What is in this article?:
How a personality-type tool called the PACE Color Palette can help you better understand how your colleagues (and bosses) think and perceive the world. Four CME professionals explored the PACE system at a recent ACEHP Leadership Institute, and are finding it a great resource for building stronger CME teams at their offices.
Taking It to the Office
These insights motivated each of us to return to our offices and start conversations with our colleagues and direct-reports about what we learned. We shared our knowledge of the PACE Palette, and we’ve had some very interesting conversations about our own communication styles, and the styles of others.
As members of the Leadership Institute, with our colors defined, we wrote this article with a clear understanding of our communication styles, and of what brings us happiness and what stresses us out. We approached each other with a baseline of trust and camaraderie that improved communication and allowed us to get straight to any issue. In fact, this article came together as a perfect case study for how a PACE-centric team can work together. It was almost too easy: Jacob was happy to do the digging and find out more details; Audrie was always willing to set up conference calls and make sure that everyone’s schedule was kept on track; Beth was delighted to draw up timelines and a list of deliverables; and, though it was hard to find a Red, once we found Alana, it was her enthusiasm that pushed the whole project forward.
OK, so it works for writing an article. But how does this method of thinking play out in the CME environment in which we work? Let’s look at a typical situation for healthcare education: Shortly after completing an educational activity, we have learner data, but what’s next? (I smell a little Plan-Do-Study-Act coming.) To leverage each color’s strengths, we turn the evaluation data over to our Green; he is practically glowing as he does a deep dive into the information. A few days later, tired but still enthusiastic, he meets with our Red and shares educational barriers specific to a subset of the learners. With a Red’s inclination to conceptualize, she realizes that while the barriers exist, there may be a way around them. She asks our Yellow to join her for a quick working lunch where she explains the concept. Since Yellows love to plan, she eagerly drafts a time and events schedule to make this idea to a reality. Yellow meets with Blue to discuss the different stakeholder partners and the conversations they’ll need to have. And soon the next activity is born, all while leveraging what each “color” does best.
This is not to say that a Blue will never be the one to come up with the idea, or that a Yellow can’t analyze the data. Still, if the team were all Green, we might have a great discussion about the data, but without the injection of a Red’s next big idea, we’d likely fail to generate momentum. (T. Boone Pickens calls this the “Ready… Aim … Aim… Aim…” problem.)
When you can assemble a team that maximizes each color type’s strength, you expedite your ability to get to a solution. Each situation or challenge is different, and we learned that in times of stress, we can completely forget to consider our own or others’ color characteristics. Now that we know this, we can greatly improve our leadership skills, our perspectives, and our communications with others on our team.
Authors note: If you want to explore this subject in more depth, meet us at the 38th Annual ACEHP Meeting, January 30–February 2, 2013, in San Francisco. We’ll be in Yerba Buena 5-6/Lower B2 at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 31, along with other Leadership Institute attendees who will be sharing leadership challenges and stories. Come show your colors!