Six hats are better than one

25 April 2013

If you are struggling to get buy-in from stakeholders on

your latest project or your project team needs help in ensuring the right decision is being made have you tried Edward De Bono's ‘six thinking hats’ from his book of the same name? This is a simple, systematic and effective way of getting buy-in from all stakeholders to ensure the right decision is being made. It eliminates the big egos, gets full participation and helps reduce bad and off-the-cuff decision-making.The basic concept is each member of the team takes it in turns wearing one of the metaphoric thinking hats and focuses on that hat’s particular mode or thought process. This is a great way to pool the team’s resources and thoughts and breaks the cycle of ‘Mr Negative’ or ‘Miss Emotional’ following the set thought processes and comments that they always make. By the end of the process a decision will be made ensuring all factual information (white hat), feelings (red hat), caution (black hat), positive and beneficial (yellow hat) and creative (green hat) directions and thought processes have been discussed and addressed. This is officiated by the blue hat, who manages this process and ensures all the hats have had input and the objective of the topic has been completed. I have used this process on a number of occasions and have found not only does it bring something new and exciting to the process but it also has the opportunity to deliver results and suggestions that might otherwise never have materialised. I have also used the six thinking hats to help improve new policies and processes, presentations and help shape future strategies as an alternative to the standard SWOT methodology. Give it a go to help put some new life into your next project. ☛ James Williams is a partner at Optimus Business Solutions
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