Analytical Thinking: Why You Need It and How to Get Better.

Analytical thinking skills are critical in the work place because they help you to gather information, articulate, visualize and solve complex problems. Even with comprehensive training, there will be many times where you will be put on the spot to think analytically and the right or wrong answer could make a difference with regard to your upward mobility within the company. You want your employees and especially your boss to trust that you will make the most well-informed and correct decisions. Some decisions can even make or break your career. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to have well-developed analytical thinking skills. However, where do you start? Sometimes, you need to use specific techniques to get information in and out of your brain, creating highly effective maps.

Analytical Vs. Critical Thinking

Some people make the assumption that analytical thinking and critical thinking are one in the same. That is not actually true. You want to have the ability to differentiate the two so that you understand when you need to think critically and when you need to think analytically.

When you think critically, you make the decision whether or not an event, an object or situation appears to be right or wrong. Once you are given information, you evaluate the data and determine how it should be best interpreted. You then make conclusions regarding your unique perception of the information. Moreover, you combine your new information with your current knowledge of the world in order to make the most accurate assessment you can make. You start to look into other pieces of data that could be relevant. In addition, critical thinking takes facts and uses them to form an opinion or a belief.

As for analytical thinking, you use it to break down a series of complex bits of inf
ormation. You take thinks step-by-step to develop an overall conclusion, answer or solution. You look at something through different points of view with the objective to create a cause and an effect. To illustrate, you might try to determine why dogs wag their tails, and then come up with the scientific answer.

Also, with analytical thinking, you use facts to support your conclusion and train of thought. On the other hand, critical thinking is more of an opinion-based style of thinking. Analytical skills lead you to have a more focus and stream-lined approach to solution finding where critical thinking skills can go around in circles infinitely. When you have a complex-problem or solution to find, you would use your analytical skills.

Developing Analytical Skills

If you worry that your analytical skills are not up to par, never fear. They can be developed with time and consistent practice. Like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. One way to start is to read more books. This may sound a little too simple of a solution but it really works. How does it work? Well, it helps when you read as actively as possible. Instead of passively skimming over paragraphs and grazing the pages, try to look at both sides of the story. For example, if you are reading a novel, try to see the plot from the perspective of the hero, the villain and other supporting characters. This causes your brain to think in new ways, and increase your stimulation. Thinking differently helps to expand your mind, which is critical.

Another excellent option
is to build your mathematical skills. Calculus, algebra and statistics all make use of logic and analysis. You need to go through each problem step-by-step in order to come up with the right answer. Sometimes, you have to work a problem multiple times before you finally figure it out. This can be frustrating, but you get better with focused practice. You can also work through different puzzles with the goal of solving them.

Try going for a walk, and observing everything occurring all around you. If you see a squirrel, try to determine what it is doing, and then ask yourself why is it doing that? If it is eating nuts, is it being fed or hunting? Is the squirrel resting or watching? After your observations, let them settle in your mind. The next day, write down your observations. Can you recall your questions and answers?

Analysis and the Workplace

So, now that you understand the purpose and how to use analytical skills, you might not yet know how it is used at your place of work. Well, there are several ways that may not have even crossed your mind. For instance, say you have large amounts of numerical data that you need to summarize. In this example, you might need to use the Excel program to plot the information, in addition to Pivot Tables.

If you have a large, high-level project due in a few times, you are going to have to break it down. First, you need to look at the big picture, and ask what purpose it serves and who it benefits. Second, you need to prioritize the steps you need to take and in what order. Third, you might have to delegate several parts of the project in order to get it done on time. Fourth, you will have to manage the progress and results of the project. Wouldn’t it be nice to be considered “the brain” at the office?

Also, you might have to resolve a technical issue. Your first step would be to determine the cause of the problem. Then, you have to fix the error. After that, you want to take preventative measures to ensure it never happens again. All of these things require questioning, researching and analytical problem solving techniques. Without strong analytical thinking skills, you might come up with the wrong answers that could be detrimental to your workplace reputation.

As you can see, it is essential to develop your analytical thinking skills. There are many uses for it and it’s not just in the workplace. It is beneficial at home or anywhere for that matter. As you get better, you will no longer fear obstacles that come your way. In fact, you might be the first to volunteer to nip them in the bud!

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Walmart to make first direct pitch to big corporate ad buyers at New York event.
The event marks Walmart’s first effort to grow its nascent advertising business and heralds the retailer’s rising challenge to online ad leaders Alphabet’s Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Walmart will meet large consumer goods companies and advertising firms for the first time in New York next week to pitch its advertising business, as the world’s largest retailer aims to rev up its website and stores as a platform for other companies to reach customers.

The event marks Walmart’s first effort to grow its nascent advertising business and heralds the retailer’s rising challenge to online ad leaders Alphabet’s Google, Facebook and Amazon.

The event, called "5260," is named after a Walmart store near the retailer’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, which is known for being a test lab for retail innovation, Walmart told Reuters.

It is likely to be attended by hundreds of companies ranging from Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Coca Cola to Mattel, Glaxosmithkline and NBC Universal, multiple sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The country’s top marketing and advertising firms are also likely to be in attendance, the sources, who did not wish to be named, added. Walmart declined to name the attendees.

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Walmart’s pitch will be simple: encourage some of the biggest advertisers to shift their spending to Walmart and away from rivals like Google, Facebook and Amazon. And Walmart says that its massive customer base and data on what shoppers purchase give it a compelling edge.

As consumer behavior has shifted, a growing number of shoppers now begin their product searches on Amazon instead of Google, forcing companies to move their ad budgets to Amazon – a significant change that bodes well for Walmart.

Walmart heralded its ambitions at its shareholder meeting last year when Chief Executive Doug McMillon said, "We have a tiny ad business … It could be bigger."

Since then, Walmart has bought its website advertising in-house, consolidated ad sales for its stores and website under the Walmart Media Group and acquired a startup called Polymorph Labs to boost the business.

The move could help Walmart shore up sales and margins at a time when revenue is likely to come under stress from tariffs on Chinese imports, and margins are under pressure from its billions of dollars in e-commerce investments.

Stefanie Jay, vice president and general manager of Walmart Media Group, told Reuters the company’s "core differentiator" is that its ad offerings are informed not just by online purchase behavior and intent but also by data on what people are buying in stores before and after they see an ad, something its online rivals are unable to see.

Eighty-seven percent of shopping in the United States still happens in stores, she said.

Over 300 million customers visit Walmart’s stores every month, and over 300 million shopped with Walmart online as recently as January, drawing in more shoppers than Amazon, Google and Facebook, according to research firms. "Advertisers are always looking for that complete picture to better understand where they should spend their ad dollars," Jay said.

Walmart’s ad offerings will include sponsored search and display ads, which drive awareness and engagement. Jay said Walmart will add video ads this year.

Along with Jay, other senior Walmart executives attending the event include Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer; Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer; and Charles Redfield, executive vice president of food for Walmart U.S.

The opportunity for Walmart will be capitalizing on the share Google is losing, consultants said. Although spending on Google search ads continues to grow and is expected to be up 17% this year to $40 billion, Google’s market share is expected to slip to 71% by 2020 as Amazon grows, according to research firm Marketer.

Even so, Walmart faces an uphill task.

Beyond search ads, Amazon offers display ads, TV-like ads in live sports telecasts and targeted ads to people as they travel around the web.

Amazon’s global digital ad revenue is expected to rise by more than 52% in 2019 to reach $14.03 billion, according to eMarketer. Pivotal Research estimates it will reach $38 billion by 2023.

In the United States, Amazon is the third-largest digital ad publisher behind Google and Facebook, which combined control about 60% of U.S. online ad spending. Amazon’s share is 5.5%. See MoreSee Less

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