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spike bullet October 2009 - What is Your Primary Color? 

What is Your Primary Color
Case Study: How we used the Primary Color Assessment
Tips for using in the Primary Color Assessment for Team Building
Resources (links, books, articles, the lighter side)

color bulletWhat is Your Primary Color?  And How Will This Knowledge Impact Your Career?

by Rick Smith

Are you in a job that leverages your strengths and passions every day?

As your career continues on its current direction, are you getting closer to your ideal role, or farther away from it?

Are you willing to invest 15 minutes of your life to find out?

I am excited to debut the Primary Color Assessment online at  This tool was conceived from a single insight I had 8 years ago, and developed and tested since that time in partnership with a leading industrial psychologist.  For a limited time, I am making it available to everyone for free.

First, Some Background

In early 2000, while conducting research for a white paper on leadership, I became increasingly frustrated with the amount of complexity associated with describing human ability (and the resulting absence of usefulness).  In a cab leaving LaGuardia airport, I noticed a billboard with three overlapping circles representing the primary colors, and wondered, "Why is there not a similarly simplistic model with which we can understand and analyze our own abilities?"  

In the cab, I scribbled down on a napkin this image:

I then completed the diagram with the logical extensions (leadership combined with execution is management, leadership with curiosity is creativity, etcetera).

Over the next several years, I continued to refine and test this model, eventually using this framework to develop a spectrum of ability.  Working with psychologists and other experts, I was able to mathematically map distinct sets of behaviors onto specific sections of the spectrum

Now, this assessment can help you identify your own unique Primary Color that point on the spectrum that is unique to your greatest strengths and passions.  It also allows you to identify the region of the spectrum that your current job occupies and highlights how close or far your primary color is to that.  

Close?  Then you are more likely to be satisfied at work and developing rapidly.  

Far away? Likely frustrated and potentially stalled.

Additional research will even allow for the mapping of specific career paths over time (in this case, a Business Consulting career), or to project what types of jobs others with your color find the most satisfying as their career progresses.  The future applications of this tool are extremely exciting.

I am a Purple Heart.  My wife is an Electric Lime, and my daughter is a Candy Apple Red.

What is your Primary Color?  Take the test now and find out! 

Source: Copyright 2009, Rick Smith.  Used with permission of Author.   

color bulletHow we used the Primary Colors Assessment

A group we work with were introduced to the primary colors assessment website recently and used it for a one-hour training / discussion.  We found a great variety of colors and had great fun learning about the colors for people in the group as well.  

The short exercise was a resounding success.  The delightful color names alone made it worth while.  The exercise reminded us what a great variety of talent we have in this group and yet how well we work together.  We talked about what we could learn from this and how we can use the diversity to our advantage.  

Tips for Using the Primary Colors as a team-building exercise:

  1. Ask your work group to take the colors assessment at  There are 2 quizzes: one for the primary color and another for the career alignment.  Takes about 10-15 minutes to answer the quizzes.  In addition, each person is given a percentage of their Leadership, Curiosity and Execution.  
  2. Gather together and discuss what colors each person received for their primary color and career clusters.  Share your percentages on the 3 categories also.  
  3. Think about what it tells you about your group and the diversity or similarity of people in the group.
  4. Compare the results of this assessment to other team building or personality tests that you all might have taken.
  5. Enjoy the process of learning and growing together, allowing it to put a bright sparkle in your day and see how a bit of fun can be very useful to team building.  
  6. As your group works with the colors and the descriptions, what can you learn about each person's strong interests and how they fit with their current position?
  7. Take a look at adjusting jobs, assignments, duties and responsibilities to make the most of each person's strengths and natural abilities.  When people are working from their strengths and talents, they flourish and the organization benefits immeasurably as well.  We have included a number of resources to help identify people's strengths in addition to the Primary Colors Assessment.  

Wishing our readers a delightful, colorful adventure this month.  If you take the Primary Color Assessment, we'd like to hear from you about your experience, what your colors are and what you learned about yourself.  

Footnote: Barbara Taylor's color is Royal Straight ("Intuitive Interaction") with the Career Cluster as Yellow ("Adaptability").  My Strengths are: Maximizer, Arranger, Relator, Individualization and Empathy.  In our Personality Game, my role is Priest with Artisan and Scholar influences - more details.  

  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books   -  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.

world wide web - articles  Articles

Related articles on this website:
    March 1997 - Creativity at Work 
    March 2001 - Finding the Perfect Job for You
    August 1999 - It's the Manager ... 
    November 2001 - The Essence of Leadership
    October 2005 - Great Management and Leadership
    October 1996 - Management Styles
    The Personality Game - Playing the Personality Game
    May 2007 - The Law of Attraction at Work 
    May 2007 - Affirmation and Positive Quotes 
    February 2007 - Visioning for the Future
    April 1998 - Vision: Expanding Your Thinking
    August 2006 - Leadership Vision
    September 2006 - The Power of Thought
    July 2009 - Life Roles in the Workplace

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links.   We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

spike bullet If you have comments about this month's topic, please let us know or take our newsletter survey.  If you would like to receive free notices of the new monthly topic, please sign up for our mailing list.  See our Privacy Policy

Page updated: October 16, 2023      
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