Portrait of a productive team

Like many organizations, Sterling holds internal events focused on mission alignment and professional development. We try to set aside at least one full workday twice a year devoted to celebrating milestones and exploring company goals, communications industry best practices, and new ways to implement creative services for our clients.

An unseasonably blustery day in May marked the occasion for one such gathering — our 2019 Spring Agency Summit.

Fueled on a certain account director’s famous focaccia and local grub from EAT Club, our busy day included a briefing on the tech news business with venerable VentureBeat journalist Dean Takahashi, a photography and digital media workshop, mindfulness exercises, a writing and search engine optimization (SEO) challenge, and a local community service presentation from Friends for Youth.

And amidst all that action, we revealed our true colors to one another.

Who do you work with?

True Colors is a refined Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) designed to assess individual temperament. In very broad strokes, Green personality types are independent thinkers drawn to analysis, Gold personalities are pragmatic planners who relish structure, Orange personality types are adventurous and action oriented, and Blue personalities are intuitive and relationship driven. 

Obviously, every individual’s personality type is a blend of all four colors, but the profiles are designed to help people identify natural preferences and explore how those tendencies impact team dynamics. 

Due to our aggressive schedule, organizational consultant Jocelyn Kung of The Kung Group was enlisted to guide a True Colors workshop for the Sterling team. Having completed necessary surveys prior to the Summit, we spent the morning under her expert direction reviewing our resultant color profile scores with each other.

True Colors Workshop Sterling PR
Jocelyn Kung leads a True Colors workshop at Sterling Communications 2019 Spring Agency Summit.

Individual “primary” color identification generally came as no surprise to anyone — and revealing scores generated plenty of laughter and playful ribbing. Gold’s were roasted for rigidity, Blues for hypersensitivity, Greens for detachment, and Oranges for shiny object syndrome.

More importantly, we spent a good deal of time discussing why common behaviors tend to incite divergent responses from different color profile personalities. Something that consistently infuriates a Gold goes completely unnoticed by an Orange, for example. They may be living in the same reality, but their experience of it will be vastly different — and that impacts team function.

Reflected in our color scores are the things we tend to value, our organizational styles, notions of respect, methods of interpreting criticism, modes of communicating, perspectives on collaborative dynamics, and so much more.

Awareness of such differences mitigates friction and encourages gratitude. One telling exercise drawn from this knowledge involves envisioning a world devoid of personality traits expressed in the four colors.

True Colors at Sterling
Appreciating our differences.

Jocelyn was careful to warn us not to stereotype based on True Colors, but even superficial understanding about how work and worldview are shaded by temperament is instructive.

Examining both your strengths and weaknesses through the prism of someone else’s eyes can be uncomfortable. But ultimately, it’s an enriching experience. When that perspective is supplied by people you work with every day, it creates pathways for more productive teamwork.

And undertaking the effort to better know who you work with and how you can best accomplish your goals together is always time well spent.