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 the first hat in the series: The White Hat. This hat is often one of the first hats that you will put on when making a major decision or trying to scale your business.
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?"
White Hat: The Professor or Thinker Mode
When it comes to this hat you want to focus exclusively on the objective facts, information and data WITHOUT any interpretation or "story". We often ask mastermind group members to compile their white hat facts prior to a meeting and then share their data with the group beforehand, with no further explanation.
Questions to Ask While Wearing a White Hat:
- What information do we have?
- What information do we need?
- What information are we missing?
- How can we find that information?
- What questions would be useful to ask?
- What are the facts as we know them?
- How do we know these "facts"? Are they really facts?
Key Descriptive Phrases To Help Explain The Process:
- Rigorous thinking
- Laying out the known facts
- Mapping out the physical landmarks
- Asking the right questions
Believed Facts Versus Confirmed Facts
One of the things that you need to be really careful about when wearing the white hat during a discussion is the idea of believed facts versus confirmed facts. We often get the two confused, so it is important that you are able to back up anything that you find during the white hat discussion with concrete numbers.
For instance, let's say that you were doing a new calling campaign and one of your sales representatives shared their belief that the new list was full of wrong numbers. But after some research into the calling statistics it was found that there were less than five percent wrong numbers across the entire database list. Your "belief" as compared to the confirmed fact would lead you to make a very different decision about whether or not to continue the calling campaign.
Before we act on any "believed fact" that could be crucial to outcome, make sure to confirm the data.
Model White Hatters:
These are some of my favorite white hat thinkers.
- Sergeant Friday ("just the facts mam")
- Big data
These model white hatters give you the facts and nothing else, and allow you to put on a different hat to make a decision about it's impact on your business and mastermind group.
Which leads us to the red hat....