- Critical Thinking and Incremental Improvement
- An Obstacle to Critical Thinking Within Organizations: The Covert Struggle for Power
- Another Obstacle: Group Definitions of Reality
- A Third Obstacle: The Problem of Bureaucracy
- The Problem of Misleading Success
- Competition, Sound Thinking, and Success
- Stagnating Organizations and Industries
- Questioning Organizational Realities
- Assessing Irrational Thinking in Organizational Life
- The Power of Sound Thinking
- Some Personal Implications
Some Personal Implications
Use the following list of recommendations to assess your internalization of the main points of this chapter and your willingness to put the ideas into action:
Establish the personal habit of routinely evaluating your thinking on the job. This includes answering and up-dating your answers to the following questions: What is your central goal in light of the job you have or role you play on the job? What are the obstacles or difficulties you face in accomplishing your job or fulfilling your role? What are you best at? What evidence do you have to support your conclusions? What do you do least well? What evidence do you have to document your conclusions? What strategies are you using to improve your job performance?
Determine your level of power. What power do you have in virtue of your position? What additional power do you have, in comparison to others, in virtue of your willingness to think critically and face unpleasant realities?
Determine the level and quality of thinking of those with whom you work. How would you assess the strengths and weaknesses of the thinking of your fellow workers? How does their thinking impact you?
Determine the "in-house" definitions of reality. What "party-lines" or "propaganda" are generated on the job which you recognize to be both self-serving and, of course, false? To what extent must you verbally honor that propaganda as a condition of being taken seriously?
Assess the level of bureaucratic thinking at your company. This will tie into "in-house" definitions of reality and favored "myths." Remember that bureaucracy is a state in which employees work increasingly by fixed routine rather than through the exercise of intelligent judgment. With bureaucratization, narrowness in thinking emerges. There is a proliferation of hard-and-fast rules and fixed procedures that make change difficult (when not impossible).
Assess the level of short-term thinking at your company.
Assess the level of stagnation in your company (or in your industry).
Assess the level of egocentric thinking among those you work with (this ties in with # 3 in this list).
Assess your own involvement, as a thinker, in "in-house" definitions of reality, party-lines, propaganda, as well as in bureaucratic, short-term, and egocentric thinking. Reconcile this analysis with your response to question # 1 in this list.