Project management reveals its True Colours

You may be a creative blue, an analytical green, a spontaneous orange or a dependable gold. Truth is, you have some of each.

The colours come from a personality assessment system known as True Colours, and although each person exhibits some of each colour, one is always predominant. Knowing that colour can help you understand yourself better and enhance your performance as a project manager or project team member, according to career professionals at BCA Inc., a Toronto-based corporation providing an array of performance improvement services.

“In order to manage and understand human behaviour, you’ll need some form of a model,” said Ed Burns, president of BCA.

Burns said there are a number of behavioural models out there, and one of the more straightforward, fast and highly effective is the True Colours approach, which categorizes human behaviour into different temperament types.

“Temperament typing is based on the premise that all human behaviour falls into a limited set of personality types. Personality types have different temperaments that are distinct. People want different things and they have different motivations, preferences, needs, desires, goals and values. More importantly, they work differently together.”

According to Burns, temperament typing will also allow project managers to understand fundamental underlying values, needs and concerns of the people they supervise.

“You won’t over-manage or micromanage somebody in an area of his or her strength. Conversely, you won’t be too hands-off in an area where somebody really needs your help and guidance.”

Burns said True Colours enables project managers to work with people according to their needs. It also will help the individual build and attract a more effective team and it also aid in structuring the projects.

“It will help you communicate better. The bottom line is it will facilitate effective and efficient delivery of project work.”

how it works

True Colours was created by Don Lowry, based on prior research done in the field of temperament types by Dr. Carl Jung, Isabel Briggs-Myers and David Kiersey. It is based on the premise that all human behaviour falls into a set of four distinct temperament types, which can be used to explain and anticipate human behaviour.

According to Katherine Chandler, a partner at BCA and a True Colours certified instructor, colour typing takes approximately an hour to complete fully. “It’s a blind instrument, so you’re answering questions and you’re filling out responses,” Chandler said. “That’s taken and scored and the responses are taken from that.”

The system is based on four cards that are blue, green, orange and gold. One assessment step is looking at these cards and choosing one that appeals to you. The cards present a pictorial representation of the four temperament types.

The next step of the instrument involves determining which words identify you. The third instrument is a multiple choice activity. At the end, a series of numbers calculated.

“You’re [told] what your strongest temperament is, and what score the other temperament types spell out for you. So this determines your blend,” Chandler said.

why is it important?

Chandler said True Colours helps describe personality and character.

“True Colours is a tool that’s meant to help us understand and celebrate your value in four different temperament types.”

According to Chandler, on average 75 per cent of people fall into one definable temperament type, and a second one that closely shades the first. The third and fourth types do not play a big role in the makeup.

“Each temperament type has similar values, needs, joys and stressors which is fabulous as a project manager because it allows you to predict and anticipate issues, problems, concerns, good things, as well as bad,” said Chandler.

Chandler said we are a blend of all our colours.

“As we get older we start to self-actualize more, and we start to reach our potential and we understand and want to develop the different skills. We start to round ourselves the older we get, however, when you’re stressed out you always go back to type, despite what you have learned.”

Burns said different temperament types require different supervisory styles.

“Good project management is always situational and you should never try to manage a project the same way every time.”

Chandler added that it helps teams understand the interaction between members. “If you understand what the strengths and weaknesses of your team members are, it depersonalizes issues in the management project.”