Program Description

According to the latest World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs report 2020) critical thinking and problem solving are top skills growing in need as we near 2025. We live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world in which organizations must cope with fickle expectations and ferocious competition. As we witnessed through the pandemic and ongoing recovery, this environment imposes higher cognitive demands on leaders. They are expected to make accurate judgements and decisions about a broader range of issues, more quickly, and more often. The consequences of error show up faster and often with a significantly higher cost to individuals and the organization. The reality is that leaders have more responsibilities, more conflicting demands, more disruption, more distraction than ever before and are expected to drive more change across the organization. This translates into less time for analysis, likely imperfect or insufficient data, and higher levels of stress. These factors combine to ‘push’ leaders to rely on error-prone intuition, often a “gut feeling,” and to make decisions based on erroneous information.

The Broad College of Business Executive Development Programs offers Critical Thinking for Team Leaders to help meet an ongoing demand for critical thinking skills among those who lead teams and those who build teams. After attending this program, participants will be able to utilize new strategies for effective problem solving and decision making. As a consequence, they will be empowered to prevent their usual problems and avoid different, oncoming challenges. By maximizing critical thinking and reasoning, individuals will enhance their most important resource and the ultimate competitive advantage — their minds.

Developing Critical thinking Skills is Vital to a Team Leader’s Effectiveness
Critical thinking underpins effective decision-making
Critical thinking is central to learning agility (self-directed learning from experience)
The modern approach to strategic management mirrors a critical thinking approach
Critical thinking is essential to competing as a high reliability organization
Leaders who are good at critical thinking cast a mighty leadership shadow
Critical thinking is essential to leveraging the minds of your people


Today’s business environment can best be described as fast-paced, data-heavy, counterintuitive world, and often unpredictable. The ability to quickly diagnose and resolve problems through critical thinking is more important to team leaders and business success than ever. According to Forbes Magazine, the World Economic Forum and businesses across a wide range of industries, critical thinking is among the top three workforce skills most in demand.

The Broad College offers Critical Thinking Skills for Team Leaders to help meet this demand. During this two-day, in-person work session, individuals and teams are challenged to expand their thinking abilities to improve problem prevention and problem-solving. Participants are provided a toolkit of practical decision-making strategies and research-based reasoning models, all of which can be immediately applied on the job.

Developing a culture of critical thinking produces many organizational benefits, including:

  • The agility to change and adapt to new environments or procedures
  • A broader perspective for preventing problems and effective strategic planning
  • Less waste of resources - including time, and broader levels of employee engagement.

Critical Thinking Skills for Team Leaders gives managers a key competitive advantage. It enables participants to avoid common thinking pitfalls such as “instinctive thinking,” navigate “group think,” and prevent problems from building. The two-day exchange also explores “ingenious thinking,” typically recognized in successful innovators, scientists, strategists, and Nobel Prize winners.

Key Learning Objectives

After attending this program, participants will:

  • Understand how to think critically using a structured process
  • Learn the six-step Critical Thinking strategy that incorporates ‘disciplined instinctive thinking’
  • Evaluate how critical thinking relates to root cause analysis and effective problem solving
  • Assess the importance of being a skeptical and independent thinker
  • Analyze how to identify and value cognitive errors in thinking
  • Prevent the illusion of ‘causality’ that leads misperceptions and misidentified cause and effect
  • Compare the difference between “instinctive thinking” and “ingenious thinking”
  • Apply strategies for overcoming instinctive thinking and leveraging reasoning ability
  • Examine simple, yet powerful cognitive strategies such as Einstein’s Needles and Occam’s Razor
  • Recognize how innovative thinking (creativity) plays a crucial role in critical thinking.

These learning objectives will be achieved through faculty instruction, group discussions, and interactive exercises.

Faculty and Speakers

Michael Rip, Ph.D., M.Sc.(Med), is the founding director of MSU’s Healthcare Management Program and an Assistant Professor of Management for the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. He has collaborated extensively with the School of Criminal Justice to strategize a critical thinking and problem-solving framework for intelligence analysts and law enforcement offices within the FBI and the United States Department of Homeland Security. Rip has integrated problem prevention science and critical thinking for innovation leaders in major corporations such as Microsoft, Amway, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. He is the founder of MindLeap, a consulting firm offering training around the world for improved decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation.

Who Should Attend?

Critical Thinking for Team Leaders is for those responsible for anticipating and addressing problems within their group, in their division or across the organization. Former participants include mid to upper management, analysts, research and design directors, engineering and operations managers, information systems developers, enterprise system managers, financial administrators, health and education administrators, vice presidents of strategy and team leaders from a variety of businesses and professions.


"Excellent real life examples. Practical experience shared. Tools to use. Good application of knowledge and tools through exercises."

"The examples, case studies, relevancy and applicable means to put the learning and research into practice."

"Very thought provoking. Excellent presenter."

"The material was fantastic and I'm looking forward to leveraging it in my professional and personal life."

Additional Information

The Broad College invites you to experience our unique and engaging approach to learning via web conferencing paired with a learning platform. You will have easy access to the materials for this program and ongoing interaction with the teaching expert. Whether you want to expand or refresh your knowledge, you will gain tremendous value and insights from our extensive experience with the live, online delivery format.
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