Have you ever sat back and really looked at what is going on around you? In this case, I am referring to the work setting and things like policies and procedures or processes that folks have been doing and when questioned as to why, the response is “Well we have always done it this way” or “We were told to do it this way”.
In reality, what once may have made sense or been implemented for a very legitimate reason, has become obsolete because new issues have occurred or new regulations have been promulgated. This is especially true in health care and yet I find myself constantly identifying areas where we work harder, but not necessarily smarter.
So I am on a mission to challenge people to employ critical thinking when they are faced with challenges, and ponder how they can use these skills to problem solve.
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Someone with critical thinking skills is able to do the following:
- Understand the logical connections between ideas
- Identify, construct and evaluate arguments
- Detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning
- Solve problems systematically
- Identify the relevance and importance of ideas
- Reflect on the justification of one’s own beliefs and values
With as many problems as we are all faced with in our work and life, it seems as if there is never enough time to solve each one without dealing with some adversity along the way. Problems keep mounting so fast that we find ourselves taking short cuts to temporarily alleviate the tension points – so we can move onto the next problem. In the process, we fail to solve the core of each problem we are dealing with; thus we continuously get caught in the trap of a never-ending cycle that makes it difficult to find any real resolutions. The best problem solvers have the patience to step back and see the problem at-hand through broadened observation. They see around, beneath and beyond the problem itself and approach a problem as an opportunity, which can be a strategic enabler for continuous improvement. Leaders who lack this wisdom approach problems with linear vision – thus only seeing the problem that lies directly in front of them and blocking the possibilities that lie within the problem. As such, they never see the totality of what the problem represents; that it can actually serve as an enabler to improve existing best practices, protocols and standard operating procedures for growing and competing in the marketplace.You know that you have great leadership in your organization when problem solving becomes a seamless process that enables the people and the organization to grow and get better. If problem solving creates chaos, you may have a serious leadership deficiency.Problem solving is the greatest enabler for growth and opportunity. This is why they say failure serves as the greatest lesson in business and in life. Be the leader that shows maturity, acts courageously, and requires accountability.
VP of Clinical and Compliance Services