What hat are you wearing today?

October 16th, 2009

I’ve been thinking about hats. I’m not one of those “hat-genic” people whose looks improve instantly with a topper.  No, I’m thinking about the figurative hats I wear as I go about my daily business. Thinker, planner, connector, writer, coach, manager.  The roles seem to multiply with every new customer relationship.

Early in my consulting career I became a fan of Edward deBono and his six thinking hats.  It made sense, I thought, that we should shape our decisions from multiple perspectives.  And it seemed only smart to switch seats and doff someone else’s hat to encourage our brains to see the world through their eyes.

De Bono’s theory holds that a decision-making process will be made stronger when formed by the perspectives of an entire team. The hitch is team members must take turns wearing each of six hats:

  1. The White Hat is straight-forward.  It calls for information known or needed.
  2. The Red Hat is more emotional.  It signifies feelings, hunches and intuition.
  3. The Black Hat is stands firm in judgment.  It’s the devil’s advocate, always eager to note why something may not work.
  4. The Yellow Hat is cheerful, beaming with optimism.
  5. The Green Hat thrives on possibilities.  It’s the creative one, ready to explore new ideas.
  6. The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process.

Thankfully, Mr. DeBono understood that most of us want to wear all six hats.  We are in shades both optimistic and judgmental.  We can be both creative, yet accountable.  Simply by switching hats we can quickly change how we’re perceived.   Our contributions become richer and perhaps more accessible to a wider range of people.

Lately I’ve become enamored with the idea of wearing a hat when I write — something to inspire the adventurer in me.  My choice is a plaid hat with fake fur flaps the same color as my hair, causing most passersby to think my hair has been whacked off and subjected to electric shock.  It’s an odd take on a lumberjack theme with a touch of hip.  And when I’m wearing my fuzzy plaid hat I reminisce about the idyllic island where it was purchased.

I think Mr. DeBono would smile at the potential — a Brown Hat for Adventure.  Who knew?

Posted October 16th, 2009

  1. Linda Kelly
    October 22nd, 2009 at 18:47 | #1

    Hats….wasn’t one of our first outings in Chicago together to a hat shop? These two cool ladies went into the business of making wonderful hats, right? I do remember you looking fabulous in a great brown hat. You’ve been an adventurer all along.

  1. No trackbacks yet.