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Whatever Would We Do Without the 'Black Hats'?

I was introduced to the 'Six Thinking Hats' as an Assistant Principal with PSD.  A group of administrators had been reading the book and shared their learning through a really fun bag of hats - each hat in the bag a different color.  Each hat represented collaboration in the task of looking at an existing landscape or an initiative from different perspectives.  I was particularly intrigued by the black hat.

As an administrator, the black hat can be the most challenging to work with - especially if you struggle to see the value of the black hat.  The black hat is a diamond.  The black hat is a risk-taker - and passionate.  The black hat is invested in the world you will ultimately create together.  If you listen to no-one else, listen carefully to the black hat.

I have a picture in my mind - In the building of the pyramids, slaves used logs to move stone blocks.  We work together in a similar way.   We have people in the front of the stone making sure it is going in the right direction.  We have people who walk alongside ensuring the stone goes straight, and we have people who watch for the right time to place a new log in front of the stone.  Our black hats watch the rear.  They let us know if the back of the stone is threatening to take us off course.  They let us know if pieces of the stone are loose and threaten to fall.  They let us know if the logs that help us move forward are being left behind. . . we need those black hats on our teams.  We move most effectively when we work with them.


I so appreciate the person who is occasionally or consistently willing to be the black hat on our staff.  Our staff is progressive and excited about moving in new directions.  Every staff member wants to do the very best for every child in our building.  Our black hat helps us to shape and refine the work that we are doing.  Our black hat points out where our work may be jagged or not coming together in exactly the right way.  Our black hat helps us to be our very best.  Three cheers for the black hats!  We haven't built the pyramids yet, but I am increasing confident that we are doing it . . . and I look forward to the day when we can stand back and marvel at what we have achieved. . . together.

Reference:
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_07.htm

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