Strong thinking and strong ideas are great. We need people to defend them, champion them and feel passionate about them. But the strength of the argument, the power of the rhetoric and the infection of passion and energy must not substitute critical thinking. Strong, passionate, energizing, champions with string critical thinking will develop the argument and expose it to us …somewhere close to this:
- This is what X does, this is what it doesn’t. This is what it solves, this is what it does not solve.
- This is why we need X, these are the benefits.
- This is the cost of doing or having X, this is the cost of not doing or having X.
- This is what is solid about it.
- These are the holes (small holes, bigger holes…) in the thinking behind.
- This much we know, this is what we don’t know.
- If it works, this is what we get, if it doesn’t’ this is what we will do.
- If we don’t do it now, when?
- These are the alternatives to X. We’ve looked at Y, and Z. We still must go for X.
- This is how we can make it work, successful. This is how we can screw up completely.
Strong advocates may not give you this in a complete form, as above. In that case, you need to complete the idea-grilling yourself.
Many people think that critical thinking is somehow innate, belonging to a particular type of brain and certainly IQ. This is of course possible. However, it is also true that it is highly social. Practicing the argumentation and proposal pre-decision making in similar ways as above, will be easily copied by others.
Create the habit of framing things with strong critical thinking, and forget the problem of whether your people ‘have it or not’
Create a little epidemic of the above 10.