want and need and how interchangeable we make them. We want lots of things. I want a new car, but do I need one? Think Smarter PDF Book Downolad
When getting clear about a headscratcher, ask why it is necessary to solve. Think of a goal or task to do that you’ve had for a while. Do you ever think about why you haven’t accomplished it—or even spent much time on it? I sometimes excuse that lack of progress on not having time to do it, but I have time. We all do. We just choose to spend that time on something else.
I haven’t accomplished it because the need to accomplish it isn’t there. If it were necessary, I’d get it done. If you want to align people and get them excited, motivated, and charged to accomplish a goal, the greatest motivation you can give them is making it clear why it is necessary for them to accomplish the task. Think about the best, most enjoyable, and most successful team on which you have ever been.
What made it so great? One attribute we see in every case of great teams is that members have a common need. This ensures that everyone is focused, aligned, and marching to the same tune. Politics and personal agenda go away, and everyone is on the same page. Priorities are clear. Perhaps you have heard the expression “A team is gelled.” Think Smarter PDF Book Free
Even opposing parties in a government seem to be more functional when the necessity is clear. It’s when the necessity is unclear and in debate that things get ugly. If you’re a leader who wants your team to be extremely productive and work together, make sure members are all executing a common need: not yours, but yours and theirs.
You must all see and agree on the common need. Those companies possessing that clarity thrive. The ingredient diagram is a tool that helps you transition between clarity and conclusions. At this point, you’re still getting clear on the headscratcher. However, you are also now starting to get ideas about where to look for solutions.
The ingredient diagram helps you understand the variables defining your headscratcher. Your solution will incorporate all, or many, of the variables. Here’s a very simple example: Your car has a full tank of gas. You’re planning a long road trip during which you will need to stop for gas. There are many variables that affect how far you can go with a full tank of gas. Think Smarter PDF Book Free
You look at a map and ask yourself, “Where along the route should I stop?” One of the key ingredients of this headscratcher is your car’s miles per gallon (MPG) rate. Without determining this ingredient (variable), your solution won’t have much of a basis. Another variable is your speed.
a function of the tools you use. Whether your computer is slow or fast or whether you have the right applications and know how to use them will all affect how much time something takes. Later in the tree, you see training under applications, because you need to be trained to use the applications; additionally, support is there because you need to get questions answered quickly.
Your focus is also an ingredient of time. When you can focus with no interruptions and low noise levels, you get far more done. For an exercise, keep going with the productivity ingredient diagram. Of course, if you want to improve your productivity, getting a faster computer might help somewhat. Think Smarter PDF Book Free
However, a much more comprehensive solution for improving productivity will include all—or at least many—of the variables that define productivity in the first place. The difference between influence and persuasion is whose conclusion is debated and to what degree things change. Influence is changing others’ conclusions.
It’s their issue to resolve; you’re communicating some of your premise items, such as your observations, to modify their premise and subsequent conclusions indirectly. Persuasion is directly causing someone to adopt or concur with your conclusion, which may at times be very different from his or her initial thinking.
Here’s an example of a common headscratcher middle managers face: how can they influence senior management more? If you were one such middle manager, you’d first want to get clear on what influence means in this situation. Usually, it’s to get senior managers to change something per your suggestion. You have influenced them if some of your ideas are incorporated in their ultimate conclusion. Think Smarter PDF Book Free
After a brief discussion, your peer agrees that your experiences and observations are stronger than his or hers, and you have persuaded your peer to adopt your conclusion.