As an Insights Practitioner, I see the world and people as colours – Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. I don’t view the world like this to label or define, but to recognise and understand the person. I love this! It thrills me to work with people and really help them understand themselves and others. Why they think the way they do; why they react the way they do; why they communicate (or not!) the way they do and how this can build brilliant working relationships.
Over the past 12 months, I have had the chance to really put myself to the test with my own work and team. I have been working a lot with my brilliant colleague David. We have been doing lots of work for Connect Three behind the scenes as a team, and also working closely on projects and delivery with our partner Scottish Enterprise, creating bespoke support for the Seafood Industry in Scotland as well as a large project for NHS Lanarkshire doing Management Development.
What did I know? David and I, according to Insights, are opposite types. He is Blue / Green, and I am Red / Yellow. David is methodical and detailed and works really well collaboratively. He also cares a lot about what he does and the people he works with. He is fun and witty, can be serious when needed. I am not all those things, particularly the methodical and detailed part. I am energetic, flexible (David fed this back to me), I am honest, direct (sometimes harsh) and say it like it is. I also get bored easily and distracted far too easily.
What did we do? To work well together we knew we had to communicate. Often and clearly. Pre COVID we did not know what was coming and agreed to meet for lunch. We talked, set expectations, and shared our excitement at the opportunity to work together on these brilliant projects.
Then… we all know what happened next. David and I were still working together – remotely. We were designing and delivering programmes, having client meetings, project meetings, team meetings, all online.
What did I learn? Whilst using cool blue energy does not come easily to me, I know and understand why David asks questions. It is not to drain my very excitable sunshine yellow energy. It is because, to do the best job he wants to understand. He wants to understand to get it right and be prepared. Fiery red energy comes easily to me. This can be great when decisions need to me made and things just need to happen. But sometimes it is best to get someone else’s opinion and input. Put my earth green hat on and say, let us work together on this. Sometimes we have not had that luxury, and that is ok. Though the difference is we can say this, and both understand why. I have also learned to embrace the structured approach. I can see where this helps and why it works, with flexibility built in.
What have I learned most? That it is not only about labels and opposites. Its about intention and understanding and sharing a purpose to do not just a great job, but the best job. That by really being empathetic and self-aware, we can have great working relationships even with those who have opposite styles and approaches to ourselves. I have an appreciation of others’ styles more than ever. Whilst I will never really love a spreadsheet, I will always love working collaboratively with those that can create one for me.