Prepare or Wing It?

August 27th, 2016

One of my client’s senior managers was recently asked talk for an hour at a new employee orientation group. At the end, he shared that he was up half the night preparing. The DNA of Greens says it needs to be perfect, and that takes some time – and Golds aren’t exempt from over-preparing either.

Of course, the first hour after the presentation is all about negative thoughts: You didn’t do this, you should have done that, if only you had, etc. etc.

He wasn’t the “unlucky” one asked to do the presentation. He was asked because of his experience and knowledge. But it still had to be prepped and had to be perfect. Yet, would any of those new employees be able to tell his “perfect” from really good? No way. Was it worth worrying half the night? To him –yes. In the big picture and reality of the situation: No way.

Knowledge is power and preparation breeds confidence. This senior leader did a great job. However, it would have gone just as well if he had been pulled out of his office to do the talk with no notice. Talk about pushing a Green or Gold out of their comfort zone! In that situation, he would have started talking about big picture company stuff, almost been forced to engage people more, and answer more questions.

None of those would have been a bad thing. Many times, pushing a Green or Gold out of their comfort zone is doing them a huge favor. It’s not like they’d get there on their own! Then, looking back, they’ll realize you saved them hours of needless worry and preparation.

At times, it’s still a great idea to have the attitude of an Orange Senior VP who had to do a half hour talk to a group of leaders just before the Colors session: (Knowing there weren’t any) I asked him where his notes were? His reply: If you don’t prepare or have notes, you can’t screw up!

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Colors quotes: Gold – Green – Orange – Blue

In Defense of Orange Women

August 27th, 2016

Ok, they really don’t need defending. Maybe the heading should read: Orange women aren’t rude, the B word, or pushy – but they can be horribly misunderstood, and that’s when people can jump into judgments and labels. That’s especially true for Orange/Green or (the very rare) Orange/Gold women. Orange/Blue women, depending on how close their two Colors, can seem a lot ‘softer’ when their Blue intuition softens their Orangeness.

They’re not mean: Yes, they can be sarcastic and really direct. It’s because they’re playful and want to bond, not because they’re mean. It’s humor, and not rudeness!

They’re not too blunt: Sorry, they won’t always “go along to get along.” Orange women will risk tension if they smell b.s., feels disrespected, or someone is trying to take away their freedom. They can be blunt to avoid drama, not to cause it. The alternative would be to hold in their feelings and bottle them up until they explode. That won’t happen with Orange women – or any Orange. And you get another big bonus from them: An hour later, when an argument is over, they won’t hold a grudge…or even remember it.

They’re not insensitive: If you’re looking for warm and fuzzy from them, good luck. They’ve had to go through a lot of bull in life. That hard-seeming exterior is mostly an act, and their humor is used to either hide a whole lot of their pain (never let them see you sweat), or used to diffuse an emotional situation. They’re not making fun of you, they’re doing their best to lighten the mood and to cheer you up. It’s either that, or cry with you, and that’s not going to happen – sorry. Under that tough seeming exterior, most Orange women are actually very sensitive and affectionate.

They’re not controlling: Large numbers of Orange women are in leadership positions and they (like every other Color) make great bosses. They don’t micromanage or babysit you – go do it – I’m busy with other stuff and the next challenge. When there’s a problem they want to solve it. Their passion and quick decision making can also be misinterpreted as controlling. You’re not hearing arrogance, you’re hearing passion and confidence. Their foot is always on the gas pedal. Just be bright, be brief, be gone!

Golds Making a Presentation

August 27th, 2016

Golds will spend countless hours of preparation, and a lot of anxiety and stress before giving a presentation. They will be thinking of many “what if’s” and doing a lot of worrying. It’s just what Golds go through in advance and behind the scenes. Yet, when the presentation happens, it can quickly go off the rails when it is made to other Colors (as it always will be). Luckily, Golds are the largest group, but it won’t just be other Golds sitting in – and that can be a challenge without understanding Colors.

Golds are very respectful of their bosses and the chain of command, and will always defer to someone in authority. They value tried and true methods and follow established rules and processes. While those are great traits, this mindset can lead to a presentation going terribly off track for Golds.

A Green boss will readily jump in and question an assumption, or part of the presentation. Naturally, a Gold rule follower will politely thank them for the question, and promise to supply the backup information and reasoning before the end of the day. Now, a little rattled, he or she will continue on. But it’s not likely that this will be the only time Greens may question something, and makes it possible that Golds will never even get through their entire presentation. In their minds, this has now turned to the meeting from hell and they’re likely quite rattled.

What just happened? Simple: The Gold strengths simply don’t apply, with a Green boss. Greens look for credibility and are loyal to improvements and to do better. They will question the process and methods, and are generally skeptical in the first place. If the Gold presenter had simply taken a quick time-out to address the question right then and there, things would have gotten back on track. “Yes, we considered this or that, here’s our logic, and why we chose to do this or that…”

Respecting authority, wanting to stay on track with the presentation, and wanting to get back to someone later is great for other Golds. It does not, however, work with Greens. A “later” approach likely has a Green boss questioning Golds’ credibility and confidence in what he or she is presenting. And “avoiding” the credibility question can often lead to Greens tuning out for the rest of the presentation.

Orange Alert: Two ADHD Stories

July 5th, 2016

ADHD: It’s the Food, Stupid! That was the headline of a story on the connection of food and the diagnosis of ADHD in In North America, 10% of kids ages four to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, and more than three million are on medication for their symptoms.

The study by Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands is the first to conclusively say that diet is implicated in ADHD. “Food is the main cause. After the (new) diet, they were just normal children with normal behavior.” The study found that in 64% of children with ADHD, the symptoms were caused by food.

Says Pessler: “With all children, we should star with diet research.” If so, it sure beats the medication side effects. These include sleeplessness (then sleeping pills prescriptions), headaches, stomachaches, decreased appetite, feeling helpless, hopeless and new or worsening depression. Three years on Ritalin and children were also about an inch shorter and 4.4 pounds (10 kg) lighter than their peers. (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2007).

There have actually been multiple credible scientific studies linking diet and ADHD diagnosis. In Pessler’s study, the children were placed on a restricted diet consisting of water, rice, turkey, lamb, lettuce, carrots, pears, and other hypoallergenic foods. That meant these children were getting no, or very few, food additives.

It’s hard to do, and shouldn’t be done without medical professionals and their advice. But, and it’s just my opinion, it seems a lot safer than altering a child’s brain chemistry with pharmaceutical drugs. No, it won’t be easy. Easy is a pill a day…

And let’s be honest: By the time these (mostly) Orange children are adults, most everyone else wishes they had some of the traits that make Orange adults who they are!
Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD: This second story on ADHD comes from a book by Marilyn Wedge, entitled: A Disease Called Childhood.

In North America, almost 10 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD. In France, it’s half of one percent! Does that make any sense? In North America, it’s considered a biological disorder with the preferred treatment also being biological – psycho stimulant medication like Ritalin and Adderall.

In France, ADHD is viewed as a medical condition, not a biological disorder. That has French doctors looking for the underlying issue causing the child distress: Not in the brain, but in the child’s social context. That includes foods, specifically artificial colors, preservatives, and/or allergens. The focus of the French medical manuals is on identifying and addressing the underlying causes. The U.S. DSM specifically does not consider these. Bad for kids – great for the drug industry.

In general, French (and other European) parents are much stricter in comparison to the average North American parent. Children don’t snack when they want – if ever. Meals are at four specific times, and kids learn incredibly early (and all through childhood) to wait for the meal – no junk food when they feel like it. (see Pamela Druckerman’s book: Bringing up Bebe). The broader European parenting philosophy is of consistently enforced limits. They use the word “no” a lot and children learn very early in life how to self-control themselves.

Is that part of the solution? Is it at home or in the medical approach? Is it about the food additives? Is it partly the school system reducing the time children spend in physical activities? Only parents can make the decision for their child. But hopefully, medication isn’t the starting point…

PS: The issue of Oranges being labeled with ADHD is in the Colorful Personalities book (in the Orange chapter and the Orange kids chapter)

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Colors quotes answer key: Blue – Gold – Green – Orange


Dating a Green Can Change Your World

July 5th, 2016


Greens might only be around 14% of the population, but what they lack in numbers, they have in other strengths. Don’t forget, this isn’t just about dating a Green. If you work with them, or for them, most of these insights apply as well! If you’re single, it might be cool to date someone who wants to change the world – or parts of it. That means you (your Color) will change in some ways, too. For many, it’s a great idea – for others, it’s too challenging.

An Orange in a relationship with a Green is challenged to do something big. Not just to talk about it, but to do it. Greens see them as really competent and respect their direct approach and drive. But they’ll help an Orange to not get sidetracked, and to set specific goals. They’ll push for more than the “today” payoff or win. They’ll make an Orange pay the price for success, and call them on their inconsistent or non-logical ideas. They’ll definitely want a fully-thought out plan and idea before jumping into action.

A Gold will have all of their rules, plans, and structured life questioned. A Green sees them as too compliant, often blindly following the rules. They’ll force a Gold to question things and make independent decisions…not just follow societal rules. “I’ve always done it that way” won’t fly with a Green. Just working a to-do list and being busy without a goal or purpose may come to an end when dating a Green. There’ll be lots of changes, a few U-turns, logical shortcuts, and plenty of ambiguity. Say good bye to the simplicity of right and wrong or black and white.

A Blue will need to learn to explain their intuition and will be challenged (and helped) to put their dreams into action. Just dreaming doesn’t count for much unless there’s a plan to make it happen. A Blue will certainly learn to not give in to the needs of others, to maybe even say no the odd time, and develop a tougher skin. They’ll be pushed to pursue their potential and will get help with the frequent wondering if they’ve done enough. A Green will get them to do more, to do it more efficiently, or teach them to let their best be perfect enough and be good with that!

Two Greens in a relationship with each other is quite uncommon. In dating, Greens typically look for the intellectual connection first. But it’s hard to find large numbers of Green females. They’ll both push each other, but can have blind spots as to their own shortcomings. It’s likely that their independence will have them both in their own careers. That means tons of debriefings each night (if it’s not an all-night Green night where neither talks) and learning from each other. The bonus is that both will have a partner with whom they can logically discuss their feelings. Yes, Greens do talk about their feelings, but typically with someone who won’t get emotional over emotions.

PS: The Colors of Relationship book has every combination of Colors and a work section of “what each Color needs help with.”

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What Blues Get Being Too Nice

July 5th, 2016

A large part of the Blue self-esteem is built through teamwork, relationships with others, and helping people. But, like most of our strengths – taken a bit too far, they become trouble. In the case of Blues, it’s less about trouble for others, but way more about trouble for them.

“Five things to expect by being just a little too nice” comes from Here are three of the big ones:

People can take advantage of you: When you put the needs of others’ ahead of yourself, people will notice and can start to expect it. It’s hard to find that line between helping and enabling. But if you don’t find it, or take the feedback from someone you trust who can see it, you’ll get taken advantage of. Nobody pays more for something than the asking price! People won’t value you higher than you value yourself.

Blues can have unrealistic expectations of others: To twist an old saying around: You expect others to do unto you as you always do onto others. Not gonna happen. You can only control your karmic energy…others have to take ownership of theirs. Plus, most of the world doesn’t function through intuition. They don’t know when you need help, because you won’t ask. You assume they “should” know…news flash: They don’t! Get out of the cycle of not asking-then getting resentful, and test it by asking when you need something.

They’ll forget to take care of themselves. If you think TLC is only for others, you’re so wrong. But you already know that. That can get you down, which can get you to hide in that ‘nobody loves me’ mood and then it’s (often) only chocolate that’s your best friend. Learning to say no and to set boundaries doesn’t make you mean, or less lovable. It means you’ve found that perfect life-balance and the ultimate harmony between helping others and still taking care of yourself.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddah