Christmas and Charitable Giving

November 14th, 2016

Each Color has very different values and motivators when it comes to donating to a charity. You’ll see and hear different radio and TV ads for specific charities that attempt to target a specific audience. Some do it very well, some are a horrible waste of money. But that interpretation can depend on which Color is doing the judging. Sometimes all Colors also unite behind a cause in spite of the fact that evidence keeps showing their very high administration and salary budgets, and very small amount actually going to their cause.

Oranges value their gifts targeting projects or causes that are innovative and big or audacious. They look for something out of the ordinary that’s bold and daring. Donating to what everyone else contributes to has limited appeal to them. Sure, they’ll donate when there’s a need, but it should also stand out and do something different. When they find something they can get behind and get excited about, they can write the big check. Don’t forget that 60% of entrepreneurs are Orange, so they have access to their money and control their company’s donations, too. One great example is the Clinton Initiative started by Orange former U.S. President Bill Clinton and its work in Africa.

Golds tend to want their gift to go to a charity that has credibility and a long-term track record. They really don’t want to reinvent the wheel. They look for substance over style and want to assure none of their money is wasted. They will often search the sites that list the percentages of admin versus the project. That drive made many Gold leery of the Red Cross after many stories of “re-directing” donations to new computer systems after 9/11 and their significant “trouble” in Haiti after the earthquake. Golds are also the largest group to attend church on a more regular basis. As a result, donating or tithing to their church keeps the money in their community, and lets them “see” first-hand how it’s being spent or invested.

Blues, if given a choice, would rather help and become involved hands-on, instead of writing a check. That allows them to see and feel that they’re making a difference in more powerful ways: On the front line, instead of a check or in the boardroom. They want to help those who are hurting the most. In war they want to bring peace – with the wounded, they want to see healing. Their donations often go where their heart feels the most need. The downside is that they wish they could do more, and wonder if they’ve done enough. A big payday for Blues is to see the feedback, to see a youtube video of their donations in action, a newsletter follow-up, or progress report, and a thank you.

Greens are driven to support sustainable solutions and not quick fixes. It’s not so much about the latest plan of the month or the long existing “same-old” type charities. To Greens, some of the largest and well-established groups can seem to enable more than help. Green will never give someone a fish, but they’ll spend a huge amount of time, energy, and their money teaching someone to fish. Emotional appeals will have no impact on their donations – sorry. But if it’s innovative and nobody else is attempting to solve a fundamental need, they’ll get involved. The people with real money (Bill Gates) will create that environment in setting up their own foundation to be able to accomplish exactly what they believe in. Then the Gold Warren Buffet (and many others) became involved with it as well. One Canadian charity, Developing World Connections, became involved in Napal after the earthquake, but doesn’t do “tents and tarps.” They tell the locals that they won’t supply them, but will build them a new earthquake proof school and teach them innovative farming techniques to raise their incomes so THEY can support themselves.


The Green Search for Perfection

November 14th, 2016

It’s the common response: Asked at a job interview what his biggest weakness is, he pretends to think for a moment before answering, “I guess I’d say I can be a bit of a perfectionist.” The impression he’s giving is clear. Though he may sometimes be perceived as a bit negative, this is simply a byproduct of his excellent work. In other words, his weakness is actually a strength.

I am a writer, and lately my work has slowed to the point where I spend days rewriting the same sentence over and over. I believe the line will get better, and it does, but what is a reasonable amount of time to spend on a single sentence? Thirty seconds, two minutes, an hour? Certainly not a couple of days! And yet, though I know this to be true, once I’m locked in on it, a sentence isn’t just words and information, it’s an amorphous blob that must, under the threat of humiliation, be poked and prodded into absolute flawlessness before I can even think about moving on.

I’ve begun to think that I’d be a better, more successful writer if I was more willing to fail. Perfectionism affects every aspect of my life. It tells me, “no matter what happened in the past, you can validate it now by being perfect.” Why do I analyze something that, by the count of ten, will no longer exist?

Perfectionists’ relationships can suffer too. I also hold my girlfriend to the same brutal standards as I do myself. Which is wholly unfair…I want the world around me to be as perfect as I should be…

Happiness is a word for weak-minded people, for self-help gurus and “Please share this” Facebook posts. Consequently it’s a word I haven’t spoken aloud often, except to say I’ll have it when I’m perfect.

Even with this almost written, I still fear that I’ll break down and edit it until there’s nothing left… Excerpts from James Nolan post at

Colors & Christmas Prep Insights

November 14th, 2016

Candy cane lane is a ten block stretch of about 200 homes in West Edmonton, Alberta. Last year, all but 9 homes had their yards decorated for Christmas, most of them with pretty elaborate decorations. It’s a major attraction that draws tens of thousands of visitors each Christmas season.

Last year, Global Television did a story on Bobbie and Rob as they were getting ready to decorate. She wanted something realistic that could be accomplished by the deadline. Rob wanted something impossible that “puts me on the edge of divorce.” Our plan? Who knows what the plan is…”

Their kitchen table meeting to decided on a plan had Bobbie sitting there with a piece of paper and a pen, stressing that it was going to be a “zero budget”…while Rob was moving around the kitchen multi-tasking on other things.

Fast forward to the opening day of Candy cane lane: “Deadlines bring out the best in me,” shared Rob as he was finishing his giant snowman in the garage. This, at the exact time the Mayor was doing the opening ceremony and people started strolling down the street. “It’s not done yet! I need another hour…” while holding up two fingers to his wife. Then came the issue of the power load factor for his entire lit up display (think Christmas Vacation movie)…no worries…as Rob takes his 50th or so extension cord and uses his neighbors outside plugs…

While it’s doubtful that your Christmas preparations will be viewed by tens of thousands of people, there are some things you need to remember:

Don’t: Hassle an Orange that they’re not done present shopping way in advance. They work better under pressure, and your pushing them will stress you out (not the Orange) while accomplishing nothing.

Do: Know it’s OK to get a Green a gift card or cash. They want the perfect gift, and you don’t know what that could be. When in doubt, make it for Amazon, a bookstore, or large electronic retailer.

Don’t: Get a gift card or cash for Golds. They’ll likely be insulted that you had all year and still couldn’t come up with one personal gift. If you’re really stuck, head to Staples or the Container Store in the U.S. Remember that you’re buying for a Gold, and not your Color! And Gold women typically don’t want a kitchen gift. A gift for the whole family is not a gift for them!

Do: Start thinking about a gift for Blues that will touch their heart. Something sentimental would be a great place to start looking…but it’s the spirit of the season, too. One of the best gifts is often the gift of your time, your full attention, holding hands when out for a walk, or cuddling on the sofa. Quality time with them is a gift that will pay big dividends all year long.

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.