Switch hats and optimize your thinking

6 thinking hats

Edward De Bono’s famous book Six Thinking Hats outlines a very neat trick on dealing with change in everyday life. The hat you put on allows you to change your perspective of the situation thus warranting an appropriate response. You can be the same person, but your hat can let you change your behaviour.

When you adopt the Six Thinking Hats you can visualize cases from multiple perspectives, one at a time, to get a rounded view of the situation. You can debate upon solutions to a problem and be more open towards each other’s view because every perspective is valid. This thinking when applied at a group level can help to achieve desirable results.

Edward De Bono Six Thinking Hats helps you switch between different mindsets and analyze a set of circumstances from a range of perspectives.

White Hat

White hats represent facts, where you focus on the data available. When you wear this hat, you focus exclusively on the existing facts, figures, statistical data and MIS. You adopt a very objective and neutral approach in the discussion.

This is a very fundamental hat to be worn, when decisions are to be made.

Red Hat

Red hat represents emotions. The person wearing this hat is entitled to express his feelings, emotions and intuition without being required to provide a justification or logic.

This is the person’s gut feeling and must be respected as carrying some inherent knowledge.

Green Hat

Green hat represents creativity and fertility. The thinker wearing this hat generates new ideas and creative solutions to a problem.

Under this hat, we utilize lateral thinking to introduce new options and alternatives where creativity is the main ingredient in thinking. This allows you to look at the creativity in the situation you are evaluating.

Yellow Hat

Yellow hat represents positivity. You embrace a sunny approach, looking out for the benefits of implementing an idea. This hat is constructive because it obligates the thinker to look at the brighter side of the situation.

This hat gives you the optimism to keep moving forward even when everything looks gloomy. It will help to put aside your gloomier side and look at hope in a new light.

Black Hat

Black hat signifies being cautious. This hat plays the role of critical evaluation where you put forth a word of caution. You exercise your experience and logic to examine reasons why an idea or solution won’t take off.

You tend to spot fatal flaws and risks before you embark on a course of action. It prevents us from executing ideas that are not feasible in the long run. It will help to analyze the risks and decide if they are worth taking.

Blue Hat

Blue hat represents process control. This hat is used for organization of thinking. It sets the focus on the critical topics to maintain discipline in sequential thinking.

It will allow you to look at the picture from a bird’s eye view. You will not get bogged down by the details and instead will see the full impact.

When we change our hats and envisage events from the hat worn by the other person, the scope for arguments reduce and we become more accommodative of the views from others. This technique of rotating hats while thinking promotes collaborative thinking, improves exploration and enables thorough evaluations in order to arrive at a rational decision.

Change is always painful if you do not see the benefits of the change and wearing the Six Thinking Hats helps you look at the benefits from different perspectives.