Making better decisions

Alright, picture this… you’ve got a decision to make but you’re blinded by optimism, or worst – pessimism. How do you make the right decision that'll give you the best results? You expand your ability to think dynamically by using a tried and trusted thinking system of course (duh!).

Explore alternative perspectives, either within a team or within yourself. It’s a challenge, because we’re naturally drawn to a certain way of thinking about things based on a range of factors that make us... us. So, I’m suggesting that if you think about something in a more dynamic multi-perspective fashion then you’re going to achieve a more successful outcome. So listen up…


to engage alternative perspectives and make the right decision:

When can you use this tool? Any time you're involved in decision making in a team, by yourself or even in your more intimate relationships. Anytime that you're required to make a rounded and correct decision. So... often.

Have you heard of de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats? It’s more than a nice concept, it’s a practical thinking system that empowers you to think in new ways, engaging in alternative perspectives in order to end up at the best possible solution. It’s particularly fantastic because it limits the influence of subconscious emotion and ego, digging deeper than surface level thinking whilst increasing productivity (better to make a well considered sound decision once than a million quick ineffective decisions, right?). Did I mention it also helps to generate creative solutions and new ideas?

It's time to get familiar with de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

These bad boys are colour coded for the visual thinkers among us (yay). This also helps create differentiation between the modes/hats. Why are they hats? I don't know exactly but my understanding is that generally people only wear one hat at a time. In this scenario it’s like putting your ‘thinking cap’ on, but each cap provides a different way of thinking about your issue or topic. Below are the 'hats' and how to use them when looking for solutions...

The White Hat calls for information you already know or information that needs to be collected in order to make a well considered decision. You’re expanding your perspective to include facts, extending yourself beyond emotion or gut feeling.

The Red Hat provides the opportunity to represent your feelings and your gut instincts. A lot of us have them, so this is the opportunity to acknowledge them.

The Black Hat is the challenger; it’s worst-case scenario thinking identifying all of the reasons why something might not work. It helps you go to places where your optimism alone won’t take you. It’s not all doom and gloom, the black hat can protect you from failure and spark creative solutions and new ideas to achieve a successful end result.

The Yellow Hat is the sunny side up thinker, the bright and optimistic train of thought. It allows you to explore best-case scenario, often a refreshing change for those who predominantly wear the black hat. It can be releasing and exciting.

The Green Hat is the generator of creativity. It expands possibilities, explores alternatives and plays around with new ideas. Often this is where the beautiful surprises are hidden and the green hat unlocks them.

The blue hat is the facilitator of thought, the manager of the thinking process. It’s the blue hat that allows you to pull together the expanse of options and perspectives you now have before you

Ask yourself….

Which hat do you think you might wear the most when making day-to-day decisions? Reading all of this you may realise you wear one or two hats more than the others. Which hat/line of thinking would be beneficial to include a little more of in your day-to-day thinking strategy? What will the benefits be if you do this?

Apply it

  1. Think of a decision you need to make.

  2. Got one? Now grab a piece of paper and a pen, draw 6 squares, each providing a space to write thoughts generated by ‘wearing’ each hat.

  3. Consciously wear each 'hat', gaining a new perspective on your decision making with each coloured hat your wear. What do you come up with when you look from the perspective of each 'hat'? Write them down.

  4. When you get to the final hat, the blue one, manage and sort through your now multi-coloured thought process in order to arrive at one very well rounded, well considered decision.

  5. Do you feel empowered, knowing you’ve arrived at a decision having looked from a number of perspectives using this new system of thought? The answer is likely.. yes!

I can hear you asking... Am I affiliated with de Bono? Nope. Do I love the tools? Yes. And I'm all about my clients being empowered to achieve success. I'm a Success Coach who works with clients to leverage their unique potential to achieve success, so I like to share tools that will help them in this process.

If this blog inspired you then I'd encourage you to explore more of de Bono's thinking systems and learn more about the benefits of Success Coaching, a powerful personalised service you have at your fingertips.

Ciao, Steph

Steph Edmunds is SESC's Certified Professional Success Coach, Speaker and Facilitator.

You can contact Steph here.