Small Business Six Hats Solution*

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;


the first business owner showing up—and selling caps, was Pezo who sold hats, take a 10 minutes break some time: Just for fun