Thinking Critically

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Thinking Critically

There is a trick to life. The idea is it’s easier to prevent trouble, then have to explain it, fix it, and make up for it afterward. I’m going to try to keep away from quoting some corny things like an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Instead, we will talk about something that everyone can learn and do.

As you learn something, you start to learn the problems and preventions which will go on around it. We call this common sense. Because common sense is in such a small supply these days, we also have a fancier word for it, critical thinking. If you work on something for two years, you start to grow a natural form of critical thinking for the things with which you are working.

Eighty percent of four-year college graduates do not work in their major studies. Yet, many jobs demand a bachelors degree. This is because these graduates have spent four years learning and understanding critical thinking. The fact that they graduated proves they have a good handle on the concept.

As a line supervisor in contract manufacturing, I didn’t have a bachelors degree, I had over 20+ Years in the Air Force and an Associates in Applied Science degree in electronic systems technology. One thing for sure, I understood and used applied critical thinking principles. I could not have done the job without those principles.

Whatever you use as your guiding rules, you need to have significant respect for critical thinking. Everything that is handed to you needs to be looked over. You need to know what skills are required to complete the task, what time is involved, and are the people working on it skilled enough to accomplish the work properly? You need to sit down and figure out exactly what could go wrong, and what safety precautions should you put in place to prevent errors.

If you take the time upfront, you do not have to spend extra time on the backend of the project trying to figure out what went wrong. Additional time will not have to be paid for reworking errors. You won’t stand in fear of losing a customer over poor workmanship. You will be able to move onto the next project, and both you and your team will be viewed as people who get things done correctly.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Author: Mike Balof

A retired Air Force Master Sergeant, Mike used to lay in bed at night and worry about what would happen if his plant closed or found himself without a job. One day his plant closed. Rather than panic and hysteria (OK, maybe a little) Mike found himself carried away on the adventure of his life. Mike started with the best job he ever had working at Home Depot. He spent 8 years working with job seekers at a local workforce center, helping them to find employment. He then started his own company developing courses, writing books and urging others to follow their own paths into the future. Mike holds a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training and a Bachelor of Business Management, earned through the University of Phoenix and an AAS degree in Electronics Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force. Mike is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society.

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