I recently came across an article by Andrew Jacobs, Being critical for a moment | Lost and Desperate which examines critical thinking and creativity/innovation within organizations.
The author asked, “Do we assume people in the workplace are able and encouraged to critically think?” One follower replied, “very few roles require critical thinking capability. Most need problem solving and customer service attitude.”
I thought this was very interesting. I spend a lot of time with organizations talking about the importance of hiring and developing critical thinking skills among employees. I discuss the importance of, “thought based organizations” where diversity of thinking is valued and encouraged. However, do organizations really want critical thinkers? Remember that the critical thinkers are the often the ones who question norms and callout mistakes. They can be the squeaky wheels. Do organizations value employees who question the norms and culture or are they labeled as trouble makers? There is a Japanese proverb that states that, “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. Is this the case within corporations? Will the critical thinker who speaks out be encouraged or hammered down to fit into the existing culture?
What do you think? Are we encouraging critical thought in the workplace? Should we?