What’s Your Workplace MO?

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How to use Color Code as a nurse leader

December 14, 2019



Megan Guido:                 00:00                  Well, welcome everybody. Thanks for joining "What's your MO in healthcare? And today I have a very distinguished guest, Deena Rauch who recently received her doctorate in nursing practice. She is also a fellow certified color-code trainer. I've known Deena for probably about 20 years now. Most recently she is working as a Chief Nursing Officer for a critical access hospital in Idaho. And today we're going to explore how you have used Color Code throughout your career spanning what, 20, 30 years now as a nurse. And tell me a little bit about your most recent position.

Deena Rauch :                 00:51                  I started at the hospital I'm at now in August of 2017. I came to fill in as an interim Chief Nursing Officer for four months. And I liked it so well. I decided I would stay. So I've been there a little over two years now. My responsibilities include overseeing all the nursing units as well as cardiopulmonary services, infection prevention, education case management, utilization review.

Megan Guido:                 01:39                  It's a big job. So getting into the Color Code. I should explain to my guests that you are a red, blue, blue, red.

Deena Rauch :                 01:54                  I'm a blue with a secondary red.

Megan Guido:                 01:58                  So with your self awareness around that, how have you used Color Code and the strengths of the blue to help you navigate in your job as a Chief Nursing Officer?

Deena Rauch :                 02:14                  Well, I've used Color Code formally in two organizations and I'd say rather informally in a couple others. I think that color code provides a foundation for personal and professional growth. I think it also establishes a common language that organizations can use to discuss workplace issues like performance, communication; Color Code helps to navigate through conflict and problem solving. I think that it also gives us insight into how our behavior affects others and it helps us to develop that emotional intelligence when we have to work with others.

Megan Guido:                 03:08                  Absolutely. That's what it does. It really does provide that foundation for an organization. So as a Chief Nursing Officer, how have you used the strengths of your color? Primarily blue with the secondary red to navigate some of those things that you talked about? Like conflict resolution.

Deena Rauch :                 03:31                  Relationship, intimacy. I'm able to use that to develop strong teams. I use that by gaining trust, developing those teams by acknowledging others' strengths and their communication styles around those strengths. So to approach a red, I use as a whole different skill set than when you're trying to approach another blue personality, a white or yellow.

Megan Guido:                 04:05                  Absolutely. So realizing that we can't go into any specifics, but maybe you could draw from your past experience. Any examples that you can think of where you utilized what you knew as a Color Code trainer and brought those strengths forward to resolve a conflict or to deal with something in the workplace?

Deena Rauch :                 04:32                  Well, I knew you were going to ask me that.

Deena Rauch :                 04:36                  Color Code is so much a part of who I am and how I do my work, that it's in constant motion for me. I can't really pull out specifics. I do know that if I am working with a red personality compared to my own blue personality, that I can be assertive up front and even mildly confrontational if I need to be. And I know that person isn't going to linger or worry about that. It's just getting it out...

Megan Guido:                 05:20                  Just getting to the bottom line and the facts.

Deena Rauch :                 05:23                  Right. I don't have to worry about feelings and things getting in the way of a direct conversation. And so I kind of liken it to putting on my big girl panties as a red with the red. Um, and knowing that I can just, um, tell it like it is.

Megan Guido:                 05:44                  Exactly. So how about the other colors, yellows and whites? Are they more challenging?

Deena Rauch :                 05:53                  I think that all of the types can be challenging in their own ways, and easier in some ways. I think where it gets glitchy is if somebody isn't real healthy. If people are healthy in, in their lives and they approach their work and their life with clean motives, it's a lot easier to have conversations with those folks. If somebody isn't very healthy, and they approach their life with unhealthy motives, then that trips up honest and genuine communication.

Megan Guido:                 06:40                  So tell me more about that. That's an interesting notion. This idea of a clean motive.

Deena Rauch :                 06:47                  I think clean motives serve others in a positive way or manner. aA dirty motive is when you're only looking out for yourself and what you want out of a relationship.

Megan Guido:                 07:03                  So how would you experience someone who has a clean motive? Um, are they more authentic? Do you feel like you can have, you know, where they're coming from?

Deena Rauch :                 07:14                  Absolutely.

Megan Guido:                 07:15                  Whereas someone with what you call a dirty motive, how would you experience them?

Deena Rauch :                 07:20                  A clean motive helps you gain win-win solutions rather than win-lose solutions or lose-lose solutions.

Megan Guido:                 07:33                  That's an interesting way to put it. That might help the audience understand what we're talking about because there's some vernacular within Color Code that is very clear to us but may not be to others. But you are talking about someone who may not be authentic and not coming across as being authentic or you get kind of mixed signals. That could be someone who's not healthy, in terms of who they are. They are not comfortable in who they are. It's very hard to read those people and to have an effective relationship with them. Tell me a little bit more about your work as a chief nursing officer. You know, that's kind of the pinnacle in terms of a nurse who is going into administration and working in a hospital. What are some of the challenges that you face?

Deena Rauch :                 08:39                  Well, anytime you put people together, you always have challenges. I think healthcare is a challenging occupation. It is rapidly changing and the way we've done things are not going to sustain us into the future. So we're constantly innovating, creating, developing and evaluating how our work affects patient outcomes.

Megan Guido:                 09:20                  I think you summarized that nicely. That is basically the environment that people working in a hospital and in healthcare are dealing with everyday -- constant change. Why would an organization spend time and money on something like a personality assessment tool like Color Code. People may think that's not really worth the money when we have all these other things we have to invest in. Why would someone like yourself who has experienced the power of Color Code and how it helps people, why is it important for a leader to invest in something like Color Code?

Deena Rauch :                 10:05                  I think if you look at evidence based practice and knowing personality styles, it helps you get it right the first time. So like when we apply evidence based practice to solving healthcare problems, we know that the answer is out there. We just have to go look for it and do it. I think with using Color Code as an example to get to know and understand people, we get our relationships right the first time. We can communicate and build on that relationship to be more productive and effective at work and in our personal lives.

Megan Guido:                 11:01                  Well said. It really speeds up the process, right? We don't have as much time to get it right. We have to be expedient in terms of our work because things are changing all the time. And so this gives you that ability to move to trust more quickly.

Deena Rauch :                 11:21                  I think also in the context of problem solving that the more diversity you have around that problem, in terms of how people view the situation or view the world, that you can reach better solutions to those problems if you have the diversity too.

Megan Guido:                 11:51                  Right, you're going to get knowledge, those different viewpoints up front and, and bring them together to begin with.

Deena Rauch :                 11:58                  And that you can acknowledge others values and their unique perspectives, which enhances the team and the problem solving.

Megan Guido:                 12:08                  Thank you for being my guest on What's your M.O. in healthcare. Until next time, this is Megan Guido with What's your M.O. in healthcare.