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Six Thinking Hats

A recent interaction with someone left me feeling a little helpless and sad. This person has decided to invest money he can ill afford into a project that to me seems inherently doomed to fail.  He was highly enthusiastic about it and even tried to get me to invest in it. No amount of reasoning and logic on my part could make him see why this was something he needed to get out of fast, before it sucked him dry. All I can do is hope that he comes to his sense sooner rather than later.

This interaction got me thinking about the process of decision making and how we are often not trained to do it. I’m sure you’ve heard of Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. In case you haven’t bothered to find out more, I’m sure it’s  because  you thought it was some management mumbo jumbo. Since it is  a highly useful decision making tool, I decided to simplify it and see how it can apply to our lives.

When we encounter a problem or a situation that calls for a decision we tend to take one based on certain perspective. For example, while a lawyer might decide something from a very rational viewpoint,  an artist might decide something from a creative or intuitive one.  Six Thinking Hats encourages us to move out of our habitual thinking style and look at the situation from various perspectives.

Six_Thinking_HatsSix Thinking Hats calls for you to put on all six hats in the process of decision making:

Putting on the Blue Hat you decide how you are going to go about this process of decision making and also set out an action plan. This is the first and last step of the Six Hat Thinking process.  At the start of the process you say, “Okay, what sequence shall I follow to make this decision….?” “I’ll wear the Yellow Hat first….”.  At the end of the process, “Right, so now, have I looked at this with all the other hats on? ….”I’ve come to the conclusion that this is what I need to do based on………”

When you wear the  White Hat you gather all the data, facts, information that is  known or needed to come to your decision. You say, “I need to study the company’s balance sheets to decide to invest……..”  “I need to meet Mr X and Mr Y and get their opinion…….”.

When you don the Yellow Hat you have a very optimistic outlook. You look for the value and benefits of your decision and all the possible positive outcomes of it. You say, “If I decide to do this, then I will be able to get ……..”  and “I will certainly see a change for the better in my lifestyle……”

Wearing the Black Hat encourages you to exercise caution. It helps you to look at all the possible problems and difficulties your decision might lead to and helps identify potential areas of failure.  You think, “What if this project does not take off …….?” “How much money will I lose if the company goes bankrupt?”.

Under the Red Hat you allow your  feelings, intution, gut instinct, and hunches to play a part in decision making. You feel, “Something just doesn’t feel right” or “I know it doesn’t make complete sense, but I feel this is the best course of action” are thoughts that occur to you.

The Green Hat  encourages you to get creative and look for  alternatives, solutions, new ideas and possibilities. You say, “Let me think of another way of solving this problem” and “Let me brainstorm all possible ways of ….”  “I’ll start looking at alternative actions….”

Six Thinking Hats is just one of the many decision making tools available to us. In time, I’ll share with you some more that I’m familiar with.

What is the process you use to make decisions? Do you tend to wear only one hat all the time? 

I’m linking in to The Writer’s Post Thursday Blog Hop. This week’s host is the charming Jenn Duffy-Pearson – a lady who wears many hats with grace!


  1. Dr Edward DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats Provides Strong Stimulus for Ideation Dr Edward DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats Provides Strong Stimulus for Ideation May 9, 2013

    […] Six Thinking Hats ( […]

  2. Sylviane Nuccio Sylviane Nuccio March 19, 2013

    Hi Corinne,

    I like those thinking hats.

    When I started reading your post I couldn’t help feeling sorry for this guy. It’s amazing how some people fall into traps like this. I really feel sorry for those people.

    It’s really is a good thing to put on our thinking hats indeed. This war real good info. Thanks.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..IS Google Not Liking Blog Comments?My Profile

  3. Melissa Tandoc Melissa Tandoc March 17, 2013

    Wow! I’ve never encountered these special thinking hats… Thanks for introducing them to me. It has come perfectly at this time and I need something really positive to make a lot of things work for me now and in the future 😉
    I trust God in everything…but I’ll also use these hats in keeping my hopes high 🙂
    Melissa Tandoc recently posted..To the End & BackMy Profile

  4. Loy Loy March 16, 2013

    Interesting concept. I think that in order to make a sound judgement, you’d pretty much have to wear all six hats at once! Thanks for sharing!
    Loy recently posted..We-Did-A-WalkMy Profile

  5. Michelle Liew Michelle Liew March 14, 2013

    Ah, I have always loved the father of lateral thinking. This was a good recap of his lesson, which I learned some time ago! Will don these hats daily, Corrine!

  6. C. Suresh C. Suresh March 14, 2013

    Of course having been a management student and all, this was known to me but lucidly simplified.

    I wish you’d put on all those hats and decide to post all your posts on Indivine as well Corinne. What have you got to lose – a few seconds of your time and readers like me will also come over regularly? 🙂
    C. Suresh recently posted..Middle Age BluesMy Profile

  7. saran saran March 13, 2013

    An Excellent Blogpost Relevant to the Topic. It really generates a new thinking pattern in the viewers. Please pursue with your Blogging Activities.

  8. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando March 12, 2013

    Decisions, at least major ones, do require us to look at our choices from different perspectives. I love the hat analogy! It’s a great reminder to stop and analyze before we leap into anything.
    Blessings, Corinne!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..The Husband ProjectMy Profile

  9. Privy Trifles Privy Trifles March 12, 2013

    Interesting concept!!

    Whenever I have to make a decision I do it very rationally and if it has to be in a jiffy then the only thought that comes to my mind if What is the worst thing that can happen and can I deal with that. If I answer yes to both, that’s it 🙂
    Privy Trifles recently posted..A Gift ~ of LoveMy Profile

  10. Rachna Rachna March 12, 2013

    Yes, I have read about this. Nicely explained. Maybe not 6, but I do wear 2-3 hats while making decisions.
    Rachna recently posted..The men in our lives!My Profile

  11. Lazy Pineapple Lazy Pineapple March 12, 2013

    Hey I did not know about this tool. Thanks for bringing it to my notice. Having more of creative bent, many of my decisions are impulsive but over the years I have tried to become more practical and take decisions after thinking about all the pros and cons.
    Lazy Pineapple recently posted..The Caption Contest ‘You think you are funny?’ is backMy Profile

  12. Inspiring Citizen Rafi Inspiring Citizen Rafi March 12, 2013

    Hi Corrine,

    You article brought back memories of my first job where I had attended a training on 6 thinking caps.

    If you apply it in the appropriate manner it really works..
    Inspiring Citizen Rafi recently posted..10 Steps To Success Before You Reach 40My Profile

  13. Anne Anne March 12, 2013

    Heard of this theory before and it really does make so much sense. Many times, we do all 6 ways of thinking but are just not aware of it. Other times, we just focus on one or two which perhaps is why we come up with bad decisions.
    Anne recently posted..Home at lastMy Profile

  14. colleen colleen March 12, 2013

    How interesting!:) I have never heard of this theory before but after careful reflection, feel I wear the red hat most often. 🙂 Next time I shall try them all!
    colleen recently posted..Hospitality As An Expression of LoveMy Profile

  15. sandra tyler sandra tyler March 11, 2013

    I don’t think I wear any of these hats! I better try them on!
    I’ve tried to contact you now via email and FB messaging, did you get them? If your’e not interested, that’s fine, but I just need to know as I’ve heard from everyone else and am ready to do the layout.
    Thanks! Sandra
    sandra tyler recently posted..Tale Tues: My “New” Look at 50My Profile

  16. Jenn Jenn March 11, 2013

    I have never heard of The Six Thinking Hats. What an excellent take on this week’s topic!! I enjoyed this. I guess, I wear too many hats– and it is time to let my head breathe for awhile.

    Thanks for hopping along 😀
    Jenn recently posted..Life in Hats…My Profile

  17. Bindu Bindu March 11, 2013

    That was a very nice way of putting it, Corinne! Currently reading his “Teach Your Child How to Think” and loving it 🙂

  18. janu janu March 11, 2013

    Is there ‘hat’ just for thinking…more so the ever worrying kind? I guess I often wear the red hat…and incidentally, red is my favorite color too.

  19. Harleena Singh Harleena Singh March 11, 2013

    Aha…you surely got me thinking Corinne 😉

    I liked the way you used these various colors – six of them to make us wear six thinking hats to make decisions. Speaking of myself, I think my decisions are mostly planned and chalked out, rather than the quick on the spot decisions, though sometimes we have to take those too, depending on the situation we are in – it all really depends. But yes, making calculated wise moves is what works more for me. I prefer proceeding ahead and making my decisions by keeping all the options open- and seeing the pros and cons. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this one with us. 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..30 Top Women Bloggers of Aha!NOWMy Profile

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