Critical Thinking Based Leadership

21st Century Leadership Development

A New approach? Again? Why?

Creative Disobedience, Digital -Ready leaders, Cross-Silo collaboration, Agile Innovation, Integrated Employee Experiences,  collaborative design and problem-solving teams. Need we go on? The world is changing – again…

Leadership has always and remains a “perennial issue in business” ( Deloittes -2015). In the current climate business are faced not just with the requirement to identify and cultivate new leaders, but a completely different type of leader, breed of younger, more agile, “digital-ready” leader.

A recent survey of 800 top leaders, 64 percent believed people are a cost, not a driver of value – (1). This is insanity.

Obviously technology is critically important, but human capital remains indispensable. Top performing companies are moving to a “leadership-as-A-team” effort and are developing and or recruit leaders who can work together, complement each other, and function as a team.(2)

Leadership is also becoming more incidental. To meet the agility requirements of the 21st business environments, effective business are resorting to creating temporary teams tasked with specific problem solving or program development tasks. (3) As a result, leadership development can no longer be a linear, “career-ladder” based program. 

Today’s leaders needs need new capabilities.  Companies expanding success parameters beyond pure fiscal performance parameters, such as innovation and agility. Based on the latest’s Deloittes research,  fully ninety percent of companies are redesigning their organizations to be more dynamic, team-centric, and connected.

This new type of leader must understand how to build and lead teams; keep people connected and engaged; and drive a culture of innovation, learning, and continuous improvement. (4) These skills are more inherent in the millennials currently working their way up the corporate ladders , but culture, values and the organisational leadership paradigm still flows from the top and it is in wood-panelled rooms where these new skills are often seen as the end of the world as we know it.

But, although leadership development is recognized as critical, it is often viewed with scepticism and ” a waste of time”.  And not without some justification. Even a rudimentary market research on the number of leadership programs the average manager has attended, will attest to the waisted millions and countless hours in the pursuit of the ever-illusive “successful leadership development program”.

Not to mention the tsunami of “leadership coaches” and self help books promising to address this issue once and for all. the reality is that most leadership programs fail to deliver lasting, ongoing behaviour changes. And aside from the personal “religious-like” experiences (the lasting effects remains in question) most leadership development programs make little impression on the participants. 


Why is it that in a century, where send rovers to mars, create flexible video screens and dancing robots can we not design and implement a  leadership development program that actually delivers the ongoing behaviour changes?

The answer will surprise you…

Your brain is the most powerful pattern seeking, pattern finding and pattern machine ever encountered. It is the product of eons of evolution and is primarily designed to keep us alive. Pattern-based thinking (or intuitive thinking) is literally your brain base code.

Research shows, however, that we are all born with a ‘hard-wired’ predisposition to use ‘instinctive thinking’ strategies that are inherently faulty at determining and fully understanding causation. The most common form of thinking used to address causality is ‘common sense’, which is heavily influenced by emotions, assumptions, and cognitive biases.

Unfortunately, the use of error-prone, instinctive thinking has an adverse effect on learning, quality, productivity and profitability.

Symptoms include knee-jerk reactions, ineffective initiatives, repeated mistakes, firefighting and wasted effort. Ironically, organisations that are weak in critical thinking are less likely to recognise the true cause of these failures.

Managers or leaders are constantly reasoning, that is ‘forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences’ about ‘what-caused-what’. Their ability to ‘get at causality’ and reason effectively ultimately determines their success, especially in relation to key areas such as strategy formulation, problem prevention, performance improvement and people management.

By enhancing your critical thinking ability, you are investing in your most important resource and the ultimate competitive advantage – your mind.

Here is a simple example. Below is a static image. What do you See?

Critical thinking is the scientific process designed to cut through your brain’s pattern-seeking behavior, eliminate your cognitive biases and get the simple, factual truth. 

The program is based on the integration of research across many disciplines, including cognitive psychology, clinical medicine, public health, epidemiology, neuroscience, social science and strategic analysis. Special emphasis has been given to the emerging field of high-reliability organisations.

The program utilises case studies to illuminate the differences between Instinctive & Critical Thinking and to afford the participant safe application.

The case studies are drawn from many disciplines: archaeology, forensic science, law enforcement, Intelligence (both collection and analysis) military history, strategic and security studies, ecology, neuro-biology, cognitive psychology, air-accident investigation, epidemiology, environmental science, public health, clinical medicine, sociology and behavioral psychology.

The program has successfully been delivered to:

  • FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • CIA
  • Woolworths
  • Queensland Rail
  • Institute for Learning Professionals
  • Amway
  • Intel
  • US Defence forces
  • DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • Shine Lawyers
  • Microsoft – Global Security
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • MSU School of Criminal Justice – Intelligence Program
  • US Department of Homeland Security.

Program overview.

Our Critical thinking based Leadership program is a 6-12 month that rests on 4 core pillars;

  1. Critical Thinking – A critical foundational skill required by all leaders and recognized as good practice for all core design making.
  2. Learning Agility (the ability to learn from experience) –  An individual skill required by all successful learners-
  3. Understanding your leadership shadow – the awareness of and ability to modulate your unspoken impact on your team and coworkers.

The program integrates research across many disciplines, including cognitive psychology, clinical medicine, public health, epidemiology, neuroscience, social science, and strategic intelligence analysis.

Our program has already been successfully delivered to a number of high-risk, high-performance organizations and individuals in Australia and America.

They include organizations and cohorts such as such as intelligence analysts, law enforcement, and first responders of the Department of Homeland Security, banks, law firms, national retail and international mining companies.

Assumptions are the result of Instinctive thinking.  

What assumptions can you see below?


Delivering a program effectively over 6-2 months requires a different approach.

We applied the hard science of learning and instruction, behavioral science, Neuroscience and Behavioral economics to create a delivery methodology that measurably drives your learners to proficiency. 

The methodology is supported by our automated continuous learning platform which supports both face-to-face and online delivery formats. BabbleSnap is based on the concept of Learning Paths and Knowledge Hubs.

The integrated communication feature nudges and nurtures your learners to proficiency while the real-time performance review capability tracks completion an skills mastery. 

Our program is built around the concept of sprints. Each sprint covers one topic and allows for personalization by allowing the participant to select the skill they wish to work on.

For more information please submit your details below for a more in-depth overview. 

Your leadership shadow is often the single most dominant influence on the culture of your organisation or your team.

The human need to belong, the desire to be accepted and to belong to a group is what drives our conformity. Below is a simple but poignant example.

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