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Thinking – The Long and Short of it

Socrates is considered the father of critical and creative thinking. And it was said of him that he was short on lectures; long on conversations, short on answers; long on questions, short on abstraction and propositions; long on stories and analogies, short on telling you what to think, long on challenging you to think for yourself.

Many of the club managers, I talk to, acknowledge and agree with the importance of critical and creative thinking. However, amid busy club life, find it difficult to encourage it in their colleagues and teams.

Critical thinking is the ability to make informed decisions by evaluating several different sources of information objectively. As such, critical thinkers possess many other essential skills including analysis, creativity, problem-solving and empathy.

Club Managers have always found critical and creative thinking extremely valuable. It is taxing, frustrating and highly inefficient to constantly handhold and micro-manage team members because they are unable to make judgements about how best to proceed.

The ability and willingness to assess situations, make objective judgments based on well-supported reasoning and suggest alternative solutions, are key factors in a team member’s value and contribution to your club.

High levels of critical and creative thinking in a club are essential preconditions of success. As a club manager, you can’t do everything by yourself. You need to feel confident that you can rely on your team members in everyday operations and also during times of evolving challenges.

So, as a club manager, how do you promote and encourage critical and creative thinking in your club? Here are seven (7) tips

1. Encourage Team Members to Express Opinions

Help boost inspiration in your team by allowing everyone to have a voice. Allow your team to express their opinions because critical and creative thinking, along with difficult conversation skills, are crucial aspects of decision-making.

Encourage your team to make decisions alone, review outcomes and support and train them to consistently make good choices to support desired outcomes and results.

2. Brainstorming – Solutions and New Ideas

Recognise the benefits of brainstorming sessions. Give your team the chance to express their ideas, and draw from their diverse backgrounds and experience to start meaningful team conversations. It’s a great way to encourage creativity, get them to focus on business-critical matters, and gain valuable innovative ideas and thoughts.

3. Data-driven Analysis

Critical and creative thinking is not only about intuition, personal experience and inspiration. On the contrary, individuals who perfect this skill rely mostly on data-driven analysis to support their claims. Using data is something that you and your team should use as a basis for decision-making. However, also remember, don’t take information for granted as this is the most common cause of business mistakes.

Encourage team members to analyse every detail of their work before taking action to ensure successful outcomes.

4. Be a Problem-Solver

Spend time identifying the challenges and issues affecting your club, internally and externally, and focus on fixing problems as a team. Highlighting issues encourages the need to put your problem-solving caps on. Every club has its fair share of problems to fix and it’s fair to say that there will always be challenges, problems and issues in every club, large or small. Encourage your team to embrace issues with a new level of energy and determination to find solutions and reduce reoccurring problems.

5. Invest in Training and Development

According to research, the generation of Millennials is struggling with critical thinking in the digital age. They receive tons of false information and don’t know how to determine what is right and what is wrong, which is why you need to help them to overcome this issue.

Further internal coaching and external training should focus on the basics of club methodology and logical reasoning. Secondly, team members need to know where to find reliable information and how to draw meaningful conclusions from it.

6. Review and Analyse Outcomes

Critical thinking is all about analysis. You can encourage critical thinking among your team by analysing results and the decision-making process that contributed to the outcome. Provide team members with positive feedback for good decisions, making sure to recognise their efforts and share good news stories with the rest of the team.

Also, be brave enough to learn from poor decision-making. Talk openly about what worked well and what didn’t and identify new ways to improve future outcomes and eliminate reoccurring challenges. Constructive feedback is important.

7. Be a Role Model

The best way to inspire your team is to be a good role model. If they see you constantly coming up with alternative solutions to club challenges, they will likely start behaving just like you. Therefore, you should be one of their main motives to embrace critical thinking in the workplace.

The next club manager's webinar, “Developing Critical and Creative Thinking Skills in your Club”, defines these different skill sets and looks at the ways club managers can develop them to improve productivity, team harmony and overall results.

If you would like to register and attend, please visit


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