A little over a year ago I heard a presentation by Michael Cox with the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas. Michael quoted a study on the skills needed in the US today and how they relatively pay off. Most are just what we would expect:
6- Muscle power (most replaceable by machines)
5- Dexterity (good for crafting and assembling)
4- Formulaic intelligence (following processes accurately)
3- Analytical reasoning (leveraging information)
2- Imagination and creativity (creating new products and services)
These were much as I expected and reflect the educational skills we were taught and graded upon growing up. What we all are waking up to is something we learned only by observation; the most needed skill today is:
1- People skills and emotional intelligence
Years ago a good indicator of success was measured by “IQ” the intelligence quotient. Today “EQ” the emotional quotient is at least as strong an indicator of success in the business world. Our school system taught us memorization of associations & facts, and in the best cases stretched our creativity and honed our analytical skills; but nowhere were there formal classes for enhancing EQ. People skills and emotional intelligence were the skills we developed haphazardly by the experiences we had in life. Yet for those working in teams and constantly interfacing with customers, people skills and emotional intelligence is critical to success. Understanding how people communicate, make decisions and relate is directly proportional to building long lasting successful relationships. Fortunately, today, as we have come to understand their principle value, we have developed means to teach these critical skills.
If we understand the differences between personality styles and can identify our customer or co-worker’s style, our chance of building a strong relationship goes way up. The four personality styles identified by Insight Learning are tagged with names of colors: Blue, Gold, Green and Orange. This method is simple to remember and utilize. It’s easy to remember a face with a name and link it to the shorthand of their personality color. “I was introduced to George yesterday, the Director at First National DataBank and he was clearly a Gold.”
To break down the four colors in the most simplistic of terms let me use one of the key characteristics for each. The “empathetic” person is the Blue personality, the “organizer” is the Gold, the “analytic” person is Green and the “competitive” person is Orange. So once we determine their Color, their personality style, how do we leverage this for greater EQ success?
Let’s briefly look at communication for each personality. When talking with a Blue personality we need to build trust. Maintaining good eye contact and having small talk on people and events will make a Blue personality feel comfortable in a conversation. Blue’s like to express feeling and emotions. For the Gold personality we need to appreciate their time, be direct and talk about their expectations. Turning solutions into actions is important to a Gold. For a Green personality we need to stay unemotional, avoid small talk and remain factual and logical. We should expect skepticism from a Green. For the Orange we need to be bold and confident, keep the conversation moving and focus on actions and results. Add energy to the discussion and be direct.
If we can communicate in a way that helps others feel comfortable we have a much higher success rate in building a strong relationship – whether it’s within our team in the office or with a potential client. Next month we’ll explore deeper into what each of the personality’s value. But if you can’t wait – drop me a line. I’m an Orange.