The integration of new employees from abroad is accompanied by changes in the company that challenge both the culture and the employees. In particular, companies that have had little contact with international colleagues in the past need support with integration and cultural realignment in order to remain attractive to new employees in the future.
„Rethink resources, people, planet & production“ – the main theme of this year’s hub:disrupt – also picks up on this topic. That’s why we were also involved. With our workshop format, we support companies in the internationalization process, strengthen intercultural skills and raise awareness of new perspectives and experiences. Our aim is to raise awareness of interculturality and diversity. We want to share experiences, shed light on different perspectives and discuss measures that lead to good cooperation.
It is important to us to make Saxony the ‘place to be’ for international specialists and to play a key role in shaping this process with many other stakeholders. As part of hub:disrupt, our aim was to sensitize participants to different ways of thinking. Together with the participants from the fields of HR, business development, marketing and recruiting, we created a change of perspective directly on site, inviting the participants to engage with different patterns of thought and behavior. We used the Six Hats method for this.
The exchange created quick “aha” effects and provided new input for valuable integration in the working environment. It was great to see how enthusiastically and openly the participants got involved and it became obvious that diversity has become an integral part of our working lives today.
One thing is very clear: the ‘culture boom’ starts at management level. First and foremost, it is the decision-makers who must pave the way towards practicing interculturality. This requires mobilizing resources and employees who are close to the workforce and able to impart intercultural skills. There are various methods for implementation that vary depending on the size and constellation of the team. The SIX HATS method is very suitable for this and is applied as follows:
The Six Hats method is a popular creativity technique developed by Edward de Bono in 1986. It is also known as “thinking hats”. It could be described as a role-playing game, although many people are put off by this term per se. Ultimately, it is a group discussion in which different attitudes are adopted by the participants.
This is done using six different hats:
- Red: The red hat is characterized by emotionality. This view is very subjective and focuses on opinions & feelings.
- Green: This hat adopts a constructive attitude. It brings in creative thinking, focusing on new ideas and creativity.
- Blue: Blue is the all-rounder. It keeps an overview, sees the big picture and organizes the statements that are made.
- Yellow: Yellow stands for optimistic thinking. The attitude is speculative and focuses on best-case scenarios.
- White: The white hat stands for value-free, analytical thinking. It concentrates on the existing facts and has an objective view of things.
- Black: This is where the critic comes out. The black hat takes an objective view and focuses on problems, fears and risks.
So how does it work? The participants are assigned a hat. They must know their role and position and maintain this during the discussion. Everyone speaks in turn and comments are noted down.
When the SIX HATS method is applied and practiced on various topics, it not only helps to generate ideas for major issues, but can also be valuable on a small scale and contribute to faster decision-making.
About the author of the article: Sabine Werder is a Communications Expert and Innovation Manager at intap network. Sabine has extensive experience in the areas of Design Thinking, media training and moderation. During her various professional positions in Germany and abroad, she has worked with many different teams and learned to appreciate intercultural exchange.
Foto-Credits: Timm Ziegenthaler