What Hat Are YOU Wearing Today?

This week’s post is provided by Naomi Caiettii, PMP.  You can learn more about Naomi here and the original post here


Today, I ‘ve stepped up to  the challenge to participate in the first ever #PMFlashBlog created by Shim Marom with over eighty (80)+ bloggers from around the globe.  Shim, my hats off to you for the inspiration of this big idea!  It has mobilized our global community to wear different hats to tell our stories, created a writing storm of grand proportion and allowed us to shine as a collective of PM experts.  

Our objective today is to respond to the question “What Project Management Means to Me?” Today, my story is both personal and academic. Over  a year ago, my personal coach recommended I watch Simon Sineks’ Ted Talk  titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” based on his book “Start with Why”.  Simon contends that “people don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”  It was this inspiration that lead me on a year long journey of introspection of my vision and values.  It was the hard work I focused on this past year for my passion in the field of personal growth and leadership in project management that allowed me to tell my story by re-launching my blog and sharing this post with you today. 


Why is Six Hat Thinking Important to Project Management?  

Early in my career as a project manager I learned how to use the Six Hat Thinking® method in a facilitated critical thinking class. Edward de Bono created this tool in his book called “Six Thinking Hats”.  Six Hat Thinking is a core skills tool used to develop an atmosphere of creativity, improved communication and allow your team to focus on clearer thinking.  Research by The de Bono Group has identified that traditional Western thinking methods of analysis and argument needs to get flipped on its head to deal with the rapidly changing business challenges in the global economy.    In the spirit of the inspiration of Six Hat Thinking I, like many other project managers around the globe, wear different hats to make decisions every day that affect our teams, our projects and our organizations.  Personally, I focus on wearing the multiple thinking hats below each day to LEAD ~ Listen, Engage, Adapt, Dream:  

Yellow Hat:  Stay active within the global PM community as a thought leader, speaker, published author and blogger.  Engage and share with my community of project managers to advance the profession one project manager at a time.    

Multiple Hats: (Blue, Green, Yellow, Red, White, Black ) As a credentialed Manager and Enterprise Architect working in the field of Information Technology in the public sector in California I practice leadership daily to pay it forward.

Green Hat:  Launch a startup as Founder of a women’s network called “The Glass Breakers” with a vision to inspire women to lead and promote excellence in projects, leadership and management. 

Who Can Use this Tool: Project, Program and Agile Managers can use this powerful tool.  You can use this tool in a small or larger group setting to facilitate a discussion to solve problems.  

How/When to Use: Small, core or focus group team meetings are the best way to facilitate these discussions.  

Method:  This tool uses a parallel thinking process for you to gain different perspectives while you collaborate on problems, issues and risks on you project with your team, stakeholders and sponsors.  

What Are the Six Thinking  Hats:











Examples of How to  Use:

Single Hat Thinking:  Use a single hat to facilitate and direct discussion around this type of thinking.    

Sequenced Based Thinking: You can facilitate a sequence of hats one after another during the discussion.  Sequence of hats may be one or more hats of your choice. You may facilitate the discussion and use one particular hat often.  

Time based Thinking: Brief discussions of one hat per minute per person.  

Summary: Six Hat Thinking is simple yet powerful way to focus on problems and solutions quickly by viewing different perspectives.   

    • Employ parallel thinking – look at fresh ideas and solutions from all angles
    • Unbundle ideas; look at  information and formulate thinking with the same hat
    • Cut discussion time in half by simplifying thinking by focusing and filtering
    • Focus on solution based discussions and allow for creative stream of thinking as opposed to focusing on only obstacles and criticism
    • Make meetings fun!  Illustrate a way to share ideas in a nonthreatening manner; positive and creative thinking will fuel innovative ideas
    • Focus on thinking; not power, position or ego
    • Eliminate judgment of ideas; creativity will flourish and aide in decision making
    • Achieve meaningful results quicker

Leadership Challenge: What action will you take for your personal development after reading this post? How can Six Hat Thinking improve your approach to working with your teams, stakeholders and sponsors? Mentor a project manager; share this post with someone who wants to improve their personal development and leadership as a project manager. 


Read more about the Six Hat Thinking method by clicking here

“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.” ― Edward De  Bono



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