FacebookFacebook icon TwitterTwitter icon LinkedInLinkedIn icon Email

Brain circuits

Change your perspective! An exercise for better decision making

Published 17 July 2021 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

Great decisions come with practice, and it’s important to try a variety of techniques to make good decisions. One such method is Edward de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats”. This exercise aims to help you move beyond your normal frame of thought and look at things from a number of different perspectives. This can be a critical factor in honing your decision-making skills.

In this exercise you will try to look at only one perspective at a time in order to avoid confusion. So, practice donning the different hats and see where they can lead your thinking.

The white hat. This is the information hat. When you try on the white hat, you focus on facts and which data is known, versus which you still need.

The black hat. This is the safety or judgement hat. This is where you pause to identify risks, difficulties, and potential problems in connection with the decision you are about to make.

The yellow hat. This is the optimistic hat. This is where you look at all the benefits and values and argue why something may actually work.

The green hat. When you put on the green hat, it is time for creative thinking. Here you should seek to explore new ideas, look for alternative possibilities, and generate new concepts.

The red hat. This is the feeling hat. Listen to your gut instincts and intuition. This doesn’t need to be justified; it’s really about how you feel about a decision in the moment.

The blue hat. This is the control hat. It is about managing processes, next steps, and action plans.

You can do this exercise alone to organize your thoughts around a decision you want to make, or you can do it as a team using the strength of each of your team members. As an exercise, you can even ask your team to identify which hats they are more comfortable wearing and which ones are a little awkward. This can be a great way to both get to know each other, play on each other’s strengths, and figure out how to best work together


Louise Muhdi

Louise Muhdi

Affiliate Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD

Louise Muhdi is Affiliate Professor of Innovation and Strategy. She helps organizations adapt to uncertain and fast-changing business environments, drive innovation and growth, and sustain value creation for the long term. She has an MSc in biology and a PhD in technology and innovation management from ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Prior to joining IMD in 2019, Muhdi was Head of Innovation Strategy and Portfolio for Global Science and Technology at Givaudan International where she developed the global innovation strategy and implemented multiple strategic initiatives to drive short, mid, and long-term growth. She also spent several years in the pharmaceutical industry.


Learn Brain Circuits

Join us for daily exercises focusing on issues from team building to developing an actionable sustainability plan to personal development. Go on - they only take five minutes.
Read more 

Explore Leadership

What makes a great leader? Do you need charisma? How do you inspire your team? Our experts offer actionable insights through first-person narratives, behind-the-scenes interviews and The Help Desk.
Read more

Join Membership

Log in here to join in the conversation with the I by IMD community. Your subscription grants you access to the quarterly magazine plus daily articles, videos, podcasts and learning exercises.
Sign up

You have 4 of 5 articles left to read.