Knowing that meetings are a must, how do you make the most of them? For one, it's important to have agendas and clear purposes for your meetings, but how do you make sure everyone participates and no one hijacks the meeting by being too negative, or too optimistic? Enter the six thinking hats.
Edward de Bono wrote the book on it. In it he talks about a powerful tool for thinking productively which is to explicitly name certain approaches to thinking and cycle through them as a group.
Read the book and you'll find that it's profoundly practical. If you have a Negative Ned in your group, ask them to point out a few facts, or a introduce a few opportunities instead of solely acting as the critical one then also ask another member of your group to provide that critical lens.
You'll find some of these effects, as I have (from de Bono's site):
- Maximize productive collaboration and minimize counterproductive interaction/behavior
- Consider issues, problems, decisions, and opportunities systematically
- Make meetings much shorter and more productive
- Reduce conflict among team members or meeting participants
- Stimulate innovation by generating more and better ideas quickly
- Spot opportunities where others see only problems
- Think clearly and objectively
- Make thorough evaluations
- Keep egos and "turf protection" in check
If you've never read it, I suggest you buy today!