Most situations in business and in life are ambiguous and confusing. And confusion is the greatest enemy of purposeful action. The brilliant and equally amazing “Six Action Shoes” model of lateral thinking – developed by cognitive scientist Edward de Bono – helps users assess situations so they can control and respond to them in effective ways. Following routines, responding in a sophisticated way, overcoming obstacles, gathering information, taking action – there is a shoe and a framework for action for six basic situations. Successful implementation occurs when all action modes are known and can also be combined according to the situation. The Six Action Shoes framework allows users to reflect on potential problems and risks in order to develop adequate action.
The basic idea of this approach is to create a useful decision framework for each situation. Each of the individual shoes has its own color and type, which conform to the requirements of the style of action. However, it is not a matter of creating analytical frameworks, but of building a concrete framework for action. Here, the shoe metaphor is used to suggest modes of action. The different types and colors of shoes used describe different types of actions to be taken. These actions should be determined by the circumstances. The question should be asked as to what type of action should be used in that particular situation. In spirit, the right pair of shoes must be put on and action taken according to the underlying principles.
In any situation, feeling is a critical factor for success, i.e. the attitude of all factors involved. These can generally only be developed through experience and perception. The mind normally recognizes only what it is prepared to recognize and perceives only what it expects. Experience, on the other hand, keeps the mind perceiving events according to familiar patterns. The action system of the six shoes makes it possible to flexibly combine action plans. Different combinations of action frames can be chosen so that they can be tailored to the individual situation. This creates additional flexibility of the action framework when implementing the strategy.