Employee Accountability

How is accountability defined in your organization? When you hear someone talking about accountability, are you afraid it might be applied to you? Accountability is defined as “the quality or state of being accountable; and obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions”. The dictionary also states that responsible is a synonym for accountable. Simply stated, accountability is neither positive nor negative, but for some reason, most people in organizations feel that there is a negative connotation to accountability. We usually hear the phrase “who is accountable for x?” when something has gone wrong and we are ready to pronounce blame on someone. I usually don’t hear someone asking who was responsible for achieving a great result.

Some of the best work that I have seen published on accountability comes from a book “The Oz Principle” by Roger Connors and Tom Smith. I would highly recommend reading and applying these principles in your life and organization. Accountability should be applied when people do a good job and also when their work is in question. When applying Performance Management, we follow these three easy steps:

  • Clear define your expectations, whenever possible in writing
  • Follow though on your expectations
  • Hold people accountable for the results, good and bad

Both good and bad, both positive and negative, in other words people want to know how they are doing. Roger D’Aprix reported that from his research employees wanted the following information from their employers, these are listed by importance to the employee:

  1. What is my job?
  2. How am I doing?
  3. Does anybody care?
  4. How are we doing?
  5. Where does my team fit in?
  6. How can I help?

Accountability is part of all six of these types of communications, people want to know what the expectations are and how they are performing. How well do you do? There may some inherent strengths and opportunities that we may want to acknowledge based upon our Core Motives.

Let’s explore a few. Here is my caveat, these are my own observations and thoughts and may not reflect the work of Dr Hartman.


As I work with REDS and their ability to hold themselves and other accountable I have seen some interesting dynamics. I don’t usually see this group struggling with enforcing necessary rules, policies, and regulations. For a RED, the rules are the rules, if not we would call them suggestions. So rules are enforced. What a RED needs to be cognizant of is how they do it. Sometimes, (speaking as a recovering RED), I find that I am not as empathetic as I could or should be. Not that I don’t believe that this is important behavior – I just don’t always think about it. This has been a life-long endeavor for me to learn this type of behavior, and use it. I am fairly sure I am not the only RED that works on being more empathetic. I have learned a lot from my BLUE friends, they seem to be quite natural at this.


BLUES usually have the empathy part of management down, they seems to always be aware of how people are feeling and how what they do affects other people. When they hold others accountable they do it right. However, there seems to be a conflict with letting empathy stand in the way of accountability. Over the years I have found that as I have coached a BLUE in leadership we have found it helpful to come up with systems, processes, and routines to help them hold themselves and others accountable. It helps to manage a process, these seems to take the emotion out of the equation. Now it is just about managing tasks. Something our BLUES do extremely well and in a very qualitative and detailed manner.


Whites do a good job or holding themselves accountable and can do a great job of holding others accountable if they have learned to allow themselves to be involved with a little conflict. At times, accountability will involve some conflict. If you shy away from conflict in order to achieve “peace”, it may produce the unintended consequence of conflict. This can be a learned behavior, and most of us don’t look forward to conflict, but have learned to deal with it as it arises. Whites can also pick up this trait from observing and emulating others, but this tends to be their Achilles heel.


Sometimes accountability is not fun. That becomes the nemesis of a Yellow leader. There are other things or tendencies that would be preferable. Yet when focused on accountability, and their naturally charismatic way, a yellow can be quite good at holding others accountable. They may struggle more with holding themselves accountable. That can be less noticeable that when dealing with others and their success. A Yellow may feel more an obligation to hold someone else accountable. Accountability for good work is much more fun, therefore, a Yellow will have some fun with this type of positive recognition. Correcting performance can be a different story.


So when you look at accountability and Core Motive it would appear that each color has attributes that can help them hold themselves and others accountable and each color has limitations that can provide obstacles with accountability. One question that I use with leaders as they work to create a culture of accountability is this: “Do you have a rule book that needs to be adhered to for yourself and others or do you have a list of suggestions. Each leader is free to make whatever choice that they would like to make, however, you cannot choose the consequences of your actions.”

It is your choice, make it a good one!


The Good Way to Deliver Bad News

While no one likes to deliver bad news, it’s something that most of us have had to do at some stage in life. Whether it’s announcing company redundancies, or telling a partner we’re moving on, it can sometimes take all we have to get the words out and our message across at the right moment. And then once it’s done, we’re often left wondering if perhaps we could have handled it a little better…

There are a number of reasons why someone would want to avoid delivering bad news. Whites, for instance, might not feel confident about handling any potential conflict their news is likely to generate, while Yellows might not want to risk becoming unpopular as a result of delivering a difficult message. Whatever they fear most, the situation is often a lot worse in the imagination than it is in real life, especially for a Blue who broods on the issue. He will replay the imagined scenario over and over in his mind, rehearsing his “bad news” lines, until the situation seems almost completely unbearable. So if there is a right way to deliver bad news, what is it?

Choose Your Medium

Sometimes people are given a choice as to how they deliver their bad news. If you have a number of options, it may be very tempting to choose the one that offers you most “protection” against any fall-out (eg, email or letter). However, if you want to be certain that your message has been understood then you need to choose a medium that best facilitates this. Wherever possible, deliver bad news face-to-face. Not only does this approach show respect, care, and compassion for the recipient, but it provides an opportunity for him or her to discuss the matter further with you and to ask any questions.

Another reason that face-to-face delivery is best is that whoever the recipient is, he or she will understand just how difficult your task is and appreciate that you haven’t resorted to using e-mail or the telephone. And whether used in the bedroom or boardroom, your recipient will respect you more for telling him or her face-to-face instead of taking the easy way out and delivering your news by other means.

Delivering news face-to-face also allows you to read the recipient’s body language and to deal with those non-verbal aspects of communication that would be missed over the telephone or in e-mail. Regardless of whether the situation is a personal or professional one, non-verbal communication is important when delivering bad news as it allows you to gauge how your message is being received and can help you to deliver your news in a way that helps you achieve your desired outcome.

Sometimes face-to-face delivery will be impossible; distance, for example, may prevent it. The next best medium when telling someone bad news is the telephone. However, while delivering your news to someone over the telephone will allow him or her to ask questions, this situation could become difficult if you’re addressing more than one person at a time, in a workplace setting for instance. Even with teleconferencing or videoconferencing facilities, it may be difficult to control the situation if you’ve got a large group of people all clamoring to ask questions at the same time.

Choose Your Words

Nothing is less helpful than communicating an unclear message. Therefore, it’s important to think about what you want to say before actually saying it. When choosing your words, think about how they will be received and the effect they’re likely to have on the recipient and your relationship with him or her. However, while you may wish to deliver your news in a way that will spare someone’s feelings, avoiding the crux of the issue could result in your message being misconstrued, which in turn could lead to big problems in the future. Try to put aside any fear you have and avoid giving a diluted version of your news.

Reds, beware. Both directness and sensitivity are needed if you want to effectively communicate your message. Blues and Yellows: don’t dance around the issue in a preamble to saying what it is you want to say. While you may think that this will put you in a good light, most people would rather be told bad news without any waffle.

Furthermore, when a key message is embedded in other messages, it can easily get lost. If you have to tell one of your team members that unless his performance improves he will be fired, don’t bury that message in praise for the wonderful job he’s done to date. By all means acknowledge the good work he’s done for the company, but make it clear to him why you’re talking to him. When bad news is delivered at the same time as high praise, the recipient will often listen to the high praise and ignore all the rest! This strategy applies whether you’re in a professional or personal situation: don’t start reminiscing with your lover and highlighting all their good points if you’ve come to tell him or her that you’re moving on.

When delivering bad news, focus on the outcome of the situation. The recipient will be focusing on the negative, so try to get him or her to focus on the positives that can be gained from the situation. When bad news is placed in the context of future growth it may no longer be seen as bad news, but as an opportunity to move on and achieve success. CC

Playing Life to Win

In his  book, Playing Life to Win, Dr. Taylor Hartman uses the metaphor of baseball to represent the game of life, shares dozens of personal and professional vignettes, mixed with quotes, stories and examples from the lives of politicians, celebrities, sports stars, business leaders and family members. One needn’t be a fan of baseball in order to “get” Hartman’s many references to the sport or to “get” the book’s message. Most know that baseball’s objective is to hit the ball that’s pitched to you—or otherwise get safely on base—and, in turn, go from first base to second to third, and touch home plate, thus scoring a “run” for your team in hopes of winning the game. In effect, Hartman’s book is a game plan for success in life.


To succeed in life, you start by getting to first base. And to get to first base you must first “get yourself.” If you can’t see yourself honestly and value who you are, you will never get on first base, let alone cross home plate and score.

Self-awareness starts when you discover and refine your “signature swing,” your unique, often hidden, personal values, needs, strengths and limitations. Your signature swing includes your innermost reasons for why you think and act as you do, reflected in your needs and wants—your motives.

Unearthing your signature swing sometimes takes seeing yourself from another’s point of view. Earnestly inviting candid feedback can be most insightful. Hartman tells of a time when his 12-year-old son TJ came to him for a bit of coaching. TJ had always struggled with shyness. Recognizing this blemish in himself and wanting to overcome it, he asked that he be permitted to answer the front door when adults stopped by. By forcing himself to look them in the eye and say “hello,” TJ gradually developed a remarkable degree of self-awareness and social confidence. In essence, he was able to transform his weakness into a strength—and become even more confident and self-aware in the process.

When was the last time you received honest feedback from someone? What kinds of personality flaws did it expose? Though at times painful, acting on constructive criticism from teammates or coaches (co-workers, close friends, family…) can make a huge difference in getting over your pride, fears and insecurities; in a word, it can be enlightening.

Another key component to understanding who we really are is stepping up to the plate—a powerful baseball phrase that entails taking responsibility and living up to our expectations. Perhaps one of the most basic (and most often ignored) principles in life is to take full responsibility for who you are. We can’t expect to hit the pitches life sends our way until we do.

Taking full responsibility for ourselves and our actions involves checking our culture from time to time, both at home and at work, to see where the disconnects are. “We must face ourselves honestly if we ever hope to have the mature muscle necessary to be members of the 100% Responsibility Club,” says Hartman. The club’s whose motto, in part, reads: I am 100% responsible for every relationship in my life…no excuse is legitimate, sought, or accepted. I am 100% responsible for creating what I get. And I get exactly what I deserve.”

Other principles key to getting on first base include:

• Keep your eye on the ball in life. Ignore distractions and pay attention to the way you want to live your life.

• Be a hitter. Swing only at the pitches you know you can hit.

• Embrace your style; come to know and like yourself for simply being you.

• Understand and accept your natural strengths and limitations. Studies show that “Emotional Intelligence” (self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills) is “four times more critical to life success than IQ and technical

Once you master “getting yourself,” you will step up to the plate with confidence and meet the game with enthusiasm.


Moving on to second base, just 90 feet away from where you are, now requires that you face yourself, or “get truth.” Your ability to face yourself requires seeing your strengths and limitations in light of how they impact your life and the lives of those around you. Facing truth creates tremendous hope and momentum in your life.

What are you going to do? Are you leading off first at every pitch, looking for your opportunity to sprint to your next goal, or are you too afraid that you’ll get thrown out? You must let go of your insecurities. Getting to first was all about you, but from here on out, you need to forget yourself.

We all have our insecurities, embarrassing facts about us that we would like to keep hidden. Facing truth and honestly embracing our limitations are critical steps toward bettering ourselves and becoming more self-assured.

Hartman shares a lesson he learned one day while eating at an outdoor restaurant. Seated at the table next to him was a woman smoking a cigarette. In his mind, Hartman began to criticize her: How could she be so reckless with her health? Meanwhile, he realized, there he sat drinking another caffeine-packed diet soda, and not having exercised for weeks. “While I was judging this woman and her choice to smoke, there was little difference between her and me—I had simply picked a different substance.”

Forced to confront a rather uncomfortable truth, Hartman made a lasting personal commitment to improve his fitness level. The point behind his epiphany? Truth has a way of revealing itself; it always emerges. The decision is ours whether or not to accept it. We can welcome it now, face the brutal truths we are ignoring, and reap the benefits, or we can wait until it’s too late.

The book teaches that there are three absolute truths we all must face:

1. All life is about relationships—a commitment to value others that involves finding common ground and building rapport. Relationships have been and will forever be with us…how you make people feel will always last longer than you do.

2. We are NOT born equal. Diversity truly is the spice of life.

3. You get what you deserve (and you continue to get what You Allow). We are not victims, nor can we blame others for our mistakes or misfortunes.

Other vital points to consider while on second base:

• You likely will face between three and seven totally devastating experiences in the course of your life. To cope with such traumatic events, place your focus on how you respond rather than on the experience itself.

• Borne of insecurity, many people separate their personal attitudes, behaviors and relationships from their professional attitudes, behaviors and relationships—a tendency Hartman terms a “Personal and Professional Divide.” Cultivating a more consistent approach in both personal and professional arenas frees you to accept and relate to others more comfortably.

• Self-esteem comes simply because, as part of the human race, you breathe; while self-confidence is a result of your successes, your abilities, and the mark you leave daily on life.

Standing on second base, your focus having shifted from “self” to “truth,” you are in scoring position. Now your game plan must shift further away from you to others. Third base is all about enhancing others’ lives and scoring as a team.


Hartman insists that, if we’re not careful, this base is where our fears and petty insecurities can trip us up. Selfishness is the number one reason that relationships fail both at work and home. Thus, third base requires self-discipline and emotional muscle, which allow us to “lift ourselves and others to higher ground.”

Third base is a journey away from selfishness, toward selflessness. Consider the tremendous change that comes over a couple’s life with the birth of their first child. In an instant, their priorities are turned utterly upside down as they abandon their selfish, self-serving motives and focus all their time and energy on the needs of their little one. At the same time, in choosing their child’s happiness over their own, they find meaning, connection and peace.

Life is all about change: growing up and evolving beyond the demanding, needy child you once were; taking responsibility; envisioning the life you want; proactively replacing negative attitudes and actions with value-added, positive ones; and finding meaning in close, caring relationships.

So how can you promote greater selflessness in your relationships? One way is by creating a list of the most destructive, self-serving attitudes and behaviors that may prevent you from focusing on others. Hartman offers his readers an equation to help point out where change may be needed and how it can be actualized: D + V + P > C = CHANGE, where you combine your dissatisfaction with an aspect of your life (D) with a clear vision for how your life could improve (V) and add positive practical solutions for change (P). Tallied up, you will change when the cost of living life as you currently are (C) is greater than (>) the cost of remaining in a state of dysfunction.

When people die, they are missed only by those whose lives they touched…ultimately, your life is a composite of what you did, with whom you did it, why you did it, and how it made people feel.


Who would miss you most right now if you were gone? Reflecting on this question, you will recognize that crossing home plate and building a full, rich life requires empathy and self-sacrifice—a genuine caring and connection with others. Having gotten over yourself, you now wish to use your newfound emotional strength, your time, energy and considerable gifts to lift others.

Being “home” means something different to each of us. But, in general, home is a place of safety, peace, acceptance, trust, forgiveness and delight; at home, we are free to be our best selves and to connect fully with those around us.

“Home” is also how we can face the world at large; we can be and act our best beyond the walls of our homes. Leo Tolstoy once remarked, “Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change himself.” Yet, ironically, the only person you actually can change is yourself, whether in your marriage, your role as parent, your business associations or your connections with your neighbors. You have to “get them” in order to succeed in getting along with them. You hold the key to every relationship in your life.

In summing up Playing Life to Win, Hartman writes: We need to wake up and pay attention to those whom we value. The ultimate goal for an abundant life is to help others be successful. To live this life you must become vulnerable and allow yourself to risk looking foolish. Becoming real is never easy and doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time and doesn’t happen when people are insecure and spend all their energy protecting themselves from the possibility of being hurt.

Shortly before his death, renowned American psychiatrist Karl Menninger was asked what he believed was the best therapy for mental illness. His reply: “Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need, and do something for them.” Getting to third base is “locking up your house and crossing the railroad tracks.” Coming home is “finding someone in need and doing something for them.” Crossing home plate is all about proactively seeking opportunities to improve the living conditions of others.

We need to be willing to commit and ready to sacrifice our own personal agendas if we ever hope to cross home plate. At the end of the day, it’s not about you. The well-lived life is about serving others, serving their wants and needs, understanding their fears and hopes, making them successful in life.

In some strange way, lifting others frees you to drive your own life abundantly. <

Dr. Taylor Hartman has been helping individuals improve their lives through his business consulting, personal coaching, and public speaking for over 30 years. He is the best-selling author of The Color Code and Color Your Future. For more information visit www.taylorhartman.com or www.playinglifetowin.com.

True to his minimalist editing approach, the long and short of Stevens Anderson’s existence is: he has a loving wife and eight delightful children, likes books, words and word games, and earns his keep by playing with words all day and marketing on the side. His philosophy for life: “Be kind. Remember, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”


Ask the Expert

Dear Jeremy,

I feel that my company has a bias in that they value Red and Blue personality types much more so than Whites and Yellows. Can you please take a moment to articulate the value that Whites and Yellows bring to the workplace that perhaps a lot of people don’t perceive on the surface?




Dear Jackie,

Unfortunately, it is fairly common for people to view Reds and Blues as valuable in a business setting and Whites and Yellows less so.

Many see the “color” of business as Red. Therefore, they believe that you need to think and act as a Red does to be successful. Even Red limitations in a business environment are often tolerated, and in some cases, desired. For example, the stereotype is that if you are the “boss,” you must be demanding, critical, and well, bossy. The rationalization is that these behaviors are okay, because they get the job done.

Blues generally receive immediate validation in a work environment because they are analytical, organized, and often serious workers. Let’s be real, though, sometimes even Blues get dismissed as being lesser-thans. For instance, Blues’ tendencies to take things personally and their desires to give people second (and third…and fourth…and, well maybe fifth, etc.) chances don’t fit the “strictly business” attitude that the stereotypical enterprise demands.

I’ve found the easiest way to shift this paradigm is to ignore the text book list of White or Yellow strengths and limitations. Instead, think of a White or Yellow that you personally know who is very successful in business, and consider the value that they bring to their respective organizations.

In a recent Trainer Certification course that I was conducting, we were talking about the value of people with White DCM’s in the workplace. Veronica (one of the new trainers) brought up the name of a White store director that everyone knew, and the light bulbs turned on for the others. Veronica reminded the class about how in stressful situations, when the other Colors tend to get reactionary and stressful, this White would stand up with a great sense of calm, and would command the attention of everyone in the room. Then, he would rationally, and clearly lay out the simplest course of action imaginable. He drew on his ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos, his inventiveness, and his logical clarity, to lead his team to success.

With Whites it is also helpful to recognize that while they have a reputation of being “wall-flowers,” when they get into their element of choice, watch out.

Now let’s consider the Yellows. Like the Whites, the limitations of Yellows are what generate bias in a work environment. After all, who would choose “irresponsible” and “disorganized” employees?

The challenge, once again, is to move beyond the “list” of Yellow strengths and limitations, and think of an individual with a Yellow DCM, who has been extremely successful in your industry. They are usually not too difficult to find, because in true Yellow fashion, they tend to make their presence known.

One of the most successful Yellows I know is Dr. Taylor Hartman, author of The Color Code. It is never hard to find the value that he brings professionally. He is charismatic, and sociable, which allows him to give feedback to people in a very direct manner, without damaging relationships because Yellows have a way of making people feel valued regardless of their current behavior. Also, people like to be around him, and it’s a well-known phenomenon that people do business with people they like. Yellows are oftentimes rainmakers. They also have the ability to maintain a sense of morale and optimism upon which you really can’t place a value.

Because Yellows are motivated by “Fun,” others assume that all they want to do is joke around and play games. Not true. What is critically necessary for Yellows, though, is that they do enjoy what they do. So, much like the Whites, when they find a career that interests them and that they enjoy, they truly can be all-star employees.

My hope, Jackie, is that this article will encourage you to help your company find some examples of Whites and Yellows who have been successful, so that everyone can begin to consider their contributions and value. In doing so, I believe, people will move away from simply looking at the black and white list of potential strengths and limitations and start considering real life examples.

Continued Success!

Jeremy Daniel


Jeremy Daniel (Core Color: Yellow) has been working with the Color Code since 1998 in various capacities from training in the field personally with Dr. Taylor Hartman to designing customized corporate solutions and new training programs for various industries.  To ask about Jeremy’s training or speaking services, please email and inquiry to jeremy@colorcodetraining.com.

The Awkward Blind Date

This week we thought we’d have a little fun and make two one-minute videos about the joys of blind dating. One for the guys and one for the gals. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for great dating tips and much more.

Here is the one for the gals:


And here is the one for the guys:




The Family Dynamic

Families are an interesting dynamic.

In my family of four, we represent the Color Code completely. I am a Red, my husband is a Blue, my oldest son is a White, and my youngest son is a Yellow.

Before learning the Color Code, I was frustrated by the fact that everyone didn’t think and act exactly the way I did and naturally, it didn’t occur to me that they might be just as frustrated with me.


During the remodeling of home we were planning to sale, I asked my Blue husband the simple question, “Can we paint the porch handrail today?” Yes or no, right? This is the answer I received: “I have some sheetrock being delivered today and I need a way to get it in the house, although I’m not sure exactly how to get it down to the basement. I ordered ten footers, but now I wish I had ordered eight footers because of the turn at the laundry room. I just hate having to tape all those extra seams by using the eight footers. I know I can’t get them down there alone and I only paid for curb service on the delivery. Do you think you can get your brothers here to help take it down?”

In the old days, this explanation would have frustrated me to the point that I would have hurt his feelings by saying something very sarcastic like “you get that was a yes or no question, right?” My Red limitations of impatience and insensitivity were at odds with his Blue needs. Blues need time to think, collect, analyze, and process the steps required to complete a project. My question about painting the handrail set in motion a linear thought process beginning with: if the handrail has wet paint, it will compound the problems of bringing in the sheetrock (which may or may not be too long).

Not wanting to risk another long-winded explanation, I clamp my mouth shut, guessing that the answer was “no” even though the words handrail and paint weren’t mentioned. I have learned his language.


All parents should read and understand the Color Code before trying to raise children with core motives different from their own. Trust me…it makes life much easier and they will make fewer mistakes.

My oldest son has always been the epitome of a White. My youngest son, the epitome of a Yellow. I just didn’t know it. Not being familiar with the Color Code in the past, I described them like this:


My White never raised his voice, contradicted me, or got in trouble at school. On the other hand, while testing very high academically, he wasn’t motivated to attend excelerated learning programs, or for that matter, do his homework. It was scoring high on tests that got him through high school and college. I know now that my aggressive tactics and his dad’s constant lectures–meant to motivate him–only made him shut down in stubborn silence. We would have been better served to show patience and not rush him, to understand his occasional need for quiet solitude, to quietly discuss his lack of motivation and refrain from calling him lazy.

My youngest son? Well let’s just say that life with him was an emotional roller coaster (see illustration). He wasn’t motivated academically either. I have to confess that I was near tears at more than one parent-teacher conference. They all started this way: “You’re his parent? I love him. He is so well mannered and fun to be around. I love having him in my class.” Then, “I’m so sorry I had to give him that F.” When my Yellow hit high school, he used to ditch classes to work in the office (yes, the office) amidst all the buzz and activity. I punished his behavior. Rather than get angry, I should have recognized his need to be a part of the action. Yellows need breaks from monotony.  They need to be praised. In retrospect, I should have gone to the school and made arrangements to reward his good behavior (going to class) with an hour in the office.

 Lessons learned

In the past, I made mistakes that I wouldn’t have made today, equipped with the knowledge the Color Code has given me. It would be great to go back and have “do-overs” but, alas, it’s not to be. The best that I can hope for is that I have learned the important lesson that there are many personalities in the world and that one is not better than the other–just different–and move forward strengthening my relationships, both old and new. CC


Teresa Glenn has been working with the Color Code since 2006, where her main focus is product development. She has been in the publishing and product development field for over 20 years. Teresa is a core Red with a strong Yellow secondary.


The Selfless Leader

By: Taylor Hartman, Ph.D.

There are countless books, seminars, and formal educational programs committed to inspiring effective leadership. Why then do so few leaders ever rise above themselves to become what all the great leadership research and teachings endeavor to promote? Why do the Enrons of the world continue to produce self-absorbed, immature, and insensitive leaders?

It could well be argued that the very psychological nature of man is selfish—an inner drive to care for oneself at the expense of another. Much like the constant struggle we endure physically against the elements of nature in order to survive, so too must we constantly battle our selfish desires.

Fortunately, our history is replete with solid examples of people who have won this psychological battle and offered powerful examples of selfless leadership. They are the victors of psychological and spiritual warfare equal, if not greater than, those noble souls among us who have successfully weathered the beatings of the physical elements.

No place in humanity is the selfless leader more noticeable than in the world of business. Known for its profit orientation and insensitivity, selfless leaders rise to remind us that business is far more than merely improving the bottom line. While it is about fiscal performance, it is clearly about so much more.

We live so much of our lives at work that is behooves us to consider the quality of our existence there. Are we becoming better people at work? Are we enhancing the lives of our associates and customers through our improved lives? Most importantly, do our leaders inspire us to get over ourselves and make our business lives about something and someone more than ourselves?

There are five critical characteristics that every successful leader must demonstrate. These critical gifts include:

  1. Integrity
  2. The ability to communicate great things
  3. An emotional and caring connection with those whom they lead
  4. Humility
  5. Vulnerability

Notice how each one requires the leader to “get over” himself or herself in order to successfully lead. Effective leaders leave legacies that endears them to their followers and enhance the lives of the children of their followers—children who will never know the leader, but whose quality of life will be seriously enhanced simply because their parents were led by such a rare individual—the selfless leader.


Ask the Expert

Dear Jeremy,

With Valentine’s day coming, I wanted to write and ask the following question: How I can get my Red husband more engaged in the holiday? When we were dating, he made the day so special with gifts and activities. Since we’ve been married, though, he isn’t one bit romantic. Help!

Blue in SLC


Dear Blue in SLC,

I have great news for you! If you are well-versed in the Color Code, it’s like having that chubby little cherub we call “Cupid” on speed dial.

So let me give you a few insights on how Reds–especially Red men–look at Valentine’s Day, as well as some tips on what to do so that you are not disappointed (again) by a box of cheap chocolates and a cheesy afterthought-of-a-greeting card that he picked up on the way home from work.

You mentioned that before you were married, your husband always made Valentine’s Day special, but now that you’ve tied the knot — his track record has been a little less than stellar.

The first piece of advice I have for you, may be the hardest to internalize, but here it goes…

Don’t take it personally.

Now, as a Blue, you might be thinking, “What?!! Obviously I’m going to take this personally, this is my HUSBAND we’re talking about! I am his WIFE, and this is nothing butPERSONAL!”

Of course, you’re right. Marriage by nature is one of the most – if not the most – personal connections an individual will have in their lifetime. What I mean, though, is that it is highly likely that his change of behavior has nothing to do with the way he feels about you and more to do with the way that he thinks in general.

Reds are logical, productivity oriented individuals who love to check things off of their “To-Do” list. For example:

  • Graduate at the top of my class. (Check!)
  • Land a great career opportunity. (Check!)
  • Find a beautiful, capable woman to date. (Check!)
  • Woo like a mad man – especially on Valentine’s Day – (sub-list needed):
    • Get reservations at the city’s best restaurant. (Check!)
    • Find front row tickets at her dream concert. (Check!)
    • Take her to an oceanfront beach resort in Thailand. (Check!)
    • Buy her the perfect engagement ring/pop the question. (Check!)
    • Get married. (Check!)
  • Get refocused on career. (Check!)
  • Have the best lawn in the neighborhood. (Check!)
  • Work on my golf game. (Check!)
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Reds have a game plan, and they work it from A-Z. What typically happens is that they date like nobody else, and then once they get the girl, that item is logically “checked off this list” and they continue to move forward with other items.

Since the wooing is done and the girl has been landed, why would they now “waste” money on fancy dinner reservations, concerts, and exotic trips? They have to be investing for retirement, and saving up for a better “image car” with which to impress potential clients and other people of influence, after all.

I realize all of this might sound kind of cold, but Reds don’t see it that way, which is the most important thing to remember. It really isn’t about YOU.

Now… how do we change this?

This is also a pretty straightforward process with Red men. It’s very safe to say that they still love you and that you still have their interest – otherwise, they would have let you know by now. You always know where you stand with a Red, which can give you a lot of security in the relationship (which I know  you Blues really love).

All you have to do is tell them that the wooing isn’t over, and that you’d better be put back on “the list” if they want this relationship to continue to work. Tell them what you want and what you expect, and be STRONG about it.

I don’t mean emotionally intense, by the way. Getting worked up emotionally is one of the worst things that you can do, actually, because Reds don’t know how to go to emotion very easily, – nor do they want to – and they might end up seeing you as “pathetic” and not really taking you seriously.

You do want to be logically strong, however. State your case, say what you need to say, lay out your expectations and stand your ground.

For example, don’t be afraid to tell him:

“Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I just want you to know that you were really good at making that day special and romantic when we were dating. But, for the past few years you’ve treated romance like a total non-priority, and I’m not okay with that because it makes me feel like I’m not important to you. So here’s the deal… if you want to get what you want on Valentine’s Day (ahem), you had better bring the romance. I know it’s not the 4th of July, but if you want fireworks, you’ve got to light the fuse. Are we clear?”


Remember, the point is state your feelings and expectations clearly, logically, and succinctly. If Valentine’s Day works out a little better for you this year – which I’m betting it will if you try these strategies – don’t be afraid to continually remind him that you are not, – nor will you ever be – “checked off the list” and that wooing is an ongoing process that you expect from him.

I hope that helps. Thank you for asking!

Very best of living,

Jeremy Daniel


JeremyDanielJeremy Daniel (Core Color: Yellow) has been working with the Color Code since 1998 in various capacities from training in the field personally with Dr. Taylor Hartman to designing customized corporate solutions and new training programs for various industries.  To ask about Jeremy’s training or speaking services, please email and inquiry to jeremy@colorcodetraining.com.

Brainstorming Success with Color Code

Brainstorming has helped teams come up with innovative ideas, products, services and solutions for centuries. Today, successful teams use it as a fun yet productive way to generate long lists of problem-solving possibilities. Brainstorming often results in realistic, creative breakthroughs.

Break your brainstorming sessions into two phases. During the first phase the goal is to create a long list of ideas by moving quickly to generate as many good ideas as possible without taking the time to discuss each idea in-depth. Brainstorming provides you with a general focus, and then you can begin to discuss solutions. The second phase is the discussion phase each idea is judged to see whether it could work when factors like time, money, relationships, skills and abilities, available materials, and marketability are considered.

When brainstorming, each personality will be prone to lead and/or participate differently. As a leader it is your job to move the process along and not get sidetracked by the strengths or limitations of any particular color. For example:

Reds are very visionary and are also very bottom-line, cut-to-the-chase people and will have some great practical ideas. They typically feel comfortable risking in a group and creating great energy in the initial idea phase of brainstorming. They may be prone to dominate the process and will want to go straight to the solutions. They may also tend to be critical of ideas suggested.

Blues will be strong in structuring the event and providing clear rules for engagement. They will provide an accurate description of others’ suggestions and pay attention to detail. They will often provide very sound, plausible suggestions in the random idea phase as well as strong focus on quality in the prioritizing phase. They may tend to be serious and want to go too deep discussing each idea in detail during the fast-moving idea creation phase and can be prone to telling stories.

Whites bring even flow and free others to present their ideas free of criticism. They invite others to shine while being comfortable in a supportive role. Their clarity and lack of judgmental regarding others’ comments will prove very helpful. They may tend to sit back and listen and take it all in and will often need encouragement to share – but they see it all and have a lot of valuable insights if encouraged.

Yellows will provide an engaging atmosphere encouraging all to participate with energy and positive invitation. Their creativity is their strong suit along with their willingness to accept different viewpoints. They may struggle with focus (which will frustrate the Reds) and driving the very important second piece of brainstorming which is the prioritizing of suggestions.