Critical Thinking
For Problem Solving and Decision Making Core + Advanced

Course #351 - Our most popular
Duration: 2 Days, At customers location

Download Workshop Brochure (pdf) for a more detailed look
Read HeadScratchers our clients have used in the workshop.
We contrast your everyday automatic thinking with Critical Thinking.
Critical Thinking
Automatic Thinking
Stronger foundation for decisions
More time on getting clear and less time and rework needed for decisions
Weaker foundation for decisions
Less time on getting clear and more time and rework needed for decisions
We present a set of core tools and exercises combined with those from our advanced and innovation workshops to create solutions and just as important, to present them with credibility.
Empty Bucket




So What?


Anticipatory Thinking
Get Clear

Credibility / Consistency
Presenting / Defending
Triangular Thinking






Overview     (Download the Workshop Brochure for more details)

This 2-day workshop is the combination of 3 separate 1-day workshops (#201 Critical Thinking for Problem Solving and Decision Making, #301 Advanced Critical Thinking and Decision Making, and #501 Critical Thinking and Innovation).   The continuity of the two days enables most of the material from the separate days to be covered in an integrated fashion.  

This course includes everything in the Core course (#201) plus  Influencing and Communicating ideas, Fuzzy Criteria, A 11-Point Risk model and template, Presenting, Arguement Analysis, Thinking outside-the-box, Abductive and Impossible Thinking, and Being a Thinking Coach. 

The course objectives include:
    •  Distinguish “Automatic” Thinking from “Manual”
    •  Understand a Framework for Thinking Critically and apply the 3 step Critical Thinking Process
    •  Learn and practice a variety of tools to think critically including the use of Thinksheets to:
       •  Get Clear on a Problem, Situation or Goal
       •  Guide your thinking for Conclusions
       •  Guide your thinking for Decisions
    •  Be able to identify the “box” that constrains your current thinking and think outside of it.
    •  Creating credible presentations for buy-in, enrollment and approval.
    •  Think through 11 risk factors and how they weigh in
    •  Leave the day knowing how to ask questions to get yourself and others to think critically
    •  Identify where you can apply Critical Thinking in your job and create a next steps plan

Topics Covered:
    •  Distinguishing “Automatic” Thinking from “Manual Thinking”
    •  Benefits of Critical Thinking
    •  Empty your bucket
    •  Clarity -
“Get Clear” on a problem to solve or decision to make, and the Clarity Thinksheet
Inspecting the problem statement
                  •  The tools of Socratic Questioning; Why, So What, Anticipatory Thinking
                  •  Need vs. Want
                  •  A Family of HeadScratchers
    •  Conclusions - Create Solutions and the Conclusion Thinksheet
Applying Inductive & Deductive thinking.
                  •  Understanding the Premise that leads to a conclusion and how personality affects this.
                  •  How facts, assumptions, experiences, beliefs, and observations affect your thinking
                  •  Why people come to different conclusions and what to do about it.
                  •  Credibility and Consistency - Increasing the strength of your premise
                  •  Triangular Thinking - When you can’t know exactly
                  •  Using Critical Thinking to Influence and Persuade
                  •  Argument Analysis - Review for and against arguments as elements of conclusions
                  •  Presenting your solutions
                  •  Role Play
    •  Innovation - Creating an environment and stimulating creativity and innovation
                  •  Thinking Outside-the-Box - Challenging the Premise (What if?, What other?)
                  •  Abductive Thinking - Thinking beyond your experience
                  •  Impossible Thinking -To generate Breakthrough ideas
    •  Decisions - Taking action and the Decision Thinksheet
The Elements of Decision; Who, When and Criteria
                  •  Preeminent Metrics - What can be measured that can act as an early warning system and gives you
                     the time to change direction and the outcome

                  •  Risk Criteria - A 11-point Risk model that helps you evaluate the risk and your personal risk level
                     w/exercises (Downsides, Downside Probability, Upside, Upside Probability, Downside Absorption
                     Capability, Ignoring Statistical Downside, Controllability, Necessity of Upside, Reversibility, Mitigation
                     Strategy, Preeminent Metrics)

                  •  Fuzzy Criteria - Not all the criteria of a decision are black and white.  This topic looks at the grey ones
    •  Thinking Coach
                  •  Jobs Description
                  •  Rules
    •  Next Steps - Your plan to implement your learning (for yourself and your team)
This Results in ...

People, Time and Money spent
on the right problem

Clarity of issue and decision to be made

Defendable and Clear Conclusions
New ideas
Skills to influence and Guide Others


Solid Conclusions
Successful Decisions
Fewer iterations and redo's
Crisp, Decisive, Defendable Decisions
Risk Mitigation

Faster and Quality
Decision Making
What's the benefit of Critical Thinking and the workshop.
Attendees learn Pragmatic Critical Thinking Techniques resulting in;
  •  Faster and higher quality decisions that are more likely to be the correct ones.
  •  Superior solutions to problems, goals, and strategies.
  •  Advanced view and tools for decision making
  •  Better understanding of the dynamics between different aspects of a business or project
  •  Innovative ideas and solution
  •  Higher productivity
  •  Being better equipped to tackle problems and make decisions on a daily basis.
Critical Thinking skills gained can be applied to:
  •  General problem solving and decision making
  •  New product ideas and creation
  •  Short and long term business strategies
  •  Improved development processes and quality
  •  Improved operational efficiency
  •  Crisis Management
  •  Revenue generation and cost reduction strategies
  •  Customer care improvement
Contact us for more information or to schedule a Workshop

Core plus Advanced incorporates our Risk module and Innovation Tools
What's unique about our workshop? This isn't your ordinary "academic" day. It's not just "theory", but pragmatic, proven techniques for solving real world business problems, strategies and challenges.

We customize the workshop to your business, with real examples and exercises that come from interviews with would be attendees. The attendees learn critical thinking AND see it in action with their own day-to-day issues.
Using concepts from our model we created a simple framework for Critical Thinking
Post course 1:1 mini coaching sessions available for followup and continued assistance
Mulitple curriculums for varied attendees
We also modify the curriculum for the mix of attendees:
   •   Executives and Business Leaders
   •   Teams (a Manager and team, or cross functional)
   •   Supervisors, Managers and Directors
   •   Individual Contributors
   •   Mixed class of multiple disciplines and responsibilities

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