Every manager faces crises in the course of his work. The further development and success of the business largely depends on how correct and balanced his decision will be at that moment. But how to understand what option will be effective and correct? A huge number of thoughts appear in your head, confused with your own worries and doubts, preventing you from adequately assessing the situation. But if you look at it differently, from a different angle, it can lead to the choice of the right option. Everything seems simple and clear, but how to do it in real conditions? The 6 Hats method developed by Edward de Bono, a well-known psychologist and expert, will help.
It is a special technique of organizing thoughts to help you consider a situation from different angles in order to make a correct and balanced decision. This method is based on the concept of parallel thinking. Many decisions are made through arguments, debates and discussions. In such circumstances, the more persuasive and actively promoted option is often recognized as the correct one. But it is not always the correct one. When using the 6 Hats method, opposing versions, opinions, and approaches do not “clash,” but peacefully neighbor each other.
This technique is a kind of brainstorming or role-playing game, where 6 hats of different colors are six ways of thinking. Literally or mentally trying them on, the person plays the appropriate role, looking at the problem from a certain point of view.
By changing hats, the perspective of the issue changes:
Responsible for setting goals, managing the process, processing the information received. The person who puts it on becomes a moderator, leading the discussion. He sets goals, tasks, asks leading questions, summarizes the results. He does not argue with other hat wearers, does not evaluate their statements. It depends on him how constructive and useful the conversation will be.
The wearer of the blue hat asks himself the following questions:
The blue hat task is to see the task from the top, make a work plan, analyze the information received and draw conclusions based on it. Strategic thinking is required to manage these processes.
The blue hat can be passed around to other group members so that everyone can participate in shaping the plan and the nature of the conversation. They can make adjustments to the rules, ban certain topics, or contribute other ideas that enhance the conversation.
“To make our discussion productive, I suggest we set the time limit for each participant to speak at 10 minutes.”
“I believe it is not worth wasting time discussing this issue as it has already been decided.”
According to psychologists, the answers to many questions lie in the subconscious. Trying on this hat, a person gives free rein to his emotions and intuition. He shares with others his fears, experiences, joy, admiration, freely expresses any of his feelings without justifying or limiting their manifestations. This is important when dealing with complex and emotionally filled problems. The main thing is to be extremely honest and sincere towards yourself and other participants in the discussion.
Here are questions that would be appropriate for the wearer of the red hat:
Based on your emotional reactions, you will understand the consequences of your decisions. This will help you take steps to prevent them. Using this hat helps you to see the subject matter from the outside.
When using a “red hat” it is important to keep the following points in mind:
” I wouldn’t buy this product because of the unfortunate design.”
“I have to be involved in the discussion on this topic because the decision made on it will affect my career with the company.”
If you feel like your decision is the right one, but you are experiencing some anxiety in your soul, this is a reason to think about reconsidering it.
It is associated with analytics, i.e. with dry figures and facts. Putting on this hat, a person concentrates on finding and analyzing the necessary information, selecting sources where it can be obtained. Here are the questions that are associated with the white hat:
The wearer of the white-colored hat captures opposing viewpoints. Analyzes, evaluates the accuracy of the information provided. Separates real facts from hypotheses and assumptions. Summarizes the results achieved: what has been done so far to solve the problem, what attempts are being made to eliminate it, what more can be done to achieve the desired result.
“Our sales were down 10% this month. At the same time, the average check increased by 15%. I believe this is due to an increase in the price of our company’s goods.
“We conducted an internal investigation to address the issue. It revealed more than 10 violations of technical norms.”
That is, the wearer of the white hat is an outside observer stating specific facts.
Her task is to conduct research on the issue under discussion in order to clarify the consequences of each decision. The man in the black hat assesses potential risks, looks for hidden threats, identifies weaknesses in the issue under discussion. He backs up his criticisms with concrete arguments. He is given the privilege of interrupting participants wearing other hats. His questions:
Using this hat helps to generate a negative scenario for each decision in order to develop an effective plan of action in unconventional and difficult situations.
“I believe it is time for us to stop investing money in this project until it pays off. So far, it brings only losses to the company, and there is no result”.
“I am sure this update will be useless for the client as we have not done any prior analysis of the target audience.”
A positive outlook on life helps to unlock inner resources and see prospects for growth. The following issues are associated with the yellow color:
The wearer of this hat sees positive aspects in everything and makes positive predictions for the future.
“We’ve assembled a great team, so we’ll handle the project in minimal time.”
“With such an affordable price and excellent quality, our product is sure to appeal to customers.”
It implies a creative approach to any case involving non-standard solutions. Creative thinking is important in cases where other methods did not bring the desired result. The man in the green hat fantasizes, proposes any seemingly crazy and strange ideas. Then they are tested for viability and analyzed by the wearers of yellow and black hats.
Issues related to this role:
“What if we do the exact opposite?”
“Let’s turn on the inner child. What would he want in this situation?”
Each participant of the conversation can express his/her thoughts and ideas without limiting the flight of fancy. It is better to use a green hat after a black one, when there is a clear understanding of the possible consequences of certain decisions.
There are a number of rules to follow when applying the 6 hats technique:
The order of putting on the hats may look as follows:
Next, the yellow and black hats are repeated. Their task is to double-check the new ideas. The bearer of the blue hat concludes the discussion. He summarizes the results of the event.
To collect, record, check, analyze information when working with the 6 Hats method, you can use a modern digital service – a functional application for planning and organizing work in a team LeaderTask. With its help, you will make lists of questions to be discussed in a brainstorming format. Assign roles to the participants of the event. Record all important information on a kanban board, you will be able to control and monitor the process of accomplishing tasks.
Thanks to a convenient chat room, you can discuss any issues remotely. Organize structured and systematized storage of information with quick access to data at any time, anywhere, even if there is no Internet connection.
The application integrates with all digital platforms, has a high-quality mobile version, so it will always be at hand when you need it. It has extensive functionality and a full set of tools for organizing work in a team, suitable for effective planning, solving any current and strategic tasks.
The 6 hats of thinking is a convenient method for assessing any problem. It combines a rational analytical approach and an emotional representation of the situation. Seeing it from other angles, you can make a workable plan of action, prevent many miscalculations and mistakes. This technology is suitable for various spheres of life. It can be used to make the right decisions in difficult situations, used in lessons, in business, in personal life. With its help you can better understand yourself, your problems and inner feelings.
You can use a different number of hats, depending on the situation. The main thing is that the dialogue should be organized and orderly. Under all conditions, the blue hat plays the main role in the discussion.