2 case studies: Canine Colors in action
David Dunbar, hospital administrator at Goshen Animal Clinic in Prospect Ky., has witnessed the positive results that come from knowing a co-worker’s personality traits. Having helped the clinic adopt Canine Colors, a personality-profiling program that assigns veterinary team members their own color, Dunbar says the outcome has been eye opening.
“All this program requires is that participants are open-minded and honest with themselves. Once the information is in their hands, there is a natural evolution that seems to take place. The staff begins to look at everyone around them in terms of the colors,” he says.
Too often team conflict is a result of miscommunication. It’s hard, if not impossible, to communicate with co-workers the way they would like you to, if you have no idea what they want is in the first place. Take Dunbar’s two examples below to see how not knowing a co-workers preferences can lead to conflict, and conversely, how knowing a little about their personality could fix or avoid the situation.
Example 1: A green doctor is working with a gold technician. The gold technician wants to share every detail of her client discovery with the doctor. She feels she’s providing structure and groundwork. The green doctor would rather have the information written down, and with less fluff. The doctor soon becomes frustrated with the technician because she’s communicating in a manner he isn’t comfortable with.
If the gold technician was aware of the doctor’s green preferences, she could adjust how she presents information to the doctor accordingly. Vice-versa, the green doctor could put more effort toward being tolerant of the technician’s need to share the details.
Example 2: A blue receptionist meets a goal set by hospital management. The gold manager wants to recognize the receptionist’s achievement by having her stand up at a staff meeting and explain her accomplishment to everyone. The blue receptionist isn’t prone to public recognition. She prefers a pat on the back and sincere words of encouragement.
The gold manager’s plan may do more harm than good, embarrassing the receptionist and discouraging her to succeed on future projects. By knowing the blue personality’s preference, the gold manager could avoid punishing her employee when she thinks she’s actually rewarding her.