Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thinking Hats

I’m a big fan of Edward De Bono, who is a well-known Guru on creative thinking and consultant to many big corporations and national leaders on how to manage their organisations and resolve problems in a creative, value added and out of the box way.

One of his books that I like the most is “The Six Thinking Hats”. That book explains methods and tactics to generate and stimulate different perspectives from different windows of positions, and hence develop a more thorough and systematic decision making process, by wearing different types of “thinking hats”, that are explained below:

White Hat:
With this thinking hat, you focus on the data available. Look at the information you have, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and either try to fill them or take account of them.
This is where you analyse past trends, and try to extrapolate from historical data.

Red Hat:
Wearing the red hat, you look at the decision using intuition, gut reaction, and emotion. Also try to think how other people will react emotionally, and try to understand the intuitive responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning.

Black Hat:
When using black hat thinking, look at things pessimistically, cautiously and defensively. Try to see why ideas and approaches might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in a plan or course of action. It allows you to eliminate them, alter your approach, or prepare contingency plans to counter problems that arise. Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans tougher and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you embark on a course of action. Black Hat thinking is one of the real benefits of this technique, as many successful people get so used to thinking positively that often they cannot see problems in advance, leaving them under-prepared for difficulties.

Yellow Hat:
The yellow hat helps you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it, and spot the opportunities that arise from it. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.

Green Hat:
The Green Hat stands for creativity. This is where you can develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a freewheeling way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas.

Blue Hat:
The Blue Hat stands for process control. This is the hat worn by people chairing meetings. When running into difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they will ask for Black Hat thinking, and so on.

Personally, I am always amazed by the ability of people to wear different hats of thinking and shift the positioning of their analysis within seconds. As a fan of WestWing, I cherish the moment seeing The President moves from one situation/crisis room to another and his ability to frame his thinking and emotion along the way; in one room he appears firm and resolute while the next requires him to emerge sad and poignant.

Do we have our own version of that, I ask?

Indeed, YES. My eyes were glued to Astro Awani on 4 November seeing the genius Khairy Jamaluddin eloquently and brilliantly delivered his masterpiece of arguments and analysis as a panelist of Sudut Pandang programme on the US Presidential Election. I was astounded that he managed to rush to a different studio, immediately after that, and gave another round of splendid interview for the Astro Awani Special Programme on Pemilihan UMNO.

WOW… that made me to send few text and blackberry messages to friends on Khairy Jamaluddin’s superb performance. One of them sardonically asked: “Kenapa You Ampu Dia Lebih Ni?” To him I answer: it was never an ampu, I was just amazed and, honestly, flabbergasted by his ability and performance.

I impose a standard to myself that a good answer must at least contains three different angles or perspectives, and when I see that coming from anyone. I am bound to respect him or her. And for that, I give Khairy Jamaluddin a triple AAA class rating for his performance.

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