Colors In Sports

January 4th, 2018

Now that hockey season is in full swing, there are some significant Color dynamics at work. That’s not just in the NHL, but also the beer leagues, and any other sport for that matter:

Orange players are motivated for today or this week. Don’t give me a lot of “why,” just tell me what you want and when you want it. Give me a chance to “win” – tangible and immediate rewards of more ice time, power play, etc. – Criticism in public is OK as that’s a big motivator to “show you” – They’re eternally optimistic, the constant trash talkers, and the energy players on any team and in any room who function well when they’re mad. You’re paying them a lot of money to practice and travel – they’d gladly play the games for free because of the adrenaline rush from the actual games that matter and the crowds.

Green players value the breakdown of the games in the film room. They need the dozens of “why” questions answered before they buy in. They tend to be very introverted and hard to motivate. Their sarcasm is something that teammates need a little time to understand and appreciate. They’re perfectionists. If it’s worth doing, it has to be done right, or perfect, or they can view themselves as a failure. When things aren’t going well, they don’t verbalize their feelings, but will just shut down and become anti-social and withdrawn.

Blue players live life through feelings and a roller coaster of emotions. For them, the team and their friends is what it’s all about. They’ve visual learners, constantly sharing the credit and for whom winning is about succeeding together. They are usually very soft spoken, lots of eye contact, incredibly positive, really sensitive, and emotional. But since this is 95%+ women, it’s very difficult being a Blue male in a tough team sport such as hockey or football as they can never ever show anyone their deep feelings. Ironically, this was a large number of old-style enforcers such as the late Rick Rypien, and former Oiler George Laraque. The depression and other issues arise out of their DNA in wanting to get along yet having to fight…some have often stated they’d have to sit in their vehicle half an hour early to get themselves psyched up to be able to do what’s so unnatural for them.

Gold players are a huge number of Canadian NHL players. They’re big on details, old-style skills and drills, quite superstitions, organized, very private, and serious. You’ll rarely hear them trash talking off the ice and you certainly wouldn’t know their income is in the millions of dollars a year – they’d seldom flaunt their wealth. Criticism in public from their coach (or even in media stories) shuts them down, and often destroys their motivation.

Incredibly high standards make them very hard on themselves – nobody can ever beat them up better than they do to themselves – structure, plans and to do lists – get stressed with changes but know what they need to say publicly while internally they’re really scared, but can never admit it. Will take a bullet for family and their (very few) friends – very disciplined, always ready and prepared, never forget anything. They certainly don’t need babysitting or reminders. Even at age 18 and getting drafted they are mature beyond their age.

The most powerful example of a Gold was Mike Modano when he was captain of the Dallas Stars (Golds tend to be the “best” captains) As Golds are planners and disciplined, he would constantly go after other players in the room that he perceived as undisciplined or not putting up a 100% effort, etc. That’s why the Stars so often had enough points banked before Christmas to assure making it into the playoffs…that was in large part due to him – and started way back in Junior. Conversely, Oranges live for today. It’s a subconscious mindset that October games really “don’t matter that much” since there’s no payoff until April. At that point, in most team sports, they’ll “turn it on” and think they can go 9-1 as they can see the prize (of the playoffs). That happens more when it’s a sport with a lot of games – less so in football due to the fewer number of games..


“Our People Matter”

January 4th, 2018

That’s a line you’ll find on the website of almost any company. It’s part of the standard template. But that won’t tell you if their actions match their words. I’m blessed to work with companies of all different sizes, cultures, and industries,  where their people do matter, and it shows. Here are three very different businesses whose actions match their words:

TRU-CO is a dynamic company with a unique vision on how to do business. Their view is that, if people are happy, they will be productive and conscientious. The by-product of this is a world class product out the door. This concept carries through to relationships with their customers, vendors, competitors and charitable organizations that we are affiliated with. If you give people what they want, they give back (or forward) more than ever expected.

Chinese internet giant Alibaba (their equivalent of Amazon) became a publicly traded company two years ago and instantly became one of the largest companies in the world. But to quote CEO Jack Mah: We put customers first, employees second, and shareholders last. It’s the opposite of most North American companies and what they teach in business schools. But Mah made that clear before shares went on sale to the public. ‘If you don’t like it – do not buy the company stock.’

An even bigger proponent was Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. In an interview with his biographer he was asked what his biggest accomplishment was. It wasn’t the Iphone, Apple computer, or any actual product. It was building the Apple team. His answer shouldn’t be a surprise, because, without a team and the people, the products wouldn’t have been developed.

Can Golds Make Orange Dreams Come True?

January 4th, 2018

Behind every Orange U.S. President was a high Gold chief of staff. None of the last three started with them, but, according to most experts, their administration did much better after they took over. The definition of “much better” is different for different Orange Presidents. For some it may have been removing some of the Orange chaos. That’s fun for them, but not in the White House. For others it was the impetus for getting their agenda moving, or greatly changing the dynamics with Congress. For President Regan it was Jim Baker, for President Clinton, it was Leon Panettta, and for President Trump it was most noticeable when John Kelly became his chief of staff last summer.

Those might not have been the people an Orange wanted running their campaign, but it’s definitely who they need (initially against their wishes to some degree) once they were in office.

That isn’t any different on your team, or in your department. How another Color does things, sees things, or makes things happen, is very different than a Gold would do it. But many times it isn’t the job of the Gold to slow things down, change directions, or get judgmental that it ought to be done “their way.” But, more times than I can count, after the fundraising idea is set, after the client is retained or saved, it’s Golds that step up (or need to, or should). At that point, it’s to make the promises come true, or to pro-actively manage the hundreds of critical details.  It’s the reason that many successful sales teams have more Oranges in the outside (client) sales and the Golds in the inside sales positions.

We can’t be good at everything – but every Color is really good, and incredibly valuable, at different stages of our work life and on our team.

Think Your Son Or Daughter Doesn’t Like to Read? Probably Not…

November 6th, 2017

A common complaint and regret from parents is that their son or daughter doesn’t like to read. I’d bet that’s not the case for the vast majority. Often, the trouble is that their kid doesn’t like to read a book in the (Colors) language of their parent, or even teacher. If Colors is like speaking four different languages, test the theory and get them a book that fits their Color!

At a recent Leadership Colors seminar, the top Usborne Books people came up with THE best list for kids of all four Colors and ages. Reading has lifetime benefits for anyone. Test the theory and find one or two of these and your view may be very different.

To find them, contact an Usborne rep or online at: (for Canada) and for the U.S.

Orange under 8 or so

Slot Together Castle                                      Dan the Taxi Man

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur                                      Paper Airplanes

Nibbles                                                         Wind-Up/Pull Back Books

Mix & Match Series


Orange Teenagers

Conspiracy 365 (Serial Novel)                         Phoenix Files (Serial Novel)

A Year in My Life                                                The Impossible Quest Series

Sticker Dolly Dressing Series (Girls)              Sticker Dressing Series (Boys)


Gold under 8 or so

Wipe Clean Series (Activities, times tables, etc.)

Sticker Dolly Dressing Series                          Step by Step Drawing Series

Five Minute Bedtime Stories                           My First Reference Book

How Things Work


Gold Teenagers

Make Buildings (drawing book)                        This is Not a Math Book
Encyclopedias & References                              Patterns to Color Series

Write your own Story Book                               A Year in My Life (journal)

The Debt (Serial Novel)


Green under 8 or so

Children’s Encyclopedia                                    Q & A About…..??

Shine the Light Series                                        Computers and Coding

Beginners Non-Fiction Series (Bugs, Firefighters, Dogs, Astronomy)

Logic Puzzles/Math Puzzles/Brain Games     Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers


Green Teenagers

Discovery Adventure Stories                           The Story of Science

Forensic Science                                                World Wars

Science Encyclopedia                                       True Adventure Stories Series

Illustrated Norse Myths


Blue under 8 or so

Cuddle Bear                                                Animally

Wind-up/Pull Back Books                      My First Kitten/ My First Puppy

Farmyard Tales                                         Press Out Paper Dolls

The Secret Mermaid Series


Blue Teenagers

I am Jack Series                                          Butterflies

Do Nice Be Kind Spread Happy              Be the Change Make it Happen

Sandy Lane Stables Series                       Nature Coloring Books


From the Heart

November 6th, 2017

High Blues live life in their heart and through feelings. Blues also reach out to connect with people in ways that many not always seem obvious to others:

A couple of years ago, a high Blue friend needed to sign 7,000 fundraising letters as chairperson of a very large Christmas charity. Any Green would have found a software program that can pre-sign these letters, while Golds would want to add the personal signature, but get it done in one night and quickly off their to-do list. There’s a good chance an Orange would get a stamp, or ask the office staff to “just sign it for me.”

Not a high Blue. After a week, she proudly announced that a couple hundred letters were already signed. Another week later, 400 more were done and it seemed to be a never-ending project. But then I received my letter. The “Dear Mr. Boelcke” was crossed out and replaced by my first name, along with a personal note written on the bottom. Well of course it was – we’re friends. But then I asked this high Blue how many letters had a little personal note written on them? “All of them,” she replied. After all, it wasn’t just about signing the letters; it was about putting a little piece of her heart into every letter, with her personal touch.

Was this a waste of time, or an awesome Blue trait? No matter what you may thing, this is a real life example of a Blue. The next time a high Blue sends a card or special note you can be sure there is almost always a little something extra with it. It might be a sticker, something drawn on the envelope, an extra note, or something inserted. It is never just a card – it’s a high Blue connecting with you!

Thank You For Being Late

November 6th, 2017

That’s actually the title of the latest (and well worth reading) Thomas Friedman book: An Optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations

In the introduction, and not the theme of the book. Friedman explains how he would often schedule breakfast meetings in Washington, DC. However, his guests would often be 10 to 20 minutes late due to traffic, trouble getting the kids out of the house, or any number of reasons. His response was always: Thank you for being late.

That surprised all the late arrivals, who were rattled and apologetic, and expecting a much different reactions. Friedman explained that it actually created a few minutes for himself. A small block of “found” time to just relax and think. It had given him the time to connect some ideas, to listen in on the people at the next table, or just people-watch.

The first time Friedman wasn’t actually sure he meant it. But the second time he realized that he did. That he enjoyed the few minutes of uninterrupted thinking, and relaxing time. In any (every) chaotic day, it kind of gave him permission to just “slow down” for a bit. When he explained his unusual response to their apology, he started getting quite a few “I know what you mean” responses.

It reduced his stress level and he found (looked for) the value in the breakfast guest being late. Until then, we keep saying “I’m so busy…” as it were some kind of badge of honor, or something to be proud of. Hopefully over a third of the world that’s Gold will try it…who knows – it may help with the daily escalating stress level.