While facing with a number of choices, we may find it hard to make a decision, or may always approach problems in the same way. Emotional people, for example, may not consider decisions calmly and rationally. Many successful people think from a very rational, positive viewpoint, and this is one reason for their success. Often, though, they fail to look at a problem from an emotional, intuitive, creative or negative viewpoint. By always using a positive approach, they may underestimate possible difficulties - such as resistance to their plans and be under prepared for dealing with further problems.
'Six Thinking Hats' is a valuable technique for increasing the effectiveness of decision making. Created by Edward de Bono, it makes you consider the decision from a number of perspectives, forcing you to add different ways of thinking to your usual approach.
This gives you a fuller view of a situation. As a result, your decision and plan will be ambitious, creative and sensitive to the needs of others. They will be carried out effectively, and you will be prepared for the unexpected. You can use Six Thinking Hats with other people or on your own. With others, it has benefit of blocking the confrontations that happen when people with different thinking styles discuss the same problem.
Each 'Thinking Hat' is a different style of thinking. With the White Thinking Hat you focus on the data available. Look at the information you have, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and either try to fill them or take account of them. This is where you analyze past trends, and try to work out from historical data what might happen in the future.
Wearing the Red Hat, you look at problems using intuition, instantaneous reactions, and emotion. Also try to think how other people will react emotionally. Try to understand the responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning.
Using Black Hat thinking, look at all the bad points of the decision. Look at it cautiously and defensively. Try to see why it might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in a plan. it allows you to eliminate them, alter them, or prepare contingency plans to deal with problems that might arise. Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans tougher and better able to survive difficulties. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you start on a course of action.
The Yellow Hat encourages you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.
The Green Hat stands for creativity. This is where you can develop creative solutions to a problem. It is an unstructured way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas. A whole range of creativity tools can help you here.
The Blue Hat stands for process control. This is the hat worm by people chairing meetings. When running into difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they will ask for Black Hat thinking, and so on.