Decision Making And Six Thinking Hats, Part II

Posted under Decision Making on Sunday 5 August 2012 at 9:15 pm

Click here to read Part I.

Thinking under Yellow Hat is totally opposite to Black Hat, it means positive logical objective thinking. Yellow color in decision making symbolizes sun and light, so this hat makes us consider all positive moments of our solution or decision, think over optimistic results of the mission, estimate the advantages and benefits. Six Thinking HatsThis hat is especially effective for problems solving, when the situation seems to be negative, so looking for positive moments may encourage making correct and most effective decisions.

Green color of the hat symbolizes grasses and fertility, so thinking under Green Hat means using creativity in order to generate some new ideas, to look for alternatives and fresh approaches, and to analyze possible ways of solving the problem or decision making. This concept requires speculative thinking, which can be done with the help of a number of creativity techniques.

Finally, Blue Hat thinking is the last stage of the whole strategy. It makes us summarize and control the results obtained from all the previous “colored” procedures. During group thinking this stage must be performed by its leader. Blue color of this hat symbolizes skies, so it makes us look at the solution or decision from above perspective and try to understand, whether we came to the right solution or decision or not. If the ideas are not sufficient and the problem needs more attention, we can be back to Green Hat thinking. Blue Hat thinking is very important: it requires skills to overview, to analyze and to control, together with abilities to use meta-cognition.

As it is possible to understand from the description of the method of Six Thinking Hats, it can be more effective when performed in group, because this way a number of different independent personal opinions can be obtained and considered. It is remarkable that every each procedure of thinking must be performed by ALL members of the group, without selecting people for each particular hat according to their personal characteristics (for example, Black Hat thinking must be done not only by “natural” critics or pessimistic individuals, but by everyone in the group).

This technique of decision making is especially valuable and useful in commercial and business environment, where correct decision making becomes principal point for successful functioning and progress of an organization. This strategy of thinking helps to focus and concentrate on the problem, to get broader view of the situation, to develop abilities of clear lateral thinking and creativity, to improve communication skills, and, therefore, to fasten the procedure of decision making.

Six Thinking Hats strategy can be used in many different situations: for example, when administration of a company is trying to make a decision about expanding their business, launching a new trade mark, constructing or renting new buildings, opening a new affiliated office, or employing another CEO, etc. Also, we can use this method individually, when our decision requires some serious consideration and creativity. It can be, for example, solving some interpersonal problems, or making decision about moving to a new house.

But in some particular cases, for example, when the problem does not require deep thinking and extended analysis, when there is not much of available information or data connected with the problem, when all the risks are low and decision must be made fast, or when proper decision can be made randomly, this method may not be very useful due to its relatively big expenses of time and bulkiness.

This strategy is universal, very effective and widely applicable to all decision making situations. It does not require any special preparation or training (though some authorized training groups do exist), so it can be performed by anybody in any place. Many giant and powerful companies, like IBM, Polaroid, DuPont, British Airways, Federal Express, Pepsico, and others, successfully use the method of Six Thinking Hats for making important business decisions and looking for the most effective business strategies.

The technique of Six Thinking Hats is a perfect practical tool for effective decision making. It promotes creativity and helps to avoid possible mistakes in selecting a solution or decision. It allows combining critical rationalism and positive emotions in order to receive better output. It helps to make the process of evaluation and decision making much more constructive and productive.

Decision Making And Six Thinking Hats

Posted under Decision Making on Wednesday 25 July 2012 at 12:48 am

Decision MakingGenerally, 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. Six Thinking HatsSometimes 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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