Edward de Bono is a doyen of management thinking.ï¿½ He has written perhaps more books on the subject than anyone else and many of them present great techniques to help us think critically, creatively orï¿½ provocatively.
One of his books in particular is helpful in handling resistance: Six Thinking Hats.
Six Thinking Hats
This is one or the more widely known of his books, and the concept features on a myriad of management, problem solving, decision making, creativity and facilitation skills courses.ï¿½ Like many equally widely discussed books (like Stephen Coveyï¿½s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point), this is a text that is more widely honoured in the swift summary than the careful reading.ï¿½ So I shanï¿½t attempt to summarise it here; instead, Iï¿½ll advocate that you do read it.ï¿½ And if you are familiar with the concept but have never done more than flick through the old copy on your shelves, I especially recommend you read it.ï¿½ It may seem repetitive, but there are some valuable insights to be had.
Not a Summary
If you havenï¿½t read the book, you will need to know something about it to get more from this blog.ï¿½ So without summarising, here is a Twitter-style interpretation ï¿½ a Twitterpretation.ï¿½ Hey, who knows?ï¿½ This might just catch on!ï¿½ Interpret a whole book in 140 characters or fewer.
Different ways of thinking represented by six coloured hats.
Chose your style to make progress. All six are useful.
How does this Help with Resistance?
The key to handling resistance is flexibility.ï¿½ The six hats represent six styles of thinking, which offer six strategies to use in endless variations.ï¿½ But the one that is truly underused in my opinion is the Blue thinking hat.
. The Director of Process
The blue thinking hat represents controlling the flow of thinking.ï¿½ It is the hat we wear when we consider what thought process will help us move the problem, decision or debate forward.ï¿½ In the context of handling resistance, wear your blue thinking hat to take stock of the situation, consider what is going on, and review your options.
When dealing with resistance, you can never go far wrong by focusing on the process behind the resistance, rather than the surface issue that is being expressed.ï¿½ Offer a process for resolution, and you will have already made a huge step towards harmony.
The Key Points
- Read de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats
- Apply the six different thinking styles to handling resistance
- If in doubt, focus on the process, rather than the issue