In my Strategic Thinking Week, some time ago, one of the posts was titled be hypercritical. Still interesting, in case you missed it. In today’s post I want to look at a three step approach to thinking, which builds towards being hypercritical: analytical, lateral and strategic thinking.

Analytical thinking focuses on facts and evidence. In order to solve problems, one should have the strength and ability to pull apart data and break down facts. Another big part of analytical thinking involves systematic rejection of unacceptable alternatives.

Lateral thinking is a more creative approach, where one needs to have the ability to think outside the box and come up with solutions that do not follow a step by step plan. Where an analytical approach is looking at what’s there, the lateral approach focusses on what’s not there.

Critical thinking is giving weight at everything that’s discovered in the steps above. It is about weighing all the options and forming a solid opinion. Critical thinking is always putting all the given data to the test in order to check if it is current and accurate.

These three have a lot in common, but their approach is very different at the same time. In order to solve complex questions, follow the three steps: analyze the data available, try to look at what is not there and finally form your own sound opinion by looking critically at everything you have.