Critical Thinking or Creativity: Which is most crucial?

By: Lou Quinto, Leadership Speaker & Executive Coach, Executive Development Associates, Inc.

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Imagine this. Experts are divided on which skill is most important to business and personal success – critical (rational) thinking or creativity. It’s like watching Fox News and MSNBC report on the same event, but as usual, both reach different conclusions. Who can you trust?

So, which skill – critical thinking or creativity – is most important?

They both are! They are two sides of the same coin. Experts do agree that both critical and creative thinking are essential. Some even include creative thinking under the category of critical thinking.

Why are both critical and creative thinking essential? To solve problems, you must think deductively and rationally (critically) whereas in other instances you need to think expansively and innovatively (creatively). If you were to approach all problems from a purely rational, deductive manner, you would never exceed current levels of achievement. Conversely, if you were to approach all problems creatively, you would never understand why something wasn’t working and be able to take corrective action. Many problems require a blend of the two approaches. To focus on developing one and ignoring the other not only risks ineffective problem solving but it runs the risk of stifling “forward-looking” or “progressive” solutions and reactions.

About the Author:

Lou Quinto has over 20 years of experience in employee development, management training, executive coaching, and consulting with expertise in teaching managerial skills, critical thinking skills, professional presentation skills, and motivational speaking. His style of training and consulting is described by clients as engaging, motivating, and productive, making him a popular choice for conducting seminars, management retreats, and executive coaching sessions. Lou is a graduate of Purdue University and resides in Indianapolis, IN.