The True Colours of Emotional Intelligence

I recently came across this article: When it comes to emotional intelligence, are you red, blue, green or orange? At the CIPS Annual Conference in London, both Andrew Newnham, group procurement director at ITV, and Elinor Williams, head of marketing procurement at Marks & Spencer described how they people according to their colour and adjusted their relationship approach.

What I found particularly amusing in the article was the total inconsistency in the profiling methodology. Newnham classified people as predominantly red, blue, green or orange. Reds are task driven, competitive, and quite loud. If you are blue you like relationships, you care about people. If you are green you tend to be a thinker and like analysing data. If orange: you are all about creativity. Williams said M&S also categorised people by colour, either as red, meaning results driven; yellow, about ideas and vision; green, concerned with the team; and blue, all about logic and analysis. While the red box is the same, blue and green have switched their positions and yellow has replaced orange.

Don’t get me wrong colour is a terrific clue to understanding the core emotional drives of people. Each of the seven 7MTF/Humm components is associated with a dominant colour. This is reflected in dress, discussions about the house or office, and in the colour of their car. You can see the seven colours on the Practical Emotional Intelligence logo. Movers prefer yellow, Hustlers red and gold, Politicians blue, Double-checkers brown, and Normals liked black, white, and grey. The two most introverted components, the Artist and the Engineer like purple and green respectively.

There is famous joke about the guy who sold fishing tackle. I asked him, “My God, they’re purple and green. Do fish really take these lures?” And he said, “Mister, I don’t sell to fish.”

The joke is good but the subtext is even more interesting. When you think about it, of all the sports fishing is perhaps the one that most appeals to the introvert; hence you would expect the most popular lure colours to be purple and green.

There is an emotional choice to colour and this explains why McDonalds has yellow arches, Donald Trump nearly always wears red ties, lawyers wear white shirts and grey suits, and large companies often have blue logos.


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Chris Golis - Author


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