Critical thinking is a much sought after skill in the workplace, but rarely taught in school — kind of like listening or conflict resolution. Critical thinking is even more elusive to those with ADHD as it depends largely upon one’s working memory, and working memory is often a weakness in persons with ADHD. Working memory is the ability to hold onto all the variables needed to solve a problem and then to mentally manipulate those variables to arrive at a conclusion. It requires one to screen out irrelevant information and preserve the relevant factors while entertaining various scenarios. A critical thinker can solve many problems quickly, but is not impulsive.
Job interviewers frequently call upon a candidate to demonstrate their prowess with critical thinking by posing a problem and hearing not only the candidate’s solution but how he/she arrived at that solution. They may ask for situations in the past that required sustained analysis resulting in a successful outcome. In an article entitled Bosses Seek Critical Thinking, but What Is It? (Wall Street Journal October 22, 2014), writer Melissa Korn cited a Harris Interactive Survey consisting of 2001 U.S. college students and 1,000 hiring managers. 69% of students felt they were “ very or completely prepared” for problem-solving tasks in the workplace. Fewer than half of the employers agreed.
The good news is that critical thinking is a skill that can be taught and improved upon. Enhancing one’s working memory is a good place to start. A most effective tool for increasing one’s working memory is Cogmed Working Memory Training (CWMT), available at the Hallowell Center. CWMT is a five week, do-it-at home, computerized training program coached by Rebecca Shafir, a speech/language pathologist and seasoned Cogmed coach at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury. If critical thinking could make you more competitive or more competent at your job, consider Cogmed Working Memory Training as a first step. For a free inquiry session contact Rebecca Shafir at 978 287 0810.