The following "guest blog" is a contribution from Debi @ The Covered Wagon Ranch in Montana.
"Out of all my years of different management experience in different careers throughout my life, I have found nothing more challenging to manage than a group of seasonal employees living in a remote location who are forced to not only work together, but also live together. In a very short period of time you have to get the crew to respect each other, work together, and effectively learn to communicate. At times you're dealing with people of all ages as well as people who live all over the world. It's not easy.
I recently attended a seminar put on by the local Human Resources Organization on Understanding Personality Styles. We went through a process called "Real Colors", which is a system that is easy to administer, easy to remember, and quickly categorizes personality styles. While it is based on the theories of Carl Jung, it is simpler to administer and the results are easier to remember than other assessments based on Jung's work.
Real Colors separates personality traits into four categories: Blue, Gold, Green and Orange. Most of us have a primary, or dominant, color. All of these colors have positive and negative aspects. By determining your dominant color, you'll be able to determine a dominant personality and to effectively communicate to that person. For example, "Blues" will need people to listen to them as they listen to others, without solving or judging. "Golds" often need to restore order or accomplish something-big or small. "Greens" will need to turn inward and spend time alone sorting out their feelings. "Oranges" will need to be active, preferably, preferably with others.
Now I'm not a strong believer in doing personality tests on all my employees. In fact, I find it frightening. And I would never use it as a hiring tool. Instead, we gave everyone the test to determine their "dominant" color, and then talked about the best way to communicate with a particular style. We just wanted everyone to gain a respect for their co-workers so they could work better together by understanding each other.
Once we identified our "color", we had four buckets of paint and a blank canvas. We asked the crew to make a commitment to each other by recognizing that different people respond by different methods. Once committed, they dipped their hand into their color paint, and imprinted it on the canvas. The rule was that each painted hand had to connect to another hand to show that we all work together as a team. We posted the canvas right in the dining area of the lodge. It worked as a constant remember to work as a team, and our guests loved it as well. It worked really well for us last summer and we had the best crew ever. Everyone worked together and for the first time we ended the season with the same crew we started with!!
If you choose to do this program, just remember a few things. If you have international crew, you'll run into some language problems in getting the test completed. Also, some people have reading disabilities and got embarrassed when forced into a situation where they had to complete the test in front of their peers. Others had terrible grammar and spelling issues and didn't understand the questions but didn't want anyone else to know. So just pay close attention to your crew while taking the test and discreetly help them get through it.
It was worth it!"
Here's to a staff who dive in to this activity and to your team efforts, making your operation colorfully fantabulous!