Critical thinking: Give your team time to do their best work

Critical thinking: Give your team time to do their best work

Amy Simpson | February 18, 2021

Critical thinking is a skill that can be developed like any other, but it requires practice—and practice requires opportunity.

Christian Nevell wrote, “Few minds wear out; more rust out.” Basically, if you let something sit long enough, motionless and in disuse, or barely use it to its full capacity, it just won’t work the way it should and, in some cases, will absolutely decay.

The future of any industry depends on the people within it possessing both the ability and the time to consider the obstacles before them, and then to find novel ways above, under, around or through. However, given the sheer number of distractions that come from outside and from working in the office or remotely, the time we get to actually think is stripped away one email message and one browser window at a time

So, with information coming at us from every possible digital angle, much of it purely empty calories, metaphorically speaking, how do we develop deeper, more effective and lasting solutions, based in critical thinking, to address the problems we encounter in the process of doing business?

Busy work isn’t working

Critical thinking and busy work are not productive partners. Whether in the office or working from home, each presents its own set of issues. We all know how difficult it can be staying on a single productive track, one where you really make some headway on an idea, a process or service. Constant communication with office mates or clients, through Slack, email, text messaging, etc., going back and forth every five minutes, every day, is not productive. 

Executive leadership should encourage long form conversations, longer and more complete email messaging and actual discussions lasting beyond a quick minute, where opinions and information can be gathered and given real consideration. 

Over prepare 

If we are going to set time aside to mull over a challenge, in order for those long form meetings to succeed and accomplish any sense of progression, we have to prepare. Effective critical thinking is constant and consistent. 

Adequate preparation will allow teams and their leaders to actually tackle an issue, as opposed to having to process a wealth of information and then coming up with half-baked, brainstormed ideas on the fly. Companies should always encourage their teams to pursue their thoughts towards a presentable and defendable concept. 

Your greatest minds deserve investment

Managers and other delegators should preach “study and practice,” and give their team members the resources to do so effectively. In this case, the resource is time. Every step we take towards some product or service should go through the critical thinking process. The farther ahead of a potential problem we are, the less costly it becomes. Building in-office or remote work schedules that emphasize critical thinking and allow for ideas to be worked into something valuable and repeatable is a practice applicable to any industry. 


The James Allen Companies finds those professionals capable of realizing your company’s goals, individuals who can think and work independently and always keep your values in mind. If you’re in need of such valuable team leaders, contact us today.

About the Author

Amy Simpson
Amy has more than a decade of experience successfully recruiting experienced insurance professionals. Her extensive expertise and network of contacts has allowed her to place highly skilled and nearly impossible to find candidates in underwriting, claims, loss control, sales, premium audit, marketing, human resources, IT and beyond. She loves the challenge of looking for someone who seems impossible to find. Amy is committed to exceeding her clients’ expectations and enjoys helping people to enhance their careers. Amy has two young children, Noah and Jonah, with her husband Marc. They love to travel and look forward to planning their next visit to Disney World.
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