Critical Thinking Skills for Managers

Training Overview and Course Description

Critical thinking is vital for human progress.Today's management environment is more complex and more daunting than ever before. Managers face circumstances daily which call for well-honed skills in critical-thinking.

Critical thinking is a self-regulating process which aims at improving the quality of our thinking. It pursues this aim by first identifying and then holding in check any habits and patterns of thought which limit the wisdom and efficacy of our judgments and decisions.

Ironically, fewer and fewer people are trained to be critical thinkers as part of their academic preparation. In many colleges and universities it's now possible to obtain a degree without taking a single course which requires rigorous critical thought.

SLDI developed this course on Critical Thinking Skills for Managers after companies began asking us to equip newer managers with more effective analytical abilities. The course was developed and is delivered by Dr. Mike Armour, who holds a PhD in the history of ideas.

But this is not a course on philosophy. Instead, it lays out time-proven methods for thinking critically. Then, drawing on challenging case studies, it applies these methods to real-life business and organizational scenarios.


We gladly tailor our management trainings to the unique needs of your people and your organization. Customization is included in the standard fee.

Training Location:

Delivered worldwide as an in-house, off-site, or conference program. Presentations offered in English only.


Based on the needs and scheduling requirements of your organization, we can conduct this training in a condensed version as a one-day program, or in a two-day or three-day format which expands on the themes of the training. If full-day trainings are not convenient for you, we can break the course into multiple half-day segments.

In North America multi-day trainings can be scheduled on non-consecutive days and may even be weeks apart.


Extensive workbooks and handouts, PowerPoint presentations, group discussion, case studies, video clips, small-group breakouts, self-evaluation exercises, and application exercises

Standard Fee:

The standard fee is all-inclusive. It covers pre-event coordination, customization, post-event evaluations, handouts, workbooks, and participant materials, along with incidental expenses. (A slight additional charge may be incurred for more than 15 participant notebooks.) There is generally no travel fee for leadership training in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Full-day training format in North America

  • One-day: $2750
  • Two-day: $4750
  • Three-day: $6250

Half-day training format in North America

  • One-day: $1450
  • Subsequent days: $1200 each

Outside of North America: $600 surcharge per day on the standard fee


We provide discounted fees for

  • non-profits and NGOs
  • trainings for multiple groups within a single organization, even at different locations
  • combining several LeaderTrack® training courses into a multi-day or multi-location leadership education program

Additional Training Options:

Sample Course Content

Here are themes typically covered in Critical Thinking Skills for Managers. The final outline is always developed in collaboration with the client. And at the client's request, the course may include topics not listed below.

  • How critical thinking differs from data analysis
  • The importance of rational thinking for human advancement
  • The use of deductive, inductive, and abductive thought processes
  • Descriptions of each of these processes against the certainty of their outcome:
  • Deduction: The conclusion is absolutely true
  • Induction: The conclusion is likely true
  • Abduction: The conclusion is the best explanation of what we currently know
  • The proper place for each of these thought processes
  • The limitations of each process
  • How deductive and inductive thought processes shape our communication style
  • The inherent limitations of rational thinking
  • Five types of beliefs which color our thought process
  • Non-rational factors which impinge on critical thinking
  • Emotions
  • Conditioned responses
  • Brain chemistry and neurological processes
  • Cultural, ethno-centric, and gender considerations
  • One's sense of identity
  • Deeply held values
  • Unconscious mind processes
  • Entrenched personal dispositions
  • Vested or self-serving interests
  • Personal loyalties, affections, or sympathies
  • Dependent relationships
  • The danger of accounting for problems with simplistic explanations of what caused them
  • Historic examples of costly simplistic explanations
  • Toyota’s “5 Whys” approach to identifying root causes
  • Common mistakes in thinking
  • Not separating facts from meaning imposed on those facts
  • Not identifying and testing assumptions
  • Not considering contravening evidence
  • Not taking contextual variances into account
  • The importance of linguistic precision in critical thinking
  • The challenge of precision in languages like English which are prone to abstraction and nominalization
  • Gaining precision through the practice of de-nominalizing statements
  • Using proper "chunking up/chunking down" techniques to gain precision
  • The pivotal role of questions in shaping critical thinking
  • The Socratic method
  • How to promote precision and critical thinking through good questions
  • How to formulate question which advance the critical thought process
  • The role of models in critical thinking
  • Running "reality checks" on conclusions
  • Future-pacing to test the validity of a planned action