Distinguishing Points of View

Written by Rhea Blanken on June 10, 2019

Distinguishing point of views (POVs) can help better frame one’s value and appreciate the contribution of others.

Consider this: Our POV is the world we live in. it’s neither right or wrong, good or bad!

However, our POV has us often more committed to being right about something in order to look good, be comfortable, and/or remain safe within specific situations and circumstances.

But what if we could all benefit from experiencing new ways of seeing our POV and that of others without having conflict or competition over trying to convince another before the best communication occurs? This is not about changing anyone’s mind on a topic. It’s more about better human connectivity through a deeper appreciation of the rich and textured diversity included in all POVs.


Edward De Bono wrote 6 Thinking Hats outlining six ways people think to address this situation. He showed how it’s possible to think together to better include and appreciate everyone’s POV. Using his methodology, individuals can express their thoughts under the protection of one or more of the thinking hats. Whether to solve a problem, create a new process or service, do performance reviews, or build strategic scenarios—De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a simple communication tool. I’ve used it often with great success for over 25 years.

Here is a summary of the Hats and their POV:

What information and resources do we need to address this situation properly? Facts are needed, not beliefs. Look for gaps in knowledge and either try to fill them or be able to account for them. Be careful not to add any interpretation.

WHITE—Provable Facts & Figures

How do people feel about this? Let’s explore it as it seems to matter to you or others with no justification needed. Emotions are in the background of human response—providing a safe-space for them makes good sense, especially when making decisions.

RED—Hunches & Intuitions

Why is this a valuable idea? Why do we think “IT” could happen? If “IT” happens—then what? Express the feasibility of actions being discussed. It’s constructive thinking for making things happen.

YELLOW—Future with Optimism

What are the lessons learned from past experiences and/or the “risks” for having this not succeed? Spot fatal flaws and risks before one embarks on a course of action, and prepare contingency plans. May seem pessimistic—devil’s advocate in tone and attitude—but it’s really their “risk assessment”.

BLACK—Critical Judgement

What else is possible? What might be an alternative? Might there be another explanation? May sound provocative at first blush. Deliberately offers new ideas, often in a non-linear way.

GREEN—Creativity & Imagination

What have we achieved in this discussion and what’s next? Summarize the next steps and frame future focus. If thinking is a dance, then Blue Hat is the choreographer. It frames the discussion’s focus, the time to spend on each hat’s analysis, and comments on the thinking being used.

BLUE—Organizes & Manages the Process

The willingness to shift your POV while appreciating another’s endorses the quote by futurist Daniel Burrus: “Your view of the future shapes your actions today, and your actions today shape your future.”

If you want to go the extra mile on POV exploration, consider using the ideas expressed in James Gilmore’s book, Look, inspired by his appreciation of the Six Hats model to shift one’s perception and shift our POVs. He says “what we see determines the actions we are OR are NOT willing to take plus how meanings get added to everything.”

His six glasses are:

  1. Binoculars—Surveying & Scanning: What, if anything, have we missed?
  2. Bifocals—Comparing & Contrasting: What is an opposing POV? What is each step, from end to beginning?
  3. Magnifying Glasses—Pausing & Pinpointing: What do you want to know but haven’t? What may be the most critical or compelling?
  4. Microscopes—Scrutinizing & Studying: What else to look at, nearby, for more details and possible effects?
  5. Rose Colored Glasses—Enhancing & Enriching: What could have/make XYZ better? What are the hidden opportunities?
  6. Blindfolds—Looking at Looking: Look back at the end of event and/or after completing a task to see what stands out.

Maybe Yogi Berra, legendary baseball player, was spot on after all when he said: “You can observe a lot just by watching”. Learning to observe your POV and appreciating others is a worthwhile life-long practice.