Put On The Yellow Hat!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Written by Alan Vink

Categories: Pastors Blog

Tags: Leadership Development

Comments: 0

Dear Pastors

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Many of you will have bumped into Edward de Bono’s, ‘Thinking Hats’ approach to decision making. It’s been around a long time. It’s also been a long time since I sat in a brain storming meeting with six coloured hats and literally putting them on as we talked. It is a novel idea and at the same time a fabulous tool for the following two reasons:-

  1. It encourages innovative and creative thinking or outside the box thinking or blue sky thinking.
  2. It provides a framework for good decision making-meaning decisions that are realistic and achievable yet stretchy.

Why am I focusing on the yellow hat today? Simply because so many of you are stuck. I know that is confronting and I certainly don’t want to be rude but the truth is 66% (probably more) of you are stuck……thoroughly stuck. And I get it! I too have experienced ‘stuck-ness’ on many occasions during my leadership life. You are doing the stuff of ministry….the mahi……..but there are no new results or if there are some new results they are too small to make any kind of noticeable difference. Same _ _ _ , different day! You know what I mean.

But there is a second problem. When you do read or hear of an idea that could get you out of your current rut you have a default setting……yes you do. You actually put de Bono’s black hat on and come up with at least 10 reasons why you CAN’T do that. I hear it all the time.

Getting stuck is an unpleasant experience. Whether your car get’s stuck in the mud or the church or ministry you lead gets stuck, both need an intervention of some kind. Either a tow truck or a yellow hat? You choose.

Friends, may I encourage you to put on the yellow hat and put it on real firm so that no cross winds can blow it off, open up a few pages in your journal or diary or whiteboard and write down all the ideas that come to your mind that will get you moving forward again. Look to the future with optimism, praying with new intensity and probing new ideas for added value and keep doing it until you feel so pumped and faith filled that when someone in the team puts on the red hat or the black hat (or indeed when you do) you can hear the feedback without loosing your nerve.

That seems to me is what courageous leadership is all about. And that is what the church in NZ needs right now.



Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.

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