Four Short Insights

July 12th, 2018

I recently ran into a super high Orange buddy that I only get to see about once a year or so. I was standing at the back of a ballroom listening in on a seminar when she saw me on her way out the door. She had her phone out, gave me a quick hug, and asked if I’d be “right here” for a few more minutes until she got back? 45 minutes later – she wasn’t… How would your Color react? When I saw her next, she asked, very innocently, why I hadn’t waited? She absolutely didn’t recall the time-frame of getting side-tracked for 45 minutes!

My graphic design guy is as competent as he is Green. I recently needed to get my business card logo tweaked and sent him an e-mail to see what he could do when he had a chance. I didn’t hear back from him for weeks until I realized my mistake: Greens will always choose to work on something intricate, challenging, original, interesting, or complex. My small logo work was never going to make the list until I give him a deadline to get it done.

Twice in a month I ran into a high Blue staff member of a client. Both times it certainly seemed to me that she wasn’t being herself. Two e-mails later, the person finally e-mailed back and shared that two close friends had recently passed away. That was after a couple of “everything’s fine.” With Blues, you need to hear what they’re not saying! While Blues want to be heard and not fixed, it is OK to e-mail back some feedback that other Colors likely shouldn’t immediately do when you are meeting them in person.

A new Home Depot ad does a really great job of targeting high Golds: The TV ad has a man with a very conservative haircut shopping at Home Depot for his basement renovations. His line: “I’m not very good, but I want it done perfect.” The end of the ad shows his finished basement with huge clock above his fireplace and a framed flag on the wall. The quote, flag, clock and haircut might be staged, but they’re huge clues to a high Gold. If you know someone with a big clock in the kitchen or family room that isn’t high Gold, let me know – it’d be rare…

Or the slogan Lowe’s has been using in a number of commercials: “My to-do list is now a done list.”

Orange Learning Styles

July 12th, 2018

From the corporate world to the school system, high Oranges are really misunderstood when it comes to the way they learn and study.

The largest Color group are Golds who need to study in a quiet space and alone (as do Greens). But that’s exactly the opposite of how high Oranges tend to learn – and it can lead to real challenges, especially with high Gold parents “making” an Orange kid have that alone-time and long blocks of study time.

Orange are social by nature and learn best in short bursts, together with their friends. They also have no problem studying with a television on, or stereo playing in the background. Gold parents know their Orange child is bright and highly intelligent, yet their marks don’t always reflect this. But often, it’s a Color clash in the mindset of the “proper” way parents believe their child “ought” to study. After all, that’s how I did it and that should work for my kid, too. But instead of creating success, more often than not, it causes conflict, rebellion, stress, dropping marks and rule-breaking behavior.

The best way for high Orange to get their marks up, or to learn new material for work, is to study with their friends. The more time they’re forced to study alone, the worse it’ll likely get. High Orange are very verbal and social, as well as performers who learn best with the freedom to move around, talk something through with their friends and listen to their stereo or Ipod. Having friends over makes studying a competition or social interaction and allows them to use their great verbal skills.

And if you want to take it one step further – make it a game and a contest. Even the most successful Orange sales staff don’t get seriously motivated about a contest until they can see the finish line. In every sales seminar I ask this hugely successful and highly intelligent group when they get seriously motivated about a one-year contest. Without exception, they’ll tell you it’s about September, October or November and not on January 1st!

So if you’re choosing to give your kid a reward for success, make sure it’s something for THIS week – not the end of the school year. That day is way to far off to generate any type of interest or motivation.

Oh, and one more thing: Ask a couple of high Orange at work, or in your circle of friends, how long a work meeting should last. They’ll always tell you it should be 15 or 20 minutes, tops. Yet think about how long classes are in high school, or even how long you’re asking a high Orange kid to sit still and do his or her homework.

If You Do Really Well, You’re Going to Be Punished

July 12th, 2018

That sentence sure doesn’t sound right, and it isn’t what was said or meant. But it’s what the high Blue felt was being said to him. So often, for our different Colors, perception is reality and we hear things in very different ways. For Greens, it might be the question, “are you sure?” For Oranges, it’s telling them they “have to,” and Golds it might be asking for a progress report. For high Blue Steve, it was very similar:

Steve had an incredible month. By the 20th he had recruited nine people onto his team. For his office, ten was the record for a single month, a record he was clearly going to break. When Steve reached nine, his manager was thrilled, and certainly wanted to motivate Steve to keep going. So he told Steve when he reaches the record, he should be doing some of the office training the following month.

But that innocent, and seemingly motivational comment, wasn’t how this high Blue heard it. It was very scary to Steve. Standing up in front of the whole office and talking about it (bragging) was not going to happen. So Steve immediately stopped working for the rest of the month in order to avoid that situation at all costs. Steve’s manager saw it as a chance for him to get the limelight, while Steve “heard” he would be punished.

What happened? While the comment was genuinely meant to motivate and reward, it had the opposite effect on Steve, because he is an introvert high Blue! What would have motivated Steve, instead? What would have been a way to reach a high Blue? To communicate with him in ways he wanted? Would a high Blue view the following as a reward or punishment?

“Steve, you’re having an awesome month. When you reach our office record, I’m going to give you a $500 restaurant gift card. I want you to take this new group out for dinner, on me. They’re not just numbers, they’re part of your team, and I want your team to have the time to really get to know each other. I want to help you to make these awesome bonds happen! And when you feel like it, let me know, we’d be really blessed if you want to share some of your tools with others to help them to grow as well.”

Wikipedia vs. Citizendium

June 6th, 2018

If you’ve done any searches on the web you’ve been to Wikipedia, the huge on-line, free content encyclopedia on the internet, with over 29 million pages. The idea was formed in 2001 by two friends, in a Mexican restaurant, as a site where everyone in the world could contribute articles, features and information in an open and unrestricted forum.

One of the founders of Wikipedia was Larry Sanger. When I spoke to him a few years ago, it took about thirty seconds to realize that Sanger is a very high Green. That makes sense, from the logic behind Wikipedia, to its early evolution.

But within a year, Sanger left the company because it no longer had credibility in his eyes, when he started to question the accuracy and integrity of many entries and contributions in Wikipedia. Yes, he walked away after disagreements with his partner as to who can contribute to the site, even before it became the giant it is today. It wasn’t, and isn’t, about money, fame or success. It’s always about credibility and doing it right.

Or in the words of Sanger himself: “Wikipedia began as a good-natured anarchy, a sort of Rousseauian state of digital nature. I always took Wikipedia’s anarchy to be provisional and purely for purposes of determining what the best rules and the nature of its authority should be. What I, and other Wikipedians, failed to realize is that our initial anarchy would be taken by the next wave of contributors as the very essence of the project – how Wikipedia was “meant” to be.”

So what does the high Green Sanger do? He thinks of a better and more credible site and launched citizendium.org. This one however, has firm editorial rules and mandatory disclosure of the real names of editors, whereas Wikipedia allows anyone with a fictitious user name to contribute untraceable content.

At the End of the Day – Being Blue Does Pay

June 6th, 2018

O Magazine recently had an extended section on authenticity. What an awesome feature from Oprah Winfrey, herself a huge Blue.

One of the features was on former US President Jimmy Carter. It started with the following sentence: “The qualities that were so maligned during Jimmy Carter’s presidency – his modesty, his faith, his collaborative approach to problem solving – now define his reputation as a remarkable man.”

What most of his critics interpreted as weakness during his presidency are actually his huge strengths, for that very same reason! (Remember that in the US, Blues are less than 12% of the population vs. almost 30% in Canada).

But then, that view is in the eye of the beholder, and it would have been very unusual for the media, opposition, or even most electorates to find the powerful values of a high Blue attractive in their President. No wonder Blues seldom get elected to the highest offices. The process is just too ugly and negative that most, no matter how passionate or talented, wouldn’t put themselves through that ordeal. They do volunteer, though. Blues and Golds make up 80% of all volunteers. But it’ll be in positions where they’ll be valued and feel they’re making a difference. A two-year mostly all negative national campaign isn’t the place.

These days, the real Jimmy Carter can do what he values and feels passionate about, and that’s very much focused to making a difference in the lives of others and helping people. He volunteers to monitor elections in third-world countries, the training of farmers and promotes many programs to foster peace and health.

He now has a platform from which people will listen and the time and resources for the work he and his wife Rosalynn do with Habitat for Humanity. Gentle, soft-spoken and kind wasn’t what the country was looking for in their leader back then (or even today?), but it’s the most powerful contribution he makes today in so many ways.

When Or If Opposites Attract

June 6th, 2018

One of the most common questions at the Colors seminar is what Color combination is best in a relationship. The answer is easy: Love is colorblind. Yup – there isn’t one or another that’s better or worse. Two-thirds of relationships are a task-first (Gold and Green) with a people first (Blue and Orange) partner. The exact combination just makes it pretty easy to predict where the problems and friction will be.

Relationships depend more on non-personality factors, such as values, culture, religion, being on the same page with finances and money, and maturity. After that, understanding each other’s Colors is a huge benefit as well – but it starts with the foundation of other values. It’s just that Colors is something we see quicker when starting to date. The other values take in-depth and honest communication which comes much later in the life of a dating couple.

Opposites attract commonly come in two ways:

-We tend to be attracted to someone who is similar to our Colors with some characteristics that we’re not that good at. That could be your first two Colors flipped around in your partner. It might be a Blue/Gold dating a Gold/Blue, which is really common since those two Colors are 65% of the population in Canada and around 55% in the U.S. They’re very similar, but start from a different perspective: One being the eternal optimism with great people skills, one starts with being able to say no, do the planning, and to be the organizer.

-Or we are attracted to someone of our lowest two Colors. For Greens it might be the caring, compassionate, emotional Blue. For Oranges always on the go and multi-tasking, it might be the Gold air traffic controller that keeps their chaotic life a little more balanced.

If it’s the latter, just be aware that one of you will likely need to be the one doing a lot of work to keep the relationships growing and going. When both find a balance in their Colors, the relationship will not only survive, but it’ll thrive. But that takes effective communication and the tools of Colors. The huge bonus is that any kids in the family will learn the entire spectrum of Colors and behaviors in the home. They’ll be much more likely to grow up accepting people as they are.

Your homework: Your partner needs to learn Colors by doing the assessment and reading the chapter of both your Colors in the Colorful Personalities book. Then, together, read the Colors of Relationships booklet for an in-depth work section on “what each Color needs help with.” It’s either that, or start the lifelong hope that your partner will become less…or more…and not so…. Good luck waiting for that to happen! It won’t – and your next relationship will likely be with someone of the same Colors as you’re with now!