How does a small, critical access hospital with approximately 400 employees, use Color Code? We use it to sustain the bedrock of our organizational culture. The principles of Color Code—“know thyself” and “100% responsibility” perfectly align with the cultural traits of Pullman Regional Hospital that were laid more than 25 years ago and continue to be cultivated to this day.
At Pullman Regional Hospital, we have been teaching Color Code as part of our new employee orientation every month since 1995. Since that time, approximately 2,600 employees who were oriented to the hospital were introduced to Color Code.
Our CEO spends half a day with all new employees addressing organizational values such as personal change precedes organizational change, teamwork and personal accountability (holding yourself 100% responsible for your actions and the quality of a relationship). A 3-hour workshop on Color Code follows the presentation on our cultural values. Employees are asked to take the online assessment and bring their comprehensive analysis to the first day of orientation. From there, we go over not only the strengths, limitations, wants and needs of each color, but Color Code’s significant role in our hospital’s culture and how it is a common language. It is stressed that as a tool, Color Code helps us understand how we can work well with each other to achieve organizational goals.
After orientation, once the new employees have learned about their color, this new information works well as an icebreaker with their new co-workers. “What color are you?” is often asked during their first day of departmental training and starts a natural conversation with colleagues.
We have three trained Color Code facilitators. As facilitators, we are careful to stress that revealing your color is for the purpose of understanding yourself and others. It is not to be used as a label or an excuse for why you cannot work with another color. It is your responsibility to understand the strengths and limitations of your primary color, how to work out of the strengths of other colors and how to communicate with people with different primary colors.
In addition to new employee orientation, Leadership uses Color Code as a tool in peer coaching and as a springboard for discussion in conflict resolution. Starting a conversation by saying, “I’m a Blue” or “I’m a Yellow” can diffuse a difficult interaction by creating an instant recognition of, “so my perspective and actions are emotion-based.” A Red or White personality can understand that their logic-based perspective is inherently at odds with the Blue or Yellow. From there, both personalities can adjust their communication styles and tap into the strengths of the other color for a more successful outcome.
Color Code is the most popular part of new employee orientation, and it continues to be requested by Leadership and staff for ongoing education. The Leadership Development Team is now working on presenting an updated curriculum for department directors, which will include Color Code “nuggets,” for example, “How to talk to a Red” and “Environmental filters that can impact your behavior.”
From a community outreach perspective, we are marketing our Color Code services to outside groups and have secured workshops with about a dozen businesses and educational institutions, some as paying clients but most of them are conducted on a pro bono basis (except for online access to assessment). These serve as great community engagement and marketing opportunities for Pullman Regional Hospital.
Today, Color Code is embedded in Pullman Regional Hospital’s culture and continues to serve as a valuable tool in facilitating strong working relationships. It truly is a personal gift we give to employees so they can understand their core motives. They can then take the next step to work from their strengths and take 100% responsibility for the quality of their relationships. Strong working relationships translate into improved productivity, a strong culture and greater alignment with hospital goals.
Megan Guido is the Chief Marketing & Community Relations Officer at Pullman Regional Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital located in eastern Washington. She is also a certified Color Code trainer and has been teaching and facilitating Color Code workshops for more than eight years.
Shared from The Color Code
Note: Deborah is a Certified Independent Color Code Trainer