Friday, May 29, 2009

Six Thinking Hats as a Small Business Advice About Creativity Boost

There are many ways to boost creativity; Six Thinking Hats is one of the most well known tools, due to its simplicity and Effectiveness. Many Leadership Training and Team Building workshops use it. Change Management processes often utilize it in order to boost flexibility and 'new' mindsets.

White Hat: With this thinking hat, you focus on the data available. Look at the information you have, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and either try to fill them or take account of them.This is where you analyze past trends, and try to extrapolate from historical data.

Red Hat: Wearing the red hat, you look at the decision using intuition, gut reaction, and emotion. Also try to think how other people will react emotionally, and try to understand the intuitive responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning.

Black Hat: When using black hat thinking, look at things pessimistically, cautiously and defensively. Try to see why ideas and approaches might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in a plan or course of action. It allows you to eliminate them, alter your approach, or prepare contingency plans to counter problems that arise. 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.

Yellow Hat: The yellow hat helps you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it, and spot the opportunities that arise from it. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.

Green Hat: The Green Hat stands for creativity. This is where you can develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a freewheeling way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas.

Blue Hat: The Blue Hat stands for process control. This is the hat worn by people chairing meetings. 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, and so on.

The directors of a property company are looking at whether they should construct a new office building. The economy is doing well, and the amount of vacant office space is reducing sharply. 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 trend in vacant office space, which shows a sharp reduction. They anticipate that by the time the office block would be completed, that there will be a severe shortage of office space. Current government projections show steady economic growth for at least the construction period.
With Red Hat thinking, some of the directors think the proposed building looks quite ugly. While it would be highly cost-effective, they worry that people would not like to work in it.
When they think with the Black Hat, they worry that government projections may be wrong. The economy may be about to enter a 'cyclical downturn', in which case the office building may be empty for a long time. If the building is not attractive, then companies will choose to work in another better-looking building at the same rent.
With the Yellow Hat, however, if the economy holds up and their projections are correct, the company stands to make a great deal of money. If they are lucky, maybe they could sell the building before the next downturn, or rent to tenants on long-term leases that will last through any recession.
With Green Hat thinking they consider whether they should change the design to make the building more pleasant. Perhaps they could build prestige offices that people would want to rent in any economic climate. Alternatively, maybe they should invest the money in the short term to buy up property at a low cost when a recession comes.
The Blue Hat has been used by the meeting's Chair to move between the different thinking styles. He or she may have needed to keep other members of the team from switching styles, or from criticizing other peoples' points.

Six Thinking Hats is a good technique for looking at the effects of a decision from a number of different points of view.

Six Thinking Hats Source:

Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 Management consultant and a Small Business Advice provider as well as a Psychologist, Online Life Coach, Marriage Counselor and Relationship Advice provider. Psychologist And Life Coach Online Counseling And Small Business Advice

Friday, April 24, 2009

Career Online Counseling as a Small Business Advice

Sometimes through Online Counseling people don’t always “like” the advice they’re given.

This was the case recently with M., a 31 year old professional saleswoman who had a small high end sheep leather coats import company. M. had recently lost here dream contract in early 2008 doing ‘big business’ with a nationally known prestigious clothing store. Since that time she had moved around a bit job-wise and slowly gotten herself into debt. At the time when I starting communicating with her she had reached the point where she was willing to work part time for others, in a commission only based job. She was currently four months behind on her rent and was exhibiting the beginning stages of clinical depression. M. lived in New York City by herself, most of her friends and family lived overseas. She did have a few friends in the area but she hadn’t seen very much of them recently because in her own words: “What friends I do have here, I rarely see anymore as I have withdrawn into my apartment. A typical weekend for me will be to stay up all night Friday night only to sleep for the next two days consecutively until I have to return to work on Monday”. Through our introductory Online Counseling session M. revealed that she was falling into a type of depression and having all sorts of strange dreams whilst sleeping (12-14 hours). She could not afford health care at this time and did not know what she was going to do financially. The weekend she had contacted me she had simply decided to discontinue eating and stated that she, “did not even feel that hungry anymore.” It was later revealed that she had also been engaging in other activities that pointed to sings of her depression. She showed signs of drinking binges beyond socially acceptable standards; there were also some concerns about promiscuity (with one of her potential client).I assessed that M.’s life was spiraling out of control and the things that provided her with a feeling of self worth i.e. her job, her apartment, her standard of living in general - were all dropping significantly. She was trying to get past these difficult times and just reached the point where she did not know what to do. Three Online Counseling sessions were needed in order to formulate my assessment and professional advice; generally speaking, I appreciate someone who is having a true awareness about him / herself and wants to take the right steps - and she falls into this group.

I had the feeling that M. is having 'an o.k. personality’ and therefore is capable of getting through the current situation, if major changes would occur in four domains:
A. Drinking should be a definite target for a change in her life.
B. Job and Business re-structuring: This economy has no room for many high end products; leather sheep coats are definitely within the heavily affected range. Use your sales ability, and move into another area. You are good in that line, so do high commission jobs.
C. Love / Sex / Relationships - no more and never again with clients or potential clients. Adopt therefore another mission: to look inward for your 'self assets' and thereafter outward, to find the right one.
D. New business location - no chance in NYC. Costs are too high and market trends are alarming. You are single, I told her, with no real supportive social circle around your location. Transform this “negative asset” into a big “plus” and move int to a growing areas, economy wise. Neither you nor I are going to produce miracles that would beat the economy trend. Since I'm not a magician, only a professional, I could see no reason to support an effort to swim against the stream when she could float on it instead.

So the strategy is:
Look for another business and or job, elsewhere in the US.

Establish a new 'you' - no drinking, financial responsibility and healthy relationships.

M. questioned me on the necessity to move out of New York; she was slightly agitated by my recommendation. Our Online Counseling work has ended; the Small Business Advice I could give her was left untouched.
Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 Management Consultant and a Small Business Advice provider, as well as a Psychologist, Online Life Coach, Marriage Counselor and Relationship Advice provider
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Online Counseling Provides Small Business Advice about Team Goal Settings

Recently R. requested an Online Counseling session for a solution to some issues that had come up at his work. He was the new asst. manager of a restaurant and had some concerns about the way his position was being perceived by his superior at the restaurant he worked at.

“I have a staff of either very young girls or older women and I can’t seem to find a middle ground with them. The young girls like to play around at work a lot and the older women are very uptight. I’m trying to find a way to bring them all together. I need to get the older women to understand that I am in charge and the younger girls to understand this are a professional work environment around here.”R. needed help figuring out a way to establish his authority with the older women as well as advice on how he should be asserting his authority to better manage the younger girls and let them see that things had to change and calm down to create a more professional atmosphere. Through offering him some Small Business Advice by means of Online Counseling I was able to offer some procedures that could assist in facilitating the changes that needed to take place.

I advised R. that first off he should be assured that the main problem was not his but the manager’s. The manager dealt only with the people on her shift and in turn R. dealt only with the people on his shift. There had been no authoritative presence established when R. took over his shift and that was the start of the issue but certainly not the only cause.
Working with R. and offering him some Small Business Advice I helped him create a set of operations that would hopefully help the Manager see the need for her to do a better job as well as establish his position of authority.
1. Arrange a very detailed set of missions and assign who is responsible for each one (could be a team). Specify levels of standards (quality) and ways of measuring the work / results. This is the MBO (Management by Objectives) method. It does take some time to establish.2. Use the team approach in order to further refine the various chores. Let the staff be a partner of the plan. Support them in their input.3. Build your own team, using well prepared weekly meetings (30-45 minutes).I advised R. to approach the business’ owner for a reasonable budget, regarding professional assistance in the above process. What I had specified sounds easy, but it is not. Online Counseling to provide Small Business Advice would help to create a professional business atmosphere that would increase profits as well as enhance time and business management.
Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 Management consultant and Small Business Advice providr as well as a Psychologist, Online Life Coach, Marriage Counselor and Relationship Advice provider. Small Business Advice Online Counseling Psychologist Room and Efficiencies Rental
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