A colourful approach to strategy

Behaviour profiles are well known for allowing individuals to generate a strategy for change, but can they be used at the organisational level?


We are quite used to seeing colour wheels that help us to understand individual behaviour, where they can be tools in self development, but they can also be used to help create broader team and organisational strategy where they give a clue to likely organisational strengths and weaknesses.


For instance, in the case of using SPECTRUM or even the Insights model we tend to focus on Red, Yellow, Green and Blue as behaviour preferences or energies. People wishing to develop assertiveness often wish to develop their red behaviour, whilst those wanting to adopt a coaching approach might think about ways to show more green. By adapting the behaviours we can create a best version of ourselves. This approach can work at the higher level in much the same way. This means we can both analyse the strategy through the lens of colour, which might tell us a lot about the core values and culture of the business. We can also adapt and evolve strategies to emphasise different colours and grow a balanced culture if that is what is required.

For instance, Red strategies might involve targeted success in high risk competitive work, targeting project management skill to finish more projects on time, or strong marketing campaigns and product strategies that position the business as the market leader. In a red business we might expect rewards to be based on performance. This might be very appropriate in fast paced markets where action is needed and where the organisation might need to demonstrate a tough, competitive edge. Fast and direct are key watchwords.


Yellow strategies might be based around creativity, innovation, starting something new, or maybe a series of interactive stakeholder engagement sessions. For teams they might involve more socials and a growth in a fun culture. A yellow approach would be to involve external views and agencies to bring in different ideas. It could mean inclusive approaches to setting vision, mission and goals, where ideas are shared early and widely, and where a focus is on encouraging openness and sharing with internal and external partners. Watchwords are dynamic and open


Green strategies are likely to be based around quality and people, working closely with partners build relationships, thinking about the human space and welfare aspects of working. They might be focused on customer services, bring subcontractors closer to your business through shared initiatives or learning and development programmes. They may may see value a more supportive approach to people managament. Quality and care are key watch words.


Blue strategies will be low risk, incremental and process driven. The planning process may be closed and secretive and often centred around a methodical, hierarchical, data driven approach that is highly controlled and deliberate. Strategies are more likely to be defensive than aggressive, focusing on not getting beaten rather than going for the win. Traditional and organised are key watch words.


A balanced colour scorecard?

We often talk about individuals being able to adapt and presenting the appropriate colour at the appropriate time. People targeting self development are often conscious that they have a bias towards one particular colour, and like to identify ways that they might demonstrate a wider display of colours as a way of enhancing their performance. There is no reason why teams and organisations cannot do the same thing, and to explore ways that they might work to establish a 'balanced scorecard' of colour. How does your existing strategy look when you view it through the colour lens? What are you doing that shows Red, Yellow, Green or Blue? What's the mix?


And what does it mean for your business?

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