Why analytical thinking is important:
People with analytical thinking skills are in demand.
There are typical business situations where we call on our analytical thinking to help us make decisions, such as:
Strategizing future direction for the business
Deciphering the impact of market conditions on the business
Innovating new applications for existing products or services
Analytical thinking is not new. Humans have had the capacity for analytical thinking for millennia.
The problem is that using analytical thinking is not necessarily intuitive, and the talent areas noted below may not come quickly to everyone. Here are the thought processes we expect a person to use when using analytical thinking skills:
Recognize the underlying issues or problems
Organize information related to the underlying issues or problems
Integrate all the pieces
Draw proper conclusions
New ideas on how to improve analytical skills
At its essence, thinking analytically involves breaking things down into their parts quickly and applying gut-level judgement to decisions.
Analytical thinking is an umbrella that covers eight natural talents that each of us has to varying degrees.
The more clarity you have in each of these eight talents, the higher your skill in analytical thinking.
Let’s move our discussion of analytical thinking up a notch.
Your business makes widgets, and your target market is exhausted. It’s time to expand your business through developing new markets or new uses – the true definition of innovation – for your widgets.
As you debrief your team on options they see for your widgets, keep in mind the list below of talents comprising analytical thinking.
You’ll find that your team brings you a variety of things to consider.
As your team members discuss options, give some thought to which team members are less talented and have lower clarity in these talents.
Here’s the list of the eight natural talent areas that are under the umbrella of analytical thinking:
Balanced decision making – Make decisions which place equal emphasis on all involved parties or concerns, therefore making decisions which are more likely to satisfy all needs.
Conceptual thinking – Mentally role-plays the execution of the long-range projection and makes accurate predictions about the possible outcomes.
Evaluating what is said – Objectively rate feedback and “hear” the concerns, intentions, or opinions being stated, as opposed to inserting their feelings or opinions.
Intuitive decision making – Comfortable making decisions on their feet, without having to study a situation or requiring logical observations to look at.
Problem-solving – Pool together multiple capacities and talents to assess all aspects of a problem from beginning to end, from identification to resolution.
Seeing potential problems – Integrate “now” events into futuristic structures and decide what possible issues might arise. This questioning requires a very flexible perspective.
Theoretical problem solving – Identify future issues and formulate the right steps which would be needed to correct them. They are comfortable enough with their ability to take action on these decisions.
Using common-sense – More of a natural reflex than a logical thinking process, this talent uses every day, informal knowledge that has not been formally evaluated and placed in the decision making process.
Businesses use assessments to understand an individual’s natural talents in these analytical thinking areas.
If analytical thinking is essential to you, be sure to use an assessment that provides a score on the eight natural talent areas listed above.
The Attribute Index we use is one example of an assessment that gives you this information.
Many professional development programs contain content that will strengthen these abilities.
If you are wondering if a person can build or strengthen their analytical thinking talents, the answer is yes.