Do you ever find that you're stuck in one way of thinking?

Perhaps you're always optimistic, or you're always too careful. What is your first instinct?

When you think about an issue, consider another side. Sometimes, it takes a really simple change to look at a problem in a new way.

By taking different viewpoints, we can make better decisions. Get ready to put on the Six Thinking Hats!

Sheldon from Big Bang Theory says,

What is the Six Thinking Hats Exercise?

The Six Thinking Hats is a thinking and discussion technique to help you look at decisions from a number of perspectives andchallenge the way you think!

Watch the video below for a brief explanation of what each hat represents.

The Different Styles of Thinking

During the exercise, each hat focuses on a different way to think about a problem. This is a “parallel thinking processconsidering all points of view.

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Blue Hat

  • the "organizing" hat

  • keeps main objectives clear

  • directs activities

  • controls the thinking process

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White Hat

  • the "information" hat

  • looks for facts and data

  • considers missing knowledge

  • remains objective & without judgment

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Red Hat

  • the "emotion" hat

  • focuses on intuition & gut reaction

  • asks how others will react emotionally

  • considers feelings in decision-making

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Yellow Hat

  • the "positive" hat

  • keeps an optimistic outlook

  • looks for the good points

  • sees benefits and values

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Green Hat

  • the "creative" hat

  • explores possibilities & solutions

  • challenges the status quo

  • shares ideas openly & without criticism

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Black Hat

  • the "judgment" hat

  • sees weak points & problems

  • critical, skeptical, cautious & defensive

  • considers risks & worst-case scenarios

The Six Hats in Action

When it's time to discuss or think about a problem, try the hats on your own, or give everyone on your team a different hat.

When in groups, people will then agree on how they will think according to their hat, and then they do the thinking before the discussion

Discussions begin and end with a blue hat. Each gets around two minutes to speak. It's fine to use the hats in a way that works best for you or your group.

Here are some examples of how each hat might approach the exercise:

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Blue Hat

Manage the thinking & discussion process:

Let's lay down some rules of order.

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White Hat

Focus on objective data:

We're after the facts, and just the facts!

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Red Hat

Express the emotional perspective:

That's exciting but it makes me nervous!

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Yellow Hat

Consider the benefits:

It's not perfect, but it has upsides!

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Green Hat

Look at alternative solutions:

What haven't we tried yet?

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Black Hat

Be the "devil's advocate":

I can see at least three problems here.

Benefits of Six Thinking Hats

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This technique helps:

  • see all sides of a situation

  • use a systematic approach

  • consider new or unusual angles

  • spot opportunities, not problems

  • think clearly and objectively

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In meetings, the Six Hats can:

  • minimize conflicts

  • promote collaboration

  • improve discussions

  • generate better ideas

  • save time and energy

How You Can Use this Technique

The Six Thinking Hats help with:

  • problem-solving

  • creative thinking

  • decision-making

  • team communication

  • project management 

Take Action

Work and life are full of issues, problems, decisions, and opportunities. How we look at them makes all the difference.

A woman doing a yoga pose while the a set of Rubik's cubs spin around her.

You can learn, practice, and apply the Six Thinking Hats in any area of your life. They can help you see all sides of an issue with more focus. Each perspective helps.

The next time you're faced with a problem:


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