23 October 2015

Show us your true-colours

You sit down, sweaty palms, tense neck and your new boss starts with “now, tell me a bit about yourself”. So you begin to give the answer you prepared last night because it’s more than likely you were going be asked in the first place.

The usual stuff: your latest and greatest achievements, your ambitions, miscellaneous likes and what a great company this is. All of which may be true, but is this really any use in predicting how well you’ll get on together? Of course the relationship is a two way street, so how is he/she going to get the best out of you over the coming weeks and months?

Being able to convey who you are and understand those you work with is a pre-requisite for effective communication.  How you see yourself and how others see you is also an important ingredient in personal and team development. This is why so many organisations have deployed personality profiling techniques for many years now.

This stuff isn’t new, but why is it so important to get some practical tools in place for getting the most out of ourselves and those around us?

If you’ve ever been in an important team meeting only to discover afterwards that there are at least four different interpretations of what was said, you’ll know why. Since not everyone is on the same page, more time and effort is needed to clarify and repeat the important messages. If you’ve ever struggled to get through to an important customer or colleague but can’t quite put your finger on why, you’ll have experienced a different aspect of the same issue.

In part, the answer lies in the fact that every day in our world of work, we bring “ourselves” into an organization:

  • our experiences,
  • skills,
  • attitudes,
  • ambitions,
  • and personality traits.

The other thing is that clearly we’re all different, so no wonder we absorb different meanings when listening to the same words and looking at the same pictures.

Of course this is why the subject of personalities-at-work and how you blend them in a team has long been recognised as vital in building high levels of collective performance. The trouble is that human beings are complex (emotional) organisms and not all of us are pre-disposed to “reading” someone else immediately, that classic skill of an instinctive sales person. It takes all sorts as they say.

The ability to recognizing another persons’ traits and preferences can be learned, practiced and honed to a level that can have a dramatic positive impact on team interaction and personal performance. We use a specific personality profiling tool called Clarity4D for a number of very good reasons:

It’s easy to interpret as a personal profile. Easier than Myer’s Briggs for example.

This personality profile is expressed in colours and is based on the Jungian model of personality types. When we say, show me your true colours, this is what we mean.

As a result it quickly becomes a “currency” within an organisation to recognize important characteristics in each other. It becomes a kind of personal badge which people are naturally drawn to talking about.

Like all good tools, they look simple but go quite deep. The profile is accurate and meaningful and gives individuals a great way of getting back in touch with themselves. It’s inexpensive to roll-out and combined with its accessibility can be deployed widely quickly.

The opportunity is to know something of ourselves and having a mechanism for sharing that knowledge accurately with others is a key instrument in improving team interaction – the interaction of personalities. The real trick is to use this to drive high levels of personal performance and increase the frequency with which it’s done.

We’ve deployed Clarity4D in a number of clients ourselves with really positive results but it’s only half the story. For the other half, you need some other techniques – the best use of emotional intelligence.

The Thomas Green Team

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