Friday, January 10, 2020

Lean Quote: Explore Different Views of a Problem with Six Thinking Hats

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"Let's not do it your way or my way; let's do it the best way. — Greg Anderson

Normally, when we look at a problem, we might get stuck looking at the negative side, or the positive side.  Or, we might look at it in terms of just the facts, and ignore how we feel about it.

With Six Thinking Hats, you explore six different views of a problem, by putting on an imaginary hat for each perspective.

Here’s the list of ‘hats’ that may help you become a problem-solving ninja:

White Hat: The neutral White Hat works with facts and figures that are known or require solving. Wear this hat when a problem has just emerged. ‘The facts, just the facts.’

Red Hat: When wearing the emotional and intuitive Red Hat, you can reveal your gut reactions to an idea, express your emotions freely and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves and hates.

Black Hat: Use the cautious Black Hat when you want to get the critical viewpoint. This judgment hat helps decrease the chances of making a poor decision.

Yellow Hat: The sunny and positive Yellow Hat helps identify the value and positive sides of ideas and counterbalance the judgmental thinking of Black Hat.

Green Hat is all about creativity, possibilities, alternatives and fresh ideas. It’s great opportunity to contribute new concepts and new perceptions. This is a hat each participant should wear.

Blue Hat: The organizing Blue Hat manages the thinking process and ensures that the Six Thinking Hats follow the guidelines.

This technique can help you as an individual to explore a problem more robustly and to get unstuck from your thinking.  And it’s a powerful technique for teams to help everybody on the team look at different angles of the problem.

The imaginary hats also help people step out of their comfort zone and explore alternative or even competing views.   And it’s a powerful thing, when everybody wears the same hat at the same time, so everybody is helping each other see the positive, see the negative, see the facts, etc.


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