Do You Leverage All the Thinking Hats?
I'm a big "Scandal" fan (the TV show). I know I'm not alone. And if you are a "Scandal" fan, you know they are constantly referencing "white hats" and "black hats." On the show, they're simply talking about "good and bad." But in the business world, "thinking hats" are incredibly important. Decision making is hard enough with all the challenges we face in the nonprofit industry — we have to make tough decisions and often there is not a clear "win-win" scenario. But I believe the industry misses out on great opportunities because many of today's leaders don't gain a full view into what a specific decision can mean for a program or an organization.
The concept of the "thinking hats" — there are six of them — is simply the approach of breaking down the decision-making process into some critical steps/ways of thinking. As I look back on the many teams in my career —ones that I have been a part of and ones that I have lead — one thing is clear: It is not easy to find people who actually have the ability to think through all six steps on their own. In fact, it's almost impossible. Where we have been the most successful in decision making was when the team was a great mix of business personalities and collectively thought through the six different steps in the process.
So, let's talk about the six hats. Folks, this is not just some business fad. Edward de Bono is credited with the concept of the "Six Thinking Hats," but over the years they have been applied in multiple ways by multiple consultants. I'm going to apply them specifically to the nonprofit industry relative to a marketing and fundraising perspective.
But first, here are general descriptions about Thinking Hats:
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.