Thursday, April 30, 2015


The Six Thinking Hats

 Image result for the 6 thinking hats

Everyone wants to be heard!        

Dorette Nysewander, EdD, “DrD”


 Believe it is a given to say that all employees and volunteers have attended numerous workforce meetings? What is your experience repeatedly? Were you able to interject your thoughts or subject matter expertise? If you were, was it heard? With demands placed on the active workforce, everyone has the task of focusing on achieving positive end results for their companies; however to arrive at this point takes communication, communication and more communication! Whether it’s a meeting or project if all communications are presented through personalities, multiple tasks, and emotions it often causes a decline in a Results. Oriented. Work. Environment or [R.O.W.E.]. By applying patterns of critical thinking is it possible to come up with a methodology in which everyone manages the initiative through a role? Let’s see what you think…


Edward de Bono created the six thinking hats for business leaders in hopes that each would come to the understanding that thinking is a “skill”. He took a positive, practical approach towards decision-making and the exploration of new ideas. All of us at one time were thrilled with the idea of coloring inside the lines with primary color crayons and playing nicely in our sandbox. It has been mentioned a few times in our lives that all we really need to know is what we learned in kindergarten. As with then and now the only difference is the ability to apply it while maturing, growing and gaining wisdom. So…what are these hats and how do they work?


Blue hat --- managing hat, cool the color of the sky above everything else, vision

White hat --- neutral and objective hat, concerned with facts and figures

Yellow hat --- sunny and positive hat, always optimistic and radiates hope

Red hat --- presents an emotional point of view

Black hat --- careful and cautious, concern with profit and loss

Green hat --- associated with fertile growth, creativity and new ideas


This process serves two purposes. The first is to simplify thinking by allowing a thinker to deal with one thing at a time. Instead of having to deal with all six perspectives at once, the process helps to separate each role and thought. The second is to allow a switch in thinking. While in a meeting if an individual wearing a black hat is consistently pessimistic they might be asked to wear the yellow hat. The most important take away here is that the process does not threaten an individual’s ego or personality.


Some guidelines for using the thinking hats is for all individuals to stay within the role of the current hat they’re wearing. No personality is to be presented. The managing blue hat directs the initiative. There is no particular order for critical thinking thus no order in which roles of the hats are presented. It is important to switch up the roles of the group at an appropriate time. The blue hat can also direct all parties to think in the role of one particular hat at a time. The thinking hats can be used in a singular practice as well. If an individual has presented a profitable idea [black hat], ask them to put some green hat thinking towards the idea to creatively determine another use and possible two-fold profits.


Hope by now the inner child has surfaced and you feel inspired to participate. Results frequently reported by Fortune 500 companies are typically associated with four categories of influence: power, time saving, removal of the ego, and practicing one thing at a time. The power of the process is working all parties intellectual, knowledge, skill and abilities in the same direction for a positive end result. Meetings that would typically take 4 hours have been reduced to 45-minutes with all parties aligned. Know that United States managers spend nearly 40% of their time in meetings! Just think if using the six thinking hats reduced all meetings by 75 percent, you would have created 30 percent more manager time—at no extra cost!


Alright everyone, it is time to put on your critical thinking hat!



 DeBono, E. (1999). The six thinking hats. New York, NY: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company (2015). Six thinking hats image. Retrieved from


Trivedi Effect said...

None of these trends are natural ways of thinking, but rather how some of us already represent the results of our thinking.

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