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Zichy spoke to AMA recently for an Edgewise podcast. The following has been adapted from that interview. It provides insights into four basic temperaments and their corresponding needs, values, talents, and behaviors. Each person has a primary, or dominant, style and a backup style, and then leans toward either extroversion or introversion.
These traits combined create 16 personality groups. AMA: How did you come up with this idea? One of my challenges was dealing with high net worth clients from many different nationalities and backgrounds. One day I discovered a book that summarized the different ways in which people take in information and make decisions. Suddenly, I understood why I was so much more effective with certain clients than others. I went back to my office and color-coded all my clients into four groups.
Then I got the staff together and we created specific strategies for dealing and communicating with each group and client.
I continued using these strategies with clients on other continents—the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America—and found that the system worked in all cultures. So when I left the financial services industry, I decided to create seminars that would introduce the model to other professionals to help them read and deal not only with clients, but also with bosses, co-workers, and even family members. Over 70, people around the world are now using this material to enhance their careers and personal satisfaction.
AMA: What are the four primary groups, and can you give us some real life examples of each? SZ: Sure. Golds are grounded, realistic, goal-oriented, and excel at organizing people, resources, and processes. Dentists and ants and commercial bankers are some of the professions highly represented in this category, which includes people like Warren Buffett and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Reds are action-oriented, Color q personality test and focused on the now. They are highly skilled negotiators and excel at seizing opportunities and making things happen. Donald Trump and Barbra Streisand are reds, as are many politicians, real estate developers, and Wall Street traders.
Many journalists, strategic planners, and computer programmers are blues, as are individuals such as Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. They are empathetic, creative, and expressive. They are good at catalyzing others to their goals and communicate with eloquence and flare. Those in advertising, writing or human resources often fit this profile, as do anchor Diane Sawyer and Dr.
Mehmet Oz. SZ: Well, the key to enjoying your work life and boosting your career success lies in knowing your unique core strengths and then finding the work environment that allows you to make the most of them. First, you can use the self-awareness to create your personal brand and reduce conflict with key people you need to work with.
Then, equally important, create diversified teams, which research shows produce the best. The bottom line is that people who are similar get along better. But teams of people who are different produce more innovative work. Second, you need to recognize different work environments and cultures. If you have a gold component, whether it is primary or backup, you will thrive in a structured organization with a clear hierarchy and definition of your responsibilities. If you have a red component, you do best when there is almost no hierarchy and routine, few rules, and when long-term planning is a low priority.
AMA: Okay. The reason is not because people do not recognize or value their work or contribution, but because they are not tough enough in the negotiations process, both with regard to the initial job interview or in their annual review session once they are employed. The reason is that their relationship with the person they are negotiating with is too important to them. So they will often accept a figure below what they could get if they drove a harder bargain.
Two, make a detailed list of all your accomplishments.
And three—and most important, rehearse the process with someone tough and critical several times before the actual negotiation session. This will give you the practice to push the envelope as far as you can.
SZ: You can learn a lot about people by the appearance of their office and how they operate. As I mentioned earlier, everyone has two components—primary and secondary. If someone has a gold component, his or her desk is usually uncluttered with no or few piles of paper. Everything is neatly filed. Golds begin and end projects before starting new ones. They are serious, formal, and always on time. So when dealing with a gold, tell him or her your precise expectations, then provide a stable environment with clear channels of communication and authority. You need to be decisive and organized, emphasizing firm procedures and deadlines.
Then get out of their way and respect their unique ability to get things done. If the person has a red component, the desk is a mess of papers and piles. Everything is a work in progress. Other clues: reds are loose, relaxed, and humorous. When dealing with a red, talking face to face is always best.
Memos typically do not engage them; they get bored with them. They need fun, freedom, and independence.
They are most productive in a flexible and self-paced environment. Reds are difficult to control, and impossible to micromanage, but they will not disappoint you if you give them freedom to follow their instincts.
If the person has a green component, their office decor will be colorful, chic, or Bohemian, with many pictures of the family and friends. He or she will often engage in a lot of small talk, in an effort to personalize their relationship and put you at ease.
So when dealing with greens, recognize that they need a harmonious environment. They become troubled and distracted by competition and conflict. Ask about their family, hobbies, and pets in appropriate ways. Establish a shared vision, and allow greens creative freedom to address it. Give frequent feedback, but keep it diplomatic. If the person has a blue component, his or her office will be filled with research studies, business references, and awards.
Blues create a sense of distance and have a desire to keep their relationship on a professional basis. Typically they will be brief, terse, and constantly appraising you. Chitchat is limited. When dealing with blues, you need to be strategically visionary to capture their interest. Above all, provide them an autonomous environment with minimal guidelines.
Debate with them. Don't take their challenges personally. Listen to their insights, because they can make you a lot of money. Research shows that emotional intelligence is more important to career success than having a high IQ. I hope the book will provide the self awareness and tools for self-management people need to enhance their success and have fun in the process. AMA Staff American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.
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