What Each Colors is Like As a Friend?

October 3rd, 2016

Gold: The super-organized friend who always shows up fifteen minutes early for your hangouts and whom you’d pretty much trust with your life.

Gold/Blue: The undyingly loyal friend who reminds you of your grandmother but in a good way. As in, they regularly bake you cookies and are always down for a relaxing night in.

Gold/Green: The friend you have to plan a week ahead to see (in order to give them time to mentally prepare for the hangout) but then always end up spending ten plus hours with.

Green: The successful and slightly bossy friend who is constantly challenging you to reach your full potential – because they see it in you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.

Or the friend who NEVER initiates hanging out but is paradoxically almost always down to chill – as long as you’re down to talk science or conspiracy theories with them.

Green/Orange: That friend who gives you incessant lectures about how you need to get your life together (and exactly how to do so) but you know it’s because they care… or at least you’re pretty sure they do.

Orange: The chaotic friend who regularly pops into your life, asks you to join them on a crazy new project or adventure and then completely disappears for 6-12 months at a time.

Orange/Green: The excitable yet surprisingly insightful friend who subtly gives you a pep talk every time you hang out and leaves you feeling like you could be the next Prime Minister or President.

Orange/Blue: The friend who is down for pretty much anything, pretty much anytime, and is more fun than basically everyone else you know combined.

Blue/Gold: The friend who lets you live at their house for two weeks after you break up with your significant other so they can make sure you’re eating, sleeping, and going to work like a functioning human being.

Blue/Green: The deep, introspective friend who will listen to you talk for fifteen straight hours without interruption. Of course, when they do offer advice it’s incredibly on point and you have the eerie feeling that they’ve somehow channeled your deepest feelings and thoughts.

Blue/Orange: The wise mother hen who’s there come no matter what, but isn’t afraid to give you tough love if ever and whenever you need it.

Adapted from MBTI post by Heidi Priebe

Different Colors – Different Planning

October 3rd, 2016

Help, George: I keep seeing business systems that use planners, and my upline tells me I HAVE to use a planner, or lose a lot of income. It feels completely alien to me. I get a shape to my day, a rhythm, and having a schedule stresses me out to no end. I know I need some kind of organization to keep track of everything, but what kind of thing would work best for my Colors? My Gold upline says do NOT use the calendar or reminders on my phone, because that’s reactive instead of proactive. T

Hey, T: Our four Colors have very different definitions of family, fun, honesty and…organized! That word is defined by Golds: BIG day planners, neat piles, clean desk, baskets in the junk drawer, and four boxes in the garage or closet, all labeled, all straight, and all the same color and size – period. If you don’t fit this “world” definition of organized – you’re not organized – period.

But organized is in the eye of the beholder…or Color. News flash: Oranges don’t fit any of that Gold definition, yet they manage to get work done, find stuff, do follow-ups, not forget to pick up their kids, and make it through life. Who knew that it isn’t all about the “Gold” way of getting things done?

Your Blue wants to please the Golds that think they know the way, your Green thinks what you’re doing is just fine and probably the best way/or the best way for you…while your Orange wonders if there’s a shortcut way to being organized that won’t slow you down and still (kind of) keeps you on track.

If you get the $100 organizer with all the super cool sections, etc., or even take some seminar on how to be organized and efficient – you will never use it. It’s a Gold thing, and you’re not Gold.

There isn’t an answer that Golds can give you which will work for you. Yes, they’re telling you what you have to do because they care, and want you to do it their way. But their way won’t work for most of the 65% of people who aren’t Gold. If it did, you’d already be doing it!

If you system is phone reminders and calendar, some notes here and there, or whatever – you’re doing it just right – for you – for your Colors. If you talk to another non-Gold, ask them what works for them. Maybe they’ll have one or two additional things that you may want to adapt. But until then…carry on, and don’t let another Color’s definition of anything force you to be something you’re not.

Customer Service: Discretion is Trust

October 3rd, 2016

A frequent frustration expressed by managers is that their staff, especially Golds, often won’t exercise discretion. Part of the reason is that discretion can have a very different meaning to staff and managers.

Discretion is actually trust. A manager trusts their staff to do what needs to be done – and mostly, hopefully, in the area of customer service. But trust has to be a two-way relationship. Where things can go off the rails is when staff members don’t fully trust that they won’t be questioned or criticized after the fact. That applies to all Colors, but especially Golds, who often make lifetime decisions based on a single event. “I did that once and got crap for it so I’m never going to do that again,” is a frequent mindset, but something they’ll almost never verbalize.

In a Canadian Business article, Richard Branson related a story that makes the point for all Colors. A Virgin Atlantic Upper Class customer was to receive limo transportation from his New York hotel to the airport. It turned out that the customer had been waiting at the wrong entrance to the hotel, causing him to run out of time, and needing to take a taxi. Now caught in New York rush hour, he barely made it to the airport, and quite sure he’d missed his flight.

The first Virgin Airlines staff he saw immediately took ownership of the situation. She apologized and assured him that he would catch his flight scheduled to depart in ten minutes. She also reimbursed him the $70 cab charge out of her own pocket. It’s a no brainer to know that she turned a nightmare into a great win and built some huge loyalty with this customer.

Things didn’t go so well when she asked her manager to be reimbursed for the cab fare. No receipt, no money – even though it was obvious there wasn’t the time for the passenger to get a receipt, or her to deal with that detail. From an accounting perspective, the manager was right. From any other perspective, the decision was so wrong.

How likely would this staff member, anyone who overheard the conversation, or anyone she shared it with, be to do something so exemplary in the future? The happy ending was the airport manager stepped in and authorized the reimbursement, along with a long conversation with the manager to focus on catching staff “doing something right.”

Front-line customer service only works when the entire company supports their staff. As Branson describes it, this creates a chain reaction of teamwork, and the chain of customer service is only as strong as its weakest link.

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.