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Developing a Critical Thinking Process

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Essay title: Developing a Critical Thinking Process

Developing a Critical Thinking Process


For the last 6 years, I have worked as a health care consultant for a large insurance company. The nature of the work tends to concentrate around operational improvement opportunities, and training programs. The goals of a consulting or training program are the same, improve operational effectiveness and efficiencies. Over the years, our small consulting team has been successful, and requests for additional consulting opportunities have increased greatly.

The Challenge

Recently, I was asked to be a part of team exploring a Life insurance problem. I was flattered to be asked, but at the same time, panic-stricken. I would be working out of my comfort zone, Health. From early project details provided by the client, several areas within the company were identified as potential problematic areas, and the client was leaning towards redesigning an entire process. Also, in preliminary client discussions, I noticed that multiple departments were, or had been, trying to correct this issue for some time, using multiple approaches.

The Solution

After speaking to my manager, about working outside my comfort zone, we decided to develop a workshop of critical thinking tools, which when completed, would provide the client with the necessary logic to address the problems identified within the critical thinking exercises. My role would be to facilitate the client through the critical thinking tools, or exercises, and the client’s employees would provide input or subject matter expertise to complete the critical thinking exercises.

The workshop was set up in four phases: Framing the project, understanding the current situation, identifying solutions, implementation and monitoring details. The workshop was scheduled for 6 days, with most of phase one having been done, prior to the start of the workshop.

My initial perception was limited, due to not being familiar with Life insurance processes. As a trainer, I was encouraged by the fact that the company did not routinely employ a standardized project approach or methodology. If nothing else, at the end of the workshop, the client would have learned how to structure a critical thinking project plan.

Solution Into Action

Day one of the workshop was supposed to be a quick high level review of the project. Items covered included: Selecting team members, what to consider and not consider, for example, additional staff or major operating systems were not to be considered, along with the development of a clear, concise and measurable problem and goal statement.

Even though all of the employees were from the same company, and supposedly attempting to fix the same problem, it took most of the first day to develop a consensus statement on what the problems were, and how to best achieve the necessary outcomes wanted by the management team. I was still skeptical of the workshop approach, but later in the day, several project team members expressed their appreciation for helping them

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