Generally, decision making is the action of choosing from a number of alternatives. Some tools and techniques of decision making are easy and popular, so we commonly use them in our daily life when doing shopping, choosing education establishment, etc. For example, we can record and consider advantages and disadvantages of an option, or look for somebody else’s opinion, or use random methods, like tossing up a coin.
But there are situations, when decision making becomes very responsible and key procedure for future profit or successful accomplishment of the mission. In such cases some advanced and sophisticated methods of decision making must be used. Modern theorists developed many different techniques, which may help to systematize, analyze and estimate the options when making decision, and finally to select the most suitable and advantageous one. Such methods, like Grid Analysis, Decision trees, Comparison analysis, Paerto analysis, SWOT analysis, and many others, are among the most effective decision making tools.
So called Method of Six Thinking Hats was offered in early 80th by Edward de Bono, a famous psychologist and writer from Malta, who was the first to introduce the term of lateral thinking. In 1985 a book of de Bono Six Thinking Hats was published. The book presented a new method of thinking, based on principles of lateral thinking concept, and recommended it as a helping technique for decision making and problem solving. This method is very simple and effective. It makes people to look at their decisions from different points of view and can be performed both individually and during group sessions.
De Bono’s method offers to examine a problem, option or its possible effects from six different perspectives, which are represented by six hats of different colors: white, yellow, green, red, blue and black. These hats symbolize six different types of thinking, or six different directions of analyzing a problem or solution. Sometimes it is effective to use real hats, but mostly they are imaginable. So, in order to start thinking over the problem, a person (or everybody in the group) must “wear” the hat of particular color.
Wearing White Hat means concentration on all available data and information, figures and facts. As a rule, it is initial procedure of the whole method. White Hat symbolizes objective and impartial thinking. Under White Hat we have to analyze, what kind of information is known and what other information we may need to obtain in order to make a good sufficient decision. Sometimes it may lead to making analysis of past tendencies and attempts to extrapolate some information from it.
Putting on Red Hat means looking at the problem or solution from the perspective of intuitive and emotional component, using own feelings and perception. Red color of this hat symbolizes fire or anger, it calls for real spiritual reactions. After wearing this hat we have to listen to our inner feelings, instincts and to the hints, given by our intuition. Also, it gives opportunity to see different reactions of different people in the group. Red Hat in decision making represents subjective thinking, based on individual personal opinion.
Thinking under Black Hat is connected with analyzing negative aspects, looking at all possible weak and problematic points of the solution or decision. Black color of the hat symbolizes Judge’s robe, so this hat involves very important critical objective thinking. Under Black Hat we have to follow critical approach in order to estimate all probable risks, to get prepared for them and to find possible ways of elimination of possible bad effects. Black Hat is the most valuable stage of this method, because it helps to find out and understand why the decision or solution can fail, and how to avoid this failure.
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