Thinking inside the box… four of them to be exact

The past few weeks, I’m observing the appearance of a new ‘discovery’.

The discovery is this: You can describe people’s communication style / personality type with four colors!!!111one

There’s RED, for the strong-willed, fast-paced thinkers.
There’s YELLOW, for the sociable, excitable, “ooh, shiny light”-type persons.
There’s BLUE, for the detail-focused, precise analytics.
And GREEN, for the relationship/feeling-oriented person.

It’s a hype. It’s The New Thing. It’s AMAZING. Aannd… it’s really old :’)

I had a training about this somewhere in 2010. Somehow, it now seems to be catching on, to the bafflement of some. (Dutch newspaper column by Paulien Cornelissen)

Funny enough, the color-coding seems to be fighting a silent battle (silent because few realize that both methods are appearing in all sorts of trainings) with the animal-approach, which I feel are just the same descriptions with different names. There’s LION (red), MONKEY (yellow), ELEPHANT (blue) and DOLPHIN (green). Another thing they have in common is that I keep mixing up the color/name for the last two categories, haha.

I’m bemusedly watching as this catches on. I predict the coming year is going to see the peak of this hype. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice metaphor. However, eventually, we will re-rediscover that nobody can be summarized in four discrete states. Some people may not recognize themselves in either color and, as Paulien points out, forcing them to choose a color when the model just doesn’t appeal to them may be yet another ‘you have to fit in some box!’ tendency that we humans have. There are downsides to approaches like these. But in the meantime, people seem to be really excited about this, which means the consultants giving these trainings can look forward to a good year 😉

I’m really looking forward to the rediscovery of Myers-Briggs personality types (16 ‘states’) and after that, perhaps, we will see that even that does not describe a person in full. There’s an interesting concept called CoreTalents (KernTalenten) out there that supposedly has more states then there are people on the planet. Sounds interesting, but that’s probably going to be too complicated for people. We don’t seem to be able to handle concepts with many nuances and distinctions… So maybe this is the best we have. In that case, cheers and a hip hip hurray to the four-state personality model! May it be of use to mankind!

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