I recently had dinner with a friend who wished the new company she works for would incorporate the de Bono thinking systems, specifically Six Thinking Hats, into all of their meetings. She has one weekly meeting in particular that lasts two hours or longer. The group inevitably gets derailed discussing details unrelated to the topic at hand. Arguments ensue and the group leaves frustrated, with no action steps laid out.
We hear this a lot.
Everyone has participated in meetings that are plagued by personal attacks, low energy and boredom, competition, power plays, groupthink, rushed decision making or indecisiveness, and lack of follow through.
You know your meeting is heading in the wrong direction when no one has defined a clear focus. Why are we having this meeting? How long will the meeting last? How much time will we spend on each part of the agenda? How will we ensure everyone participates? Who will take what action after the meeting? These are the types of "Blue Hat" questions we ask at the beginning of meetings that use the Six Thinking Hats process.
When used as a meeting management tool, Six Thinking Hats gives teams a process that directs everyone towards the same objective. In Six Hats meetings you "unbundle" your thinking so you can focus on one type of thinking at a time (idea generation, etc.).
Six Hats meetings are particularly effective in neutralizing employee rank. There are also frequent requests for every person to contribute, which ensures you get the best thinking from everyone, even individuals who tend to be more introverted. Oftentimes clients will report that their typical meeting times are reduced by 50-75% once their teams are trained in the Six Hats process.
Six Thinking Hats can be used with all levels, and helps teams get to the right solution quickly and with a shared vision.
We'd love to hear from you!
What frustrates you most about meetings? What strategies have you used that resulted in more productive and effective meetings?