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Monday, December 29, 2008

Six Thinking Hats

For everything you wanted to know on building leadership and management, refer Shyam Bhatawdekar’s website:

(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia “Management Universe” at:

Six Thinking Hats or Parallel Thinking

It is an aid to
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Creativity
  • Innovation

Pressures in Global Competition

  • Customer pressure
  • Pressure to establish as the preferred supplier
  • Pressure to give best quality
  • Therefore, pressure to have best processes/best practices
  • Price pressures
  • Therefore, pressure to contain overall costs

Special Features of Parallel Thinking or Six Thinking Hats

  • Key ingredient to address all these pressures, mentioned earlier, is "to improve" and "how to improve". Parallel thinking or six thinking hats is an excellent wholesome system of finding the right answers to problems or situations, looking at them from all the angles equally well and also involving people or teams to obtain the best synergies out of them.
  • When more people come together, invariably, they may have conflicting views but six thinking hats system, if followed correctly, takes all of them and their various views together without allowing any conflict to take place.
  • Adversarial positions normally taken by the participants in a group set-up get dissipated through the unique process of deliberations and discussions that is adopted in six thinking hats or parallel thinking.
  • It is never easy to change the personalities of people and may be, your own personality, quickly and completely. Six thinking hats is a powerful way of making your and others' thinking behavior more productive, constructive and effective with your and others' existing personalities.
  • It can be used in a group and even you alone can also use it with equally good advantage.

Advantages of Six Thinking Hats Framework

  • Improves exploration
  • Saves time
  • Improves creativity and innovation
  • Fosters collaborative behavior
  • One learns to think in parallel with other team members
  • Keeps egos and turf protection in check
  • Reduces adversarial approach in all interactions
  • One can lead and conduct more effective and productive meetings

Six Hats and Their Use

In this approach you think from six different angles over the same problem, issue, situation or solution alone or in a group. You wear six hats of different colors in succession, one at a time and look at the problem or solution from a specific angle which the color of the hats prescribes.

Colors of these six types of hats and their roles are given below:

1. Blue Hat (Reflective)

  • Control hat- the manager hat
  • The organizing hat that is manager of the deliberations
  • It is for planning and deciding the process of using the other five hats
  • Organizes thinking
  • Sets the focus
  • Monitors and reflects on thinking

2. Red Hat (Intuitive)

  • Feelings about problem, solution or suggestion
  • Gut reactions
  • Intuitions
  • One does not have to think too long or too hard when wearing the red hat

3. White Hat (Informative)

  • Where is the information
  • Information
  • Facts and figures
  • What is relevant
  • When wearing the while hat, one is neutral in thinking

4. Yellow Hat (Constructive)

  • Sun shine hat
  • Positive and constructive
  • Effectiveness
  • Getting job done
  • Benefits and advantages

5. Black Hat (Cautious)

  • Caution hat
  • Devil's advocate
  • Errors and pitfalls
  • Risks or dangers
  • Difficulties and problems

6. Green Hat (Creative)

  • Creative mode of thinking
  • Growth and movement
  • New ideas and solutions
  • Lateral thinking

Organization and Implementation Process of Six Thinking Hats

  • Need for trained facilitator- trained in using and monitoring six thinking hats system
  • Role clarification of the facilitator
  • Members in the group
  • Clarifications of the role of the members
  • Provide training to facilitator and members on six thinking hats approach
  • Get the expertise and services of an expert experienced consultant to design and conduct training in this approach and also in assisting implementation

Important Point of Caution in Implementation

  • Do not label a person with a particular hat.

For More Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


Also refer: (Prodcons Group)
(Training Programs by Prodcons Group)
(Productivity Consultants)

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