Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Brain Tapper: Overview of Using The Six Thinking Hats Theory and How to Organize Your Thoughts

The Six Thinking Hats was written by Edward de Bono.  I bought this book out of curiosity and really not knowing what was the inside of it.  I thought that it talks about a certain color that separates individuals base on what their favorite color is.  Bottom line is that I bought the book thinking that when I get to the register is that I will be looking cool, intelligent and deep.  I can never forget that day and the lessons learned from the book.


It has been may be 10 years or more when I got that book and probably don't know where it is now.  And just before I wrote this blog, my mind is wondering about what to buy this coming Valentine's Day.  It seems that while I am writing and reading at the same time this blog, It looks like Valentine's Day does not have any connections at all.

So while I am browsing online for a gift, although I know what I am looking for, I suddenly feel lost.  It is not that it is complicated to shop online.  It is just that my location don't have any store nearby where I can pick it up.  So I know what I am looking for, problem is that I have to know where can I buy it nearby.  Base on my approximate I felt lost and exhausted, as if physically I really walked and shopped around a big mall looking for the item and it only took me about 20 minutes by browsing and searching for a shop.

Sadly, I did not get to the part that I know where to go.  So I took a break and started to think about what happened and suddenly my brain tapped the thinking hats.

From what I remember about what de Bono wrote about the hats is that far beyond about personality.  It is actually a way of thinking about a topic and when to think and act in a particular manner.  Please note that I cannot remember all that book said, frankly I did not finish the book, so if you have any comments and suggestion or correction please let me know below the comments area.  Thanks.

So he tagged the Hats with colors.
White - Not to be bias and stick with the facts.
Blue - To get things organize.
Red - This, I guess is the opposite of White, where you can use what you feel.  Opinions.
Green - Is something to do with environment, can't really remember the specific of this color.
Yellow - Is going to be the opposite of Black, I guess.  Where you can see the positive sides and consider them.
Black - Which de Bono thinks is the most important.  Because it is the thought of being be careful.  So most likely it is the one that we normally use because we will tend to be cautious at all times.

So why this theory is important to use in any way?

He actually suggested this during meetings.  I guess the target of the book are readers that works for big corporates, ones who held meetings all the time, big bosses and anything that requires big decisions.

So for me, what I can say about this is that, Yes it is important specially if you are holding a meeting and don't know where to begin and how to end it with somewhat a good plan that might work.  After all, meetings can happen 3 times a week on a typical work place or may be everyday I guess.

I remember an example from the book is that he suggested that to say "OK, let us wear the Red hat this time since we already know what are the facts."  Something like that.

So if you are in a situation that needs to have solid decision that will make a difference in your life along the way then I recommend this and really hope it works.

OK, time to break down some of this by using an example.

So you and your family decide to buy a house.  Something you thought that is better than what you have or something because you have nothing yet.  Of course this is the type of decision that you cannot decide on your own since you are not the only one who will enjoy the 'New House', right?

So gets some facts straight first by using the White Hat.

The basic fact will be asking "Can my family afford it?".  So you will look for prices, you shop around the internet or have good chat with your family if they know any location or if they can provide an answer.  OK so you got your answer and the figures of what you are looking at.  This is a good place to start because it will answer future questions along the way.  So that is one fact you have answered.  

Then you will use the Red Hat.

Where you put your emotion about what facts are provided.  Say you are part of that family that needs your contribution, but you are saving for something that you have been saving for a long time and part of it needs to be contributed to the acquisition of the new house.  You won't help but to feel a bit sad because this will take you back to a certain amount that you have to start saving again.  So you will have to input what you feel about the fact that the cost of having a new place requires your sacrifice and personal feelings.  This will make it clear for everyone involve that you are not intentionally not helping, it is that you have a previous plan before this plan arrives.

The Green Hat, I have to skip because It might not be relevant to the example plus I really could not remember this but I know it is important.

Then Let us move to the Yellow Hat Thinking.  Of course, there is always a positive side to having a new place.  New environment, larger place, most likely neighbor hood is better and think about all the good things that this will give your family in return.  Make it clear because the usual set up is that if a person or group of people moving out from where they are, is that they have a pretty good reason why in the first place.  So think of all the happy thoughts of what is going to be the outcome.

Now The Black Hat.  For me this might be the joy killer, but black hat thinking is considered as important since it talks about what bad things can happen.  So before it happens, at least everyone involve is aware.  So for the example above, everyone needs to think and contribute what they have to say about what they feel that might go bad with the decision.  Let us say the fact that it might cost a lot means that sacrifice needs to happen.  But if the things that can be given up are just small things then say it.  But if there are things that you feel that cannot be given up then say it as well.  It is OK to feel panic, you are just reacting cautiously that is what.  And if people around you starts to say "Wow, he really is scared to give that up."  Then explain why because it will be clear.

And Lastly,  The Blue.  Reason why I put this last is because this is how you will come up with organizing all the thought discuss.  Like a summary.  So you manage the time frame when to start talking with your real estate agents,  schedule site trips,  organize the money versus everything (time, income, expenses and so forth).  Organizing when will be the next meeting to talk about the progress of the project.  Recalling what was discussed before, current situations and problem solving.  So yes, you got your meeting planned. 

So the flow of the Thinking Hats don't really have a step by step.  After using a type of thinking you can go Red to Yellow, Blue to White, and so on.  But clearly the color coded hat can help, instead of rumbling all details.  Because the idea is that your mind will be focus in one type of thinking for a certain moment, provide inputs in just one idea.  It is like you and someone is looking in one direction at first instead of all of you will be looking at all direction which will not be productive.

I suggest you get a copy the book, apply it to your life.  Surely you will enjoy it, and hopefully you will learn something out of it.