Imagine that you are running (or sitting in) a meeting and you’re trying to reach a consensus on a pending project or an important action item. Ideally, everyone would chip in his/her thoughts, which would lead to agreement and collaboration. What do you do when it doesn’t work that way? Here’s how to bring harmony to group discord.
Everyone sitting in a meeting will bring their own perspective and approach. Conflicts can arise between opposite personalities and opinions, and soon you can have mayhem. You want everyone to work together in harmony, but what do you do if they’re holding fast to their discordant perspectives?
Edward de Bono devised a technique to facilitate more productive meetings in a book he published called “Six Thinking Hats.” The concept is to bring out each type of opinion one at a time, and to give consideration to each of them.
Try using these “hats” when your group is grappling with a problem. You can assign one hat to each participant, or have the entire group wear each hat and explore the issue together before moving on:
- The White hat is neutral and objective. Start with that one to gather facts and figures.
- The Red hat is emotional and intuitive. Use it to offer gut reactions.
- The Black hat is critical. Use that one to play the devil’s advocate.
- The Yellow hat is sunny and positive. Develop the positive values with that one.
- The Green hat is creative. Use it to generate fresh ideas.
- The Blue hat is organizing. It sets objectives and outlines the issue at the beginning and then summarizes the conclusions at the end of the meeting.
Make sure you give time for each approach (hat) to be considered. Only then can a consensus begin to form and real progress be made. You can bring harmony to group discord. You haven’t peaked yet!