ROSES: A Gold Appreciation Story

March 14th, 2018

This author unknown story is rather lengthy, but absolutely worth reading. As a Gold, I still can’t read it without getting emotional. If you’re not Gold, it’ll help you understand them in a powerful way…

Red roses were her favorites, her name was also Rose. And every year her husband sent them, tied with pretty bows.

The year he died, the roses were delivered to her door. The card said “be my valentine,” like all the years before. Each year he sent her roses, and the note would always say, “I love you even more this year, than last year on this day. My love for you will always grow, with every passing year.” She knew this was the last time that the roses would appear.

She thought, he ordered roses in advance before this day. Her loving husband did not know, that he would pass away.

He always liked to do things early, way before the time. Then, if he got too busy, everything would work out fine. She trimmed the stems, and placed them in a very special vase. Then, sat the vase beside the portrait of his smiling face. She would sit for hours, in her husband’s favorite chair. While staring at his picture, and the roses sitting there.

A year went by, and it was hard to live without her mate, with loneliness and solitude, that had become her fate.

Then, the very hour, as on Valentines before, the doorbell rang, and there were roses, sitting by her door. She brought the roses in, and then just looked at them in shock. Then, went to get the telephone to call the florist shop.

The owner answered, and she asked him if he would explain, why would someone do this to her, causing her such pain? “I know your husband passed away, more than a year ago,” the owner said, “I knew you’d call, and you would want to know. The flowers you received today, were paid for in advance. Your husband always planned ahead, he left nothing to chance. There is a standing order, that I have on file down here, and he has paid, well in advance, you’ll get them every year. There also is another thing, that I think you should know. He wrote a special little card…he did this years ago.

Then, should ever I find out that he’s no longer here that’s the card that should be sent, to you the following year.”

She thanked him and hung up the phone, her tears now flowing hard. Her fingers shaking as she slowly reached to get the card. Inside the card, she saw that he had written her a note. Then as she stared in total silence, this is what he wrote…

“Hello my love, I know it’s been a year since I’ve been gone. I hope it hasn’t been too hard for you to overcome. I know it must be lonely, and the pain is very real. Or if it was the other way, I know how I would feel. The love we shared made everything so beautiful in life. I loved you more than words can say, you were the perfect wife. You were my friend and lover, you fulfilled my every need. I know it’s only been a year, but please try not to grieve. I want you to be happy, even when you shed your tears. That is why the roses will be sent to you for years. When you get these roses, think of all the happiness, that we had together and how both of us were blessed.

I have always loved you and I know I always will. But my love, you must go on, you have some living still. Please…try to find happiness, while living out your days. I know it is not easy, but I hope you’ll find some ways. The roses will come every year, and they will only stop, when your door’s not answered when the florist stops to knock.

He will come five times that day, in case you have gone out. But after his last visit, he will know without a doubt. To take the roses to the place, where I’ve instructed him and place the roses where we are – together once again.”


Nature Vs. Nurture?

March 14th, 2018

Carl Jung (Swiss psychologist in the 1920s), very much the grandfather of personality typing, believed that you’re born with your personality type, and parents, situations, school, etc., have very little impact. It’s a question I get a few times a year, and last month in an email from a client. I had long thought that (at least our childhood and parents) do measurably impact it….

It was the reason, about 10 years ago, I had 6,000 attendees over a year plus, do a short five-minute feedback form. What Color is your partner (the chart in the relationship chapter), what’s your birth order, favorite TV shows, how much of your job fits your first Color, do you volunteer, etc.

I know it’s only 6,000 people, but there was absolutely no connection of Colors and birth order at all! That was good enough for me to believe Carl Jung….

We DO take on behaviors that honor our parents, but I don’t think it changes our personality type. The most common ones are Blues who aren’t big on hugging…when you ask, it turns out they often had two Gold and/or Green parents, so it just wasn’t part of what they ever experienced for 18 plus years.

The other one is an Orange occasionally piping up that they are THE most organized people. But it turns out that it’s usually in one or two specific things – mostly their bedroom and closet. That’s just a smart eight-year old Orange knowing their parent (the super high Gold one) is going to ride their butt every day for another decade to make their bed and clean their room. When they move out, they either drop that in a hurry (freedom!) or still honor that voice of their parent for life…

Big picture, I think (guess) that every kid emulates their parents in one way or another in thinking it’s somehow going to get them more love. I think that’s why lots of parents the first day or two after learning Colors think they can’t really figure out their kids first Color…

Having said that, if you read a book by Tom Leman called “Growing Up Firstborn,” it sure reads like a book entirely for Gold kids! There’s also one called “The Power of the Middle Child” (Catherine Salmon), and it very much describes Blue kids, in being the go-between, and mediators in the family, as well as throughout their lives.

If you agree, or disagree, either is just fine, because there isn’t a “right” answer. Personality types are about real people who are all unique. We’re not some kind of match equations that have a right or wrong answer!

The Messy Life?

March 14th, 2018

Ah…neat, tidy and organized are definitely in the eye of the beholder. Organized means totally different things to different Colors, from neat piles and everything put away for Golds, or “it’s organized if I can find it” for Orange.

A recent USA Today story featured the review of a number of books, and started with the line: “we Americans love nothing more than improving ourselves without exerting too much energy.” It went on to describe a few of these books as “easy on the reader to make the lazy you a better and happier you in the coming year.”

One of the books the USA Today story reviewed is: A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefit, which claims that messy closets, a cluttered office or last-minute scrambling actually makes for a better and healthier life and a better world. Co-author David Freedman argues that “neatness is about suppression. It’s about having fewer things to stimulate you. Mess is better. It stimulates creativity.”

He actually claims that this is what people have been waiting to hear. OK, which people? His logic: The vast majority are messy and consider this book a validation of what they’ve always thought.

The other books? Sleep Away The Pounds, Relax Into Wealth: How to Get More by Doing Less and: How to Cheat at Cleaning: Time-Slashing Techniques To Cut Corners.

But the best quote has to be from sociologist Micki MdGee: “I’m completely unsurprised by this. The self-help industry has topped out and now people want to hear that improvement is effort-less.”

On Any Team: Discretion is Trust (Or Not)

February 1st, 2018

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. Often, the first place that manifests itself is 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. It may have been two jobs and ten years ago, but the decision is made.

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 was quite sure he’d missed his flight.

The first Virgin 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 supervisor 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 supervisor 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 – anything – 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 supervisor to focus on catching staff “doing something right.” In every way, and every day, that applies to teams as well as leadership. But first you have to re-establish the trust and that starts with a safe conversation of why it doesn’t exist in the first place. Until then, you’ll be paying the price for something you know nothing about, and had nothing to do with.

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.

A Green Testing the Test?

February 1st, 2018

About a year ago, an Orange lady organized a seminar for her team and friends. When she introduced me to her very Green husband, his fist words to me (in lieu of hello or nice to meet you) were: Your assessment is pretty accurate. Thank you was my response, but it wasn’t just about the assessment. It turns out he’d spent hours on testing the test and different ways of validating it, in order to see if it was credible (the core value for Greens).

His breakdown and explanation via email started with: Colors assessment by a “Green” to verify efficacy (noun: the ability to produce a desired or intended result…yes…I had to look that up, too…)

When he did the assessment, his scores were: 8 Blue, 20 Gold, 21 Orange and 31 Green

But that wasn’t enough for him. He then broke down each of the words in a score. A point value from 1 to 12 for each of the eight sets for a total score of 614. Does your head hurt yet, or are you thinking that that’s brilliant?

On that basis, his scores were: 52 Blue, 166 Gold, 163 Orange and 233 Green

That translated to a percentage of 8.6% Blue, 27% Gold, 26.5% Orange and 37.9% Green

I’m guessing, but didn’t ask, if THAT was the point where I had enough credibility for him to agree to attend the seminar… I also didn’t ask if he took on this project with an initial mindset of proving I didn’t have a clue and none of this could be/would be accurate…

But my Gold gets the last word in that I fixed the percentages to add up to 100…Ha! Thanks, CB

Who Says It’s Not a “Real” Career?

February 1st, 2018

In North America, our population is shrinking and the effects of labor shortages are already playing themselves out in many places and industries. This is especially true in the field of skilled trades such as construction, electricians, plumbers, and similar types of fields.

High Oranges makes up large numbers of employees in these fields. They’re hands-on jobs, often outdoors, every day is a little different, they can often work as hard or as long as they choose, stay active, do something physical, and have a fair amount of freedom in these careers. And now the money is starting to really become attractive. In many cities, skilled trades people can make well over $100,000, which is some serious money.

But in a number of studies over the last two years for the Skilled Trades Association the largest group of youth have a mindset that these are “just jobs,” and not careers, and that trades people aren’t respected or creative thinkers.

While the survey results might be accurate, that mindset certainly isn’t. But then we have to remember that the majority of people aren’t high Orange and respond to surveys only through the eyes, judgments and mindset of their Colors.

Right now, an ever-increasing number of people are choosing the skilled trades work over office jobs. In the words of Beverlie Cook, project manager for the Skilled Trades promotional campaign in Maclean’s magazine: “There are many young people for whom a desk is death, who want to be out and using both hands and their head – and find satisfaction in making ideas come to life.”

The big downside is that Ms. Cook, most companies, apprenticeship programs, the school system (which sees many high Orange drop out after grade 10 or 11), and most parents don’t understand personality types, or the group of 15-19 year olds that they’re attempting to target. Just like it’s important to be nice to the high Greens we labeled “nerds” in high school, it’s becoming just as important to be nice to the high Orange who we’ll need badly to build or fix anything and everything for us.