Critical Thinking

eCornell

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  • online
  • on demand

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eCornell

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Who should attend

  • C-level executives, VPs, managers
  • Industry leaders with 2-10+ years experience
  • Mid-level professionals looking to move into leadership roles
  • Engineers and designers leading projects
  • Consultants or analysts
  • Anyone whose work involves devising, proposing, and defending evidence-based solutions

About the course

Have you ever known a very intelligent person who made a very bad decision?

Critical problem solving is both a discipline and a skill; one that even very smart people can benefit from learning. Careful thought around decisions can help your teams and organizations thrive. And in today’s age of automation, it’s never been a more essential mindset to develop at every level of a company.

In this certificate program, you will practice a disciplined, systematic approach to problem solving. You will learn how to deeply analyze a problem, assess possible solutions and associated risks, and hone your strategic decision-making skills by following a methodology based on tested actions and sound approaches. Whether you’re interested in preparing for a management role or already lead an execution function, you’ll come away better equipped to confidently tackle any decision large or small, make a compelling business case, and apply influence in your organization in a way that creates the optimal conditions for success.

COURSES

  • Problem-Solving Using Evidence and Critical Thinking

Have you ever known a very intelligent person who made a very bad decision? If so, you know that having a high IQ does not guarantee that you automatically make critically thoughtful decisions. Critically thoughtful problem-solving is a discipline and a skill—one that allows you to make decisions that are the product of careful thought, and the results of those decisions help your team and organization thrive.

In this course you will practice a disciplined, systematic approach to problem solving that helps ensure that your analysis of a problem is comprehensive, is based on quality, credible evidence, and takes full and fair account of the most probable counterarguments and risks. The result of this technique is a thoroughly defensible assessment of what the problem is, what is causing it, and the most effective plan of action to address it. Finally, you will identify and frame a problem by assessing its context and develop a well-reasoned and implementable solution that addresses the underlying causes.

  • Making a Convincing Case for Your Solution

When trying to persuade someone, the tendency is to begin in advocacy mode—for example: “Here’s something I want you to agree to.” Most people do not react positively to the feeling of being sold something. The usual reaction is to literally or figuratively start backing up. To make a convincing case, it is more effective to engage with the decision maker as a partner in problem-solving. This makes your counterpart feel less like someone is trying to get them to buy something and more like you are working together to bring about an outcome that is desirable to both parties. Begin by asking yourself: “What is the problem you and the decision maker are solving together?”

By the end of this course, you will have learned how to deeply analyze a problem, possible solutions, and the associated risks as well as the most persuasive and efficient ways of presenting your proposal.

The course Problem-Solving Using Evidence and Critical Thinking is required to be completed prior to starting this course.

  • Strategic Decision Making

The ability to make effective and timely decisions is an essential skill for successful executives. Mastery of this skill influences all aspects of day-to-day operations as well as strategic planning. In this course, developed by Professor Robert Bloomfield, Ph.D. of Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, you will hone your decision-making skills by following a methodology based on tested actions and sound organizational approaches. You will leave this course better equipped to confidently tackle any decision large or small, and you’ll do so in a way that creates the optimal conditions for success.

  • Navigating Power Relationships

Leaders at every level need to be able to execute on their ideas. In virtually every case, this means that leaders need to be able to persuade others to join in this execution. In order to do so, understanding how to create and utilize power in an organization is critical.

In this course, developed by Professor Glen Dowell, Ph.D., of Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, students will focus on their personal relationship with power as well as how power works in their organization and social network.

Project Management Institute (PMI®) Continuing Certification: Participants who successfully complete this course will receive 6 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from PMI®. Please contact PMI ® for details about professional project management certification or recertification.

  • Interpreting the Behavior of Others

Understanding why people do what they do is the foundation of all influence. When you are inaccurate in doing this, your attempt to influence others will have random and unpredictable effects. But people are complex, and as a leader, you don’t have the time or resources to decipher everyone’s psyche. The key is to know when and how to tailor your approach to understanding others in different kinds of interactions.

In this course, you will learn how to become more accurate in attributing causes to behavior in limited interactions, as well as how to increase your ability to get at the heart of a problem when you have the time and resources to do so. Professor Filipowicz will also teach you how to use a set of tools that can help you understand other people with efficiency, accuracy, and impact.

  • Applying Strategic Influence

Being able to influence others is the most fundamental characteristic of an effective leader, but many people in positions of power don’t know specifically how they are influencing others’ behavior in positive directions. They let it happen by chance or use their formal authority—getting people to do things because “the boss said so.” But as leaders gets promoted within their organization, using formal authority becomes less effective as they not only need to influence subordinates, but also peers, external stakeholders, and superiors.

In this course, Professor Filipowicz explores the three complementary levels of influence. First, you will explore heuristics, or rules of thumb, that people use in order to make decisions. Next, you will learn how to influence through reciprocity by uncovering what the person you want to influence wants and needs. Lastly, you will learn how to alter the social and physical environment in order to get the change in behavior you want. By the end of this course, you’ll have the skills to consistently draw out the desired behaviors from your team and from those around you.

KEY COURSE TAKEAWAYS

  • Respond decisively and consistently when faced with situations that require a decision
  • Assess the context of the problem
  • Summarize your analysis of the problem
  • Analyze potential solutions from multiple perspectives
  • Build a compelling business case for your solution
  • Improve your ability to exercise influence in your organization and activate your network to achieve goals
  • Establish responsibilities and accountabilities to ensure effective follow-through on decisions made

WHAT YOU'LL EARN

  • Critical Thinking Certificate from Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
  • 48 Professional Development Hours (PDHs)
  • 18 Professional Development Units (PDUs) toward PMI recertification

Experts

Allan Filipowicz

Allan Filipowicz is Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Professor Filipowicz's research focuses on how emotions drive or impede leadership effectiveness, at both the intrapersonal and interpersonal l...

Glen Dowell

Biography Professor Glen Dowell is an associate professor of management and organizations at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. He researches in the area of corporate sustainability, with a focus on firm environmental performance. Recent projects have investigated the effect of local demo...

Robert Bloomfield

Since coming to the Johnson Graduate School of Management in 1991, Prof. Robert Bloomfield has used laboratory experiments to study financial markets and investor behavior, and has also published in all major business disciplines, including finance, accounting, marketing, organization behavior, a...

Risa Mish

Risa Mish is professor of practice of management at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. She designed and teaches the MBA Core course in Critical and Strategic Thinking, in addition to teaching courses in leadership and serving as faculty co-director of the Johnson Leadership Fellows progra...

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Critical Thinking at eCornell

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