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They are Definitely Not all Resourceful Oranges

By: Jane Harnadek


I'm standing in line with my badge and materials, and I'm waiting to get into Unit Five. There are two people ahead of me and I quietly ask myself, “What’s taking them so long?”  Finally, I am buzzed through the first door. I empty everything in my pockets as well as my materials into a tray which is then put through an X-ray machine. Then it’s my turn to walk through a metal detector. Next, I walk through a series of doors - one, two, then a third one, and then . . . a final clang. I am inside the walls of a prison.


I pick up the list of attendees and I begin the seven-minute walk to the Unit and through the final locked door.  I am a volunteer, and twice a week at two different units I present a Life Skills workshop to inmates.  I’m on my way to begin session three of the ten week rotating Life Skills series.  There are set volunteer hours and by the time I arrive at my final destination there is about 3 minutes to set up before Part I of the Personality Dimensions workshop begins.  I quickly tape up the four large Dimension Picture Cards and Training Objectives.  All the slides have been printed off in colour (except Resourceful Orange) and put into a three-ring binder.  The agenda, cards, envelopes and pencils are put to one side.  I wonder how many Gold’s; Blue’s, Green’s and Orange’s will be found this evening.  Will they be amazed when they are handed the tools to understanding themselves and others.  When they are done with their tools, will they understand that people do not lie awake at night trying to figure out ways to get even with them?  


Let’s begin . . .


Each workshop begins with greetings and a sign in, a confidentiality statement, and then a review of what has been covered and what's to come. I have approximately an hour and a half and there is a lot of work to be done.  Tonight is Personality Dimensions® -- Part I.  As they listen. .  . “And you probably think they lie awake all night thinking of ways to drive you crazy.” Heads nod up and down.  Then the history of temperament: How Hippocrates based it on excesses of body fluid and up to the evolution of Personality Dimensions®.  I see some puzzled faces.  Those Inquiring Greens are still uncertain, until I show them Appendix C of the Manual with the validations, hypothesis, and analysis.  Then they shake their heads, this is OK.  When we do the simple exercise of three words:  “mop, shop, top” – what do you do at a green light?  “Stop!”  Again, they nod their heads, yes, we are very similar.   I talk about preferences – how each temperament has a preferred way of doing something – as an example how we write our name – let’s write our name – now switch hands and write your name again.  How did that feel?  ‘I had to concentrate’, ‘it felt weird’.  They laugh and compare signatures.  Finally we begin.   They have been looking at the large Dimensions Picture Cards and now they have their own set.  As in any PD workshop, they do the Picture Cards, then Life Values, Relationships and Communications Dimension Cards.  Some of the men are quicker than others in assessing themselves, so they enjoy reading the brochures included and begin to come to an understanding of themselves and the other temperaments.  The men are truly amazed at the accuracy of Personality Dimensions®.  


I have had some incredible experiences with Personality Dimensions but the most amazing was when “Bob”* did PD.  He could barely read or write, so I read each card to him.  It is said, where we lack one sense, we make up for it somewhere else.  “Bob’s” listening skills were incredible!  As I read a card to him, he would nod and pat a spot on the table to tell me where it needed to go.  “This goes here.”, “This goes here.”, “Put this one here in between these two.”, and “This is first.”  The same thing happened with the Traits and Characteristics Choices.  “Bob” knew ‘most like me’ to ‘least like me’.  He is one of the most Authentic Blues I have ever met.  Words can not describe the sense of “WOW-ness” of what had happened.  “Bob” was also in awe – for he finally understood himself and the people around him. 


Then there was “”Ray”, his eyes lit up as I talked about the Organized Gold’s.  ‘Yes, I do make lists.’  ‘Yes, I like things done in a certain way.’  ‘Yes, I am on time and organized and love structure and logic.’  ‘Yes, I love my family!’  When “Ray” heard that Resourceful Oranges were here and now he looked at those Oranges in amazement and finally understood not everyone was like him.  


An incredible example of an Inquiring Green was “Steve”.  He wanted to know we why we had to play games.  What was the reason for all this chit-chat nonsense?  When he heard that Inquiring Greens wanted the facts and the reasons and were perhaps not as ‘romantic’ or ‘wordy’ as another colour, he sat back and relaxed.  He had his facts and reasons.    


So do we leave the best for last?  Those Resourceful Oranges.  Boy, they are a restless group and when they see their slides in black and white, there are peals of laughter because they are so much fun and spontaneous.  Yes, most of the men agree, that if we wanted to have a fun day, we would call on a Resourceful Orange.  Resourceful Oranges liked the fact that they were good negotiators, entrepreneurial and great in crises situations. 


Once everyone has found out their colour and received their sticker, I begin to go through the slides in the 3-ringed binder and talk a bit more in depth about each colour – their core needs, values, stressors, abilities, and behaviour.  I use as an example building a bookcase and ask each group how they would build a bookcase.  Where would they begin?  What would they need?  Who would they ask?  How long would it take?   And the answers – fit in perfectly with their colours.  I would get everyone’s opinion before I begin, I would want to know what’s it for, how tall, how wide, I want to know how exactly how it’s to be built, and let’s go buy the wood and figure it out as we go along.


When I begin to tie it all together and wind down Part I, each group enjoys seeing what they have in common with the other colour types. They look at each other and ‘High Five’ or ‘Thumbs-up’.  The heads nodding, the big smiles and the eyes twinkling say it all. 


In closing, I tell them next week your colour group is going to build a company.  They like that.  And next week, they do build a company and present. 


Below is a sample of four company’s built by each of the colour types.  The exercise is called:  If I had my own business, what would it be?

Inquiring Greens


1.   Company Name:  Concept Automotive


2.    Responsibilities

  • CEO:  VC

  • Operations Manager:  LS

  • Sales & Marketing:  PT

  • Financial Responsibilities:  PT 


3.   Mission Statement: "Quality is to be one"


4.   Company Personnel Needed

  • Gold 

  • Blue

  • Green

  • Orange

Organized Golds 


Company Name:   Skill

  • Plan to build new company so we need stability in people. 

  • Planning and organizing taking care of details

  • Supervisory – managing and following directions

  • Collecting and sorting information

  • Doing routine work

  • Bookkeeping and counting

  • Getting things done and helping

  • Listening

Authentic Blue 


Company name:  Team Hurley Athletic Centre

  • Friendly, caring staff (every one)

  • No smile – no job

  • Make a good impression on everyone

  • Cater to clients needs

  • Cut fees in ½ until able to pay full amount or terminate membership (in writing)

    • We need to be tactful and diplomatic

  • Motivate clients to continually improve self-image, self-esteem

  • Set up a time for each clients needs

Resourceful Oranges 


Company Name:  GFB Real Estate

  • G:  Sales – Aggressive, risk taker, adventurous, makes quick decisions

  • F:  Treasurer – Very well spoke and polite, flexible and relaxed

  • B:  CEO – Many ideas, multi-tasking, works well under pressure, creative, strives to meet goals (loves opportunity

  • G:  Presentation skills:  Loves to talk (good in front of groups. 

The workshops end with thanks-you and words of encouragement, hand shakes and smiles and see you next week.   


As I pack up to leave, and look back over the last two weeks, I smile.  Being a volunteer facilitator of Life Skills is an amazing experience.  To be a volunteer and a Certified Facilitator of Personality Dimensions® and Career Dimensions™ is an absolutely incredible and heart warming experience.  Although I will not see the fruits of my labour, I know I have made a difference in the lives of the men who have picked up the tools to find out what they know about their Life Values, Communications and Relationships.   


It’s time to leave.  I ask the guard to buzz me out and begin the process of walking to the front doors.  I drop off the attendance, then one door, two doors, three doors and the fourth door.  My badge turned in, I walk through the final door into the parking lot and getting into my car, I think, “next week Career Dimensions™.” 


* All names are fictitious in order to protect the men I deal with.  


Jane Harnadek has been a Registered Volunteer at a Provincial correctional facility just outside the GTA for 4 ½ years.  She is an Assistant Teacher at a childcare centre in Mississauga and currently attending night classes at Sheridan College.  Jane obtained her Level 1 Certification for Personality Dimensions in October, 2006.  She has facilitated Introduction to Sewing for Adults and has many years of administrative and life skill experiences.  She is a lector at her church and lastly, a single mom with two wonderful daughters.

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