Incorporating Diversity without the Divisiveness

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Diversity of opinion is divisive.

Now this is a real problem! Not only does the divisiveness brought about by differing views colour and diminish the interactions we have, but that very same diversity of view is also the best means we have at our disposal to come up with the best subject matter exploration and design going forward.

So the very thing we need to work in our favour tends to work against us.

There is no getting around the fact that we do not like hearing opinions that are different to our own. Our opinion is the correct one and those others are missing the point … aren’t they? Everyone perceives the world quite differently. If we assume that we all see things similarly, or that we are all on the same page, think again.

We don’t.

How can we incorporate diverse opinion in a way that is accepted and considered 
as a natural and non-threatening part our thinking?

The Six Thinking Hats is a thinking technique used to look at things from different perspectives. It forces us to move outside our habitual thinking styles and develop more rounded views of a given situation. The Hats promote fuller input from more people and significantly reduce argument from those with divergent points of view. The Six Thinking Hats gets people thinking in parallel.

Thinking in parallel is not about thinking the same! It’s about getting people to look at issues or topics from the same thinking perspective at the same time. When this happens the “opposition” is taken out of the equation yet we still hear and can consider the divergent viewpoints offered.

The Six Thinking Hats are also a great way to help build a culture in which innovation can happen. If we can take the divisiveness out of our interaction and develop more fully rounded views of a topic, we start to see more possibilities and we are less threatened by things that are not in accordance with the way we see the world as individuals. To take advantage of this the Six Thinking Hats also incorporates a Green Hat under which everyone seeks new ideas, alternative ways forward and new possibilities. Without a systematic consideration of these innovation remains just a word!

Everyone can be more collaborative and innovative with the application of the Six Thinking Hats:

“The Director General (DG) of a large Government Department was summoned by the State’s Premier and informed that the budget was to be slashed by $20,000,000.00 in the coming financial year. Given a growing work portfolio across the State, substantial cost-cutting already in place and a pledge that there would be no more cuts, this proved to be a serious issue for the Department.

In response, the Department’s most senior executives were flown in for a day long emergency session to try and find new ways of addressing the shortfall. In spite of their best efforts the session proved unfruitful.

The DG coincidently attended a lecture by Edward de Bono the following week and decided that the innovative thinking methods presented needed to be trialed on the funding dilemma. As a result the Executive Team were again flown into the State’s capital the following week and underwent a simple facilitation applying the collaborative and creative thinking approaches of the Six Thinking Hats. In doing so, the team quickly generated a range of new perspectives and ideas to apply to their budget problem.

With the application of a facilitated and structured Six Thinking Hats session, the very substantial subject-matter knowledge of the team was fully applied and over a 3 hour period they identified a quantifiable 12.5 million dollars worth of savings that were hitherto undiscovered with their normal thinking approaches.”

Could your organisation benefit from learning new ways to:

  • Appreciate diverse viewpoints?
  • Improve meetings and group interactions?
  • Fully explore any subject matter at hand?
  • Become more outcome focused?
  • Be more innovative in its thinking and action?

If so, contact Frank at Think Quick on 0400 109727 or at think.quick@me.com We are pleased to offer a no obligation discussion on exactly how your organisation will benefit using the Six Thinking Hats.

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About the Author

Frank Connolly is the Principal of “Think Quick”, a business that adds value through thinking differently. His work history covers all sectors and includes initiatives that have yielded bottom line benefit in the 10’s of millions of dollars.

Current clients range from Exxon-Mobil to Government Depts within Australia to Global NGO’s.

Much of his working life has been split between Australia, the South Pacific and Asia where he has trained and facilitated Lateral Thinking techniques, and been acknowledged by Edward de Bono as one of the foremost practitioners of the de Bono thinking methods worldwide.

Frank believes strongly that if we can improve the way we think, the actions that follow also improve.

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