Mastering Analytical Thinking: The Future of Skills

The Power of Analytical Thinking

Have you ever encountered individuals who cherry-pick facts and data to bolster their opinions, disregarding anything that doesn’t align with their narrative? There’s a good chance they lack the ability to derive meaningful and accurate insights from data. It’s rather ironic that in our increasingly data-rich world, so few know how to wield this information effectively. What we need is more analytics and fewer anecdotes.

The Research Verdict: Analytical Thinking Reigns Supreme

And the research solidly backs this up! According to the World Economic Forum’s 2023 “The Future of Jobs” report, analytical thinking is considered the most crucial skill. DeakinCo’s L&D research, which surveyed 200 organisations, also revealed that three of the top five reported skill gaps revolved around analytical thinking:

  1. critical thinking and problem-solving, 
  2. data analysis, and 
  3. data literacy.

Analytical and Creative Thinking: Complementary Forces

Analytical thinking goes a long way in enhancing our understanding of business dynamics, ultimately facilitating more effective decision-making. It transforms us into better leaders who pose more insightful questions to our teams – not just different questions, but better ones.

It’s essential to recognise that analytical thinking and creative thinking aren’t at odds with each other. Analytical thinking involves the capacity to tackle complex issues by evaluating information. Analytical thinkers can uncover patterns within datasets, often leading to creative and innovative solutions. In essence, these two skills complement each other harmoniously.

Overcoming the Fear: Building Analytical Skills

Many of our participants confess, “Data is not my friend” or “I’m more comfortable with words than numbers.” Spreadsheets often strike fear into their hearts. They’ve often convinced themselves they’re not cut out for it, before even giving it a shot. The good news is that acquiring these skills isn’t overly difficult, but learners need to see the relevance and have opportunities to practice in a supportive environment.

Bridging the Gap: External Expertise and Analytics

One challenge we’ve observed is the gap between some business leaders (whose performance is evaluated in very concrete terms) and HR/L&D functions, which might not hold the same appreciation for analytical skills. In such cases, it’s common to enlist external expertise to bridge this skills gap.

Our COE graduates, for instance, hone their analytical skills by analysing their actual processes with their own data – no hypothetical case studies here. This approach helps them become comfortable with data, enabling them to pose more profound questions. Consequently, they cease reacting solely to the latest data point and instead unearth the root causes of issues, granting them more time to concentrate on what truly matters. We teach our graduates to manage the patterns not the points! They discover they’re sitting on an ocean of data but were missing out on the valuable insights it holds.

Unearthing Opportunities: A Case Study

One recent graduate employed a straightforward analysis we assisted with to focus his team on the most significant opportunity areas, quickly realising over $2 million in benefits. COE graduates have shattered numerous myths through their analytical prowess.

Conclusion: Transforming Leaders through Analytical Thinking

Do you have leaders who could benefit from training on making data-driven decisions? Don’t hesitate to transform them into well-rounded leaders by developing their analytical thinking skills. Start the journey by checking out our COE program here.