>As a lawyer coach, I often ask my clients who are feeling stuck or particularly challenged to look at their challenges from various perspectives to find one that fits and gives them opportunities and ways to move forward. By using different perspectives, my clients have found fresh ways to tackle various challenges. These have included discomfort with networking events such as chamber or business association gatherings, with marketing themselves and describing what they do, with billing all of their time, with developing a peer relationship with their more senior colleagues, with telling success stories, etc. Some of this perspective work includes metaphorically putting on different hats and thinking like an entrepreneur, a partner, a rainmaker, a leader, etc.

A lawyer reminded me this morning of another use of perspectives called “Six Thinking Hats”. This is a decision making technique developed by Edward de Bono in his book “6 Thinking Hats.” http://www.edwdebono.com/ See also ttp://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_07.htm The “hats” are a tool for looking at a decision from all points of view in order to make a better decision. Much like the perspective work my clients use, using the perspectives embodied by the Six Thinking Hats pushes people outside their habitual ways of thinking. Taking more perspectives into account results in better, sounder decision making.

You can “wear” these hats yourself when you are making an individual decision, and you can actually distribute colored hats to be worn by people in your group during a decision making discussion.

Here’s a very quick snapshot of the perspective and thinking represented by each hat.
White Hat: focuses on the data available.
Red Hat: focuses on intuition, emotion, gut reaction.
Black Hat: focuses on negativity, pessimism, caution, worst case scenario.
Yellow Hat: focuses on positivity.
Green Hat; focuses on creativity.
Blue Hat: focuses on process control. The leader of a group making a decision might wear this hat.

Lawyers are trained to think logically and rationally, making decisions based on facts and the law. The challenge: take off your purely lawyer hat and put on these six hats the next time you face a big decision individually or as a group. Notice what happens to the quality of your decision making and/or also the effect on the group dynamics.