by Frank | May 25, 2020, 9:01 PM
What is your instinctive approach to decision making? If you're naturally optimistic, then chances are you don't always consider potential downsides. Similarly, if you're very cautious or have a risk-averse outlook, you might not focus on opportunities that could open up.
Often, the best decisions come from changing the way that you think about problems, and examining them from different viewpoints.
"Six Thinking Hats" can help you to look at problems from different perspectives, but one at a time, to avoid confusion from too many angles crowding your thinking.
It's also a powerful decision-checking technique in group situations, as everyone explores the situation from each perspective at the same time.
Six Thinking Hats was created by Edward de Bono, and published in his 1985 book of the same name. You can now find it in a new edition.
It forces you to move outside your habitual thinking style, and to look at things from a number of different perspectives. This allows you to get a more rounded view of your situation.
You can often reach a successful solution or outcome from a rational, positive viewpoint, but it can also pay to consider a problem from other angles. For example, you can look at it from an emotional, intuitive, creative or risk management viewpoint. Not considering these perspectives could lead you to underestimate people's resistance to your plans, fail to make creative leaps, or ignore the need for essential contingency plans.
In this article, we explore how to use the Six Thinking Hats technique, and show an example of how it can work.
You can use Six Thinking Hats in meetings or on your own. In meetings, it has the benefit of preventing any confrontation that may happen when people with different thinking styles discuss a problem, because every perspective is valid.
Each "Thinking Hat" is a different style of thinking. These are explained below:
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