Making Decisions with the Six Hat Method

Making Decisions Using the Six Hats Method Most of our decisions are made quickly and unconsciously. Once a decision is made, we often engage our analytical brain to search for data that supports our choice, creating the illusion of a rational decision-making process. Making sound decisions can be challenging and even stressful. Therefore, it's beneficial to learn new decision-making techniques rather than relying on old patterns and habits. One excellent tool for decision-making and problem-solving is the Six Thinking Hats created by Edward de Bono. The Six Hats method encourages parallel thinking and communication in a group. This reduces conflict by keeping the team focused on one aspect of a situation or problem at a time. Each “hat” represents a different style of thinking. Moving methodically through each different style leads us to consider a problem from multiple angles and fosters more balanced, comprehensive decision-making. Here’s how to use the Six Hats to separate your thoughts into distinct categories. 1. White Hat (Information) Put on the White Hat to tackle a decision through objective thinking and focus on the facts, data, and information. While your team looks at a decision with the White Hat approach, avoid the temptation to interpret data or include opinions. Ask your team to examine questions like, what information is available? What are the facts? What do we need to know? 2. Red Hat (Emotions) Put on the Red Hat and listen to your emotions as you think through a problem. Channel your inner Obi-Wan Kenobi and trust your feelings. What does your gut say? What emotions come up as you think about the decision you face? How do you feel about the options? 3. Black Hat (Critical Thinking) Put on the Black Hat and explore the potential problems that may arise with the decision your team faces. What might go wrong? What are the risks? Make critical judgments. Where might the proverbial wheels come off? Why might the potential solutions to your problem not work? 4. Yellow Hat (Optimism) Put on the Yellow Hat and think positively. Look for the benefits and opportunities each outcome may bring. List the reasons this idea is worth pursuing. What good outcomes can we achieve? How can these choices benefit the group or organization? 5. Green Hat (Creativity) Put on the Green Hat and get your creative juices flowing. Brainstorm potential solutions. Think outside the box. When your team wears the Green Hat, no idea is a bad idea. You never know what will spark a great solution or alternative course of action. 6. Blue Hat (Process) Put on the Blue Hat to organize your thinking. Use the Blue Hat to step back and look at the process as a whole. This is the time to set goals for your team and summarize outcomes. Ask questions like, what is the next step? How can we organize our thinking? Learn How to Make Great Decisions Making complex decisions is one of life’s toughest tasks. The great news is that there [...]

By |2024-06-18T11:26:24-04:00June 18th, 2024|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on Making Decisions with the Six Hat Method

Get Ready for Summer: Update Your Goals and Make Time for Joy

Get Ready for Summer: Update Your Goals and Make Time for Joy Starting the year with goals in mind is a great idea. What makes that approach even more effective is checking in periodically to evaluate what’s working, what isn’t relevant anymore, and when we need to reprioritize. With the summer approaching, now is a perfect time to sit down with our list of New Year’s Resolutions and see how we’re doing and how we feel about the goals we set at the beginning of the year. Here are 3 steps to update your goals and make time for joy. 1. Are your goals still relevant? Let’s spring clean! When reviewing the goals you chose in January, consider which ones you've already achieved. Have you finished that big project? Have you been going to the gym? Take a look at your list of goals and check off the ones you've done. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished so far. Also, think about which objectives are no longer relevant and remove them from your list. We all change our minds and that’s fine. I call this “spring cleaning my to-do lists”! Any new summer goals you want to add to the list? Family, health, nature…what inspires you these days? Remember to pick only what’s most important to you and to be realistic in order to set yourself up for success. Often, less is more…I even have a “Not To-Do List” and I love it!! 2. Acknowledge the Progress You’ve Made. Acknowledging your progress can help energize you to keep moving forward. What’s working for you? What’s going well? What’s almost done? Take a few moments to think about how you achieved progress. Perhaps you have an encouraging note taped to your bathroom mirror. Maybe you have reminders set to pop up on your phone or calendar. What tools and strategies work for you? Make sure you continue using the techniques that support your growth. Consider updating the notes or reminders with a fresh message and try some new ways to continue doing things that make you happy and successful. 3. Add Joy. As summer approaches, perhaps it’s time to shift your focus to creating time for family and friends or simply enjoying the outdoors. Think about what adds joy to your life and where that happiness boost fits into your daily or weekly life. It might be as simple as taking a ten-minute walk at the end of the day or enjoying a cup of tea outside in the morning. Make time to engage with the people and activities that help you recharge. This helps break up the fog of monotony that can come from getting lost in our daily work and life routines. Add a breath of fresh air, whether it’s from a literal walk outside, coffee with a friend, or a visit to a meaningful place, like a museum or art gallery. You can learn more ways to increase your happiness in my book, 21 Days to Happiness. Each day of the [...]

By |2024-05-21T09:07:55-04:00May 21st, 2024|Happiness Tips, Leadership Tips|Comments Off on Get Ready for Summer: Update Your Goals and Make Time for Joy

5 Ways to Influence People at Work

5 Ways to Influence People at Work Influencing people effectively at work is very important for various reasons. It helps you promote your ideas and achieve your goals and is critical for leadership development and career advancement. For some individuals, having influence may seem like an innate trait that cannot be learned. However, the truth is that anyone can develop influence with others. Like any other skill, it just requires a bit of learning and practice. Here are 5 ways to influence people at work. 1. Establish Credibility. Take some time to think about your experiences, education, and passions. Identify the areas where you feel most knowledgeable and skilled. Share your expertise and opinions in those fields to establish credibility. Remember, credibility also involves acknowledging when someone else knows more than you do and being willing to defer to their expertise. 2. Listen First and Be Curious. When people feel heard, understood, and respected, it fosters a positive work environment. In a culture of open communication, where ideas are valued, everyone feels empowered to contribute. Listening to others builds trust, a necessary component of influence. Therefore, before making yourself heard, take the time to listen and understand what others are saying and what’s important to them. Be genuinely curious and interested. Additionally, it's essential to connect your ideas with their needs to make sure that your contribution is valuable. 3. Be Flexible. Remaining flexible is crucial in persuasion as it allows us to adapt our approach to different situations and individuals' needs, increasing the likelihood of success. By being open-minded and willing to adjust our strategies based on feedback and new information, we can build stronger connections and achieve more effective outcomes. 4. Show Initiative. Have a good idea? Spot a solution that may have been overlooked? Speak up and step forward to help implement your ideas. Good leadership fosters influence, and being willing to step forward with a solutions-oriented attitude helps build people’s confidence in you. 5. Build Connections. The key differences between influence and manipulation lie in your intent. Influence involves shaping others’ behavior with integrity, transparency, and respect whereas manipulation involves exploitation and disregard for the well-being of others in pursuit of our individual goals. Building genuine connections demonstrates respect and promotes team well-being. Understanding team members' goals, needs, and expertise positions the entire team for success. Increase Your Influence Individuals who can effectively influence others tend to excel in their careers. Whether it's persuading clients, negotiating with stakeholders, or leading projects, influence skills are highly valued in professional settings. Training sessions can enhance your skills and help you achieve more with others. Our Persuasion, Influence and Political training session presents techniques to adapt to different personalities and situations in order to maximize your impact on those around you. Contact us today to learn more.

By |2024-04-29T10:42:00-04:00April 29th, 2024|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 5 Ways to Influence People at Work

4 Steps to Introduce Change Successfully

4 Steps to Introduce Change Successfully Introducing change successfully doesn’t happen by accident. Gartner, a research and advisory group, estimates that only about 34 percent of change is successfully implemented, with an additional 16 percent reporting mixed results. Those aren’t the best odds. Using a little organization and some other vital strategies will boost your likelihood of being among the 34 percent who report success with implementing changes on their team. Here are 4 steps to introduce change successfully. 1. Acknowledge the Need for Change. The first step in introducing a change is understanding why it is necessary. What issue will a change improve? What happens if the problem remains unaddressed? Most importantly, how does the change impact the individuals on your team? Remember, people will always want to know the “WIIFM”… What’s In It For Me? Many people find themselves intimidated by big changes. Change is risk; it feels unpredictable. Giving up the comfort of a routine can be hard. Understanding the need for change helps you communicate to your team why the new idea is positive. If your team has a clear vision of how a new practice will benefit them, they will be more likely to support it. Gaining that support is a critical component that will determine whether your change is successful. 2. Create a Plan with Your Team. Once your team clearly understands the reason for the change, it’s time to craft a plan. What are you asking your team to do differently? How will they accomplish these new tasks? If support and/or training is necessary, when and how will that take place? Map out a process for implementing the new procedure with them. If you involve them in the planning, it becomes “our change” instead of “your change”. Together, consider the team’s overall calendar as you decide when the change will occur. For example, it may make more sense to postpone a change for a short time if key team members will be out of the office on vacation or are nearing a critical deadline. 3. Implement the Change. Even when we do our best to anticipate all the possible outcomes, new processes can cause unexpected ripples impacting our team or customers in surprising ways. As you introduce the change, ensure you are available to answer questions or address unexpected effects of the new procedure. Check in regularly with your team members to see what’s working and address any concerns or questions they may have. 4. Evaluate the Results of the Change. Sometimes, change has quantifiable results with numbers that tell the story of its success or challenges. At other times, you’ll have to gather information from your team and customers about how the new process impacts them and addresses the issues that prompted the change. Consider your criteria for success. What was your highest priority outcome? Did the change make it possible to achieve that outcome? What has improved as a result of this change? If not, what new information have you learned [...]

By |2024-03-27T17:02:00-04:00March 27th, 2024|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 4 Steps to Introduce Change Successfully

3 Ways to Boost Confidence and Happiness by Moving Your Body

3 Ways to Boost Confidence and Happiness by Moving Your Body Nonverbal communication, such as body language, can be a powerful tool to communicate with others, but did you know your body language can change the conversation in your own brain? Your body reacts to your thoughts and emotions in predictable ways, smiling when you feel happy or grimacing when you stub your toe. What we don’t often realize is that the communication from brain to body that creates body language can work the opposite way, too. In other words, you can flex your muscles, change the position of your body, and boost your own mood. Here are 3 ways to increase your happiness with your body language right now. 1. Smile: Your Happiness Superpower When you smile, the tiny muscles in your face do some serious heavy lifting. According to Stanford research scientist Nicholas Coles, smiling actually sends signals to your brain to boost your happiness. It helps you recall positive experiences and feel greater joy when someone shares a funny story, for example. What’s even more interesting is that you can “hack your brain” because this works even when you don’t already feel happy. Try it next time you reach a low-energy moment in your day. Flex those happiness muscles—smile—and note the changes in your mood. Feel better? Smiles are contagious, too. What better way to spread happiness than to share a smile with someone else? 2. Boost Your Confidence with Power Poses Smiling isn’t the only way to signal our brains to boost our mood or change our feelings. Our brains also react to our posture and the position of our bodies. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy says poses that open the body, like what’s been termed the “Wonder Woman or Superman Pose”—standing with feet slightly apart and hands on hips—make us feel more powerful. Try standing in a “power pose” for two minutes before a challenging meeting or social situation that would usually make you anxious. Note the difference in how you feel. 3. Become a Mirror to connect with others Building strong relationships is one of the keys to being happy. You can use body language to connect with others. Your body language signals alertness, engagement, and understanding of a conversation. Using eye contact and angling your upper body toward the speaker are good ways to communicate that you’re listening. You can also subtly mirror the speaker’s body language. What’s the energy level of the person speaking to you? Try matching that energy as you listen to them talk. For example, if they have a relaxed posture, relax yours as well. Quick tip: don’t overdo your mirroring, remain yourself to remain authentic. Learn About the Connection Between Happiness and Performance The benefits of boosting your happiness extend over nearly every part of your life. Better happiness can increase the quality of your relationships, health, and work productivity. Learn more about boosting happiness at work in our Happiness and Performance session. We’ll teach you key strategies to [...]

By |2024-02-27T19:31:16-04:00February 27th, 2024|Happiness Tips, Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 3 Ways to Boost Confidence and Happiness by Moving Your Body

Using Personality Profiles to Boost Growth

Using Personality Profiles to Boost Growth A personality profile is one of the most powerful tools to help you understand your strengths, preferences, and/or traits that come less comfortably or naturally to you and your team. These profiles can help you and your team members understand your natural talents, communication, and work styles, as well as identify blindspots and development opportunities for better collaboration. While this information mainly focuses on identifying and using our talents, it can also shed light on the source of misunderstandings, help pinpoint the team's unmet needs, and offer insight on leveraging growth opportunities. Here are some ways you can use personality profiles to optimize teamwork. 1. Helps Us Understand Individual Needs. A personality profile, such as the DISC profile, allows teammates to see how their values and traits impact how they relate to their role in the team. This might help explain why we have different approaches and expectations. For example, if one team member prefers using frank and direct communication and their colleague values tact, maintaining harmony, and using gentle words. Both approaches to feedback are valuable, and pairing these two teammates together to practice feedback may help them learn to give balanced feedback that's candid and gentle. 2. Celebrates Diversity. While it might sometimes feel tempting to build a team of people just like us, what we miss when we do that are the vast benefits of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that result from mixing things up and valuing perspectives different from our own. This is one of the reasons we should be careful if we offer a personality profile as part of an onboarding process or for a team-building session. These profiles aren't meant to judge or limit the abilities of team members. For example, it would be silly to route all new hires who are extroverts to a sales team, and all introverts to data entry positions. While personality profiles offer clues about a person's preferences and traits, they don't exhaustively define the person. Instead, they're a tool to help us understand how to work well together and identify growth opportunities. 3. Boosts Growth and Productivity for All. A personality profile can help you understand what environment and leadership style will allow you and your team members to be the most productive and happy. Would your team benefit from an open, collaborative workspace, or do they work best in a quiet setting with few interruptions? Understanding this can help you learn to balance the team's needs, which may mean alternating periods of quiet with collaborative meetings. Understanding your personality can also help you see the potential areas for growth and understand who might be a good mentor or "buddy" by sharing and using a strength you may not have. A very organized employee can offer strategies or tips to help you boost your organizational skills. A team member with strong tactfulness could serve as a sounding board, helping you refine your candid feedback to be tactful but direct. When we find [...]

By |2024-02-06T10:55:57-04:00February 6th, 2024|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on Using Personality Profiles to Boost Growth

’Tis the Season for Employee Recognition and Appreciation

’Tis the Season for Employee Recognition and Appreciation As we near the year's end, we reflect on its many highs and lows. The year may have brought unexpected hardships and losses along with successes and victories to celebrate. As we process and reflect, it’s important to remember the team who navigated the ups and downs of life this year and share with them the meaningful ways they contributed to helping us maneuver around setbacks and achieve our goals this year and to take a few moments to offer employee recognition and appreciation. The fact is, in our post-pandemic world, a little encouragement can go a long way. Forbes recently published an article detailing how employee recognition elevates employee loyalty (which, incidentally, has a significant impact on creating customer loyalty and business growth). It also creates a sense of purpose and belonging—knowing our work matters makes us feel like an essential part of a team. Here are 4 tips for recognition to keep in mind. 1. Acknowledge Challenges This may have been a challenging year, from economic changes to staffing issues, but your team has navigated these waters together. It’s okay to acknowledge that there were rough patches and thank them for staying the course and leaning in to help the team reach the other side. No matter what your team faced this year, you met it together, and now you stand on the other side, looking back at the year together. Acknowledging that you asked team members to go above and beyond or saw them handle unexpected challenges shows that those contributions matter and serve an essential purpose. 2. Recognize Individual Contributions Take some time (put it on your calendar if need be) to think over your team’s performance this past year. Are there instances when a team member’s new idea increased efficacy or workflow? Who went above and beyond when deadlines loomed? Is there someone who stepped up when challenges arose? Offering team members a Christmas bonus or raise is a wonderful way to show appreciation, but if you don’t have the resources to do this, offering employee recognition and appreciation is another powerful way to let your team know you appreciate them. You might write and hand out individual holiday cards or make a point to speak to your team, sharing with them examples of how their contribution to the team positively impacted the company and met a need you had. Make sure your feedback is specific and inclusive. 3. Celebrate Successes Take advantage of the holiday season to create a celebration of your own. Take time to celebrate your team’s successes this year. This doesn’t have to be a huge event, just something celebratory and above the ordinary. It can be as simple as calling a team meeting and providing donuts and coffee for everyone. At the same time, you take the opportunity to recap the team’s high notes and successes or as fancy as a catered lunch or party at a lovely venue. Any of these [...]

By |2024-01-08T10:46:32-04:00December 18th, 2023|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on ’Tis the Season for Employee Recognition and Appreciation

4 Ways to Create a Collaborative Team Culture

4 Ways to Create a Collaborative Team Culture Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” It’s one of the best serendipitous qualities of a collaborative group. What began as an ordinary or half-impossible idea can round a brainstorming circle and become a genius solution in the hands of a collaborative team. Creating a collaborative team may take a little effort, but the rewards the team receives are more than worth the investment. Here are 4 ways to create a collaborative team culture. 1. Encourage Open-mindedness and Respect The first rule of creating a collaborative team is that the team must be a safe place to speak up. If team members can’t openly share their ideas, even the bad ones, they’ll withdraw from the discussion. Not only will you miss out on valuable input (even a bad idea can spark a trail of ideas that lead to a good one), but you’ll also miss out on something even more critical: engagement from your team members. Set the expectation of respect and make team meetings a safe space for new ideas. Set an example in the way you relate to the group. If someone shares an opinion that won’t work, thank them for their contribution. If you see team members speak down to one another, redirect the conversation, take the person aside privately, and encourage them to work on their open-mindedness. 2. Focus on Meaningful Priorities People can only focus on a few goals at a time, so limit the team’s focus to three or fewer specific goals at a time. Decide on a few inspiring and meaningful goals as a team. Make sure every team member understands how they can contribute and how achieving these goals impacts/benefits them. Set in motion an action plan and start tracking the team’s progress. 3. Get Everyone Involved in Problem-Solving Give your team a chance to build rapport with one another by involving them in team problem-solving tasks. This allows them to listen to each other and brainstorm together. It also helps get buy-in and builds engagement in the solutions the team devises. Ideally, don’t try to rush things. Whenever possible, let the discussion proceed until a consensus is reached. This can take time, but it allows everyone the chance to be heard. It will enable people to disagree and change course or forge meaningful compromises, which generates buy-in, a must-have in creating a collaborative team. 4. Invest in Your Team’s Development A team that advances in skills, advances their goals, and finds greater success. How will coaching or training add value to your team as a whole? How do development skills benefit individual team members? Investing in your team’s growth, both personally and as a whole, shows your team you care about their career growth. Providing that support can help reduce attrition and boost team members’ motivation at work. Get the Best from Your Employees Are you getting the most [...]

By |2023-10-30T10:49:29-04:00October 30th, 2023|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 4 Ways to Create a Collaborative Team Culture

3 Steps to Use the Pygmalion Effect for Performance

3 Steps to Use the Pygmalion Effect for Performance Employee productivity depends on effective performance management. The best managers use a combination of strategies to draw upon the full potential of their team and get consistent top-performing results. How do they do this? One powerful tool great leaders use to optimize performance is motivation. The Pygmalion effect explains how and why setting high expectations for employees yields excellent results. Here’s how to use the Pygmalion effect to optimize performance among your employees in 3 steps. What is the Pygmalion effect? The principle is simple. People tend to perform to our expectations, like a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we have high expectations, they perform better. When we have low expectations of people, they often perform below their capability. 1. Define Your Expectations Take a moment and think about each member of your team. Think about each person and your performance expectations. Do you think this person is capable of learning new tasks easily? Can they complete more than the tasks they’re given now? Do you have low or high expectations for this person? How well do you think they’re aware of your expectations? As you evaluate your expectations, also consider whether they’re realistic. Having high expectations of your employees only works when those expectations are achievable. If you set your expectations too high, the team may give up before they’ve even had a chance of success because they feel the target is impossible to reach. In summary, when you set expectations, think positively, but don’t depend on the power of positive thinking. 2. Boost Communication and Positive Feedback How do you communicate your expectations to your team? In life and work, communication determines so many outcomes. Remember that communication isn’t only the words you say. Sometimes, what’s unsaid speaks much more loudly. For example, when a manager is distant and uncommunicative, their team often assumes they are uninterested and have low expectations of their team. The fix is simple. When you see your team doing a good job, notice it and tell them. Don’t assume your appreciation is apparent. Make sure you’ve communicated it to your team. 3. Lead with Self-Confidence and Develop Yourself One of the critical factors that determines how successful employees are is the confidence level of their management. Do you believe you can coach and support your team? Do you believe in your abilities as their leader to achieve high performance? Are you using your full potential and investing in your own development? If not, what’s holding you back? Identify the barriers and find ways to remove them. Do you need more support from a coach or mentor? Ask for the help you need. It might be as simple as that. Are you lacking in a particular area of expertise? Find a way to get the training that will help you round out your leadership abilities and boost your confidence in yourself. Get the Best from Your Employees Are you getting the most from your team? Learn key [...]

By |2023-11-24T19:14:34-04:00September 11th, 2023|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 3 Steps to Use the Pygmalion Effect for Performance

4 Reasons to Be Assertive at Work

4 Reasons to Be Assertive at Work Being assertive at work means voicing your opinions and ideas with confidence. Assertiveness helps us set boundaries and ask for what we need without being rude or combative. Communicating assertively increases job satisfaction and creates win-win situations with our coworkers. It also allows us to recognize our feelings and build honest relationships with teammates. Here are 4 more reasons to use assertive communication at work. 1. Keeps the Focus on Your Idea, Not You One common problem we face at work is thinking we’ve communicated an idea more effectively than we actually have. For instance, if you share an idea in a meeting or email, and the tone is too soft, your comment may get lost in the conversation. Your teammates may not recognize that you’re asking for or proposing something. On the other hand, if you pitch an idea too forcefully, the idea gets lost as people react more to your delivery than the idea itself. Assertive communication uses clear, direct speech to explain an idea, allowing the idea to hold centerstage for discussion. 2. Gives You a Sense of Empowerment Assertive communication provides you with tools to make your needs heard. It helps you zero in on what you will and will not do so that you can state that clearly. Setting boundaries offers you a sense of control and autonomy. That sense of empowerment makes a big difference in your happiness and resilience at work. 3. Helps You Earn Respect One of the critical components governing the level of respect you have at work is how often you do what you said you’d do in the time you promised to do it. Here’s where assertiveness comes in. If you cannot ask for the resources you need to complete your work, it won’t get done. Assertive communication gives you a vehicle to ask for those resources and clearly state what you can do so the team can plan accordingly and count on your contributions. Assertive communication also helps those in leadership to set priorities and expectations so that team members know which tasks to focus on and what to do if they encounter problems. 4. Reduces Stress No one likes feeling unheard or as though their needs never make the priority list. It’s true in family relationships, and it’s true on the job, too. If you feel unheard as a leader or team member, assertive communication can help you break through that wall. Learning to speak up and state what you need firmly and clearly allows your coworkers to adjust their expectations and offer the support that helps the whole team succeed. Knowing you have a path to being heard reduces stress and ensures you have a safety net in your ability to speak up. Expert Training on Assertiveness at Work Mastering the balance of speaking assertively without being rude can be tricky, but it’s a skill worth learning. Our Assertiveness workshop teaches communication and conflict resolution styles and how to [...]

By |2023-11-24T19:16:33-04:00August 9th, 2023|Leadership Tips|Comments Off on 4 Reasons to Be Assertive at Work


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