Sep 13 • 3 min read

Last week I had the thrill of co-presenting with colleagues from Scranton SBDC and Bucknell SBDC at the national America’s SBDC conference in Washington DC. We spoke about the challenges of supporting entrepreneurs at different stages of business growth. Why do some consultants ‘click’ with certain clients and not with others? And how do these relationships affect the quality of the services we provide?

We think that understanding who we are as people – first knowing our own personalities and quirks – allow us to best serve our different clients. We kicked off the session with a pop quiz “What Color is Your Personality?” – a quick self-assessment of your leadership style, broken down into four categories. Each category color examines how you view yourself and how others may view you. As an added bonus, we then made suggestions for ways to consult with clients who exhibit these traits.

What Color is Your Personality?

If you are an ORANGE, you may see yourself as:

• Fun loving, enjoys life
• Spontaneous
• Flexible, adaptable
• Carefree
• Proficient, capable
• Hands-­‐on person/Physical
• Independent
• Good nego6ator
• Able to do many things at once
• Curious, likes variety and change
• Sees shades of grades
• “Here and Now” attitude
• Witty, funny

Other people may see ORANGE as:

• Irresponsible
• Flaky
• Unorganized
• Scattered
• Cluttered
• Invading others space
• Disobeys rules
• Manipulative
• Unable to stay on task
• Uncontrollable
• Can’t be trusted
• Selfish or unsympathetic
• Wishy-­‐washy

Tips for consulting with ORANGE clients:

• Go back to the basics
• Keep asking what their product is
• Ask them questions, then stop talking and listen; clarifying questions are helpful
• Give it to them straight
• Focus on action
• Talk about results
• Keep the conversation lively

If you are GREEN, you may see yourself as:

• Superior intellect
• 98% right
• Tough-­‐minded
• Powerful
• Visionary
• Original, unique
• Eminently reasonable
• Rational
• Calm
• Under-­‐control
• Precise, objective
• Holding firm to policy
• Seeking Justice
• Firm-­‐minded

Other people may see GREEN as:

• Intellectual snob
• Arrogant
• Heartless
• Doesn’t care about others
• Ruthless
• Unrealistic
• Eccentric, weird!
• Emotionally controlled
• Cool, aloof, unfeeling
• Afraid to open up
• Critical and fault finding
• Lacking Compassion
• Stingy with praise
• Inconsiderate of others

Tips for consulting with GREEN clients:

• Use clear & precise language
• Use logic in support of your recommendations
• Be prepared with your facts and examples
• Give options
• Keep the conversation relevant
• Ask meaningful questions
• Ask what they think first and then how they feel

If you are GOLD, you may see yourself as:

• Stable
• Providing security
• Dependable
• Firm
• Efficient
• Realistic
• Decisive
• Executive-­‐type
• Orderly and neat
• Organized
• Punctual
• Goal-­‐oriented

Other people may see GOLD as:

• Rigid
• Controlling
• Boring
• Stubborn
• System-­‐bound
• Unsympathetic
• Judgmental
• Bossy
• Fussy, limited flexibility
• Uptight
• Predictable
• Rigid idea of time

Tips for consulting with GOLD clients:

• Get to the point quickly – be efficient, organized, and don’t waste their time
• Give clear, precise statements, with complete thoughts
• Offer information in a sequential fashion
• Follow an agenda
• Don’t get sidetracked
• Be definitive and decisive; unresolved issues are not acceptable

If you are BLUE, you may see yourself as:

• Warm
• Caring, Compassionate
• Romantic
• Spiritual
• Cause-­‐oriented
• Unselfish, caretaker
• Empathetic, people-­person
• Affirming and accepting
• Kind and considerate
• Sympathetic
• Desiring harmony, unity

Other people may see BLUE as:

• Overly-­‐emotional
• “Bleeding heart”
• Mushy, immature
• Other-­‐worldly, weird
• Unrealistic
• Smothering
• Too trusting
• Hopefully naïve
• Easy to manipulate
• Soft, fawning, groveling
• Out of touch with reality

Tips for consulting with BLUE clients:

• Relate what you are saying to feelings
• Avoid open criticism
• Use stories, metaphors, analogies to communicate your message
• Put people’s needs ahead of procedures
• Be honest and genuine
• Appreciate their passion
• Share the vision of what is possible – engage their imagination

Many thanks to Lisa Hall Zielinski ( for this information!