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Understanding the Language of Colour with C-me

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

I don’t like putting people in boxes and I’m not particularly fond of labels either; I find stereotypes and generalisations unhelpful because the differences between people are very nuanced. I do, however, feel it’s very useful get a clearer understanding of myself and people around me, so I can build meaningful relationships and be more empathetic towards others. In this regard, categorisation does have a role to play.

Psychological categorisation has been around for centuries; Hippocrates observed four types of people, classified as Sanguine, Melancholic, Choleric and Phlegmatic over 2 ½ thousand years ago, believing that body fluid played a part in our behaviour! Since then, many observations and theories have been made; most famously by Carl Jung who published his book Psychological Types in 1923.

Whilst categorisations are not perfect my any means, they can give us fascinating insights into how and why people operate in the way they do. C-me colour profiling is one of the more modern forms of psychometric testing, derived from the Jungian principles of introversion versus extraversion and thinking versus feeling. The C-Me system is simpler to understand and use than its predecessors such as Belbin, DISC, or the Myers-Briggs Type Indication (MBTI), which you may be familiar with. Rather than lengthy letter or number combinations and extensive wording, C-Me breaks the key characteristics down into 4 simple colours; red, yellow, green and blue.

If you want to simplify it, C-me’s colours are divided between extrovert and reflective (the term introvert is no longer used in this context) and thinking and feeling. But C-me is so much more that this; a complex series of very clever algorithms is able to analyse your preferred and least preferred responses to situations, as posed in a questionnaire and provide a detailed, visual report which is not only highly personal, but extremely accurate (clients commonly claim a level of accuracy of over 90%). This report can be a very useful tool and combined with coaching and training, enabling people to improve relationships and situations in both their working and private lives

The thing I really like most about C-me, and what differentiates it significantly from other systems, is the emphasis is on behaviour rather than personality; recognising that we can all change our behaviour, as the situation requires. Therefore C-me recognises that our behaviour is based on a mix of all the colours, yet we do have preferences, and these become very apparent when we are in a highly relaxed or a highly stressed state. The focus of C-me is on being able to flex our behaviour and, therefore, provides a framework, which is not only tangible, but also coachable.

Understanding our colour preferences helps us understand ourselves and others and why we might behave in a certain manner. This was visibly demonstrated recently when I borrowed a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle during lockdown from my friend, who’s a keen puzzler. My free-spirited, spontaneous and imaginative yellow side led me to immediately start building the puzzle depending on the elements of the picture that caught my eye and the colours I found attractive; so I started forming the inside of the puzzle first, picking the pieces out of one large pile. My friend, who’s very structured, logical and analytical (all blue characteristics), found that very strange because she always looks for all the corner and edge pieces first, and then organises the pieces into logical groups before even starting the puzzle.

Using colours gives us a language to help explain a situation. In my previous company, colours were so embedded into our working culture, that it wasn’t uncommon to hear someone utter something like “his behaviour is very blue, but the rest of his team are acting quite yellow” and we all understood what was meant!

Conflicts and uncomfortable situations can be avoided with a better understanding of someone’s preferences; in a brainstorming meeting my high-blue acting colleagues found it very stressful to be put on the spot and asked for their ideas, whereas my high-red acting colleagues wanted to quickly get to the task at hand and fire their ideas out. Understanding the people on your team can help you agree on your ways of working and communicating with each other.

I am fascinated by people and observing how they operate. I find it particularly interesting to consider how one person’s idea of heaven, is someone else’s idea of hell. For example, I thrive on being around lots of people, in a busy and noisy environment (high yellow), whereas my husband enjoys peace, quiet and calm (high blue/green).

Consequently, if we were to go to a party full of people we don’t know (my ideal scenario, his worst nightmare), I would come home buzzing and full of energy, wanting to continue to party, whereas he would be drained and want to rest. Knowing what gives you energy and, conversely, what costs you energy can be an extremely valuable insight.

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