Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0149 | April 20, 2004 | 8,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

As facilitators, we're big on process. Right? So this week, I thought I'd share a great little tool that can help us individually and collectively expand our thinking processes. This week's article, "Can You Choose Your Thinking Cap," summarizes the "Six Thinking Hats" technique by Edward de Bono. This is a simple yet effective technique to help us view the effects of our decisions from a several different perspectives. It allows necessary emotion and skepticism to be brought into what would otherwise be purely rational decisions, and opens up the opportunity to bring creativity to bare on decision-making. I hope you find it useful!

In this Issue: News

Feature Article: Can You Choose Your Thinking Cap?

The 5 P's of Guided Imagery: Our next one-hour tele-seminar with Ellen Britt happens Thursday, April 29th at 1:00 PM EST.

Six Thinking Hats. This book, by Edward Debono, is the basis of this weeks article and offers details in the use of these six modes of thinking. Random Acts of Facilitation Teleclass. Our popular five-day teleclass returns on May 3rd through 7th.

If any of you have any interesting stories or experiences about facilitation, group process, work groups, team building, training, etc. that might interest our readers, please email them to us.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis

Facilitator News

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Group Process Skill
Can You Choose Your Thinking Cap?
The Point

In Edward de Bono's book "Six Thinking Hats," he describes six different perspectives from which to view problems and make decisions. This can be quite useful considering most of us tend to make decisions out of habit and may not be fully conscious of the process we go through. Knowing this will help us understand information or perspectives we may be overlooking prior to making decisions.

For example, many successful people in the modern world think from a very rational, positive viewpoint. But often they fail to look at a problem from an emotional, intuitive, creative or negative viewpoint. This can mean that they underestimate resistance to plans, fail to make creative leaps and do not make essential contingency plans.

Similarly, pessimists may be excessively defensive. Emotional people may fail to look at decisions calmly and rationally.

If you look at a problem with the 'Six Thinking Hats' technique, then you will solve it using all approaches. Your decisions and plans will mix ambition, skill in execution, public sensitivity, creativity and good contingency planning.

How to Use the Tool

You can use Six Thinking Hats in meetings or on your own. In meetings it has the benefit of blocking the confrontations that happen when people with different thinking styles discuss the same problem.
Each 'Thinking Hat' is a different style of thinking as explained below:

White Hat

The White thinking hat seeks to learn by gathering and assessing all available information. Use this hat by seeking out knowledge gaps and try to fill them or consider them in your decision-making. Using this hat, you'll
analyze patterns, trends, and try to extrapolate from historical data.

Red Hat

Trying on the red hat, get a "sense" of your problems through use of your intuition. What is your gut reaction to this problem? What feelings arise? Also consider how other people will react emotionally to this problem or to your solution. Try to understand the responses of people who may not be fully aware of your reasoning.

Black Hat

With the black hat you get to play the devil's advocate. Look at all the negative aspects of your decision. What might it not work? What's wrong with it?. This approach will help you to detect the flaws in your reasoning or the weak points in your plan. It allows you to eliminate them, alter them, or prepare contingency plans to counter them.

Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans 'tougher' and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you embark on a course of action. Black Hat thinking is one of the real benefits of this technique, as many successful people get so used to thinking positively that often they cannot see problems in advance. This leaves them under-prepared for difficulties.

Yellow Hat

The yellow hat helps you to think positively. Use this hat to view the upside potential of your plan and its value to all concerned parties. Yellow Hat thinking will help you persevere when the going gets tough.

Green Hat

The Green Hat stands for creativity. Use this hat to develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a freewheeling way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas. A whole range of creativity tools can help you here. When you're in the pure brainstorming mode, you're wearing your Green hat.

Blue Hat

This is the facilitator's hat concerned with controlling processes. When running into difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they will ask for Black Hat thinking, etc. A variation of this technique is to look at problems from the point of view of different professionals (e.g. doctors, architects, sales directors, etc.) or different customers.


The directors of a non-profit wellness program are looking to expand their charter into the mental health arena. Their is a severe shortage of services in their community and this continues to be an ongoing problem that they hope to reduce through leadership, education, and collaboration. As part of their decision they decide to use the 6 Thinking Hats technique during a planning meeting.

Looking at the problem with the White Hat, they analyze the data they have. They examine the trends in the mental health field and within their community. Available information shows a huge gap in what's needed and what's available.

With Red Hat thinking, some of the directors simply aren't really excited about getting into the mental health area. It depresses them just talking about it. Others are extremely passionate about it. Most of the latter group have had mentally ill friends or family members and can empathize with their situations.

When they think with the Black Hat, they worry that the problem is just too big for their little program to be of much help. They're concerned that this new direction may jeopardize their success with their current customers in the mentally healthy population. Further, even though there is grant funding available, they are uncertain of their chances to attract it given the size of their fairly meager population of just over 25,000 people.

With the Yellow Hat, however, they feel that it won't cost a lot to really improve the mental health situation in their community. They feel that this new direction is a noble one that their organization is in a unique position to support and nurture.

With Green Hat thinking they consider how they might be able to significantly improve communication, cooperation, and collaboration between existing service agencies so that everyone can win. Through education, they feel they can improve public understanding and support through funding and volunteerism. They know there are many more ideas and resources at their fingertips that simply need to be tapped and creatively applied to the problem.

The Blue Hat has been used by the meeting's Facilitator to move between the different thinking styles. She may have needed to keep other members of the team from switching styles, or from criticizing other peoples' points.

Key points

Six Thinking Hats is a good technique for looking at the effects of a decision from a several different perspectives. It allows necessary emotion and skepticism to be brought into what would otherwise be purely rational decisions. It opens up the opportunity to bring creativity to bare on decision-making. The technique also helps, for example, persistently pessimistic people to be positive and creative.

Plans developed using the "Six Thinking Hats" technique will be sounder and more resilient. It may also help you to avoid public relations mistakes, and spot good reasons not to follow a course of action before you have committed to it.


Try the "Six Thinking Hats" technique this work with your group or with a problem of your own. Please
email us to tell us how it worked for you.
Facilitation Expert Series

Facilitation Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar: "The 5 P's of Guided Imagery," featuring Ellen Britt, Ed.D., speaker, trainer, and founder of co-founder of Primal Waters.

Attend this one-hour tele-seminar on Thursday, April 29th at 1:00 PM EST (NY Time) with Ellen Britt and Steve Davis. During this tele-seminar, you'll receive an introduction to the art of guided imagery that will show you how mastering this valuable skill can provide you with a multifaceted and powerful tool, one that you can use not only with your clients, but with yourself. Some of the points we'll discuss are...

We'll discuss the 5 P's: (1) Pre-session interview, (2) Power, (3) Protection, (4) Permission, and (5) Potency of guided imagery.
We'll actually "take a journey" with one of the class participants, illustrating the five essential components of a successful imagery session.
After the imagery session is complete, we'll do an "After Action" plan, identifying what was successful with the session and what we could have done to make it even better.
We will also discuss how to effectively use guided imagery in group work.
You will walk away with a new appreciation of how effective imagery can add an exciting and dynamic dimension to your training and facilitation skills.
And, we'll answer any questions you bring to the teleclass on this subject.

About Ellen: Ellen Britt, PA-C, Ed.D. is a SUN coach as well as an experienced speaker and workshop presenter. She has practiced as a physician assistant for twenty-two years, specializing in emergency medicine, occupational health and urgent care. Her "Stress Resiliency" workshop clients include: Roadway Corporation, Southern Mills, WinPak Corporation, SCA Tissue and the Georgia Public Health Association.

Ellen is co-founder of Primal Waters, specializing in digital media relaxation products and she produced the company's Telly award winning video, The Fifth Season. She also directs Primal Waters' six month intensive distance learning program, the Stress Resiliency Coach(tm) Certification program. She holds a doctorate in biology from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana and is currently completing degree requirements for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology through the Fielding Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California. Ellen lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia and the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

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1.The Little Book of Stress Resiliency. 121 Tips for Bringing More Calm, Pleasure and Fulfillment into Your Busy Life."
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3. Four Breathing Meditations and six loving kindness meditations in Real Audio format.
4. Guided meditation exercises in real audio for:
Relaxation and stress-reduction, Posture and body awareness, and Emotional awareness.

Click here for details about this interview, the bonuses, and registration.


Six Thinking Hats, by Edward Debono

Good thinking is simple. The goal of effective thinking is to make complexity managable. The Six Thinking Hats Method is by design a KISS system that is not intended to emphasize how clever any individuals in a group are, but to make actionable decisions--in most cases to achieve business results (as de Bono wryly notes elsewhere, most academics aren't interested in effective thinking). The idea is that everyone in a group focuses on a specific element (Hat) at the same time, not individually. Doing it this way reduces argument and the role of ego in the conversation.

As de Bono notes, an important element in his work is also to demystify creativity, and help people understand you don't need lava lamps and candles to "do" creativity effectively. You don't have to be goofy. Ordinary business people working on engines and vaccines--and, as far as that goes, Accounts Payable, Sales, and Project Management--need creativity to be effective and competitive in a 24 hour global marketplace. Review by Barry Cooper, KY United States.

In the Spotlight

Teleclass for facilitators and change agents.

Discrete skills and attitudes for the new and experienced facilitator who wants to get their group into serious motion.

I want to thank you for designing a course that lived up to its advertisement. I found the daily curriculum practical and thought provoking. The ideas developed each day created foundations for the lessons to follow. Many "acts of facilitation" were immediately applicable to my facilitation practice. The tone of each class was a supportive learning environment. Each class ended on a note of high-energy with encouraging words and an opportunity for feedback. --Steven Pyser, J.D., consultant--

Random Acts of Facilitation, 5-Day Teleclass

This class will meet over a telephone bridge line for five consecutive weekdays May 3-7, 2004 at 10:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM EST (NY Time) to cover 25+ facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course, that you can take from the comfort of your own home or office, is for beginning facilitators, group leaders, or group members who simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make their groups more effective. These "discrete" acts of facilitation also lend themselves to being taught to your group members who desire to become more self-facilitative.

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work a 25-point checklist during the 5 days (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Friday afternoon, or sooner if you wish.
3. You will have the opportunity to discuss issues on the subject matter with the instructor and your classmates via an online discussion forum during the course.
4. During the week, you may access the instructor via email for help or situational questions.

5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Introduction to the Facilitation and Self Facilitation Skills.

1. Create the Ambience.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.

Relating with compassion and understanding.

6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.
8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation

Organizing and Presenting yourself confidently, professionally, and authentically. 

17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Watch the Body Talk.
21. Be your message

Intervening to shift group energy

22. Tame the Tormentors.
23. CareFront.
24. Use the Struggle.
25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path

Benefits to you of participating from the 5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
2. Never waste another minute in an ineffective meeting again.
3. Learn how to challenge and empower every group you come in contact with.
4. Learn skills to help groups make quantum leaps in their effectiveness.
5. Be a catalyst for positive change in your community.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:
1. Comprehensive 15-page Student Learning Guide.
Free access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
3. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.
4. Free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).

The full cost of training/access is only $79 if you register by April 30th. ($89 for the general public) including a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

May 3-7, 2004, 10:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM EST (NY Time), 60 minutes each day.

I would recommend to anyone who wants to experience excellent modeling of what good facilitation is, to sign up for this teleclass. --Elain Wylie, Life Coach--


Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free article bank. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

Click here to register now

About the satisfaction guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this package, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case. (Why? Because we are sensitive to the fact that you are buying an e-course/product from us and we feel that if this package isn't EXACTLY what you expected or wanted, that you should be able to get 100% of your money back. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.)

Real Audio Testimonials
Click here for a one-minute audio testimonial from several participants on the final day of the teleclass.

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