How the brain works—not just decision-making but also the critical processes that support it
Differences between the concepts of “cognitive readiness” and “critical thinking”
Seven core competencies leaders need to excel under VUCA conditions
The latest business surveys show that critical thinking now ranks as the most desired leadership attribute for businesses (see the EDA Trends in Executive Development Report). While critical thinking works well for complicated environments where answers can be found by concertedly applying good processes, additional skills are needed to survive under volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) conditions. For VUCA environments, where causes and effects are unclear and creative solutions often trump tried-and-true processes, leaders and organizations need an expanded set of “cognitive readiness” competencies.
The U.S. Armed Forces originally developed the concept of cognitive readiness. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, service-members have found themselves thrust into VUCA, high-scrutiny, and high-tempo conflicts. Each situation must be approached with reflection and creativity, the adaptability to notice and react quickly to evolving conditions, and a strategic understanding of the larger system and far-reaching effects of actions taken within it. Although business leaders (hopefully) don’t face the same threats as military personnel, corporations encounter their own sets of challenges and often operate under commiserate levels of complexity, scrutiny, and time pressure.