How to Make Good Decisions using the Six Thinking Hats


Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Do you ever find yourself stuck and unable to make a decision? How often have you reached out to others for a new perspective?

We each have our own style of thinking. You might be a cautious thinker and make decisions to avoid risk. You might be an optimistic thinker that looks for opportunities. You could focus on the facts or it could be your emotions that guide your decisions.

To solve a problem or make a decision, consider it from many perspectives. This is why we ask for advice or come together as a team to make good decisions.

The Six Thinking Hats is a great tool for solving problems and making decisions. The hats enable you to take on a range of perspectives, which each add value in their own way. By using The Six Thinking Hats you will obtain a rounded view of your situation (Mind Tools, 2017). This will help you to make well-thought out decisions.

Here are the Six Thinking Hats.



(de Bono Thinking Systems, n.d.)

For each hat that you wear, you will consider different questions. These questions will enable you to see from a different perspective. Here are some example questions for each hat.

White Hat Questions

  1. ‘What do I know?’
  2. ‘What are the facts?’
  3. ‘What are the past trends?’
  4. ‘What data do I have available?
  5. ‘What are the gaps in my knowledge?’
Red Hat Questions

  1. ‘How do I feel about this?’
  2. ‘What is my intuition telling me?’
Black Hat Questions

  1. ‘What could go wrong?’
  2. ‘What has gone wrong?’
  3. ‘What are the weak points in my plan?’
  4. ‘What are the potential negative outcomes?’
Yellow Hat Questions

  1. ‘What could go right?’
  2. ‘What are the benefits?’
  3. ‘What value can I bring?’
  4. ‘What are the positives that could come from this?’
Green Hat Questions

  1. ‘Imagine if…’
  2. ‘What is possible?’
  3. ‘What is a creative way to solve this?’
Blue Hat Questions

  1. ‘What problem am I trying to solve?’ 
  2. ‘Am I on track for solving the problem?’
  3. ‘How much time do I have to make a decision?’
(Mind Tools, 2017).

Let us look at a situation that you could encounter as an instructional designer. We will use the Six Thinking Hats to gain a rounded view and decide on a well-thought out decision.

You receive an email from a stakeholder...

[Hey there,

We have reviewed the Health and Safety module. 


  • Do you use a proofreader?
  • I do not like any of the images that are used. They do not align with our style.
Thanks,

Jasmine
Company X]

There are many ways that you can:

  • Think about this email.
  • Respond to this email.
  • Take action.
We have made notes from the perspective of each hat below.


As you can see, each hat has provided a different perspective on the situation. Once you have considered each perspective, you are more likely to make a good decision.

  • Do you have a decision that you need to make? 
  • Have you had an emotional reaction to feedback that you have received? 
  • Are you stuck on how to move forward with something?
Now is your chance! Write down each of the Six Thinking Hats and start to make notes from each perspective. You will be surprised by what comes from this process. It might be the tool that you need to make that seemingly difficult decision.

That is it for this blog on How to Make Good Decisions Using the Six Thinking Hats. We hope that you gained value from this blog and that you are able to apply it to your decisions. If you currently use the Six Thinking Hats, we would love to hear about it!

If you would like to discuss this topic in further detail, contact our passionate founder Kim via kim@belvistastudios.com or by connecting with her on LinkedIn.

References

de Bono Thinking Systems. (n.d.). Six Thinking Hats®. Retrieved from http://www.debonothinkingsystems.com/tools/6hats.htm.

Mind Tools. (2017). Six Thinking Hats. Looking at a Decision From All Points of View. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_07.htm.

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