Asking the Right Questions Critically

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Asking the Right Questions Critically

In the book, “Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Ninth Edition), by M. Neil Brown and Stuart M. Keeley”, the authors examine the benefits of critical thinking as it relates to the process of asking the right kinds of questions. What are the right kinds of questions? These authors maintain that critical thinking is a method used to improve the way we think by asking the questions that would enable you to reach a personal decision that would eventually give credit to both sides of the discussion. Critical thinking is in essence the analysis, synthesis and evaluation of one’s experience, as it relates to the worth of the discussion at hand. The authors define critical thinking: “as the awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions, the ability to ask and answer critical questions at appropriate times; and the desire to actively use the critical questions.” (p. 2) In my examination of the Memo by Denise Khali of Triad Insurance Company of Indianapolis, I will apply the 10 steps method developed by Brown and Keeley, to examine the arguments made. What are the Issue and the Conclusion?

In the memo sent by Ms. Denise Khali, Vice President of Human Resources, to the CEO, Mr. Robert Shaw, the main issue is whether or not their company Triad Insurance Company of Indianapolis (TICI), should support an initiative to have their junior insurance executives attend a leadership development program (D. Khali, personal communication, October 4, 2010). The proposal that was endorsed by one of their senior staff members, a Mr. Ralph Clarke, would send 20 employees to a program 3

offered by the Aspen Leadership Institute of Colorado at a total cost of $100,000, not including the additional $100,000 for lost man hours. In regards to the conclusion, Ms. Khali believes that TICI should not invest in the proposal to send the junior executives to the annual leadership training. She argues that a leadership development program would be a waste of money. That the money could be better spent if the company would say for example, focus on recruitment. For her, recruitment of individuals with leadership qualities takes precedence over sending the wrong individuals to training. What are the Reasons?

Ms. Khali’s believes that the learning development proposal should not be supported because for a company that has been in business for over 50 years and has continued to an annual growth rate of nearly 12%, it’s not logical. Every year the company continued to see a steady flow of revenue and what is important here to note is that, not one of their twelve senior executives have ever attended a leadership training program. So would it not in fact be a waste of money to fund the initiative? In addition to this information, she also argues that through the years the leadership at TICI has remained successful and effective, supporting her claim that a leader must in fact be born and not made. According to the world renowned economist Dr. Charles Parker, we are born into this world with the intrinsic qualities of leadership that is gifted at birth. From this we are led to believe that at birth, according to her, we are natural born leaders, with the likes of Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther4 King Jr., who all entailed that leadership quality of ambition, self confidence and intelligence. These leaders had that key ability to influence, motivate and enable others, to be the best that they could be. In two well-respected published research articles, the Journal of Applied Psychology and Leadership Quarterly, it is documented that leadership qualities are based off of one’s personality traits. So to be a leader, your personality traits must lead you in that direction. Ms. Khali, argues that the company does not need to train leaders, because it is more logical for the company to recruit individuals with the skill to lead. That if in fact the company were to...
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