Critical Thinking and the Decision Making Process “Critical Thinking is the awakening of the intellect to the study itself. ” This quote is the mantra on the website of the Community of Critical Thinking. Although a deep concise sentence critical thinking is much deeper than one sentence.
(unknown, 2009) Whenever a person makes a decision more than simple thought goes into this decision, there is a process that follows certain steps and when some of those steps are left out quite possibly the decision can be a hasty one.
Some individuals are conscious of this process while others truly perform the process without astute awareness they are following any process at all. Scriven and Paul define critical thinking as: Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.
(Paul, 1987). However, practical these applications seem, indiviuals apply these dynamics differently which may lead to self discovery or poor decisions. This can be seen in the business world when an employee choses to challenge a process and change the course of how that process is implemented.What does it take to change a process? Recently a process change was put through at work ,Bank of America Merchant Services, (this area of the bank approves merchants to process mastercard and visa) the challenge to the current process was to place a liasion between the merchant approval group and the client liasion team to filter any questions, concerns,phone calls with sales and the review of problem applications.
The next step was to calculate how many people this change was would support as well as the time saved by not interrupting work low by asking constant questions of the decision specialest,analysts, team leads and managers.Ken Langdon put his spin on what critical thinking means, “Smart decisions solve problems. ” Solving a problem would mean acknowledging there is a problem, from there develop stratedgies to circumvent the problem. The problem that exsisted from the merchant approval group was the client liasion tem had no respect for current work flow and felt CLT would intrude on their normal work which through the Maerchant Approval Group off of daily production goals that had to be met.
The Client Liasion Team felt the Merchant Approval Group ignored their requests for help and left them to fend for themselves with very limited knowledge on what to say in response to questions that invovled rules and regulations specfic to mastercard/visa. In order to change the process the individual must gather as much information as possible to asses what the real complaints were from both sides and what concerns were not just “personality conflicts” but true work issues that impacted the merchant. (Elder, 2001).Gathering information was in the form of emails from the individuals , Each team was asked to complie a list of issues they wanted to see resolved.
When the lists were returned from each team they were compared for commonalities, each team’s largest issues were addressed based on their own merit, then a plan was developed to combat each of those issues. Once a master list was produced the next step was to investigate how the list would become reality. Developing a center point of contact between the Client Liasion Team and the Merchant approval Group seemed to be the most logical solution.The center point of contact would be a new position for a team member from the Mercahnt approval Group to filter all questions,concerns, phone calls and escalated files needing immediate attention.
This process would stop the constant traffic from various memebers of the CLT on the floor while MAG was trying to meet daily goals. Center Point of Contact would ask assistance only when absolutely needed and the position needed to be filled by someone who was seasoned in the credit world so as not to impacy the floor any further.Now that the plan was developed it need to be put in the form of a proposal to vice president of operations for further review . The proposal came in the form of a Power Point presentation showing the steps a normal application would take , which the count was 14 steps before approval.
Having a center point of contact would cut this process down to 5 steps. The man hours saved equaled three hours per application and that was multiplied by average number of applications needing this special attention which is 20 applications a day for a total of 60 man hours saved per week just by having the flow of the application changed.After vice president of operations approval was received copies of this process were sent to the respective four managers and the Operations President for further review. Any solution proposed needs to be able to stand up to criticism before implemented to make sure the process is well thought out and potential holes in said process are plugged .
Upon the operations manager review and the managers a meeting was called in which the person making the proposal was questioned from each of managers angles . Some changes were made at that point simply from ananlyzing the implementation and digging into the specifics of the change being proposed.The result is a new position created by this proposal , the center point of contact. Two months into the process the impact has been well received , which results in continued work flow for the Merchant Approval Group, and a person Client Liasion Team can reach out to for immediate response, Sales Staff is very satisfied to have a more timely turn around on their applications and the merchant is directly impacted when their app;ication is approved their money flow is back when they can take mastercard and visa which includes debit cards.
Any problem has a solution and any solution presents opportunity. When seizing opportunity by solving a problem the results can lend themselves to confidence, a sense of accomplishment and maybe as in this case a new position for the creator of the solution to the problem. Critical thinking is more than a simple process of being presented with a certain set of problems or one problem.Cirtical thinking involves taking a problem and weighing each solution by a list of pros and cons and taking those pros and cons and digging even deeper to test the solution to a problem.
In normal daily routines decisions are made all the time, for example what to eat or what to drink , even what to wear to work , although those decisions seem like simple ones this is not the case for every person for he or she may be on a diet and take into which food will benefit them for energy while not interrupting said diet.Crtitical thinking breaks down the common process of making decisions and highlights the motivations behind a decision, bringing to light the possibility because something has been performed the same way for years does not mean a better way could not be developed. When a change takes place there is a guararentee critical thinkins played a role in that change. Being concious of a work process, and making a proposal to change a process is critical thinking.
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