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analytical thinking
26 Oct, 2021

Why analytical thinking is in great demand

At the heart of analytical thinking lies the ability to deep-dive into complex issues and fix problems or devise solutions based on facts. That is, information or data that has been organised, analysed and visualised (in certain contexts), to communicate meaning and inspire effective change.

Given the vast amount of knowledge available to businesses and organisations, it’s no surprise that analytical skills are widely in demand from employers and can give you a competitive advantage across a wide range of fields. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s chief economist, Karin Kimbrough, they’re one of the top three most in-demand skills in today’s ultra-competitive job market, along with soft skills and digital skills.

At Kaplan Business School, our business analytics courses have been designed to train and sharpen a student’s analytical thinking so that graduates feel confident to implement data-driven decision-making within an organisation.

Analytical thinking draws on a whole host of skills including data analysis, research, and problem-solving. At the centre is the ability to identify cause and effect relationships and map out potential outcomes.

It can be thought of as an important step in the process of critical thinking, where information and data are broken down into manageable parts to inform solutions, before drawing on new information or personal judgements.

Why is analytical thinking so important?

Analytical skills are valued by employers because they indicate a professional can logically approach complex problems and situations and arrive at well-thought-out solutions.

As a bonus, it’s transferrable across all industries and roles. Although perhaps most essential to roles in business analytics or project management, it’s also critical to industries from law, finance and accounting to creative services like marketing.

Professionals who possess analytical skills in a workplace can:

Contribute to decisive decision-making: using step-by-step processes to make deliberate and informed decisions communicates to employers that you can think objectively and conveys confidence in your work output.

Find innovative solutions: by breaking down a problem into smaller parts, and analysing and evaluating different solutions, analytical thinkers can determine the best actionable solution for a given challenge that a business may be facing.

Increase productivity: being able to solve problems efficiently can help improve operations and therefore increase the productivity of a company or business.

Plan and prioritise effectively: analytical thinkers have the foresight to prevent issues from happening and are experts at breaking downs tasks into manageable steps to create well-structured action plans.

Require less supervision: analytical thinkers are good decision-makers even under pressure and are less prone to making mistakes.

BENEFITS OF ANALYTICAL THINKING IN THE WORKPLACE

>  Contribute to decisive decision-making

>  Find innovative solutions

>  Increase productivity

> Plan and prioritise effectively

>  Require less supervision

How to train your analytical thinking

Developing analytical skills can be approached in a variety of ways – from playing brain games, asking questions and honing your observations skills, to a more structured and formal approach through education and training.

Develop an analytical framework

Formal processes and frameworks can be adapted to help create structure and guide and facilitate problem-solving. Reading textbooks, articles and other resources to gain an idea of the general types of skills and analytical tools you might require is a great starting point. In terms of education pathways, studying an MBA can be a great way to expand on your critical, creative and analytical thinking skills in a business context. Or a Master of Business Analytics can cover the more technical aspects of analytical thinking and allow you to gain insights into analysis tools that can help a business or organisation thrive.

Find a mentor

Learning from a more experienced professional who navigates complex situations and faces problem-solving as part of their day-to-day can be invaluable in helping you hone your own skills. Organising a monthly meet up over a cup of coffee provides a great opportunity to discuss various scenarios and how you can apply their processes and ideas to your work. A mentor will also be able to point you to other resources and advise what you can do to further build your skills.

Open yourself to different perspectives

Regularly engaging with various opposing viewpoints can help you expand your perspective and recognise any potential biases. When analysing data, it’s critical to consider all possible interpretations and keep yourself open to different ways of thinking. Challenging your assumptions is part of this process. Engaging in online discussion forums or debates and brainstorms within your workplace can be an active way to practice your critical evaluation of ideas, arguments, and points of view.

Find out more about our Master of Business Analytics and how it can take your analytical skills to the next level.