Last night I did the True Colors personality test with some friends. True Colors is similar to a the Myers Briggs test - it's a way to analyze a person's temperament, a way to categorize how they think and behave.
True Colors, though, only defines four personality types, which makes it very easy to use on a day to day basis. These categories run around in my mind, helping me understand the people I meet and work with.
Briefly, the four personalities are:
Blue - Enthusiastic, Sympathetic, Personal, Warm, Communicative, Compassionate, Idealistic Spiritual, Sincere, Peaceful, Flexible, and Imaginative.
Gold - Loyal, Dependable, Prepared, Thorough, Sensible, Punctual, Faithful, Stable, Organized, Caring, Concerned, and Concrete.
Green - Analytical, Global, Conceptual, Cool, Calm, Collected, Inventive, Logical, Perfectionistic, Abstract, Hypothetical, and Investigative.
Orange - Witty, Charming, Spontaneous, Impulsive, Generous, Impactful, Optomistic, Eager, Bold, Physical, Immediate, and Fraternal.
Forgive me if you're familiar with this tool, as I have drastically truncated their descriptions.
Here's the thing I noticed last night:
Leadership in the last century has been a largely Gold and Green endeavor. Do you want to manage a large industrial organization? Best be a rule follower, someone who likes structure. Best be analytic, ready to dispassionately improve the efficiency of your industrial machine.
These past hundred years, we've rewarded people who show up on time, who do what they're told, who follow the rules. We've rewarded people who make technical contributions, who build a better engine, who make stronger steel, people who can squeeze that last bit of productivity out of a system.
This century, though, I think this is the century of the Orange and of the Blue. We don't reward rule followers anymore. Rule followers get laid off by Bank of America.
This century, we reward risk takers and relationship builders. We want Blues to connect us to our fellow human beings, and we want Oranges to do something interesting, something risky, something work talking about.
Golds and Greens get ready, the world is changing.
Golds and Greens, it's time to get in touch with your Orange and your Blue.
We all have a little Blue and a little Orange in us, and the wise ones among us will started developing those ways of being right now.