February 7, 2011

Making Decisions with Six Thinking Hats in Meetings

Six Thinking Hats book
The Six Thinking Hats designed by Edward DeBono can be a great help in meetings for any type of team trying to get work done. For example, the 6 hats work well in decision-making and problem solving meetings. The black and yellow hats can be used to explore both the risky and beneficial aspects of an idea in a rational way. The blue and green hats help with controlling the meeting and encouraging creative thinking. Whereas the white and red hats require analysis of data while allowing a safe way to express emotions tied to an idea.
You could use all 6 hats as a meeting process when working on a team for solving a problem or when innovative and creative ideas are needed. Some hats may even be used twice. As examples, in problem solving the white hat is used twice and in creative sessions the green hat is used twice. The blue hat is used throughout the meeting to: open the meeting, transition between hats, and close the meeting. Thinking hats is a defined process to make sure all perspectives are considered and that good questions are asked before making a decision in any type of meeting.

You do not have to use all 6 hats in every situation. For example if you only want to evaluate whether something is a good fit for you personally as an individual. You could use the black and yellow hats as a way to make a Pro/Con List or start a PMI Chart on what you are considering to help you make a go/no go decision. Or if you are an entrepreneur who wants to quickly review a business opportunity, you would use the white hat to review available data, utilize the green hat to develop ideas on how to take advantage of the opportunity, and put on the yellow hat to find potential benefits for your ideas. Or perhaps you or your group wants to look for several alternatives, you would come up with the alternatives using green hat and then evaluate them using yellow and black. When reviewing alternatives, always wear the yellow hat first to find out what might work with an idea and allow a little more time for yellow than for black. It is harder for others to see what might be right about an idea than to find what is wrong – make sure black is second so you do not eliminate a potentially good alternative before it really gets thought-out.

If you would like an example project using Six Thinking Hats, check out MindTools’ Looking at a Decision from All Points of ViewTry thinking hats in a meeting and come back to post comments on how it worked for you and your team.

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2 comments:

MyATM said...

This is a very informative and very well thought of blog. Thanks for sharing your ideas and tips. Continue blogging. Cheers!

Mary Jo Huard-Southwest Training Institute said...

One of the most important job skills that employees need
is the ability to relate, think, create, and innovate. We all know what happens
when we use yesterday’s solutions over and over—we keep getting the same
results—right? Today, we must be able to solve problems we have never seen
before. Today’s workforce needs the ability to relate to each other--to work
collaboratively; they need thinking skills, problem-solving skills, analysis
skills, decision-making skills, and creative thinking skills in order to produce
innovations. Fine-tuning thinking power; is the easiest way to get added value
from your existing thinking assets.

Six Thinking Hats
is a systematic process that helps thinking become more
constructive, comprehensive, and full bodied. Simply put, this process or
method enables a measurable shift from adversarial to productive thinking.