Six Thinking Hats

Mindtools has a good overview of a decision-making tool called the Six Thinking Hats. This tool helps improve your decision making by enabling you to look at a decision from all angles.

“Six Thinking Hats” is a powerful technique that helps you look at important decisions from a number of different perspectives. It helps you make better decisions by pushing you to move outside your habitual ways of thinking. As such, it helps you understand the full complexity of a decision, and spot issues and opportunities which you might otherwise not notice.

The hats are:

  • White hat: focus on the data available.
  • Red hat: look at the decision using intuition and emotion.
  • Black hat: look at things pessimistically [my least favorite! — but it will help make your plans tougher].
  • Yellow hat: look at things optimistically.
  • Green hat: look at things creatively.
  • Blue hat: this stands for control, which means directing attention to the most needed hat when circumstances require. For example, if ideas run dry, directing focus to the green hat, or directing focus to the black hat when it’s time to create contingency plans.

For more details and examples, read the whole thing.