Not Your Typical Internet Firm and Huge Lessons For Every Color

March 29th, 2019

Basecamp is a software company for client service businesses. But this is not your typical Green software company culture. Just read their mission statement: “Have fun, do exceptional work, build the best product in the business, experiment, pay attention to details, treat people right, tell the truth, have a positive impact on the world around us, give back, and keep learning.”

Wow. This definitely seems to be a company for all Colors! It gets even better, with lessons for all of us from CEO Jason Fried in a recent podcast interview (on Recode Decode with Kara Swisher) taking about his new book: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.

We work all day, but we’re actually in meetings all day. You might work eight hours a day, but at most, you have a few 15 minute blocks to actually focus on something. If you don’t have a full eight hours where you control your day, something’s wrong. We don’t have meetings and others don’t get to book your time! They can call you to schedule a meeting, but they can’t see or access your time. It should be hard to get someone’s time! You can’t do great work when you don’t even own your own time. Companies all claim that time is money. But they don’t leave money laying around on the table but they let everyone take everyone else’s time. It’s valuable. You should ask and make your case and not just be able to grab it.

The expectation of immediate responses is a totally broken system. Everyone is trained to make everything “now.” There’s no emergency and there’s no hurry – it’s fake and it’s just a cultural thing.

There are far too many inter-dependancies in companies and departments. Teams should be three people max. When they’re pretty independent you won’t have to wait around for others to do their part. In our company we have JOMO. The Joy Of Missing Out. Focus on your work – you don’t need to be involved in a million other things… Tech fertilizes that and it grows into a horrible monster that grinds real achievement to a halt.

Sometimes best practices are worst practices. Everyone seems to want to adapt that concept from another company without having any idea of how they implemented it or make it work. “They” do it this way, so we need to change things around to implement that…in a herd mentality. If you’re a company of 10 people, you’re going to adopt to what Apple does? They have 20,000 people!

Oranges and Golds: Hurry Up!

March 29th, 2019

Amongst many others, one of the traits Golds and Oranges share is a strong impatience streak. Golds want “this” to be done, finished, answered, dealt with, or completed so they can get on with the next thing on their to-do list. Oranges are impatient with any delay or lineup, and want “this” to be done so they can go on to something else – anything else…

However, that impatience can also be trouble for both Colors, and in many situations, and with many people. In a lineup, Golds are stuck. After all, they can’t just leave, or whatever they’re lining up for will still be on the to-do list.

Oranges at least avoid lineups whenever possible. They’re the main reason billions of dollars worth of merchandise is left at cash registers every year, as Oranges bail. Unfortunately, most retailers don’t know what it takes to give effective customer service to both groups, or they’d make a whole lot more sales, and retain a ton more customers.

When impatience is internal, it’s often a drive to get something done, which can certainly be a motivator. When their impatience involves people, it’s a little more serious and has a measurable impact on others.

For EVERY Color: While I don’t often click links, this one was different. It was posted by a friend whose Pastor showed it in their church recently. It’s four minutes, and well worth watching.

It may get you (OK….me…) close to tears, but it’ll also make you a lot more cognizant of your impatience streak.

A Restaurant Chain Staffed By Blues?

March 29th, 2019

Danny Meyer is the restaurant mogul behind such chains as Shake Shack and Union Square Café.

In an incredibly cut-throat business, Meyer has survived and thrived where others have failed. His concept is ‘enlightened hospitality,’ and revolves around respect and relationships.

It starts with hiring naturally empathetic people, what he calls ‘givers’ which creates a culture that sets his restaurants apart from the competition. Sure, the menu and décor matter, but for his company it all starts with replicating his staffing approach and culture in each new restaurant or chain.

“When he looks at you, he sees you. He’s not playing the role of executive…he’s a hugger. He trusts his gut (intuition) and his gut is always working.”  Pete Wells, the New York Times food critic claims that “another restaurant might try to impress diners by suggesting an esoteric sweet wine…the servers at (Meyer’s restaurants) don’t want you to be impressed. They want you to be happy.”

Meyers started in the business with a dream of simply creating an atmosphere which would make the customer feel comfortable to ask the servers anything, and for people to walk in without a reservation to still feel welcome and special. He was sure he could teach people that he liked to become the restaurant professional he wanted. His basic premise was that he could teach a nice person to open a bottle of wine, but couldn’t teach a person who knows how to open a bottle of wine to be nice.

The 51% rule describes his personality-type hiring principle that Meyers conceived by instinct. Potential hires are awarded a ‘hospitality quotient’ score that’s based on traits such as optimism, warmth, and empathy (hello Blues?). 51% of the weighting is given to those factors and 49% to technical skills. “there’s extra percentage points on the emotional side that can’t be taught!” explains culture & learning director Susan Reilly Salgado. “Union Hospitality hires for THAT.”

A Newly Invented Green Word

February 28th, 2019

The third wow at this seminar was from the Green group. On their list of strengths was that they’re “thoughtful.”

OK, not to be rude, but that actual word should really belong on the list of Blue and Gold strengths, instead of Greens. Blues in almost every way, and Golds often by way of taking care of something before you ask, or a thank you note, text or email. Even if you send Golds a thank you note, lots of them wonder if it’s appropriate to send a thank you reply for the thank you…

Of course, Greens can be thoughtful, too. But it might have a very different meaning, or ways to express it…kind of like the January story that procrastination comes in four different meanings. When I asked the Greens to define it, they came up with: thinking everything through, exploring options before acting, and generally not being rash or hurried… I’m guessing that’s not part of the Webster’s definition of thoughtful!

So let’s come up with a new word that fits their explanation: How about we call it “thinkful?” THAT makes a whole lot more sense. Feel free to use it, but be careful if you text it, as auto-correct will change it to thankful….not that we shouldn’t be thankful for Greens actually being thinkful all the time!

Hate It Before Trying It?

February 28th, 2019

Before this same seminar, I was chatting with one of the senior managers. She gave me the heads up that one of her staff was complaining about “having” to attend the Colors session. She claimed she was ‘too busy…and have this to do…and still haven’t finished…yada yada yada…’ We both knew immediately that she’s Gold, but her manager had already made it clear that bailing wasn’t an option.

Most Golds (and a lot of Greens) judge that the Colors seminar can’t be worth their time. Yet most of them, when I know who they are and can watch them, start changing their attitude and even facial expression in the first hour to a noticeable degree – as was the case with this lady.

When I was back at their offices the next day, she almost ran to the front door to talk to me! Wow, that was so great…I made my husband read half the book last night right when I got home. And we have three kids and their Colors are…and then my husband and I talked about what we need to…

Most people don’t understand what I mean by that being a payday money can’t achieve! And breaking news for many Golds and Greens: Sometimes, some things, such as the Colors training may not seem like it’s an investment in your careers, but it is – and so much more. Sadly, it’s why I’ve only ever done four seminars for high school P.D. days versus tons of elementary schools. When around 70% of teachers and administrators are Golds they just can’t see how this could benefit them…and thus the permanent conflict of Gold teachers and vast numbers of Orange students continues…

Since this newsletter only goes to those of you who have attended, maybe it’s a bit of a reminder to stay out of your judgements until after you have the full picture and can decide if whatever any training, new technology, process change, or a host of other “unknown” things is worthwhile…

Stupid But True (and Sad)

February 28th, 2019

During the break of a seminar last month I started talking to a really nice Orange/Green guy that had just been hired by my client. When I asked where he last worked, he actually shared the story of where he last applied:

He had applied for a position with a management consulting firm. The company had him go through six different interviews with a wide range of people. By all accounts, everbody loved him, and wanted him to be hired. Then came the seventh and final interview with the CEO and a few senior managers, and that’s when this great candidate hit the wall. The CEO chose not to hire him because “you talk too fast.”

WHAT? Sure he does – as do most Oranges. That’s just their energy level and enthusiasm! I’m guessing that the CEO just didn’t understand an Orange – and (not really guessing) that that’s just not the culture of a (likely) Green and Gold management consulting firm. Their loss as this Orange/Green not only has the typical winning Orange attitude, but also the depth of experience and knowledge that Greens value.

My last comment to him was that it might be a blessing as I’d guess the firm isn’t doing that well. He looked kind of shocked in responding that, true, they’re not doing well…but how would I guess that?

Since vast numbers of Oranges are entrepreneurs, this company is missing a huge amount of business in not having and wanting anyone that actually ‘speaks the language’ of Oranges. Their loss – my client’s gain.