I’m a firm believer in the value of personal assessment. The better you know yourself, the easier it is to “work to your strengths.”
And when you have a clear sense of your areas of weakness, it allows you to direct your focus on what you want to work on, and/or what you should consider delegating.
Know thyself. To thine own self be true.
Another benefit to assessment tools is that, if they’re good ones, they give you an ability to assess others. This serves us well when we’re working with teams.
Many personality assessment tools use colours to distinguish “types” of people. There are some similarities among these systems and they all have some value.
But based on my experience, I prefer the Color Code system designed by Dr. Taylor Hartman’s and explained in his book The People Code: It’s All About Your Innate Motive
People often have one of two responses to personality assessments: They can’t wait to jump in and learn more about themselves, or they say they don’t like being “labelled.” Both responses have merit.
Self discovery is really only valuable if you apply what you learn. And labels are only limiting, if we choose to be limited by them.
Hartman’s test focuses on getting to your core motivation. Not so much your personality, which can be adapted and evolved with personal work, but with what actually drives your behaviour. His work defines four underlying motivations that drive us.
4 Core Motives
- Intimacy (Blue)
- Peace (White)
- Fun (Yellow)
- Power (Red)
Most people find they are a combination of colours, often with one dominant. Your results can help you see how you got where you are right now in your life. You’ll probably recognize the patterns that have served you, or not.
You may also see why you get along with some people and not others. Ideally these insights will help you have more compassion and understanding for people in general.
Take the Test
I recommend you take the test for yourself and see if you find it as useful as I have.
There are three options available:
You can do it online at http://www.colorcode.com/choose_personality_test/
- Basic analysis (free)
- Full analysis ($39.95)
- Purchase the book and take the test inside The People Code: It’s All About Your Innate Motive
Of these, I recommend one of the latter two. The basic analysis will just give you your primary colour, which is fine but there is so much more information available when you have a full assessment.
It’s also helpful to have the book as a reference as it’s choc-a-bloc with details about all the colours and how they interact with each other.
With a little practice you’ll be able to identify other people’s primary colours fairly quickly and will find it easier to interact with them in a way that benefits both of you.
You’ll understand them better and likely have more patience and compassion, and ultimately appreciation of any differences.
You’ll probably also find you relate better with co-workers, children, parents, siblings and partners as you guess (or discover) their colours.
In business, you’ll be able to address concerns that are most relevant to your clients and customers because you’ll understand what’s important to them.
Knowing your primary and secondary colours can help you clarify your goals and visions because you know what your core motivations are.
Hartman also encourages his readers to learn to “character” their colour. This means adopting the strengths of the other colours as your own; becoming more versatile in your responses and ultimately more balanced as a person.
Meet the Four Colours
I recorded a session about the colours with my two sisters and a very dear friend. Among the four of us we encompass all four colours: Blue, White, Yellow and Red.
In this recording we discuss the strengths and challenges of our dominant colour, and some insights about how to get the most from working with other colours. It’s about 42 minutes long.
- Marilyn is a Blue
- Barbara is a White
- Rheja is a Yellow
- Kara is a Red
And here’s a brief overview of the four colours below with some links to other resources.
- Core Motivation is INTIMACY
Blues are all about connection. They have a deep caring for other’s feelings and are kind and thoughtful. Their decisions will be based on how everyone will feel; that everyone will be ok with the outcome.
Their lives need purpose and meaning for them to feel fulfilled. They need to know they are making a difference. They are loyal and fair and driven by their moral compass. If it doesn’t “feel right” they won’t pursue it.
All of this leads to a tendency to worry. Things need to make sense to them and they need to do things well. They can be perfectionists and are often judgemental (especially of themselves). They believe there is a “right” way to do things so that everyone is happy and no one gets hurt.
They need to feel understood and appreciated. They have very big hearts and are sincere and generous. Relationships mean everything to them and they will work hard to ensure that everyone is considered and included.
- Core Motivation is PEACE
Whites are all about calm. They are the peacekeepers. They dislike and will avoid conflict or confrontation. They are the ultimate diplomats and can be relied upon to find a solution that works for everyone. They will remain calm when all around them is chaos… to a point. If pushed too far, they will blow, but this usually takes a lot of pushing.
They are extremely grounded individuals and often see things others miss. If you need an objective point of view, or a measured response, ask a White.
They are avid information gatherers and often have a formidable mental storehouse. They don’t make decisions quickly, as they have to collect all the data first and review it. If you need a detailed view, a scientific perspective or a partner for Trivial Pursuit, choose a White.
They are very independent and prefer to work alone as there is less chance of conflict. They function best in calm environments where they can think.
They require the same kindness and patience that they extend to others. They can be stubborn and don’t respond well to pressure of any kind. They have amazing clarity and insight, and are the best at listening to others.
Here’s a short video (7 mins) with Dr. Taylor Hartman talking about the Whites.
- Core Motivation is FUN
Yellows just want to have fun. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing. They’re lighthearted and won’t take anything too seriously. They never hold grudges because in moments they’ve moved on to something else.
They need to be able to do what they want, when they want. If they have to do something unpleasant they will either find a way to delegate it, or find a way to make it fun.
They are extremely charismatic and usually have lots of people in their lives. They won’t last long in situations or relationships that are too serious or too restrictive. They need spontaneity and freedom.
They can be disorganized but somehow will always manage to get things done. They can be deceiving and manage to hide their brilliance and capability under a facade of ditsy.
Yellows need to be adored by others and will seek approval by trying to please everyone. But they can also be aloof and inconsiderate of other’s feelings.
They make decisions quickly and won’t stay focused on any one thing for very long. They fully understand how to “live in the moment.”
- Core Motivation is POWER
Reds are motivated by power; the power to achieve, to produce, to create. They are purposeful and productive. They like to get things done and have little patience for anything that stops or slows their momentum.
As a result they can be very demanding (of both themselves and others) and may forget to consider others in their drive to move forward.
They are often driven to accumulate money although this is seldom money for money’s sake. They see money more as a measurement of their accomplishments and as a tool for further accomplishment.
Reds are only interested in the facts; they don’t need the whole story. They are usually mentally 3 or 4 steps ahead of you anyway as they usually have strategic minds and quickly see where something is headed. They think fast, are highly resourceful and love a challenge.
They make better leaders than followers and are usually visionaries who see the bigger picture. They need to be acknowledged for their accomplishments and be respected in their field. They also like to be right.
It’s really helpful to have the book as a reference as it’s choc-a-bloc with details about all the colours and how they interact with each other.
Want to go deeper into the science of the Color Code? Read the Color code whitepaper.