Team culture: the 3-colour technique

The cultures of organisations and teams can be colour coded according to Jerry Connor and Lee Sears authors of "Why Work is Weird". Red is achievement oriented, Yellow is people focused and Blue values Professional Expertise.


Most teams have a dominant colour but with shades of the other two.

This approach can be very helpful as the first stage in harnessing culture in a positive way is always to recognise it.

Red teams value "getting on with it" and achieving the task

Attributes that are successful in red cultures include drive, focus, directness and practicality. In this kind of culture, activity and achievement are highly valued.

Yellow (humanist) teams tend to be people focused

They value consensus and involvement. Decisions tend to be taken through discussion and it is seen as important that each individual can air their views. In this kind of culture, upsetting or alienating people will be strongly discouraged.

Blue (professional) cultures value professional expertise

They promote and reward the best trained and most skilled expert, and tend to devalue attributes not directly linked to the profession itself (for example in a hospital medical excellence may be valued but not management skills).


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