Does Your Team Possess Excellent Coloring Skills?

Do you encourage your underlings to "color outside the lines?"
Do you encourage your underlings to "color outside the lines?" (Flickr)

Here's an experiment you can try at your next team meeting.

Find a few coloring books and crayons and distribute them to your team at the beginning of your meeting. Go ahead with your meeting and discuss the issues of the day and encourage your team to color a picture, then sign their time at the bottom as an artist would sign.

After the conclusion of your meeting, collect the coloring books and consider the following thoughts for analysis. (Perhaps YOU should color too, prior to reading ahead ... OK, I agree, there's no chance of that occurrence.)

Early in life we were taught to color inside the lines. It was primarily a motor skill development tool. Coloring soon evolved into a plot to teach conformity and perhaps uniformity. I remember even being chastised for improper color selection for an elephant picture. I knew at an early age that elephants are green!

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I've taught a few hundred executive seminars, and I usually begin with a coloring test. I distribute a sheet of paper with the outline of a house on the paper. The two words at the top of the page are simply, COLOR ME. I administer this executive exam at the beginning and end of the seminar.

In the first exam (pre-test), most executives will simply color the house ... only the color selection varies. At the end of the seminar, (post-test) everything on the page is colored except the house. So what happens during training to cause the shift in behavior?

The seminar content is focused on the conformity training of early education that could reduce our creative quotient. Is it any wonder that most of us consider highly creative people to be "out there," rebels and unusual?

Many organizations use standardized testing to measure an applicant's culture fit. To me, I've never understood why we prefer to hire robots. Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?

Wild and crazy guys like Gates, Jobs and Dell flunked coloring. When they looked at a page to be colored, they didn't see through the eyes of a trained conformist. Who knows what they saw?

I know they didn't care about typos or scratched-out words as they wrote unthought thoughts.

If we have two people at the table thinking conformist thoughts ... someone is redundant.

Send me a catalyst.

As we consider the need for organizational conformity, we define the future of our organization. We either have a palette of colors and a wide canvas or we don't.

Creativity and cataclysmic progress occurs where it is nurtured. We can't hire a token creative and send them into a padded office to wither into conformity.

As leaders, we need to define what we want our organization to become. Will we conform to what we have always been or transform into something seen by few?

If you seek growth for your organization, hire people who create with color.

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.


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