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Put On A New Hat And Get Creative

Being more creative might just mean putting on a new hat.

That’s the idea behind Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono which uses six colored hats to help groups generate ideas in a more specific and cohesive way and to produce more effective thinking.

De Bono believes that the human brain thinks in a number of distinct ways which can be deliberately challenged. This method can enable a person to develop ways to think differently about particular issues.

He identifies six distinct ways that challenge the brain. In each way, the brain will identify and bring into conscious thought parts of issues being considered (e.g. instinct, intuition, pessimism, logic, judgments, facts, etc.).

None of these completely represent natural ways of thinking, but show how some of us already think. Since the hats do not reflect our natural thinking, each hat must be used for a limited time. For some, using the hats seems unnatural, uncomfortable, counter-productive and against their better judgment. That might be the reason this process really works.

The six distinct directions of thinking, hats and colors:

  1. Facilitator (Blue) — Every thought sequence begins and ends here. This hat is where the group agrees together how they will think, begin thinking and then evaluate the outcomes of that thinking and what they should do next.
  2. Information (White) — Considers purely and simply what information is available; what are the facts?
  3. Emotions (Red) — Uses intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling, but not any rationale.
  4. Discernment (Black) — Involves logic applied to identifying reasons for cautious and conservative actions.
  5. Optimistic response (Yellow) — Provides logic applied to identifying benefits and pursuing harmony.
  6. Creativity (Green) — Offers statements that provoke and stimulate investigation and watching where a thought goes.

This thinking may be used by individuals working alone or in groups. Here is the secret of Six Thinking Hats:

  • In typical and unstructured thinking, the process is unfocused. The thinker leaps from critical thinking to neutrality to optimism and other thoughts without structure or strategy.
  • The Six Hats process attempts to introduce parallel thinking. Most people are used to a Six Hats way of thinking and unconsciously develop their own habits, which might be effective. Even so, when thinking in a group, these individual strategies tend not to converge, and thinking and discussion will not converge.
  • Due to ego power and the tendency to most culture’s black hat thinking, unparalleled thinking can lead to very destructive meetings.
  • There is a natural tendency for “spaghetti thinking” even with good courtesy and clear shared objectives in any collaborative thinking activity. This is when one person is thinking about the benefits while another considers the facts and so on. The hats’ process avoids this; in this different method, everyone will think in the same way at the same time.

Remember: The hats are not a description but a way to look at things. Therefore, such methodology aids in better creation of ideas. Why? Because it is based on creating a system rather than an adversarial confrontational thinking system where somebody has the opposing position. Thanks to colleague Tim Cronin for introducing me to Edward de Bono.

It’s time to try on a new hat to get more creative!

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Use 6 Influence Triggers To Enhance Your Communications

Social media posts, emails and mainstream stories continue to overwhelm us with news, entertainment, information and sometimes education. It’s enough to make you avoid your profile page or inbox.

But for marketers, it is important to understand that this situation is creating a new decision process in which customers take short cuts to comply, agree, or buy based on a single piece of information or triggers, according to Influence by accomplished social psychologist Robert B. Cialdini.

Cialdini has discovered that the most reliable and the most popular triggers for our decision-making include these six triggers:

1. Reciprocity — We are obligated to the future repayment of favors. Amway exemplifies this by offering prospects a product sample bag for a week trial to affect purchases.

2. Commitment and consistency — When a person commits, he or she will be consistent to that commitment. “Get it in writing” shows this principle that car dealers use to successfully sell their cars.

3. Social proof — The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more an individual will perceive the idea as correct. This is reflected in the claims of the “nation’s leading” or “top-selling” product or service.

4. Liking — People buy from friends and someone they like. Tupperware parties are all about this principle.

5. Authority — We follow a leader, especially one with a genuine or perceived expertise. Every diet treatment or exercise plan uses this trigger in its infomercials.

6. Scarcity — People assign more value to opportunities when they are less available. Think iPhones or products available on a limited time offer and even scarce collector’s items like baseball cards.

So, what influence triggers drive your business and marketing decisions?

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6 Competencies Exemplary Leaders Share

Mission, engagement and results are just three of the exemplary leadership characteristics espoused by leadership mastermind, Warren G. Bennis.

Bennis, who passed away last year, was a scholar, organizational consultant and author. Widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership and leadership study, Bennis was University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration and Founding Chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California.

Bennis felt that there are six competencies shared by exemplary leaders. He also noted that above those there was character:

“The only unperishable characteristic at the base of all effective leadership is character. It is the human connection between the leaders, the led, and the organization.”

His six competencies include:

1. Create a sense of mission — Have a clear vision with a clearly defined purpose and impact. Set the course for your team with inspiration, illumination and vividness.

2. Engage and motivate others to perform — Start at home with yourself. Be passionate about your work, feeling alive and being committed. Passion is “the intensity of attention” – great ideas alone (without motivation and engagement) are meaningless.

3. Build an adaptive and agile social structure — Create and empower a learning team embracing resilience, persistence, creativity, reflectiveness and hardiness.

4. Generate and sustain trust — Trust emotionally binds all organizations. You must develop transparency in changing things and begin to master the 5 “Cs” – Competence, Constancy, Caring, Congruity and Candor.

5. Develop Leaders — Creating intellectual and human capital breeds a loyal and creative workforce; however, you must value those you lead. Mistrust and arrogance oppose inspired and inspiring leadership. Lead like a mentor would: by example.

6. Get results — Act, Learn and Adapt to achieve a strong bottom line in today’s competitive world. Build “contextual intelligence” which means knowing your competitors and undertaking appropriate risky strategies. Taking risk is essential to get results. Remember that there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ risk. You have to be “all in” the game to win it.

What competencies drive you and your team’s leadership and success?

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