“The Law of Win/Win says, ‘Let’s not do it your way or my way; let’s do it the best way’.” — Greg Anderson
In the book, Six Thinking Hats, Edward De Bono presents a framework for organizing and improving thinking.
Six Thinking Hats is a way to look at a problem from multiple perspectives.
Explore Multiple Perspectives with Skill
Normally, when we look at a problem, we might get stuck looking at the negative side, or the positive side. Or, we might look at it in terms of just the facts, and ignore how we feel about it.
With Six Thinking Hats, you explore six different views of a problem, by putting on an imaginary hat for each perspective.
This technique can help you as an individual to explore a problem more robustly and to get unstuck from your thinking. And it’s a powerful technique for teams to help everybody on the team look at different angles of the problem.
The imaginary hats also help people step out of their comfort zone and explore alternative or even competing views. And it’s a powerful thing, when everybody wears the same hat at the same time, so everybody is helping each other see the positive, see the negative, see the facts, etc.
Switch Hats to Switch Your Thinking
By using a metaphor, the hat, it’s easy to switch modes of thinking by switching hats. The main idea is to turn destructive arguments into constructive thinking. The approach is to have people wear a certain hat depending on what type of thinking is needed for the moment
The Six Thinking Hats
The six hats in Six Thinking Hats are:
- White Hat – the facts and figures
- Red Hat – the emotional view
- Black Hat – the “devil’s advocate”
- Yellow Hat – the positive side
- Green Hat – the creative side
- Blue Hat – the organizing view
3 Key Themes
Key themes throughout the book are:
- Thinking your way forward over judging your way forward.
- Parallel thinking over argument, adversarial, and confrontational.
- Setting direction for thinking over describing what perspective your thinking was.
Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways from Six Thinking Hats:
- By switching hats, you can switch points of view.
- It’s easier to ask somebody to wear another hat, than tell them to change their thinking
- You can reduce time in meetings spent arguing towards constructive dialogue
- You can better balance thinking, particularly in a group (for example, creativity with negativity or emotional perspective with facts)
Get the Book
Six Thinking Hats is available on Amazon:
Six Thinking Hats, by Edward De Bono
Image by Boudewijn Berends.