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Chapter 13. Analyzing and Evaluating Thi... > The Power of Sound Thinking - Pg. 173

Analyzing and Evaluating Thinking in Corporate and Organizational Life 173 further with the president seems futile since it seems clear that he is committed to his position. Moreover you know from your past interactions with him that when he has a vested interest in a project he will become disgruntled if you try to convince him that he should consider alternative ways of looking at the situation. The question you must answer is whether it is in your best interest and in keeping with your values to proceed with the request. You will need to decide whether you are able, in good conscience, to work within the conditions set by the president and the current power structure. If you leave the college and move to a new college, will you likely find yourself in a similar situation? Since you understand how the "old boy network" operates, could you even get a job at another college or, through his connections, might the president be able to effectively block other opportunities you might have for employment? Do you have other viable career possibilities? If you decide to tell the president you cannot in clear conscience support the project, what would the likely implications be? Would he find opportunities to "punish" you? Might he, for example, refuse to give you an annual pay increase? Might he see that you do not receive further promotions? Might he find another position for you on campus, one with less responsibility and power so that you cause him fewer problems? Test the Idea Analyzing Situations Generate your own case for analysis. First, describe a problematic situation at work. Then, analyze the situa- tion. What are your options for action? The Power of Sound Thinking Any company or industry that makes critical thinking a company-wide or industry-wide value ac- quires the ability to anticipate and effect constructive change, for only critical thinking can provide the impetus for continual re-thinking and evaluation of all present ideas, policies, and strategies. Without critical thinking built into the culture of an organization, short-range thinking is likely to pre- dominate. Of course, short-range thinking may work for a time. For a time, it may be new. It may represent essential change. But if novel thinking is not eventually subject to critique, to adjustment, to refinement, to transformation, then, sooner or later, it becomes problematic and rigid. One challenge we face in bringing critical thinking into any organizational structure is that, upon being questioned, most people think they already think critically and therefore that there is nothing significant for them to learn. If you ask all of those present in a room full of people: "Would all those who think uncritically please raise your hand?" you are likely to have no takers. There is a natural illusion fostered by the human mind that leads all of us to think that our own thinking is well-tuned to reality--even when it is not, in fact especially when it is not. Only as people begin to develop as thinkers do they commonly recognize that their own thinking is often flawed and in need of trans- formation. The result is that any really new corporate leadership must break-through the mundane self-de- ception characteristic of human thinking itself. It must overcome what might be called "the natural attitude." Hence, corporate leadership based on critical thinking must not only define a purpose and communicate that purpose, but an intrinsic part of that purpose must be commitment to critical thinking on the job at all levels. It is not enough that an organization have and communicate a purpose, it must be a well-thought-through purpose. It is not enough to energize workers, there must be a mechanism in place that helps ensure that the energy is intelligently used and effectively ap- plied. Achieving, for example, a balance between control and empowerment is something that must be carefully thought through, for only quality of thought and analysis will generate the right balance.