Posts Tagged ‘change’

Getting Feedback from Each Color

September 2nd, 2010

Why don’t most employees offer feedback or ideas for improvement? There are good reasons, according to a new study from Kansas University. It is often because companies can minimize, ignore, or forget, the social ramifications involved.

Their study found that social concerns often have employees choosing not to ever speak up. Feirong Yuan, one of the authors of the study, adds that this trend is more common in companies where, by perception or reality, the firm does not value change. In those instances, even an employee who has a great idea may be reluctant to speak up, fearing that he or she will be seen as disruptive.

But there are things companies can do to become more like I.T. firms, or any start-up, where everyone’s new ideas are actively sought out, and almost mandatory. Some firms create the atmosphere through innovation, others through incorporating it into their employee evaluations. But the study also found that one of the core ways to have someone volunteer ideas, suggestions, and feedback, is to first have a manager who will actually listen well, and welcome feedback.

Blue can supply powerful insights into the teamwork, or customer service areas, because they certainly do know way more of what’s going on than other Color.

Greens are constantly thinking of new and better ways some things could me managed, implemented, or streamlined. While they are the least likely to be discouraged from providing their feedback, they stop being interested when they reason that nobody is listening or implementing any of them.

Oranges have extensive shortcuts to get things done. They’re using them, so why would others not want to implement these? Oranges are also incredibly creative, if someone just challenged them, and gave them a reason.

Of course, Golds may not like change much, but they are the best source for tweaking efficiencies, finding redundant work that can be eliminated, or other huge cost-cutting measures. They see them, they tell their friends, but won’t share it publicly more times than not.

But then, without knowing Colors, most companies wouldn’t even know how to ask, who to ask, or how to make it a safe environment for each Color to contribute their unique strengths in powerful feedback and suggestions.

A Great E-Mail Question

March 1st, 2009

Hi George: Can you share some information on how we can adjust our lives using our insights of Colors? I am a Gold/Blue, a workaholic, and would like to learn strategies to learn how to place importance on ME and to set some healthy boundaries. Life is slipping by and I want to smell the roses, but find it hard to do. M.

Hey M: As you described so correctly, our second Color matters a lot! You’re another Gold workaholic and can’t say no. Gee – the former is totally Gold and the latter is a real challenge (doubly so) for most Gold/Blues. Blues want to be loved and included so they don’t say no, and Golds do things out of a sense of duty and responsibility.

But when the Gold “I have to do it,” or your Blue “they need me,” burns the candle at both ends it does NOT make you a brighter light. It just burns you out faster. For Golds, the more stress they have and the less “perfect” life is going, the more they work, thinking that doing “more” will make it better. Besides, it’s a great place to “hide” from life and facing other issues. It’s a safe place to be, they’re good at it, it’s a world Golds can control and it makes them invaluable…just before burning out, as they’re stressed to the max, snaps, gets sick, hardens the tone of their voice, become less flexible and more rigid.

So what’s really going on that you’re hiding from, avoiding or not wanting to change? What would happen if you said no and set some gentle boundaries? What do you feel you’d lose vs. what would you gain? Until the gain is bigger than the perceived loss, you won’t move. The pain has to be big enough to choose to act.

Isn’t part of the workaholic issue that the moment you get out the door you still have a to-do list managing your life? Can you have an entire day of nothing planned without feeling you’re being irresponsible? Can you take your great organizational skills and pass the buck without feeling you’re slouching off without feeling nobody else could do it, from filing at work to a cleaning person at home? And to start, can you change your stinkin thinkin from ways it can’t be done, changed or improved to actually thinking of how it IS possible and you deserve better? Are you worth it?

What Do We Want to “Make” Others Be Or Do?

June 1st, 2008

It was just before six A.M. and I was trapped in a downtown hotel room without a coffee maker. Unfortunately, my policy is “no coffee – no workee!”

A few blocks down the street, I was fourth in line at a coffee shop, but I didn’t know I would still have some things to learn about how to order from the only high Gold clerk on shift. A single lady two ahead of me ordered three plain bagels to go. A few minutes later, the clerk reminded her that they were being toasted. But the customer just wanted them to go. “Well, you have to tell me that next time. We ALWAYS toast them.” The next customer asked about something he didn’t see on the shelf. “No, you have to come back after 10 A.M. I’m by myself here, you know.” That comment discouraged him altogether.

The high Blue lady just ahead of me didn’t fare any better, even though she seemed quite agreeable when being told “you’ll have to just wait a minute, I HAVE TO wipe down the counters first.” It did give her a chance to turn around and chat with me.

How did I make out? Well, my two banana nut muffins turned into something I didn’t recognize. When I asked to have them changed, the comment to me was, “you’ll have to speak up next time, I can’t hear you with the noise back here.” Good to remember – if there is a next time…

A funny story? Certainly. But as I was enjoying my coffee and muffins, I couldn’t help but wonder how often all of our Colors want to re-train or educate people to do things “our” way. Faster, slower, more paperwork, better organized, softer on people, better researched, with more flexibility, staying on track longer, shorter or better, or any number of ways. Which do you do, even without realizing it?

After all, without the tools of Colors, people only see, hear and judge our words and actions, and not our intentions.

This Month on TV: Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares

April 1st, 2008

This new reality show from FOX has world-class chef Gordon Ramsey taking on the challenge of complete restaurant makeovers throughout the U.S. One of the first episodes was at The Old Stone Mill in Tuckahoe, New York and its owner Dean.

In spite of not being profitable for more than a year, this high Gold owner fought like crazy during the first two-thirds of the show against all of the high Orange Ramsey changes. But like the story of Restaurant Makeover earlier this year, here’s a hint: Don’t bet against the high Orange will and skill to turn things around.

Changing direction of the restaurant is a sign of weakness, argued Dean, in a last ditch effort to avoid changing the menu in any way. Yet Chef Ramsey’s comeback hit the Gold owner even harder: “Look at how you dress, your hair, the cutlery – everything is immaculate, but you serve crap for food! It’s more important that it gets out in a certain time, but you don’t give a crap about the quality. You’re scared of change – you can’t handle it!”

By this time, Dean seemed somewhere between puking and wanting to hit Ramsey, especially since he was being criticized in front of his staff. A sure kiss of death is to ever criticize a Gold in front of other people. OK, but Ramsey didn’t know – and didn’t care. In fact, he had to bring in his design team to re-design the restaurant during the night, in order to avoid more hassles and push-back with the owner.

The redesigned restaurant received great reviews, but it was Dean’s wife who had to be the first one to embrace it. “I didn’t know this would involve any kind of makeover” was Dean’s response with that deer in the headlight look. But Ramsey got right back in his face: “You’re scared of failure AND you’re scared of change!”

In the kitchen itself, the chef had given up and admitting he had lost his passion for cooking due to Dean’s micro management. Out front, Dean had hired a fellow Gold to manage his restaurant. That made sense as his Gold valued, and looked for, a manager that shared his ideas of organization, décor, cleanliness and efficiency. But it was his manager who also cracked badly and became so stressed that he simply walked out: “I’m just not ready for all these changes.” In the background of many scenes, Dean was often straightening something out, sorting and re-arranging cutlery. At least those were things he could control, and find comfort in, during this high-stress time.

Yes, the show is a little over the top. Hello? It’s a reality show and it’s on FOX! Yes, it’s heavily edited and attempts to create drama. But the Colors stresses and conflicts are as real on the show as they are for all of us, every day, when we don’t understand. Do most of us handle it differently or better? I don’t know – only you do. Does it sometimes get to this point? Yes, probably. But then, don’t most of us not really fight for things, listen, accept change or become willing to look at something slightly differently until it’s almost too late?

This episode ended with a cut-in from a few months later. Dean looked totally in control and even received the keys to the city from the mayor. “I needed the change. I couldn’t wait any longer. Now I have something to be really proud of, and I’m excited about what the future holds.” I did send Dean and his wife a copy of the Colorful Personalities book and a note. Knowledge really is power and better late than never…

PS: Many episodes get even more confrontational as lots of chefs are high Orange, and supremely confident that their food and restaurant will blow Chef Ramsey away. Stay tuned for some heavy duty Orange-Orange conflicts.

Gold Stories

July 1st, 2007

Below are a few excerpts from e-mails I’ve received from high Golds. If that’s not your first Color, it’s a great quiz to see if you can understand what their stresses or frustrations are from these, and how serious some of these are for the largest group in the country!

  • I hate surprises. When my friends organized a surprise party for me I didn’t even show up!
  • The worst day of my life was when my fiancée proposed to me during our weekend run. My hair was a mess, I was in my running clothes and it wasn’t at all the way it was supposed to be for me.
  • The guy next to me has THE messiest work station. It’s a huge distraction for me just to look over there all the time!
  • My family told me they’d celebrate my birthday next Saturday. But my birthday is Thursday! That’s just wrong. Don’t they care enough about me to get the RIGHT day?
  • In my job I just won’t deal with people who are late for their appointment. It’s just a big red flag of unreliability right off the bat.
  • I’ll never volunteer for a project at work if I don’t have the time or freedom to do it properly. It’d just be setting me up as a loser.
  • Again we’re changing some procedures in our office. Doesn’t anyone care about doing it right the first time, or sticking with a decision. They have no idea how frustrating this is! I can’t ignore it because I’d be breaking the rules and I can’t get fully into it as I’m just wasting my time when it gets changed around again