July 14th, 2020

Over the past few weeks I have been sharing the business coaching concept of the six hats from the Late Dr. de Bono with our readership. Today, I wanted to focus in on the blue hat, which has to do with organization and planning. This particular hat is one that I wear on every team meeting and you should too.

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?”

Blue Hat:  The Organizing Hat

During mastermind meetings or team huddles taking time to wear the blue hat allows you to focus on the thinking process itself and how we are recording, organizing, harnessing, and putting to work the thinking we are doing.  The blue hat is the hand that guides the focus of the thinking process–which hats to use and when, what questions to ask and how to frame the discussion and finally how to create the action plan from the masterminding.

In every team meeting, delegate someone to wear the blue hat as the meeting leader. This will allow others on the team to focus on generating ideas, solving problems and looking at situations from all angles.

Questions To Ask While Wearing the Blue Hat:

  • What is our purpose for this meeting?
  • What is the outcome you want from this area?
  • How are we defining the question or problem?
  • What are our specific next steps?
  • Who is responsible for them?
  • By when?
  • To what standard?
  • How are they being held accountable?

During Maui Mastermind meetings, we put all of the blue hat agenda items in writing before and after each meeting to ensure that everyone stays on task.

Key Descriptive Phrases:

  • Conductor, choreographer, or facilitator
  • Meta level thinking–thinking about how best to direct the thinking to accomplish the objective

The Three Main Phases of the Blue Hat Role:

At the Start:

Frames the discussion and sets the focus, primarily through the use of a well defined and designed question.

During the process:

Records the results of the thinking (or sees that the results are captured) and reports/recaps/summarizes as needed.

At the End:

Wraps the pieces together and gets clear on how the ideas will be converted into tangible results through the creation of a clear and powerful action plan.

The main goal of being the blue hat leader is to keep the group disciplined in it’s thinking and focused on the outcome.

Model Blue Hatters:

  • Captain Picard
  • Colin Powell
  • Bill Gates
  • Lincoln

Putting All The Pieces Together

The blue hat’s main focus is to decide when and where to wear your other hats. Whether it be white, red, yellow, green or black it’s the blue hat’s job to keep the team on track and on topic.