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Posts Tagged ‘Gold’

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.

The two Sides of Micromanaging

February 1st, 2008

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On almost every list of Gold stresses are the issues of being told what to do, too much supervision or not enough trust to get the job done. All of these are different ways of expressing their strong dislike of others who micromanage Golds. Yet when they’re asked to put themselves in the roll of a manager, they grudgingly admit this trait is something they’re likely to do to others. Why? Well, often Golds don’t trust others to do the same quality job that they would do. While it’s more complex, Golds generally live in a world of businesses where they seldom feel service is up to par, promises are kept and advertising slogans aren’t ever based on real experiences.

A number of years ago, I contracted with a car dealer to turn-around their almost non-existent finance department. While I loved a challenge, I also realized immediately that the high Gold owner and I would clash – hence a contract for only 60 days (I know Colors – he didn’t and still doesn’t). The reason he needed help was obvious. The dealership was unable to get financing approved for over 40% of their written deals!

No financing meant no sale, which meant no profit – simple as that. In my first month, this was down to two non financeable on more than 60 sales. 22 more vehicles were sold at a profit of $1,300 and over $1,100 of finance income. That translated to over $50,000 in extra profit for the month! Yet meeting after meeting continued to harp on the fact that the dealer insisted on hourly updates, that I still refused to attach eight hanging folder basket things on the wall, that the finance offices really shouldn’t be painted and that an additional file cabinet wasn’t necessary. Needless to say, day 60 couldn’t come soon enough.

Is this an isolated example and too extreme or far-fetched? No way! I get the chance to talk to thousands of people a year and you’d be stunned how often these Gold stresses lead to turnover. In this case, it sure didn’t make much sense to choose “his way” over a proven half-million dollars in profits a year.

Yet I wonder how often we force other Colors to do things exactly the way we want them to? I wonder how much energy we spend training people to do things “our” way instead of just training them on the tools, resources and ways to get it done? Does it matter exactly how they do it, as long as it gets done on-time and accurate? Is it about the journey or the destination?

That question always makes me wonder how many companies have huge and needless turnover that can easily be prevented with a three-hour Colors seminar and a half hour of reading the work chapter in the Colorful Personalities book. But then – you don’t know what you don’t know – and if we always do what we’ve always done – we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten. That’s why I so value your referrals for companies and conferences you feel deserve to know the power of Colors.

Some Recent News Stories

February 1st, 2008
  • Americans will spend more than $2 billion this year just on closet organizers.

Is this the Gold group or others that wish they were more organized?

  • Of all the coffee drinkers, only 52% drink their coffee at work.

Doesn’t that drive high Golds crazy wasting time going out for coffee? Or is it their get-away from stress? Is it a high Green way to get some alone-time, or are the other 48% mostly high Blues who would rather get together with someone and will make that quality time with others?

  • Baseball fan sues over tattoo misspelling

One of the most important values for high Greens is credibility. When selling or explaining something, if they catch you in a lie or a bluff, you’re dead and they’re gone, never to return – period. In that same way, they want to be credible, so even when sending e-mails, they’ll run the letter through spell check to make sure it’s correct.

Well, the person creating a tattoo for Jason Harris, a huge St. Louis Cardinal baseball fan, probably should have been high Green – but wasn’t. The tattoo was to read: Cardinals – World Series Champions 2006. But the year was wrong and it was Word – not World. Harris is now suing.

  • Survey reveals our biggest pet peeves in the office!

CareerBuilder.com recently reported on a study of office annoyances conduced by the staffing firm Randstad USA. What was the biggest office pet peeve? Condescending tone of voice at 44%! After that, the next four were public reprimands, micromanagement, loud talkers and cell phones ringing at work.

  • O Magazine reader survey

A spring 2007 survey of O (the Oprah) magazine readers showed some really interesting stats. But do remember that this was an on-line survey so it’s not exactly scientific. Some of these make it clear which Color answered the survey:

  • 34% get all the “me” time they need
  • 60% consider their to-do lists a time-management friend and agree that “you can’t beat the rush from crossing off the last task.”
  • 13% admit they really don’t exaggerate when they claim to schedule every bathroom visit
  • 46% say they shouldn’t be up or working when the sun isn’t up either.

What If Yours Were the Only Color?

December 1st, 2007

I had a scary thought the other day when I was at an annual general meeting of an association I’m involved with. Looking around at the organization, micro management of the meeting, pages and pages of agendas, the way everyone was dressed and many other clues, I realized that almost everyone in the room was very high Gold. While the meeting certainly went smoothly (it had better, with all the planning that went into it) it wasn’t much fun, there was no socializing, much interacting, exchange of ideas or flexibility. In other words it was all Gold all the time.

While this group and field certainly attracts huge numbers of Gold members, I wonder how many other Colors would just be turned off from attending, or even getting into the field for that matter. Half way through the meeting I had a choice. I could start acting out as Orange and inject some energy, discussion and fun into the meeting, or I could quietly leave. Since the group certainly wouldn’t have appreciated the former, I was out of there.

While this is a Gold example, wouldn’t it apply in different ways just as much if it were exclusively made up of another Color? What would be missing and what would they have in spades?

What’s your office like? Chances are it’s a big rainbow of all the Colors from front-line staff through to management. I hope you stop every once in a while and really appreciate that. It’s what makes you successful as a team and such a value to your customers. Because, alone we certainly can’t be everything to everybody, when we’re actually specialists in our first or second Color.

Some of the biggest thrill I get is when corporations realize the power of Colors and see that their team is missing this Color or that, when social committees realize who’s missing, when teachers actually look for an opposite Color to team-teach with, or we all just realize how valuable our different friends of different Colors are to us and how one-dimensional our lives and offices would be if we were all the same first Color. It’s the reason I keep asking for your referrals to share the tools of Colors!

The Colors of Santa?

December 1st, 2007

His Green plans all year round, creates efficiencies and makes sure to learn from last year, since there’s no room for error when you’re working one long night where everything is on the line and HAS to go perfectly.

His Gold makes a list, OK many lists, checks them twice (at least) and plans the most efficient route. Plus, Santa is NEVER late, sick or misses a year. THAT is not an option – ever.

His Blue LOVES kids and everyone. He always has time to really listen to them and makes sure each of them feels included and gets to experience the special feeling of Christmas. Santa just wishes he could see the faces of kids when they do get to open that special present…

His Orange is hugely positive. He’s always laughing (HO HO HO!) and is very flexible, since kids have been known to change their minds about the fifty gifts they really really have to have this year. And Santa’s not really that strict with the naughty or nice thing, if the truth were known…who can remember stuff from February…oh – and his high Orange is very generous!

What Does Your Color Do In A Traffic Tie-Up?

October 1st, 2007

Hi George: I was sitting in traffic the other week as my 30 Gold score was patiently waiting my turn to get past an accident. At that point, my high Green started to wonder about the personalities of the other drivers around me, and how their Colors determined what to do.

The Golds were likely in the lane furthest away from the wreck, because you’re supposed to move away from an accident, and they were in the lane they needed to be in, planning to make their exit 20 miles away. They were irritated that some people weren’t moving to the open lane, since there was a sign five miles back notifying everyone that there was an accident in the far left lane.

The Blues were probably in the next lane over so that they could help people move over away from the accident, but also in order to help people get on and off the exits. They were also in this lane so they see the wreck to make sure no one was hurt, needing help and just wondering if everyone was OK. They had already dialed 911 on their cell and were waiting to press the “send” button in case they felt that help was needed.

Perhaps the Greens were in the lane next to the accident in order to evaluate how many cars were in the wreck, how it happened and whose fault it was – all in an effort to at least learn something from this.

It’s likely that the Orange drivers were in the accident lane until they just HAVE to move over. After all, until then, it was the fastest moving lane. Of course, at the last minute they now have to change lanes immediately and start inching forward without really waiting for someone to let them into the bumper to bumper traffic. Or perhaps they would be asked to stop and help direct traffic or something important?

It sure made waiting in traffic more fun. But I also had some questions: Would an Orange just make another lane on the shoulder to short-cut the traffic, because they’re already late? Would they latch onto the next cars’ bumper to avoid letting anyone in because it would delay them an extra three seconds?

Would us Gold not let anyone in when we get close, because they should have merged way back when they knew they’d have to move into our lane?

Would a Blue be more likely to let you merge once you’ve made eye contact and (in a way) connect with them?

In this long delay, shouldn’t someone survey the high Greens as to how they could better handle these types of congestion? Isn’t that what they’re thinking about at the time? Or is it more of a focus on looking around wondering how stupid some other drivers really are?

J.W. Kansas City