One of the toughest part of being involved in business strategy decisions is balancing being a dreamer, realist and critique. In generally each individual would tend to slide to one or the other.

Back when I was doing my NLP Practitioner certification, we were told how Walt Disney was an amazing Dreamer, Realist and Critique. He was one of the few people who could shift between hats when the situation needs him to be.

The Dreamer
Looks into possibilities and benefits of an idea. The worlds their oyster!

The Realist
Looks into the how and execution of an idea.

The Critique 
Looks into the flaws and risk involved. The devils advocate.

Over the past few weeks of having a number of upcoming products, I constantly find contradicting myself and jumping between roles.

In The Dreamer’s hat, I find myself open to ideas and very eager to explore. Many ideas would gather up and it is fantastic for brainstorming. A good night sleep the night before and a clear head is best to dream up ideas. That being said, it’s very easy to get caught up in the dream where we forget the execution and risks involved.

In the Realist hat, I do find it natural as a progression from dream to paint out the execution plan. The resources needed, the time frame for deliverables, the stakeholders expectations. Experience and subject matter plays a big role in the flow. Jumping into execution too early may create  gaps in the dream, hence do take time to dream.

The Critique is the one I personally struggle with the most. Often time comes out at too early or too late. Too early and it begins to shut down ideas, however I’ve learnt that too late (even a day later) can still be helpful. There were many times, I’ve reverted on an idea the day later because the critique hat only came in the night after the discussion. One of the biggest problem with the Critique hat is it being driven by emotions and not facts. Hence, taking a step back is an important step before putting on the critique hat.

I believe each hats wears differently on different people and I’m still finding my balance between hats. However, one thing I do believe is that each hat does carry it’s value and should be put on at the right time. Timing is key.