Putting the “I” Back Into Teamwork

January 8th, 2015

A recent story in Fortune magazine was entitled Teamwork! Secrets of Greatness. It started by suggesting all those posters and definitions of team players get dumped and that there is an “I” in teamwork.

The article argued that teamwork is an individual skill, implies a shared responsibility and that we cannot ever control the behavior of others, but only our own. Or in the words of Robert Frost: “Men work together, whether they work together or apart.”

But just putting together a number of people certainly doesn’t make a team. The best sports example is probably the 2004 U.S. Olympic basketball team, which consisted of huge NBA stars with tens of millions of income who lost to the “no-name” team from Lithuania. Yet the 1980 U.S. hockey team beat the Soviets against all odds with players assembled by coach Herb Brooks that nobody had ever heard of. The movie Miracle has some great lessons on building teams, which started when the coaching staff refused to take the best college players. Said Brooks: “I’m not looking for the best players – I’m looking for the right players.”

Any team, social or safety committee, or even department (if the numbers are large enough) should include the special skills of every Color. We have very different strengths and contributions that others don’t share. If you want the group, meeting, fundraiser, or whatever to be a successful, it takes all four of our Colors! That’ll include the solo stars that get going, the team builders who assure everyone is included and on the same page. It’ll need the air traffic controllers that keep track of everybody and everything, and the people who actually think ahead before jumping or committing.

On our team:
Orange supplies the energy
Gold supplies the practicality
Blue provides the heart
Green provides the quality

Gold Behaviors or Gold First Color?

January 8th, 2015

65% of North Americans aren’t first Color Gold. Yet, somehow they still manage to get stuff done on time, pay their bills, organize their stuff, and show up on time and prepared. I know that’s hard to believe at times for the 35% of people who are Gold…and spend a lot of time and energy trying to convert the rest of the world…

But everybody is a little Gold…in many ways…in many situations. It may be by necessity, the influence of their parents, their career, the choice to be careful with their money, or whatever the reason or particular areas of their life. Some Gold behaviors manifest themselves in every person. I don’t know if the people below are first Color Gold – I don’t know enough about them. But they sure have some Gold tendencies:
Paul McCartney has always been very frugal with his money. According to his daughter he insisted she attend an in-state college because of the much lower tuition cost.

Kourtney Kardashian is a coupon addict. She takes her entire binder of coupons along whenever she goes shopping.

Vince Kartheiser (Mad Men) and his fiancé, Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel still choose to live in a tiny one bedroom apartment.

After winning over $2 million in the Ontario lottery, the winner shared “I went over to Niagara Falls, NY. I got a gallon of milk for a buck! That, for me, was exiting! I grabbed five or six of them.”

Jennifer Lawrence, long after having been paid $10 million to star in Hunger Games II shared that “…most of the time I end up staying at the Days Inn…” And she recently confessed that she found it hard to pay $400 for a shirt, and that her father yelled at her for wasting that kind of money.

Prince William and Kate Middleton actually do their own grocery shopping and Middleton steadfastly refuses to use a stylist.

George Clooney didn’t bargain shop for his recent $1.8 million wedding, but fellow actors Dax Shephard & Kristen Bell spent $142 for a courthouse wedding.

Do Blues Have a Problem?

January 8th, 2015

There’s an old insurance industry slogan that’s also used in a powerful way by the Choices seminar (choicesseminars.com) that I keep talking about during the Colors seminars: Be Do Have – Be prepared to Do what it takes to Have what you want. We’ll leave the challenges the other three Colors have of not being prepared to do what it takes for another time…

For Blues, it can often be the ‘have’ part that isn’t working in their life. In the last few months, three Blues have shared that their relationships are dysfunctional, or quite one-sided, to put it mildly. They’re currently settling for ‘crumbs’ as one described it. They open their hearts, commit to the relationship way before a reasonable test drive, and jump in immediately, based on their intuition. Often logic would dictate to wait until he (since most Blues are women…) gets his crap together, gets a job, gets his old girlfriend out of his life, and dozens more examples… They’ll have the relationship, but is it worth having?

Blues are prepared to do what it takes to be included, to be liked, cared about, and often to be in a relationship. But are they often working on the wrong “Be Do?” Shouldn’t Blues start backwards with a clear definition of what “have” looks like? All that BE and Do just to have leftovers? How about changing the saying around for Blues: Be prepared to NOT do what it takes, until you define what it really is that you want to have and deserve.

Orange Politicians

November 17th, 2014

I have to confess that I am a political junkie, but I detest “political talk” where almost nobody seems to be able to say something in one sentence, or can ever gives a yes or no answer. It drives me nuts when answers have absolutely no correlation to the question that was asked, or I hear a five-minute weasel-type answer.

It’s not about their politics, but that’s why I love to cheer for Orange politicians. If nothing else, Oranges are direct, to the point, and tell it like it is, without taking themselves too seriously. Sort of… You see, they still have to get elected, and that is often a challenge for Oranges, if they stay true to who they really are.

Two Oranges politicians that definitely manage to do it are the former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, and current U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (as well as former President Clinton). On Meet The Press, Vice President Biden recently shared that he received a call from his son before the show, and his son told him: “Keep it short, Dad.” And after his interview, one of the political commentators called him: “just not a script guy.”

That is a great way to describe Oranges in all careers, and part of their real value. Yes, the White House staff always worries whenever Vice President Biden is near a microphone, but to me, it’s worth it. Or in the words of the Mindy McCready song: “This is me – take it or leave it. What you see is what you get.”

I hope we can (but won’t) get more of them into public life for so many reasons.
Besides, I bet more people prefer a politician who seems “real,” instead of scripted, sounding like a robot, or never going off message.

A Few Christmas Season Insights

November 17th, 2014

Golds: The 12 days of Christmas are NOT: planning, worrying, baking, cleaning, wrapping, etc. They’re about enjoying the season. Find some Blue friends and they’ll re-teach you the real meaning of the season. Or your Orange buddies who know that it’s the 12 days of parties!

Your Orange partner: As you know, they’ll likely go shopping on the 22nd or 23rd of December since they live for right now. If you (likely) don’t want a giftcard, give them a specific list of what you want. Include the name and address of the store with the description and the store’s stock number! That way they just have to find someone to pull them and pay. It’s a win-win: You’ll get what you want and it’ll be Orange-friendly shopping.

Buying for Greens: Sorry, you don’t know the ‘perfect’ presents that Greens really want, and have been thinking about and researching for months. If you search the newsletter archive for “Green kids” or “Green presents” you’ll find a lot of previous stories. Greens are the only Color that’s actually quite OK with giftcards. It’ll allow THEM to find the perfect present. When in doubt: Ask them – they’re fine with that and it’ll prevent presents that are way off track.

Blues love presents that come from the heart, and are specifically for them. That does not include kitchen presents – sorry. They’ll smile and thank you – but you’re way off the mark. If a present can be used by the whole family, it misses the mark. Sure, your Blue partner may want a new blender, but that isn’t a present from the heart.

How Do You Hire?

November 17th, 2014

A few months ago, a local newspaper organized a huge job fair. In total there were about 80 companies who set up booths at a trade center looking to talk to and recruit potential employees. From the financial services fields to health care, transportation to the restaurant industry and retail careers, everybody was there.

The huge newspaper ad had a headline promoting benefits, signing bonuses and great pay.

To see some of these companies in action (none of them were my clients), I wanted to go through the job fair to see if I could overhear some of the interview techniques to attract new employees.

To put it mildly, it was awful. All those potential employees and I didn’t hear a single pitch or conversation that was targeted to the person. It was exclusively promoting the pay, training, and promotional potential. Remember when we talked about Colors being akin to learning to speak four different languages? The very different languages of our Colors? THAT is connecting with people in ways they understand and value. Time and time again I watched obviously high Oranges and Blues just smile, take some written material they weren’t going to read and move on.

Talking about pay alone is not how to attract talented people that fit into a company, the culture, and who will want to stay. After all, pay is not the number one, two or three reasons people choose their career. Even if it is, since there aren’t unlimited raises, learning their values and what they look for in a careers is often better than a raise. (See the work chapter in the Colorful Personalities book).