By Carolyn Crawford
A while ago I sat between two cousins at a family dinner, both successful businessmen. We were swapping stories about those times when customers mess up their brief to you and instead of owning the mistake, they blame you and make you pay for the time and cost of re-doing the work. We were all understandably annoyed by these incidents but I was interested in the slight difference of reaction between the two men. One was frustrated by the injustice of it (admittedly it probably happened in his line of business more often and with less room for recourse) whereas the other was more clinical and objective about it, regaling us with a very funny story of how he “always gets his own back”. And that, I thought to myself, is the difference between an L1 ‘blue’ thinker and an L2 ‘green’ thinker. Justice is often a high value for a green. Objectivity and action are strong focuses for our blue friends.
I am blue: I am focused, target-oriented and outcome-driven. There’s no mental or physical clutter. Issues are clearly identified, categorised and prioritised. My office space is best described as minimalist, my desk clean and clear. (A ‘blue’ client recently told me the only thing on his desk was his computer).
I like to stay focused on important matters, insulate myself from distractions, keep my mind on specific tasks and outcomes, set stretch goals for myself and my team and then exceed them. Achievement is important to me. So are financial rewards and recognition.
I like ideas that have concrete value. I give preference to factual points of view. If you are presenting an idea, result or recommendation to me, keep it simple, clear, punchy and to the point. Nothing will reduce your credibility in my eyes more quickly than fluff and waffle. Give me a cost-benefit analysis, give me the return on investment and you’ve got a chance of cutting through. Come to me with broad concepts, half-cooked ideas or feel-good marketing strategies and at best I’ll switch off or at worst I’ll walk out.
I may be difficult to read. I’m often told that I look distant or disengaged. I’m not. I’m listening, processing, thinking and trying to cut through all the excess to get to the nub of the issue or the critical number one which this all rests. It’s not my job to perform with facial expressions to make you feel heard and understood. It’s my job to resolve the issue. If you come to me with a problem I believe the most helpful thing I can do is give you a solution, not offer platitudes.
Equally, and as another at least partially ‘blue’ client said of herself recently, “I’m incredibly resilient, I’ll bounce back no matter what’s put in my path, and I’m almost impossible to offend.”
You may find me in an accounting role, medical, economics, science, engineering, IT or business analysis. Whichever field I’m in, I am often drawn to leadership. My leadership style is authoritative, decisive, focused and firm. People around me know where they stand. I have clear goals and stand firm on issues, which may make me appear inflexible.
I’m unlikely to be drawn to the esoteric, the theological or the spiritual. It’s simply not factual enough for me. Give me something I can see, feel and prove. It doesn’t mean I’m intolerant or closed-minded. It just means you’d better be prepared with some solid facts in hand if you’re going to try to win me over.
In short, I’ll believe it when I see it so give it to me straight, call a spade a spade, let’s be direct, let’s be clear, let’s not pussyfoot around and kowtow to each-others’ feelings and we’ll not only get along fine but we’ll kick some goals, maybe some butt and have some fun along the journey.