Conceptual Thinking: Use these sample phrases to craft meaningful performance evaluations, drive change and motivate your workforce.

Conceptual Thinking is the ability to recognize a situation or problem by identifying patterns or connections while addressing the underlying issues.

Conceptual Thinking: Exceeds Expectations Phrases

  • Creates a new explanation for a complex situation and organizes information in a way that shows originality and which is not obvious to others
  • Crystallizes the importance and the meaning of a lot of complex ideas into a simple and understandable explanation
  • Applies existing concepts to identify similarities, gaps, differences, and trends while analyzing new situations
  • Thinks beyond the situation at hand and balances multiple perspectives when reaching a conclusion or setting a direction
  • Uses advanced methods and techniques to identify the intricacies of a situation and how they may impact the outcome
  • Applies simple rules, past experiences, and common sense to identify issues and problems in the company
  • Understands the entire company and the effects actions in one department will have on other departments
  • Recognizes and acts in accordance with the company goals, strategies, and priorities and gives suggestions and ideas on how to handle key issues
  • Considers how present policies, methods, and processes might be affected by future trends and developments
  • Goes beyond past experiences and finds new ways of looking at issues to draw out new insight from complex and diverse information

Conceptual Thinking: Meets Expectations Phrases

  • Uses vivid diagrams, analogies, and other simple means of data presentation in order to help other colleagues understand complex new ideas
  • Redesigns various company's departments in order to meet long-term objectives
  • Sees trends, patterns and missing pieces when looking at information and tries to draw links between the information and the context
  • Establishes long-term goals and projects and suggests new ways to meet them
  • Identifies and shares with other employees short-term strategies to overcome problems or take advantage of opportunities
  • Understands the impact of changing customers' needs to the future of the company
  • Integrates complex and diverse data to create concepts that are entirely new but helpful to the company
  • Identifies and creates new strategies that will fulfill the changing needs of the customers in the future
  • Anticipates, understands and acts upon the forces that will help improve one's working environment
  • Sees beyond the current business model and suggests new ways of working that are different from competitors

Conceptual Thinking: Needs Improvement Phrases

  • Comes up with new ideas and suggestions to solve problems, but does not take time to think the negative impact these ideas might have to the company
  • Is unable to step back and see the big picture and does not recognize the need to obtain more or high-quality information
  • Is satisfied with one's way of thinking and solving problems and does not see the need to improve by reading or asking colleagues for advice
  • Perceives working together with one's superiors during performance discussions as a waste of time and does not seem to care about how own targets are derived from the company's objectives
  • Does not use knowledge of theories and frameworks to look at the current situation or help the company achieve an objective
  • Is unable to identify the relationship between the information and the context thus works only from own assumptions about the information
  • Does not know how to group related information into patterns to recognize trends thus, does not identify missing pieces of information easily
  • Is unable to anticipate problems; does not prepare and review contingency plans for situations or problems that might occur
  • Seems disinterested in learning and understanding different operations in one's department thus misses on important trends
  • Is unable to translate complex ideas, observations, and issues and present the ideas in a clear manner that helps solve a problem

Conceptual Thinking: Self Evaluation Questions

  • Can you describe a time you were able to identify underlying or key issues in a complex situation? How did you go about it?
  • Can you give an example of when you integrated seemingly unrelated information in order to anticipate a problem or analyze a situation?
  • Describe the most complex task you have ever accomplished. What information did you use when handling this task?
  • Describe a time when you identified customer's needs on a particular project. What resources did you call on to help?
  • Describe a problem you were solving where you had to work with a concept that was abstract rather that tangible and concrete. What was the outcome?
  • Is there a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation? How did you go about that?
  • Describe a time when you needed to develop and use a complex procedure in order to complete a task. What obstacles did you encounter when handling the task?
  • Can you describe a time when you anticipated the future and made changes to current responsibilities and operations in order to meet future needs?
  • Describe the steps and methods you have used to identify a vision for your department. What would you have done differently?
  • Give an example of a problem you solved when important facts were unavailable. What was the outcome? How was this problem affecting other employees?

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