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Showing Our True Colors: The Strength Deployment Inventory

Posted by: Pulse Young Professionals on Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Earlier this year I took a SDI (Strength Deployment Inventory) class through Erwin Penland to learn how to “improve relationships and manage conflict more effectively.” Honestly, I signed up for the class because I constantly heard my coworkers referring to people by their “colors.” I was incredibly curious to see where I fit in on the color wheel. Before class began we each had to answer a questionnaire about our emotions and behaviors. We were given our results that day. Your color (or color combination) is your Motivational Value System (MVS): your motives when things are going well. The results for each category are broken down into three colors – blue, red and green. Blues are nurturing; reds are directive and greens are autonomous. All of us have each of these motives at different times and in different frequencies, but this color assignment focuses primarily on what motivates a person when things are going well. Once we had our MVS colors, we were able to look at how color affects our actions. We explored questions like “What are your strengths? What makes you feel the most rewarded? What do you commonly avoid?” This lead to the next color we were assigned: our Conflict Sequence (CS), or the changes in motivation that people experience as they endure conflict. Understanding these different color combinations can help in many ways both in and out of the office. As a leader, it’s important to understand your managerial style as well as the best way to interact with your team. Although I may be one color, I need to understand and respect my colleagues’ color differences so that we can effectively work together. Often, problems in the workplace can be traced back to a simple misunderstanding as a result of a difference in MVS or CS. For example, a red is most motivated by a concern to accomplish a specific task, but a green is motivated by maintaining order. When they work together, a red might cut corners to make sure the work gets done quickly, but a green will be more concerned with following specific rules and guidelines. If you work with a team of people of different colors, you will want to understand what motivates them so you can see the best way for everyone to work together. The same thing applies to conflict. One person might avoid making contact, while another one might refuse to back down. Without understanding what motivates a person in conflict, you’ll probably struggle to choose the best way to handle it. This class provided a really interesting perspective on communication styles. It gave me an opportunity to analyze how and why people might react the way they do. With this new understanding, I can cater my communication more specifically to their color. Learning about and considering SDI styles will make you a more successful leader, or maybe that’s just my blue MVS showing through – feeling best about myself when I can be helpful in some way to others. Even if you disagree, don’t tell me you hate this blog post because blues have been known to be sensitive. More Resources: -Prezi: The Keys to Conflict and SDI Communication -An Overview of the SDI About the Author: Rachel Adams is an Account Coordinator in the Public Relations department for the Denny’s team at Erwin Penland. Rachel graduated from University of South Carolina in 2010 with a degree in Public Relations and continued on to receive a Master’s of Communication from College of Charleston in 2013. A recent transplant to Greenville, she is still exploring all that the Upstate has to offer. Rachel now serves on the PULSE Connects committee and loves being able to lend a hand in her new community.


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