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Blue, red, green and yellow hold insights to improve communication and emotional intelligence

When it comes to personality assessments, there’s the Strengths Finder, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Enneagram, DISC and dozens, if not hundreds, more. Chances are, you’ve taken one of these and might even know your “type.”

The Daniels College of Business utilizes the Insights Discovery System as a tool for improving business communication and emotional intelligence. Rooted in the psychological theories of Carl Jung, Insights was developed specifically for the workplace. It is used in organizations worldwide, available in 30 languages and provides a simple, yet powerful framework for understanding your own and others’ personality preferences, communication styles and leadership qualities.

Like the Jungian-based Myers Briggs, Insights delves into a person’s attitudes and functions: introversion, extroversion, thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition—but it differentiates which qualities are innate preferences versus those a person ramps up according to their job function, team dynamics or work environment.

Four people discussing Insights

Participants in the Emerging Leaders Program at Daniels Executive Education discuss Insights in break-out groups

Though they can be informative and fun to share on Facebook, most personality assessments lose their recall fairly quickly. Daniels uses Insights because it’s visual and easy to remember for oneself and one’s team members.

That’s important because when teams speak a common language about communication preferences and can develop awareness of themselves and others, it allows them to adapt their behaviors to others’ preferences for increased camaraderie and team effectiveness.

Insights demonstrates high statistical validity and reliability, and has proven to be so helpful, the tool is administered to all Daniels faculty, staff, MBA and Master’s of Science in Management and Marketing students.

After taking the assessment—a 25-frame survey where respondents select their preferences from a professional perspective among 100-word pairs—participants receive a personalized 20-page report, which includes a hierarchy of color preferences and detailed strengths, weaknesses, communication and management styles, and more.

Insights color wheel

Image courtesy the Insights Discovery System

Each color carries a distinct energy.

Someone with high blue energy is typically knowledgeable, detail-oriented and has great follow-through. A person with high green energy is seen as patient, caring, encouraging and supportive. Both are introverted energies. High yellow is associated with social, enthusiastic and persuasive energy, whereas high red usually means the person is driven, competitive and action-oriented.

Research shows the colors are evenly divided across society, without biases according to gender or nationality. People do, however, tend to adapt their energies to succeed within cultural norms.

“You’re not the same all the time,” said Amanda Cahal, director of MBA global programs and adjunct faculty member in Executive Education at the Daniels College of Business. “You respond to your environment, to the people around you, and what we think we need to do well to be successful.”

This might mean that a person with blue-dominant energy ramps up their extroverted, yellow energy to fit into a more social role or environment. If yellow is not a preferred energy for that person, it could be more draining for that person to be “on” at work every day. These dynamics are important for leaders and team members to be mindful of in managing themselves and others.

Whereas other personality tools can pigeonhole a person into one exacting type, Insights considers the nuanced preferences and energy combinations we can all display across various scenarios.

“It’s a continuum that’s based on your preferences, not your skills,” said Cahal, who is one of 10 Daniels faculty members certified in administering the Insights Discovery System. “It’s less about the type and more about the individual.”

For that reason, Insights requires a debrief by a certified Insights instructor after taking the assessment.

In addition to the curricular component within Daniels graduate business programs, Executive Education at Daniels offers both public and custom Insights programs as continuing education for corporate clients.

“Having all our teammates complete Insights was invaluable,” said Executive Education client FullContact’s former Chief of Staff Drew Lawrence. “Overall, individuals are more self-aware, teammates communicate better with each other, and we are more efficient and productive as a company. It’s a rare example of a true ‘win/win’!”

Cahal has administered and taught Insights to hundreds of teams and individuals, including groups of five to 100 employees that run the gamut from senior executives to social work students, computer engineers, accountants, surgeons, veterinarians and everything in between.

It has wide appeal regardless of industry or role since Insights helps people interact effectively with others to use their influence and get things done. Cahal said if the Golden Rule is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the Insights Rule is, “Do unto others as they would prefer to be done unto.”

Insights is also included as a component of Executive Education’s leadership development programs. The positive results often spill over into personal relationships, as well.

“When we ask Denver Leadership Program participants, ‘What stuck with you?’ 85% still say, ‘Insights—it helped me communicate better; it improved my self-awareness; it saved my marriage,’” said Assistant Director of Executive Education Ashley Sodaro.

“The way we approach leadership is that it really does start with self and self-awareness,” Sodaro said. “You can’t change an organization without starting with yourself internally and how you can communicate better with your team. The only way to change other people is to change yourself. It usually radiates out from there.”

Executive Education has hosted Insights training programs for nonprofit, government and corporate organizations, as well as leadership development and public Insights programs, for the last 10 years. The next public Insights class will be held in January 2020. For more information about Insights classes, or to inquire about a custom Insights program for your team or company, visit the Daniels Executive Education Insights Discovery website.

Please visit DU’s COVID-19 website and subscribe to @uofdenver Twitter for updates regarding COVID-19.

Please visit DU’s COVID-19 website and subscribe to @uofdenver Twitter for updates regarding COVID-19.