SIX THINKING HATS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

Ever wonder why some CEO’s are so good at making decisions that ensure their company’s success?  Is it their astuteness, their instincts or a mixture of both? In reality, the art of decision-making is a skill that can be learned and, of course, improved upon.

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In today’s business world, there are many tools you can use to your (as well as your organization’s) benefit. Rather than just writing an old-fashioned laundry list of pros and cons or using the more contemporary P/M/I (Plus/Minus/Interesting) strategy, we now have a wide array of decision-making methodologies at our disposal.  While research shows that only 95% of individuals approach a problem by using any particular strategy, it is still worthwhile to explore these models – a structured thought process is better than nothing at all.

When it comes to decisions, even electing to not make a choice is a decision in and of itself.  As a result, decision-making strategies have been developed to help organizations make choices that appeal to the various components that comprise decisions:  social, emotional, and political.  With this in mind (pun intended), the Six Thinking Hats method demonstrates the six different states in which the brain identifies and considers the various facets of a specific problem. These distinct states are represented by six different colors which acknowledge not only the facts we encounter when making decisions but also the associated human emotions:

  • White:  Information: What are the facts?
  • Green:  Creativity:  What are the new thought processes?
  • Red:  Emotions:  What are the emotional feelings?
  • Yellow:  Positive:  What are the benefits?
  • Black:  Judgment:  What are the potential problems?
  • Blue:  Thinking: How are we doing in our thinking?

With Six Thinking Hats, you can basically don the different hats at distinct moments in time to ensure that you are approaching the problem from a variety of angles. This switching of hats helps you cover all of your bases by taking a look at the problem from different perspectives and acknowledging your emotions before arriving at your final decision.

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