Many young professionals have a strong desire to quickly advance and accelerate their career growth. Unfortunately, a large number of them fail to expedite their progress partly due to their lack of real-world experience. However, contrary to popular belief, one doesn’t have to have tons of experience to succeed in the real world. All you have to do is think differently—in fact, think like a lawyer.
Particularly, employers highly value employees who are adept at thinking on their feet by utilizing critical thinking skills—and many lawyers have mastered this skill.
While in law school, students have to perform in an extremely competitive environment. They are constantly challenged by their professors and peers, so they must always be on their A-game. Consequently, they learn how to quickly think outside of the box to identify problems and offer solutions.
Lateefah Muhammad, of Akbar Law Firm, PA, is a successful Florida A&M University College of Law graduate who has mastered the skill of critical thinking. In addition to practicing law, she serves as a professor where she teaches her students how to think critically in her business and law classes.
“From their executives to their lay employees, employers want professionals who can think critically all throughout the organization,” Muhammad says. “Similar to what lawyers do for their clients, young professionals must utilize effective critical thinking strategies to reduce organizational risks and solve problems.”
She also advises young achievers to remember the “A.S.E. Method” in order to hone their critical thinking skills:
Analyze: Critical thinking is a process of analysis that is applied to a problem by seeing all sides of the issue and then using sound reasoning to offer solutions. Make sure that you utilize this holistic approach to analyze your problems.
Strategize: You should view critical thinking as a chess game because it’s all about strategy. You must think three or four steps ahead of the average employee when searching for solutions. Doing this will help you demonstrate that your level of thinking is much deeper and more creative than the typical young professional.
Execute: You can develop and execute your critical thinking skills by heightening your exposure. This can be achieved by placing yourself in positions where you can take on challenges that are considered to be at a higher level or outside of your scope. The more exposure you give yourself, the better you’ll become at thinking on your feet.
Once you make a name for yourself by providing quality solutions to complex problems in a relatively quick fashion, your boss will begin to see you as an indispensable resource to the company.
Antoine Moss, Ph.D., (@2PositiveTweets) is a nationally recognized resource on internships, early career achievement, leadership and motivation. CEO and founder of CEO Style Consulting L.L.C., Moss empowers professionals and organizations to reach their full potential, and serves as speaker, workshop instructor and consultant. The author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, Moss has been a featured expert on outlets including Fox 8 TV News and George Fraser’s 2011 Power Networking Conference.