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Six times Four: More de Bono

Last week, I discussed Edward de Bono’s (or maybe his and others’) Six Thinking Hats.  In my blog title, I described his mind as fertile and that fertility led, step by step, from:

  1. Six Thinking Hats (1985) to:
  2. Six Action Shoes (1991)
  3. Six Value Medals (2005)
  4. Six Frames – for thinking about information (2008)

We’ve listed the six hats.  Let’s do the same for the others.  Whilst I own copies of Six Action Shoes and Six Value Medals, it was only in researching this blog that I learned about the newest book here, so I am indebted to Professor Tortoise for the primer in the Six Frames.

Six Action Shoes

Six Action Shoes - de Bono

Navy Formal Shoes
Represent formal routines, processes and procedures.

Grey Sneakers
Represent exploring, investigating and gathering information.

Brown Practical Brogues
Represent practical, pragmatic, roll-your-sleeves-up action.

Orange Gumboots
Represent safety-conscious activities and emergency action.

Pink Comfy Slippers
Represent caring, concerned, compassionate and sensitive action.

Purple Riding Boots
Represent leadership, authority and command.

Six Value Medals

Six Value Medals - de Bono

Gold Medal – Human Values
Values relating to putting people first.

Silver Medal – Organisational Values
Values relating to your organisation’s purpose.

Steel Medal – Quality Values
Values relating to your product, service or function.

Glass Medal  – Creativity Values
Values relating to creating, innovating and simplicity.

Wood Medal – Environmental Values
Values relating to sustainability and impact on the community and on society.

Brass Medal – Perceptual Values
Values relating to the way things appear.

Six Frames for Thinking

Six Thinking Frames - de Bono

Triangle Frame – Purpose
Understanding the information at hand – the What, the Why and the Where.

Circle Frame – Accuracy
Is the information consistent, accurate and adequate for our needs (to solve a problem or make a decision, for example)?

Square frame – Perspectives
We can look at information and a situation from different points of view, with different biases and prejudices.  Which ones are present?

Heart Frame – Interest
Focuses our attention on the relevant, salient, interesting information that matters most to you.

Diamond Frame – Value
How do we evaluate the value of our information?  We can use the six value medals to prioritise its importance.

Slab Frame – Conclusions
What does the information tell us and, crucially, what next?

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The Fertile Mind of Edward de Bono

The Green Hat Fits

Without a doubt, one of the most fertile minds in personal and management effectiveness of the late Twentieth Century is Edward de Bono.  His almost constant stream of books about thinking skills (approaching 60 to date – the latest is Think!: Before It’s Too Late) has provided insight, provocation, practical skills and frustrating verbiage by turns.  The fact is that I’m a sucker for his books and have 17 on my shelf.  Many have inspired me.

Green is One of Six

Perhaps de Bono’s two most famous titles are The Use of Lateral Thinking (1967 – and the several similar follow-up titles) and Six Thinking Hats(1985).

Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats is the one I frequently return to – both in my own thinking and in offering it as a valuable tool to workshop participants.  In a nutshell, de Bono advocates deploying different thinking modes to examine an issue, consider a decision or work on a problem from different points of view.

The Green Hat – Creativity

Put this on to think innovatively, creatively, and from a new perspective.

Yellow Hat – Positive

Put this on to think constructively, develop ideas, identify benefits and find practical ways to implement them.

Black Hat – Judgement

Put this on to evaluate risks, downsides and problems with an idea and evaluate it critically to protect us from mistakes.

White Hat – Factual

Put this on to focus on facts, evidence and logical analysis of the situation.

Red Hat – Feeling

Put this on for one of two reasons: to think intuitively and also to use your emotional response to generate and evaluate ideas.

Blue Hat – Process

Put this on to direct your team’s and your own thinking process; to provide an orderly structure for problem-solving, decision-making and evaluation, using all of the hats to see the topic in all possible ways.

The Thinking Hats Controversy

I don’t want to take sides: I don’t have a basis to do so.  But it is worth noting that Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson puts forward a case that the idea was developed not by de Bono, but by the directors of The Edward de Bono School of Thinking Inc – now defunct – but which Hewitt-Gleeson argues is the predecessor of his own School of Thinking.

What I do agree with Hewitt-Gleeson on is his rather lovely suggestion for a seventh hat.

The Grey Hat

Hewitt-Gleeson proposes a Grey Thinking Hat for Wisdom and I love the idea.  In his words:

Grey Hat Thinking is the ability to see consequences, immediate, short term and long term. It is the ability to look back over history and to see forward into the future. To understand cycles, passages of time, the passing of fashions, eras, eons and the many possible futures including extinction, the possibility of no future at all.

‘Grey Hat Thinking also means the wisdom to see other points of view. It includes the sagacity of patience to see beyond one’s own immediate viewpoint and the wisdom to see the viewpoints of others involved in situations: your partner’s viewpoint, your children’s, your children’s children, your neighbour’s, your customer’s, your enemy’s.’

From School of Thinking: Seventh Hat for Wisdom

Wisdom is a topic of great interest to me and, from now on, I intend to add The Grey Hat to my descriptions and credit it clearly.

Grey Thinking Hat of Wisdom

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Same Job: New Job

Last week we looked at some tips if you want a new job.  But what if you want to stay in your current job, but want it to feel like a new job?

If only there were some way to revitalise your current job.  Well maybe there is.  And it all starts with the Flower Model of Job Satisfaction.

Flower Model

Lets take each petal at a time and see what you can do to boost your job satisfaction.  Effective action on two or three of these could transform the way you feel about your current job.

Motivation

What is it that really motivates you in your work?  David McClelland’s theory of ‘Motivational Needs’ can help you here: You may be motivated by:

The Need for Power: a desire to be in control – of yourself, yes, and others maybe. Certainly you will look for respect.

The Need for Affiliation:  a desire to be part of a team and to relate to other people, working together and being recognised for your contributions.

The Need for Achievement: a desire to do things, do them well, see results and sense progress.

Whatever you discover motivates you, look for ways to get more of it in the balance of your work.

Effectiveness

If getting things done and making a difference matters to you, then look for ways to take a more strategic perspective on your work.  What choices and decisions have you been pretending you can’t make?  It is time to be more precise in what you choose to do, and to seek more responsibility for making a difference.  So start with ‘what is the purpose of my job?’  and work towards focusing more on that and less on the trivia.

Creativity

Get involved in projects, take part in change, review how you do things or what else your organisation could do to serve your clients or customers.  Take time out to think, experiment and play.

Enjoyment

Start to look for the fun in the things you do day-to-day: maybe a robust argument about the next marketing campaign, perhaps a chance to design a new window display, possibly a decision to learn new techniques that will make you better at your job.  With the right attitude, discussion, design and learning are all fun – and so is just about anything.

Efficiency

Focus on one thing and look at how you can do it as well and efficiently as you possibly can.  Flow states are the optimum state of pleasure for humans. We reach them when we stretch ourselves to the limit of our capability, so transform a dull repetitive task to a striving for efficiency and not only will you free up time for creativity or relationships or enjoyment, but you will have more pleasure doing the task.

Relationships

The average worker spends more of their waking hours with work colleagues than they do with their family.  So make the most of it.  Look for new ways to enjoy the company of your colleagues – or look for new colleagues within your organisation whose company you can better enjoy.

Please Note:  This is in no way a recommendation to try out an inappropriate workplace relationship.  Far more often than not, it will end badly and make things a whole lot worse!

Management Pocketbooks you may enjoy

The Positive Mental Attitude Pocketbook will give you a heap of hints how to transform your attitude to a job you are starting to tire of.

The Management Models Pocketbook has a chapter on David McClelland’s model of motivational needs.

The Improving Efficiency Pocketbook will give you a load of ideas for… improving efficiency.

The Working Relationships Pocketbook will..  well, you get the idea.

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Innovation, Creativity and Heroism

Neil Alden ArmstrongNeil Armstrong died last week (25 August 2012).

He died a pilot, a professor, a scientist and a hero.

There are a lot of pilots, a lot of professors and a lot of scientists.  But if the word is to mean something worthwhile, there are few heroes.

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Hero

Like many words, the word hero has become debased somewhat, by overuse, but my 1988 Collins dictionary defines it well (although old-fashionedly in its gender assumption) as:

‘a man distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility, etc’

That’s my emphasis, please note.

Curiosity

One of Armstrong’s exceptional etc’s was curiosity.  And anyone who reads my own newsletter will know that I am a big fan of what NASA has started to achieve with its Curiosity rover, on Mars.

The development of this project was an exercise in astonishing boldness, heaped upon massive innovation, grown out of remarkable creativity.  And what makes it particularly appealing to me is that I believe curiosity to be the magic ingredient of creativity.

We choose to do these things…

In launching the Apollo space programme that put Armstrong on the moon, John F Kennedy made two key speeches: the first to Congress in May 1961 announced the goal of going to the moon.  Then, in September 1962, speaking at Rice University, he spoke at length about the project, saying:

‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.’

Is that not the nature of creativity and innovation?

What is the nature of heroism?

Innovation, by its very definition, is risky.  It is new, it is uncertain, it could fail.  But if it presents a challenge that is truly worthwhile, if it addresses a deep hunger for knowledge and a nobility of endeavour, then being prepared to take that risk, for its own sake, is heroism.

Neil Armstrong was a hero.

Neil Alden Armstrong was an American astronaut and the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also an aerospace engineer, U.S. Navy pilot, test pilot, and university professor.
Source: Wikipedia

Born: August 5, 1930
Died: August 25, 2012

Education:
University of Southern California(1970)
Purdue University (1947–1955)


Creative Manager's PocketbookNurturing Innovation PocketbookProblem Solving Pocketbook

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