By Tony Daniels
Associate Director, Campus Recreation
As a professional staff member in the Campus Recreation department at UTSA, my colleagues and I just completed the semester student staff training. For over two years, my department has incorporated True Colors© in our training efforts. The True Colors© training begins with the assessment. In the book, Keys To Personal Success, a book about the history of True Colors©, the article states "The True Colors© assessment asks participants to identify their "color spectrum" using four cards that represent key personality types: Blue, Orange, Gold or Green. Each color has particular strengths and each analyzes, conceptualizes, understands, interacts and learns differently. But these differences, if not acknowledged and understood, can become barriers to interpersonal communication, making understanding between people of different types difficult". (Lowry 6)
It was about this time last year that I submitted an article to the Student Affairs newsletter about a brief conversation I had with a student manager at Campus Recreation regarding her experience utilizing the True Colors© program information while at work. The student replied without hesitation that she really "liked" True Colors© and was confident that she could recall the color spectrum for each of the eight students that she directly supervised during her shifts. She also stated that she was not as confident that she could recall all the characteristics associated with each color of the True Colors© spectrum (Blue, Orange, Gold, Green) because she did not look at the characteristics sheet on a daily basis.
The student manager explained that she was able to recall the color spectrums of her colleagues because Campus Recreation provides colored adhesive dots (Blue, Orange, Gold, Green) for each new student employee upon hire. Her ability to see the colored dots on nametags on a regular basis facilitated greater opportunity for her to know and learn the color spectrums of her peers. She attributed her lack of confidence recalling the characteristics associated with each color of the spectrum to her not having a visual of the True Colors© information sheet with characteristics associated with each color each shift she is at work. The two primary visual elements of True Colors© that Campus Recreation has incorporated are colored adhesive dots for student and professional staff nametags and color spectrums outside of each professional staff member's offices. Both provide all staff members with information on each person's spectrum.
By providing a visual for student and professional staff, I feel that our department has improved our ability to utilize of the True Colors© as a common language -- a way to improve communication internally, with other departments across campus, and most important, all patrons that we serve.
We can always improve. Our continued effort will include a review of the information again during our upcoming training then post the information for daily view, in our semester staff meetings, in-services and electronic publications.
Our commitment at the spring 2013 training was to include sessions for all new staff. The training day schedule included topics such as customer service, risk management and skill development. With over 250 student staff in attendance and because of our commitment to True Colors©, training sessions were scheduled for new staff members. In a conversation with a new staff member, Mia Hatter-Woods, a freshman from Houston, "True Colors© enlightened me about my personality while giving me a chance to interact with my new staff coworkers. I learned that my "dominant color" was orange, meaning that I am a very interactive, social person and that I take initiative in a work environment."
It is evident that Campus Recreation is committed to incorporating True Colors© into our daily operations. It is visible by the spectrum of colored dots on our nametags, and professional staff office nameplates. We have also committed significant time during the semester training to ensure that all new staff is trained in an effort to provide all with a working knowledge of the characteristics associated with each color. I can't help but wonder what a student manager in the next two years may say about their use of True Colors© while at work.
True Colors Training Schedule for STAFF (SD 410) ---- SPRING 2013
Training Schedule for SPRING 2013 ----- see attached schedule
True Colors Training Schedule for Student Affairs STUDENT employees (SD 417) -- SPRING 2013
Training Schedule for SPRING 2013 ----- COMPLETED
Any comments? Please send to VPSA@utsa.edu