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Archive February 2020 XXI, No. 2

Ideas That Work: Team Building

Let Staff Show Their True Colors

Mankato Surgery Center
ON DISPLAY Members of the Mankato (Minn.) Surgery Center team wear color-coded buttons on their name badges that represent their personality types.

When our facility's leadership team was having difficulty working together efficiently, we hired a consultant to assess each of our strengths. The consultant assigned each of us one of the following four colors that denotes our primary personality trait.

  • Orange: energetic, spontaneous, charming
  • Gold: punctual, organized, precise
  • Green: analytical, intuitive, visionary
  • Blue: empathetic, compassionate, cooperative

We expanded the personality color-coding to our entire staff with a 1-hour training session. Now we all wear buttons of our primary color on our nametags that remind us how to interact smoothly with each individual. Many here share a color that indicates compassion and empathy. Now we've learned how to work effectively with staff of other colors. When I interact with a "green" person, for example, they might not say "good morning" and chit-chat. They just want to get to work, and get things done right so they can go home sooner. Because I now understand their personality better, I don't assume they're upset with me, like I might have before. Now we know better how our existing staff fits together, and how new hires can add to our mix. You can learn more about the traits of the four color personalities at

Joleen Harrison, RN, BSN, PHN, CASC
Mankato (Minn.) Surgery Center

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