The First Thing You Should Do About When Scaling Your Business

Content was originally published on on March 28, 2019. 

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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 second hat in the series: The Red 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?”

Red Hat:  The Emotional/Intuitive Hat

When you wear the red hat in a group or meeting you are going to focus exclusively on feelings, emotions, and intuition. For some business owners, this hat can be a tricky one to wear. You may be used to looking at problems in terms of facts and solutions and have taught yourself to steer clear of your “gut” feelings and emotions.

Which is why the red hat is all the more important to your planning process.

Questions to Ask While Wearing the Red Hat:

  • How do you feel about this?
  • What comes up for you when you think about this?
  • What is your intuition saying about this?
  • What’s your first impression about this?
  • What background feelings (positive or negative) do you bring to this discussion?
  • After hearing all that discussion and fully exploring the decision, what does your gut tell you to do?

Key Descriptive Phrases To Help With The Process:

  • The emotional landscape
  • The color filter for all your thinking on this subject
  • Your final decision maker
  • No fixed positions vested with ego
  • Makes subterranean landscape explicit
  • All feelings are simply accepted as a piece of the map

Why Do We Wear The Red Hat?

Many of you may ask: “David, if facts help me make a better decision why should I bother with how it all makes me feel?”

And the answer is, emotions play a role in our decisions and outcomes on a fundamental level.

  1. Background feeling (e.g. fear, disappointment, love, pride, anger): Have you passed up a partnership or industry because of your feelings about it as a whole?
  2. Initial perception/reaction. Do you pass over projects that don’t feel right?
  3. Concluding feelings that prompt decision and action. Are you making decisions out of fear or anger?

Some Key Points to Remember With the Red Hat

It’s important to note that you should share red hat feelings WITHOUT explanation or justification. Simply state the emotions and feelings. And in your mastermind group, make it a rule that it is not ok to pass on this roundtable discussion. Understand that what influences feelings are stories and metaphors… both of which change our frame of reference, which in turn directly influences how we perceive things.

Model Red Hatters:

  • Counselor Troy
  •  Oprah
  • Leo Buscaglia

At the end if you need a decision, all decisions boil down to red hat decisions…

The First Thing You Should Do About When Scaling Your Business
Article Name
The First Thing You Should Do About When Scaling Your Business
Introducing the red hat...
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Maui Mastermind Business Coaching
Business David is a Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestselling author of 11 business and financial books. A syndicated columnist for and, David’s articles have appeared in over 6,500 publications. As the founder and CEO of Maui Mastermind®, David has worked with 100,000+ business coaching clients and community members to buy, build, and sell over $5 billion of businesses.