July 2022 Book Review

The AMCI Reading Corner is a crowdsourced resource share aimed to serve as a platform for the AMCI community to share book recommendations and reflect with personal takeaways. Starting with monthly postings, more ways to engage will be shared as the idea grows.

This month, Ande Leslie of Smithbucklin shares her review of Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono.

As association management professionals and leaders, we’re challenged to work with multiple personalities, mindsets, and ways of thinking across our client teams and with our client volunteers. Understanding the nuances of each individual contributor takes patience, time, and skill, but it’s necessary for communication, efficient meetings, and the decision-making process. Executive directors especially know how critical it is to build relationships with each member of the board in order to navigate the complexities of producing positive outcomes and meeting strategic goals. Frankly, this is the nature of any business environment.

But what if everyone you encountered was thinking on the same wavelength through the same set of lenses?

Six Thinking Hats is more than just a book; it’s a practical approach to making decisions and exploring new ideas. At the root of the method is role-playing. Each of the six thinking hats has a color: white, red, black, yellow, green, blue, and each hat presents a function:

  • White Hat is neutral and objective. The white hat is concerned with objectives and facts
  • Red Hat suggests anger (seeing red), rage, and emotions. The red hat gives the emotional view.
  • Black Hat is somber and serious. The black hat is cautious and careful. It points out the weaknesses in an idea.
  • Yellow Hat is sunny and positive. The yellow hat is optimistic and covers hope and positive thinking.
  • Green Hat is grass, vegetation, and abundant, fertile growth. The green hat indicates creativity and new ideas.
  • Blue Hat is cool, and it is also the color of the sky, which is above everything else. The blue hat is concerned with control, the organization of the thinking process, and the use of the other hats.

It’s important to note that the Six Hats method is not about choosing one person to represent a specific colored hat and way of thinking. The power of the Six Hat methods is that everyone present wears each hat at the appointed time. This is known as parallel thinking.

There are two basic ways to use the hats. The hats can be used singly to request a type of thinking, such as, “I think we need some green hat thinking here.”

Or, the hats can be used in a sequence to explore a subject or solve a problem, meaning the hats can be used one after another in a certain sequence. Any hat can be used as often as you like, there is no need to use every hat, and the sequence can be made up of two, three, four, or more hats.

To demonstrate correct use of each colored hat, the complete Six Hats method, and real-life results, the author talks through multiple scenarios and examples of when and how to correctly (and incorrectly) use the method. The book is instructive and quick to digest.

In the book, De Bono makes the case that “the biggest enemy of thinking is complexity, for that leads to confusion. When thinking is clear and simple, it becomes more enjoyable and effective. There are two main purposes to the Six Thinking Hats concept. The first purpose is to simplify thinking by allowing a thinker to deal with one thing at a time. The second main purpose is to allow a switch in thinking.”

If you’re looking for ways to avoid confusion, create clearer thinking with your teams or boards, and achieve greater creativity, consider applying the Six Hats method.

Share this post:

Comments on "July 2022 Book Review"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment