Author Archives: Aaron Ang

Small Business Six Hats Solution

Small Business Six Hats Solution*

wizard
Nobody can fashion hats like a business man
Ferey Kian ©

Kian Finance Authority

This concept is NOT my invention. It’s been around for a while in other fields such as management and mind-mapping.  But I thought small business owners will benefit from this concept too. So here is what small business owner can use. Please see below for more sources.

By now you are familiar with the small business mad hatter dilemma when an entrepreneur tries to do everything without anyone’s help. The business often survives until an emergency arises and then nobody knows what to do because there was nobody else in the loop. This blog is not about those small businesses.  To work ON your business, you need to see different perspectives.  I like to introduce Edward de Bone’s* Six Hats Method for the business environment to  help you choose your next move easily.  If you just follow the process, it will be so easy to make decisions all by yourself.

To apply the six hats method, a small business owner reaches beyond his or her expertise and looks at an issue from a series of perspectives, one at a time.  The better you can separate the perspectives in this way, the more complete and balanced view is achieved.

Each represents a frame of mind or a perspective:

  1. White Hat – Neutral and objective; facts; figures; missing information
  2. Red Hat – Emotional; gut feeling
  3. Black Hat – Caution; points out the weaknesses
  4. Yellow Hat – Optimism; hope and positive thinking
  5. Green Hat – Creativity and new ideas
  6. Blue Hat – Control; organizing the thinking process and how to use the other hats

blue1- Blue Hat – Organizing your business needs

When you wear the blue hat, your task is to define the situation you are in, set the parameters, decide how you should proceed with the other hats (which ones to wear, and in which order), and otherwise control the process until a satisfactory resolution is reached. Thus, the small business owner uses the blue the first and the last.

baby2-    White Hat – Objective Facts and Figures;

white hat helps you stay away from biases

When you wear the white hat, you take an objective perspective. List facts that are known, and identify facts which are not (but could be helpful). Try not to use this hat to further define your objectives so as to avoid gray areas.

  3- Red Hat – Emotions

redWe all buy with our heart not wallets

The same way that your customers buy with their hearts and not with their wallet, you too may sometimes let your heart do it for you. When you wear the red hat, you explore your feelings and intuition, whether they are “positive”, “negative”, or (most often) somewhere in the middle.

black4- Black Hat – Caution and Pessimism

You need this hat but try not to use it as a reason for inaction. Watch out for other people with their black hat too. They may influence you with undue caution that stops the flow of creativity juice.   When you wear the black hat, you are cautious and careful, and looking for reasons to retreat. You are seeking weaknesses in the available options, and thus have a bias toward inaction.

5- Yellow Hat – Optimism, Hope, and Positive Thinking

monkeyNoticed how George solves every problem with positive attitude?

When you wear the yellow hat, you can find the silver lining in any situation. Your glass is half full! You can see all the positive benefits which might be realized by action, and you are optimistic of a successful result.  Keep this hat any time you want to innovate.  Green hat makes a good complement to this yellow hat but don’t let any of those other hats make fashion statement.

6- Green Hat – Creativity

greenInstead of hat I thought visor will give you more room to create.

When you wear the green hat, your challenge is to seek out creative ideas that you have not thought of before, regardless of whether these ideas are feasible in the end. To borrow a tired cliché, this hat helps you think outside the box. Let everyone in your business to wear a green hat for a few hours a week and then let them present their ideas to everyone.  Ask everyone to have the yellow hat on watching the presentation.

The Six Hat Perspective can be worn in different sequence., but be aware of which you have on, because chances are, just like out favorite shoes, we may be using 20% of our hats, 80% of the time.  So rearrange your closet once in a while and you may find the right hat any day.

*To see the concept introduced by Edward De Bone used in this blog in more details;

http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_bono_six_thinking_hats.html

and http://www.12manage.com/methods_bono_six_thinking_hats.html

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/main/newMN_TED.htm

the first business owner showing up—and selling caps, was Pezo who sold hats, take a 10 minutes break some time: Just for fun
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INptSCKqdfg

Creativity and Innovation is everyone’s job

Create Lions before you are trodden over by your own herd of sheep.
By Ferey Kian
Kian Finance Authority

Graft Innovation and creativity as the principles of your business strategies, because, later, it’s much harder to change what has become the culture of your organization.

Just as individuals need support to come up with new ideas, organizations need fertile ground which supports creativity and innovation, whether your business is in service industry or product driven.

I like to share with you some of the most useful topics I have learned from various experts, my clients, students, and 20 years of my own experience on innovation, creativity and design.  You will find more sources (and more ideas) in the references below.

Your business strategy should call for everyone in the organization to innovate–daily. Creativity and innovation need to become a fabric of your organization (as the example of Innovation in business strategy at Whirlpool can show). Please check out the link after you read this.

How is your organization set up?

To set the stage to unleash creativity in your business, look at its foundation:

  1. Is your organization structured its strategies to permit innovation and creativity to flourish?
  1. Do you have creative and innovative team?

Do you encourage people to think creatively or your expect them to follow the rules.

walt

Walt Disney created an organization that everyone who ever worked there, think of himself/or herself as Walt Disney. Don’t you want to duplicate yourself?

You want your clients “come back and bring their friends” to your business, as Disney suggested, don’t you?  So you need your team to be so charged with inspiration that cannot wait to tell their friends about how THEIR ideas contributed to innovations in your business.

An excellent example of an organization that embedded creativity in its core strategy is the Disney Organization.  Although Walt himself did not support his staff to venture outside his ideas, he created an organization that, even today, everyone who works there, think of himself/or herself as Walt Disney. He found a way to duplicate himself, many times over–you need to do this too.

To see if an idea can be implemented, it’s best to set up processes, procedures and structures

See more on these in my Business Strategy video.

Steps to take to make things happen:

Naturally, generating new ideas is the first step, but “application” has to come next; think how one walks naturally: once your right foot stepped forward, the left has to move, and if you have ideas applied, you start going! Once you came up with an idea, you need to find ways to set things in motion, and see how practical it is, therefore, Implementation is putting ideas into practice.

From among a dozen ideas you have lying around…

  1. Select one idea–or approach, to solve a problem or create new opportunities.
  2. Develop it to a bite size segment, or try to show signposts and benchmarks to measure progress.
  3. See if the idea can be duplicated and commercialized, and then…
  4. Commit to it and take action despite naysayers.

To see if an idea can be implemented, it’s best to set up schedules, processes, procedures and structures; A to Z, that allow the timely and effective execution of projects

Release the power of your imagination:

The best way to unleash your creativity is to actually DO this exercise.  Be sure to type answers as completely as you can:

  1. What are the areas you organization can venture in that has so far been overlooked? What is it that prevents you from seeing the opportunities?
  1. What is it that limits your imagination?
  2. Is it that people may not grasp it and welcome it?
  3. Are you aware of your own mental barriers? What are they?
  4. Why haven’t you taken any action?
  5. Fear of failure? What are at risks?
  6. How will you feel if you succeed?
  7. What prevents your team to innovate in products or services you already offer, or create a new line of opportunity?
  8. Are you an inspirational leader who leverages the collective wisdom or you like to micromanage your staff?

Maybe your staff is throwing party when you are out,… and then, when you need them, they  hide behind their works. Is this the culture you have implanted?

The one with the nose on the grindstone does not innovate!

glassesSome people think that to be a creative problem solver, one has to have experience on the field.  Not true.  There was no personal computer for Steve Jobs to come up with the Apple.  Neither, was there a plane around before the Wright Brothers took off; and (if Tesla wouldn’t mind) there was no electricity before Tom Edison. (See my blog on how they raised from ashes below) On the other hand some people take innovation to be their only objective in life, as some people think money is their main goal.  You and I know that ideas, innovations, and money are only tools to achieve our goals, and, hopefully, they are not mistaken for goals.

Having said that, once you did come up with an idea, now you need some time to develop it, and work on it, until it’s proven to be commercialized; and to weed out all the unnecessary steps to develop a short path to the goal.

wizardJust as you can develop leadership, creativity is nurtured by motivation, positive feedback and inspirations.  Creativity and Innovations don’t magically happen. They need to be sowed, and carefully imbedded in the vision, mission, and strategy of the organization.  It has to be the heir apparent in all your services and products.

Despite common belief, creativity is not intrinsic, intuitive, and genetic, although these are inarguably a plus for those who may have inherited such qualities, even Mozart couldn’t be the genius we have come to appreciate without inspiration, encouragement, and…. practice.

If a job can capture one’s mind and soul, there’s no meaning to TGIF.

To watch the act, set the stage!

I have had many experiences with people who told me creativity or innovation is not their little thing . I know a cashier who worked for over 20 years at the cash register, who told me creativity is the boss’s job.  One of my old set-up crew at the Miami Arena told me that the reason Bono fell off from the stage during a rehearsal (on the long stage set up going through the Arena), could be fixed (as he did it) with a minimum cost, saving us millions in damages, lawsuits and embarrassments.   You CAN encourage your staff to step gingerly outside the red circle you may have drawn around them.  In short, innovation has to be all around us just like the atmosphere around the earth–even within the 6 feet radius of anyone’s desk. Creativity and innovation engages our heart and mind, and if a job can engage one’s mind and soul, there’s no meaning to TGIF. People look forward to speak about their passion 24-7.

money people

Having said that innovation and creativity can be honed and nurtured, I am not holding my breath to see if everyone is on the wagon. All I’m saying is this: You need to have the door open. Innovation will enter when the time is ripe. The picture hopefully says the rest.

Complacency is such a lovely Dungeon-Master.

cowsignAlthough it takes leaders to inspire creativity, it needs managers to implement it efficiently.  We need both: One to untie your wings, the other to show you the nest, and help you lay those golden eggs.

One of the persisting old school practices in most American enterprises is the over-dependency on how things were done in the past, and how to increase the quantity to beat the past performances.  The ingenuity of Americans however, as Mark Twain once observed, and Jim Rohn rephrased is this: To succeed doing the opposite: to do things that has never been done before; to pull things out of the thin air; to envision what wasn’t there, to be perceptive amidst confusion. This is the American way.

Exactly as our kids can relate to aliens better than they can relate to cows, oaks, or pelicans all around them, if we can visualize your ideas, we will relate to them. Little kids may not have a clue about what their burgers are made of, but they have a good image of a spaceships and aliens. This is the secret of Hollywood: imagination can be more real than the real thing.  For that matter we are all in a different Matrix?

We can relate to fictions out of Hollywood better than facts of Washington.  {as a side note, that’s perhaps why we need politicians to look and act like celebrities, and fib about problems that don’t mean anything, instead of addressing the real issues.}

Let your staff and your clients see how your innovation can help them in the way they can visualize your ideas. This needs to be your major focus.  Do you have a plan that can help us visualize your work before you tell us about it?

To summarize: Your business strategy needs to harness everyone’s imagination, creativity, and innovation.  Don’t try to shoehorn your creative staff back into their cubicles.

Some of the sources used in this article and more reading material:

Creative Intelligence, 1/e (A. Rowe)

No additional online materials are available for this textbook.

>>Click here to access the Rowe website

Managing Innovation, Design and Creativity , 1/e (B. Stamm)

No additional online materials are available for this textbook.

>>Click here to access the Stamm website

The Power of Impossible Thinking, 1/e (Wind and Crook)

No additional online materials are available for this textbook.

>>Click here to access the Wind/Crook website

Continuing Education

continuing

Kian Finance Authority provides Continuing Education (CPE credits) through weekly workshops in our Hollywood office, as well as Miami, Ft. Lauderdale locations. Please call 954-399-8980 for next workshop.

Flyer and Information

We also provide yearly conferences to help you receive up to 16 credit hours In-Person (face to face) to qualify you for a continuing education credits

With the following criteria:

(a) Requiring attendance throughout each session

(b) Conducted by a qualified instructor, discussion leader, or speaker;

(c) Providing you with written outline, textbook, or suitable electronic materials;

(d) Measuring participation and evaluation; and

(e) Satisfying the requirements established for a qualified CE program pursuant to

  • 10.6(f) and 10.9 of Circular 230.

A certificate of completion will be issued for those who meet the requirements of attendance/completion. An evaluation form will be available for all participants to provide feedback on the program.

All Kian Finance Authority workshops and seminars are within criteria set forth to comply by all Internal Revenue guidance and requirements.

Continuing education program(s) will provide you with current, accurate, and effective content, activities, materials, and delivery systems to make sure you have received the best training and education experience for each credit hour.