Edward de Bono of www.thinkingmanagers.com highlights the floors in using argument as a mechanism for deciding outcomes.
The Inadequacy of Argument
Argument is an inadequate means of exploring a subject; it is primitive, crude and inefficient.
Argument is bereft of design energy, and an intransigent presumption is made that if both positions are opposed, they will always remain so. Argument is therefore lacking in constructive energy.
Ego plays a big role in argument. It is considered a kind of victory if someone is proved wrong, and the ‘victor’ assumes an air of superiority.
Argument can also be extremely time-consuming, with relatively minor points constantly highlighted and attacked.
A much more effective and satisfactory way of exploring a subject is parallel thinking. An example of this is the Six Hats method I devised in 1985.
The method works like this: there are six hats and each represents a mode of thinking. For example, the white hat represents ‘information’, where participants decide exactly what information is necessary and ask questions to find out how it can be obtained. If the information turns out to be contradictory, it has to be put down without using argument.
The green hat takes care of creativity and new ideas, with people looking for alternatives, different possibilities and new thinking. The green hat encourages modification of ideas and perceptions.
By using the Six Hats technique, everyone is challenged to use their thinking skills to their full capacity. Usually, someone in a meeting who is against an idea will use the whole session to attack it. Using the Six Hats method, that person can attack and criticise the idea as much as they want under the black hat. But when it is the turn of the yellow hat, they will have to focus on the value of the idea. If they can’t or won’t do this while everyone else can and will, they will appear foolish.
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