True Colors is a personality assessment based on the theory of David Keirsey, Katherine C. Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs-Myers.
Katherine and Isabel developed the well-known Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI). They characterized 16 different types of people in MBTI.
Over 35 years, Keirsey worked with classifying four different temperament types which he wrote about in his book, “Please Understand Me.” He recognized that people analyze, conceptualize, understand and learn differently, making communication and relationships challenging at times.
In 1979, Don Lowry created True Colors, which applies the “type” information from both the Myers-Briggs and Keirsey’s work, to help people recognize their personality and temperament types. It evolves around four colors: Green, Orange, Blue and Gold. Each of us are a blend or rainbow, usually with one predominant color. That color is what can help us in many avenues of our life, career and job search.
Those of you that are familiar with other theories, such as the Personal Style Inventory, Learning Style Inventory, and the Strong Interest Inventory, will notice strong similarities to True Colors. There are also subtle differences as well.
As a certified True Color Trainer there is a proper assessment process I deliver to help discover your predominant color(s). For the purpose of this article I want to paint an overview of True Colors and its uses, in particular illustrating how useful this tool can be in your career. Keep in mind I will be generalizing to illustrate some of my points.
Summary of the colors
Greens comprise about 12% of the population. Green’s motto is “Knowledge is key” or “I’ll think about it.” For a Green work is play and play is work.
As people of reason, Greens are often very curious, analytical, need challenge, like numbers, facts and theory. They look at the world from a practical place. In True Colors Greens love the question: Why?
Their values include: competency, knowledge, curiosity, brevity, objectivity, information, privacy, problem solving, composure, autonomy, logic, challenge and technology.
Approximately 38% of the population is Orange. Orange’s motto is “Seize the day!” or “Where’s the action?”
Oranges love the saying, “Just do it!” As natural performers, Oranges live for adventure and travel, get easily bored and love change. You will hear an Orange say, “Where’s the party?”
Oranges value freedom, adventure, fun and play, spontaneity, variety, experiences (especially hands-on) and risk-taking.
Blue’s make up about 12% of the population. A true Blue’s motto is “I care!” or “To Thine Own Self Be True.”
Often seen as the caretakers and peacemakers, Blues love people and family. They are sensitive to the needs of others and seek harmony and peace above all. They run from conflict and care deeply about others. They are seen as the helpers and teachers in the group and seek purpose more than any of the other colors.
Some of Blues values are caring, optimistic, tolerance, harmony, romance, spirituality, enthusiasm, connection and empathy.
Golds make up about 38% of the population. Gold’s Motto, “Be prepared” or “Proud to serve.”
Golds’ thoughts often go to, “What are the rules?” Gold loves to plan, is organized and works best with rules. They love structure, are detail-oriented and are often homebodies.
Gold values include: responsibility, stability, honesty, loyalty, commitment, organization, dependability, traditions, accountability, service and a sense of belonging.
How True Colors can help
The True Colors Assessment can offer great insight to individuals in different stages of their professional lives—from those who are still deciding on a career path to those who have worked in their dream job for over 20 years. Let’s look at how True Colors can be used at these various stages:
1. If you’re unclear about what type of work you would like to do
By doing a True Colors Assessment you will gain knowledge of your predominant color type, which can guide you to possible careers you may be suited to.
Here are some possible careers according to color:
Green: Computer programmer, analyst, scientist, researcher, legal or medical assistant, stockbroker, lawyer, tradesperson, mathematician, inventor, criminologist, technical/scientific writer, editor, architect
Gold: Banker, accountant, professional organizer, teacher, administrative or executive assistant, nurse, doctor, lawyer, librarian, air traffic controller, law enforcement officer, financial manager
Orange: Artist, actor, creative director, musician, paramedic, tradesperson, pilot, disc jockey, mediator, public speaker, athlete, athletic coach, trades/dance/physical education teacher, interior designer
Blue: Teacher, psychologist, nurse, doctor, counselor, coach, host/hostess, tour guides, editors, human resources consultant, minister, recreation leader, creative writer, playwright, flight attendant
2. If you have a career already, but want to perform better
True Colors can really help you perform better within teams or groups by providing better awareness of your and others communication styles. By acknowledging we are all part of a rainbow and being aware of different people’s color strengths you can work more effectively as a group.
Here’s an example: think of the last time you were in a workshop and were broken into small groups. You were given a task to do or a problem to solve. What happened? People tend to take on different roles and responsibilities – it’s part of group dynamics. Let’s look at an imaginary group.
Participant #1: Takes on the leadership role – that’s often a Gold shining.
Participant #2: Asks how they can help the others or offers to go get paper, water, flip chart, markers, etc – that’s usually a Blue individual.
Participant #3: Tosses out all kinds of ideas and maybe starts drawing on a flip chart. They have high energy, are flexible and open-minded and have no shortage of ideas – that’s our Orange.
Participant #4: The quiet one, often the observer or the one being very curious and asking a lot of “why” questions – that’s Green.
So how does this knowledge help you in a team? When you understand other people’s differences and colors – you tend to work better as a team and are open to their perspectives.
3. If you want more effective communication at work
By being aware of colors, communication becomes more effective. How do the four colors like to communicate?
Green – be brief and be gone. Green individuals are direct and don’t waste their words! They avoid small talk, preferring to get to the matter at hand quickly.
Blue – they care deeply and are the nurturers. Blue’s will ensure that you are okay and they run from conflict.
Gold – communication is often structured and very clear; after a conversation you might expect Gold’s to follow up with an email – often containing bullets or an extensive report.
Orange – can be all over the place in their communication. They are generally animated and love to perform – it’s the natural actor in them.
Knowing others color communication style can help in all avenues of life: career, love relationships, and life.
4. If you have an upcoming job interview
How can knowing the colors help you?
It is difficult to know for sure what the predominant color of your interviewer is, but once you have taken the full assessment you are likely to have some ideas and a greater awareness of the plaid in all of us. When attending an interview notice the subtle clues…
- Did the interviewer offer you coffee or water or ask if you need anything? This might be a sign of a Blue person.
- Did the interview seem unstructured? Oranges may have a free form interview. They may choose a more conversational approach.
- Greens will not mince words, may ask a lot of why questions, and will be direct and brief.
- Golds will often take a lot of notes, have a very structured interview and have preplanned all the interview questions. When asked how long they have been with the company it is often many years as Golds are loyal to their employers and have a strong sense of duty.
How can we recognize someone’s predominant color?
Another helpful tip to recognize the predominant color of your interviewer is if you happen to be in their office for the interview. In this case, look around at the décor. Lots of family pictures may indicate a Blue. Pictures of someone kite sailing or skydiving might mean they are Orange. Gold’s desks will be super tidy – no clutter. And Greens – well, they might have a lot of high tech devices close by.
Celebrate our differences
So whether trying to identify a new career for your self, attending a job interview or working as part of a team, True Colors can improve your communication and awareness of the similarities and differences we all possess. As humans, we can learn to gain understanding and appreciation for the differences in all of us. Each of us have all four color energies within us. The combination of these energies is what creates our individuality and uniqueness. Let’s celebrate them!
(Originaly posted on Noomii Career Blog)