Wearing a Different Hat

August 13, 2015

Are you feeling stuck in a problem and can’t see a viable solution? Here is something very useful that I use in my work: the Six Thinking Hats of Edward De Bono.

 

De Bono is the father of lateral thinking, which means looking at a problem in different and unusual ways. Sometimes we are stuck in a situation because we keep looking at it with the same mindset that is blocking us. One way to change this is to look at the same situation from different perspectives, and one way to do that is to wear six colourful hats.

 

Whether you are an individual, a team or an organisation, this is a useful method to get unstuck, move forward with confidence and make the decision that is right for you. New ideas and opportunities may open up that were previously hidden from sight.

 

So, are you ready to try this exercise together? Pick a challenge you or your team are currently dealing with. Visualise it, hold it, and go to your hat rack. You will find six hats to wear. Trust that you will discover things that are useful and might even surprise you. Be open and curious while you wear each hat. Explore.

 

Pick the WHITE HAT: this your chance to look at all the data you have about your situation. Do you have all the information you need to make an informed decision? What information do you already have and what is missing? What else do you need to know and how are you going to acquire that information? When you are wearing this hat, you are simply observing the facts, without any judgment and without any emotional attachment. Write down what you have found.

 

Now pick the RED HAT: how do you feel about this situation? Look at your feelings and emotions freely, without any judgment. What does your gut feeling say? Do you feel any tension? Where do you feel it? What are the sensations in your body? What are your fears?This is a space to explore your emotions and follow your intuition. Write down what you have found. It is good to know what emotions are in there for you.

 

Pick the BLACK HAT: some people have it naturally, others less, however this is as crucial a hat as all the others, and it will help you see all the obstacles and threats there are to face. These are the Weaknesses and Threats of a SWOT. You need to look at your situation with critical judgment and caution. Find all the weak spots. Look at the dangers. Be logical. This is a risk assessment so that if there is a pit-hole you will be able to avoid it, or even better, you will know exactly where all the hurdles are. Record everything you have found.

 

Now pick the YELLOW HAT: here is your chance to look at the bright side! Look at all the benefits of the current situation. Even if it seems challenging, what  is the positive side of it? These are the Strenghts and Opportunities of a SWOT. What will this particular situation allow you and your team to experience and to learn? How can it be useful and beneficial? Be logical just like when you were wearing the black hat. Benefits are just as tangible as dangers, we need to look at both. Write down all your pros. Smile!

 

Pick the GREEN HAT: this is your chance to be really creative and get excited about it. With the information you have and the knowledge of the pros and cons of your challenge, unleash your creative potential and seek out all the opportunities. Are there new possibilities that come to your mind? New ideas sparking? Explore them all, including your wildest ideas. Share them with your team, have a brainstorming session, use the collective intelligence, see all the possible solutions there may be. Write them down.

 

Finally, pick the BLUE HAT: look at the process. What have you learned from looking at your challenge from different perspectives? Do you need to think more about something? How are you going to use the results of this process? What is your next step? How are you going to move forward? This is your chance to look at the full overview of the situation, having experienced and learned something valuable from all angles.

 

So…how did it go? Did you find, as is often the case, that you have gained a deeper sense of calm and more clarity on your situation. How are you going to move forward?  

 

Drop me a line to share your experience and how this exercise has benefited you. Would you like to go deeper and work together on your challenges? Apply HERE for a Discovery Session with me.

 

Keep riding the wave, keep exploring! 

 

 

 

 

 

"What about thinking with my orange hat?" :)

 

 

 

 

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