Decision Making Tools And Techniques: The Six Hat's Approach

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Introduction

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." (About Quotations.com). Our ability to make well informed and critically analyzed decisions along with the decision-making processes we employ, are key in determining our overall successes and failures. We are faced with daily decisions that can ultimately change the very courses of our lives. Poor decisions will lead to unintended failures while educated, deliberate, and purposefully planned decisions will bring about a desired result with great success.

Why Use Decision-Making Tools?

Since high-quality decision-making plays such a significant role in our personal and professional lives, it's extremely important to identify tools and techniques that can aide us in the process. While many such tools exist, for the purposes of this paper, I will concentrate on one specific tool used for this purpose. The tool that will be discussed is called the "Six Thinking Hats" method (Mind Tools.com).

Introduction to the "Six Thinking Hats" Method

The "Six Thinking Hats", created by Edward de Bono, is used to "look at decisions from a number of important perspectives." (Mind Tools.com). The method forces you to think "outside the box", to move away from your naturally engrained "habitual thinking style" while considering possibilities that may have never exited for you previously. (Mind Tools.com). This tool provides the user with a better developed multi-perspective on the problem being considered.

Description of "Six Thinking Hats" Method

The "Six Thinking Hats" method requires an individual to view each problem from six distinct perspectives, thus ensuring "you solve it using all six approaches." The six "hats" are described as white, red, black, yellow, green, and blue, each representing a distinct approach that should be taken to address any given problem. To better illustrate how this technique is applied, one should consider an example problem in need of a resolution then work through each "hat" to solve it.

Introduction of Problem to be analyzed using the tool

The West Virginia University School of Dentistry is considering the implementation of digital radiology into all academically related and patient care treatment programs. One department has already begun experimenting with the new technology with great success and very positive feedback from faculty, staff, students, and patients. In order to fully consider and address the various implications of implementation, Administration should don the "six hats" to perform a detailed analysis of the situation.

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