Team meetings: Which colour should I see with?

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Did you know?

Eyes have two types of photoreceptors – rods and cones. Cones are responsible for both colour vision and the highest visual sharpness. However, they are less sensitive to light, requiring significantly brighter light to be activated. Meanwhile, rods are more sensitive than cones and can be triggered by low light conditions. Rods are therefore responsible for night vision and can detect sensitive motion. However, they are not sensitive to colour, which also explains why we don’t see colour in the dark.

Let’s meet the Common Starling bird

The Common Starling is a species of bird that is native to most of Europe and Asia. In 2000, a study by a team of researchers led by biologist Dr. Nathan Hart of Queensland University, Australia revealed an interesting fact about the starling’s two eyes and its vision.

In the starling, the left eye has more cones, while more rods are found in the right eye. The two eyes therefore seem to fulfil different functions – the left eye is used to look for colour such as when searching for food, whereas the right eye is used to detect sensitive movement such as when observing for danger from an enemy. This explains why the starling (as well as many other birds) tend to look at objects with either one eye or the other – it all depends upon the intended purpose.

Different ‘vision’ preferences in teamwork

Now how does this apply to our lesson on leadership and teamwork? In our earlier post, we introduced the Team Management System Types of Work Wheel which describes 8 different types of work that a team needs to consider for high performance. In this post, we will further explore the Wheel by taking a look at the colours.

Like the colours of a rainbow, the different ‘light colours’ of the Types of Work Wheel complement each other and together make a whole team. The different colours meet together in the centre, combining to form the ‘white light’ of the Linking skills. A well balanced and effective team would have a good distribution of preferences in all areas.

 Green Green is the colour of new growth in plants. Green was chosen to represent the areas of the Wheel that focus on new ideas and information.
 Yellow The yellow sun gives life to the earth and nourishes life in general. Yellow was chosen to represent the promoting aspects of teamwork.
 Red Red is the colour of action, warmth and emotions. Red was chosen to represent the sectors of the Wheel where action takes place and heat is generated from movement.
 Blue Blue is the colour of cool, clear thinking. Blue represents the control and detail of the Wheel, the period of reflection and checking that all the outcomes have been met.

What happens when a team is unbalanced?

However, often when members of a team have work preferences distributed in one particular area of the Wheel, they will tend to give other areas of the Wheel less attention, which can lead to problems. Without new ‘green’ ideas, for example, a team will soon grow into obsolescence.

By understanding that all parts of the Wheel are important, we can more intentionally focus our vision and attention upon the other parts, especially on those parts of the Wheel that are not our primary preferences.

Like the starling bird, we can make a conscious choice of which focus of vision we want that is important and needed for the moment. Should we, for example, take focus with a ‘green’ perspective for generation of new ideas? Or should we instead take a ‘blue’ perspective for reflection and checking?

The colours of the Team Management Wheel and the TMS concepts can be used to run effective ‘coloured meetings’. This can help a team balance their role preferences towards becoming a high-performing team, provided that good Linking Skills are implemented to allow for compensation of the natural inclinations.

So the next time you find yourself frustrated by a task that is not within your primary teamwork role preference, remember the starling bird. Sometimes you might just need to look with the ‘other eye’ to see things from a different perspective.

From the ant to the zebra… from the acacia to the zucchini… there are so many lessons that we can learn from animals and plants about growing our character and leadership strengths. Join us on an amazing journey of discovery and reflection with our Leadership of Nature™ series as we see and hear inspirational stories from nature, as well as put into practice life changing applications for success in our lives!

To learn more about using the Margerison-McCann Team Management System in your workplace, contact us for more information today.

(article by Ling Hua Loon:

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