I recently shared the idea of the business coaching concept of the six hats from the Late Dr. de Bono with our readership and I wanted to go into more detail about one of my favorite hats: the yellow hat. This hat is the one that the majority of business owners struggle to wear, and why I have been able to help thousands of business coaching clients over the past twenty five years. 

What Is A Hat?

A "hat" is not a physical piece of clothing, but a state of mind. It is a tool that can be used to push the boundaries of thinking and help you grow as a group and as leaders. You can think of a hat discussion as a movement, NOT an argument. It's not about asking questions like: "Is this correct?  Do I agree/disagree?" Instead ask yourself:  "Where does this idea take us?"

Yellow Hat:  The Enthused Champion

The yellow hat is one that business coaches wear often during coaching sessions. The goal of this hat is to think about how to make an idea work and looking for what is good about a specific situation.  Yellow hat wearers are sensitized to see hidden opportunities and powerful leverage points.  They search out value and merit and seek out opportunity, solutions, and improvements

For many business owners, especially those that are lean towards perfectionism, this hat if often left in the closet in favor of the black hat.  

Questions to Ask While Wearing the Yellow Hat:

  • How can we turn this around?
  • What's good about this?
  • Where's the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit here?
  • How does this benefit us?
  • How can we improve on this idea?
  • How can we solve this problem?

Key Descriptive Phrases To Help With The Process:

  • Positive frame of reference
  • Pearl hunter
  • Overwhelming desire to make things happen
  • Passionate believer
  • Source of boundless energy

Why Wear The Yellow Hat? 

Owning a business is full of ups and downs. You will have good ideas and not so good ideas, and wearing the yellow hat will help you see the value in everything that you learn along the way. Yellow hat thinking helps you learn how to be effective. How can we make this work? It will also help you see the benefits and value in all your endeavours. What's good about this?  How can this help us?

It's not rah, rah emotional cheerleading (that's red hat), yellow hat thinking is supported by logical thinking.

Model Yellow Hatters:

  • Zig Zigler
  • Norman Vincent Peale
  • Les Brown

When you put on the yellow hat dig for breakthrough benefits and leverage opportunities that aren't so obvious at first.  We are habitually too quick to settle for the first tangible solution we think of and too slow to let go of good ideas to make room for great ideas.