Know Your Hats:

Do you like hats? If so, then you definitely need to incorporate this strategy I’m about to reveal into your home business.

If you don’t like hats, you can still use this strategy! Know Your Hats /// Coastal ConservatoryYou can simply change the hat analogy into some article of clothing you are fond of, such as scarves…or sashes.

Knowing what kind of “thinking hat” (or thinking sash) to wear for your business can make the difference between frustration and marvelous satisfaction. This technique will help you look at different ideas and decisions from all the pertinent angles to ensure a well-rounded perspective on a given situation.


What Are The Hats?

Originally created by Edward de Bono in his book, “Six Thinking Hats,” there are, as the title of his book implies, six different hats which you should put on. Each one should be worn one at a time, and can be worn during meetings with others, or on your own. Don’t worry, they’re imaginary, so they’re free and they won’t make you look ridiculous. Although, if you want physical hats to help you visualize, and/or you relish the opportunity to look ridiculous, by all means, wear actual hats! (Send us a picture if you do!)

Now, what do these “thinking hats” actually do? As the name implies, each “hat” helps you focus in on a certain mode of thinking.


White Hat:

White, clean, sterile. The white hat is the one you wear when you focus on the available data. Don’t think about anything else; just analyze the information you have. Look at trends, evaluate statistics, add up the numbers.


Red Hat:

Red, the color of intense emotions. Red is the hat of intuition. Put on the red hat in order to listen to your gut. A “what does your heart tell you?” kind of hat. While we should not be ruled by emotion or knee-jerk reactions, intuition can often alert us to problems or potentials before we can rationally arrive at the conclusion that something is good or bad. Our gut reactions should not be ignored, nor blindly acted upon. Red hat is what we wear when we pay attention to our initial emotional response.

Additionally, red hat is for considering the emotional response a particular decision or idea might have on others.


Black Hat:

My least favorite hat, but an extremely necessary one, you wear the black hat for examining all the ways a particular idea or decision could go wrong. Black hat is when you unleash your pessimistic side, and search for all the bad points. Of course, as always, be honest. Yes, outlawing chocolate would be a calamity, but would such a disaster lead to the start of the zombie apocalypse? Well, that might have been a bad example. Outlawing chocolate might very well lead to the zombie apocalypse, but you get the idea. (I sincerely hope you are not reading this blog to discover ways to help your enterprise succeed in outlawing chocolate.)

Black hat is vital because it helps make you aware of all the weak points in a plan. Once you are aware of where the holes are in your ship, you can patch them up. Black hat can also save you the grief of starting something that had too many holes to ever float. If you never wear the black hat, you might try to set sail on a ship made of Swiss cheese. Black hat is the key to strengthening your plans and ideas.


Yellow Hat:

This is the sunshine hat, where you think positively! The opposite of the black hat, it is the optimistic viewpoint, and it is just as important. If you never put on the yellow hat, it can be easy to get discouraged and give up. You may have a great idea that just needs a little fixing up, but if you never put on your yellow hat to see all the positives, it may never happen.


Green Hat:

The brainstorming hat, the green hat stands for creativity. Let ideas flow, no matter how fantastic. No criticism is allowed, only creativity and opportunity. Consider all ideas.


Blue Hat:

The one wearing the blue hat is the one controlling the hat wearing process. If depression abounds, the blue hat wearer may need to direct thinking to the yellow hat. If ideas are nowhere to be found, group thinking is directed to the green hat, and so on.


Well-worn hats:

Let’s say you and your friends want to open an ice cream shop called “Kool Kones and Kandy”. Putting on the white hat, you analyze the data to evaluate how profitable it would be to open an ice cream shop. You look at where other ice cream businesses are in the city, how much it costs to run a shop, what time of year people buy the most ice cream, and what the stats are on ice cream shops in warmer climates as opposed to colder?

Switching to the red hat, you think about how the name and appearance of the shop might appeal to customers. One of your friends might point out that the name vaguely reminds them of the KKK for some reason, and therefore gives off a negative vibe. If this is the case for you, it might be the same for your customers.

When thinking with the black hat, you consider the heavy taxes in the particular city you are thinking of building your shop. You also consider that there seems to be a disproportionate amount of people in your city that are lactose intolerant. Both of these could cripple your shop.

Yellow hat on, you now consider the fact that your planned building location happens to be in a place that is warm all year round, and attracts many lactose-loving tourists. You also can point to the fact that there are no other ice cream shops nearby.

With green hat thinking, you and your friends brainstorm a new name for the shop which would be more inviting, and think of creative ways to design an appealing building that would draw in more people for ice cream. Or, perhaps you offer dairy-free alternatives to your large demographic of lactose intolerant people.

You have been wearing the blue hat, and effectively moving among the different thinking styles as necessary, carefully guarding against straying to other styles of thinking, and negative criticism.


The power of hats:

The key to utilizing the thinking hats is to only wear one at a time. If you are wearing the green hat, you cannot let the black hat invade your thinking and plant all kinds of negative ideas. The time for the black hat can come later. Without consciously thinking about how we are thinking, it can be easy for planning—especially with others—to get bogged down, or turn frustrating. If everyone is wearing a different hat during the same conversation, conflicts can arise, and progress can be thwarted.

If, on the other hand, you intentionally move from one mode of thinking to another, planning can move along smoothly, while leaving no rock unturned. Go ahead! Try it out! Practice going from one hat to another. Don’t worry, you won’t go mad, in fact, it should make you more sane.


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