How to develop analytical thinking with 9 tips

How to develop analytical thinking with 9 tips

Analytical thinking is a cautious and deductive way of thinking, in which data analysis and logic work together to make decisions. 

This type of thinking uses induction and experiment, as well as research techniques and statistical analysis to make sense of the world. 

Basically, what this means is that someone who has analytical thinking will not make decisions based on impulse or emotion, but through logic and analyzing all the information. 

Another characteristic of analytical thinking is that it compartmentalizes ideas and problems in order to understand the whole through small pieces. 

In other words, to solve a problem, analytical thinking does not seek the solution of the whole, but a solution for each small piece of that problem.

What is an analytical profile?

Having an analytical profile means having the ability to produce and relate different information in a logical way. In other words, analyzing the complete contexts to make the right decisions. 

An analytical profile refers to the ability to evaluate and work with data and information. 

And although many people associate analytical thinking with mathematics and formulas, this way of thinking is much closer to analyzing data and information. 

This means that even those with a humanities background can have an analytical profile. 

What are the characteristics of a person with an analytical profile?

It is common for people with analytical profiles to like to follow rules, be more reserved and think a lot before acting, whether in the workplace or in their personal lives. 

Within the job market, having analytical thinking is quite advantageous, especially when we talk about areas that need a greater sense of analysis. 

Professionals with an analytical profile are precise and do well in objective tasks. They also tend to be competitive, curious and communicate constantly.

Key concepts of thinking analytically  

To help us understand even better how analytical thinking works, there are some key concepts we can explore. Check out: 

  • Planning: means imagining a goal and making a plan to get there. Analytical profiles are great planners, as they can understand all the nuances. 
  • Problem solving: Analytical people solve problems using the compartmentalization technique, analyzing each piece before arriving at a solution for the whole. 
  • Organization and integration: is the ability to organize and structure information so that it makes sense together. 
  • Information analysis: analytical profiles are masters in information analysis, which is nothing more than understanding the origin of the information, what characterizes it, its relationship with other information and concepts and usability. 
  • Questioning: is the act of always asking questions about a situation to get the most logical answers possible. 
  • Root cause: getting to the source of the problem and solving it at the root before it interferes with other situations. 
  • Forecasting: people with an analytical profile are able to assess the chances of risk in a situation and understand what the consequences might be. 
  • Management: is the act of directing and controlling an activity and making individual and group effort more productive. 
  • Decision-making: armed with data analysis, an analytical person can make the decision that seems best. 
  • Transferring knowledge: something important for the analytical profile is passing on knowledge.

Analytical thinking among the skills of the future 

Interviewing 18 thousand professionals in 15 different countries, the McKinsey Institute reached some conclusions about the future of work and the skills that the professional of the future should have. 

Among the soft skills mentioned, analytical thinking stands out. 

According to the research, the role of professionals in the future will be to add value beyond what automation can do. 

In other words, this professional will be able to navigate digital well, but will also have a series of soft skills that will help to be adaptable. 

In addition to analytical thinking, the research identified 56 other skills that make up the professional of the future. 

They can be divided into four large groups (cognitive, interpersonal, digital and self-management), but we will present them in six categories. Check out: 

  • Critical and analytical thinking: how professionals deal with problems and information on a daily basis, how they face challenging situations and make decisions based on data. 
  • Communication and collaboration: knowing how to collaborate with colleagues, listen actively, communicate decisions clearly and speak well in public. 
  • Adaptability: not being resistant to change and understanding all aspects of the place where you are, also looking for new ways of doing something. 
  • Emotional intelligence: understanding your colleagues and managers before drawing a conclusion, having empathy and knowing how to resolve conflicts. 
  • Self-management: having responsibility for deliveries and managing time, but also taking control of your own career. 
  • Digital fluency: using digital tools well, but also having constant learning, curiosity and searching for innovative solutions.

Analytical thinking 

It is important that we take advantage of this space to say that having analytical thinking is not the same thing as having critical thinking. 

In general, analytical thinking is within the critical way of thinking, but there are differences between them. 

As we said, thinking analytically involves analyzing data to find a solution to a problem. This thinking usually ends when a conclusion is reached. 

And what happens after that is critical thinking. This other type of thinking can be characterized by the ability to apply interpretations to conclusions. 

In other words, based on the conclusion that analytical thinking brought, you compare it with theories you know, authors’ thoughts and experiences to arrive at your judgment about the situation.

The stages of analytical thinking 

As we said above, analytical thinking compartmentalizes a situation in order to seek a solution for each of the parts before solving the whole. 

And for this analysis to happen, there are some steps that analytical thinking follows. Check out the description below: 

  1. Identify possible problems and challenges; 
  2. Create questions that help to better understand the identified problem; 
  3. Pay attention to missing information about the problem; 
  4. Check all assumptions about the solution; 
  5. Analyze what led to the assumptions about the solution because the problem may lie in them; 
  6. Understand the point of view of those involved in the problem because this also influences the problem; 
  7. Think about the implications of this problem, the consequences of the solution and what the decision will entail.

How Analytical Thinking Helps Your Personal Life

Having an analytical profile also helps your personal life. 

This is because you can make better decisions and manage your personal projects better. You also become a more confident and trustworthy person. 

How to develop analytical thinking with 9 tips 

Now that you understand what analytical thinking is and how important it is for your career in the future, let’s talk about how you can start developing it. 

As we said, this is a skill that depends solely on data analysis, so it can be trained.

Below, we list 9 tips on how to develop analytical thinking: 

1. Be more observant

Observe people in the workplace for patterns, but don’t restrict this behavior to the office. Also observe the people on the street and within your family. 

In addition to observing people, also observe how things work.

Understand how tasks are done and how they reflect on the whole. 

2. Read more books

Reading is a great way to develop analytical thinking, but not just reading.

Ideally, you should have an active reading, that is, ask yourself questions before and after reading.

The tip here is not just to enjoy the content of a book, but to learn to think about it and capture the messages it conveys. 

3. Practice logic games

A good idea to train your analytical skills is to play chess, Sudoku, crosswords and puzzles.

This type of game proposes a problem, gives you some tools and hopes that you can use them to find the solution. 

4. Try to learn one new thing a day

An important part of this type of thinking is knowing how to relate information, so a good way to develop analytical thinking is to learn new things. 

It can be within your work area or for fun, but make the act of learning a habit. 

5. Practice looking from other points of view

Training your ability to look at the world from another person’s point of view brings not only empathy and tolerance, but also the ability to understand the other person’s reasons. 

Trying to see a person’s reasons for having a certain opinion or worldview helps train your analytical skills.

6. Ask questions

Another essential point of analytical thinking is asking questions.

This is because, when you ask questions, you are exploring a situation in order to reach a conclusion. 

So, always train yourself to ask why something.

7. Find out how things work

Knowing how things work helps you understand processes. 

Whether within your work area or in your personal life, ask yourself how something works and why it works the way it does. 

8. Analyze your own decisions

In addition to observing other people and asking yourself how tasks are done and why, also try to observe yourself. 

The journey of developing a skill will always involve self-knowledge, so never stop analyzing your own decisions and what leads you to act the way you do. 

9. Look for patterns

When relating information and analyzing situations, standards (and even the lack of them) are essential.

Therefore, try to observe the patterns of what happens around you. 

This helps you find relationships between things that don’t seem to be related at first glance and also helps you come up with creative solutions. 

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