Have you ever taken a True Colors Assessment? This is a personality assessment that categorizes people into four colors (or a combination of the four). I have taken this assessment several times and each time my results peg me as a strong orange. I usually have a close mid-range score in gold and green, and I repeatedly score extremely low in blue. To sum it up, I have an impulsive personality, prefer immediate action and I don't focus on developing relationships first. That sounds accurate.
There are plenty of personality assessments out there. And I believe in the value they provide. Each assessment can show you where your strengths are. For each strength you have, there is also an area that isn't as strong for you. Not necessarily a weakness, just a characteristic that isn't you.
In the True Colors Assessment, I'm not a strong blue. I don't like hugs and I often seem emotionless. Blue is not my strong color. But it is a strong color for others. There is always someone who receives their highest score in what is your lowest area.
Assessments continue to reinforce that we are all motivated by different things. We are intrigued in different ways. We don't all capture the interest of others in the same ways. If we allow them to, assessments help us understand how to work with the crazy swirl of different personalities so we can operate at an optimal place.
We shouldn't focus on the areas the results of these assessments show as our lowest scores. Instead, the real value of understanding our strengths is becoming aware of what we are good at, and what we should further develop. Instead of running around hugging people to try and become more visibly emotional in order to increase my blue score (because as an orange, I don't know how else to do it), I should look at why orange works for me and further develop that to become an even better orange. I should also learn how to work with people who have strong colors that aren't my top color. I will continue to nurture what little blue I do have, but it is likely that no amount of effort will ever move blue to the top color for me. And I'd be uncomfortable if I forced it because that's just not who I am. Just like someone with a high green score should not attempt to quit following instructions just to be more of another color. Following instructions works very well for green personalities.
If communities were assessed for personalities, we would see something similar. Some communities would have strong results in areas other communities scored lower. Just like people, communities have personalities. As an example, on an assessment, we would score high in having a diverse availability of outdoor recreational opportunities. It is one of our many strengths. Other communities would score much lower in that area. But there are other communities that, if assessed on proximity to professional sporting events, would score very high in that area. How would we score in that category? Pretty low. These are just two examples but the point is, just like people, communities have different strengths. Also just like in people, areas that don't score as strong shouldn't immediately be considered weaknesses.
Should we force ourselves to be a community we aren't? No. Just like I shouldn't force myself to get a higher score in the blue category. And you shouldn't force yourself to be the person you aren't. We should instead focus on building on our strengths.
How do we make our recreation in natural settings more robust? How do we turn our strength of being on the water into an even greater opportunity? What are some strengths that you have as an individual that you can build on?
Sometimes I think we get bogged down in wishing we were more like someone else when the reality is we are who we are supposed to be and should just want to be a better us. For a community it takes everyone to boost the area's strengths. It takes all of us to stop seeing areas in which we aren't as competitive, and instead see the areas we are most competitive. It takes all of us to grow those strengths and use them to our advantage. Instead of getting blinded by what we often perceive as weak areas, let's focus on strong characteristics and build on them so we become even better people, organizations, and communities.
Jackie Krawczak is the executive director of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column runs bi-weekly on Tuesdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.