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The Leadership Spectrum: II. Blended Perspectives and Practices

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For those oriented toward Tangy Orange, the major source of joy (and energy) comes from building this effective plan (be it strategic or tactical). Whatever the latest planning fad–it will be cheerfully employed (be it an old-fashion GANTT chart, a much newer OKR template or deployment of Hoshin-Kanri software). The Tangy Orange leader is likely to focus their attention and the attention of others with whom the work on finding the resources to get a job done (this is the person who asks if the soldiers have sufficient ammunition and training before they leap out of the foxhole. David Kolb description of convergence fits the bill here. Convergence is about moving something from an idea state to a state of actual production: this is the engineer who moves the design of a bridge to the actual plan for construction of the bridge.

The strength that a Tangy Orange Leader provides to an organization is seeing the perils and pitfalls underlying any plan (Golden Yellow), while also encouraging the organization to move forward with this plan (Ruby Red). It takes courage to move forward with fully knowledge of the challenges that are likely to be faced. In many ways, the Tangy Orange leader is the most courageous of the various types we have identified.

The challenge for a Tangy Orange leader is being asked to keep the end point always in sight (a concern that is often voiced by an Azure Blue)/ The threat for a Tangy Orange leader is based on an understandable fear of failing to take all relevant factors into account —which is especially likely to occur under conditions of VUCA-Plus. As we noted regarding the Rainbow orientation, it is a matter of learning from our mistakes rather than never making a mistake. Without this action-learning orientation, the Tangy Orange leader is inclined to never move forward—despite being courageous.

Verdant Green: Thoughtful Human Services

Verdant Green is a combination of Golden Yellow and Azure Blue. Ideally, it brings together the thoughtfulness and data-based orientation of the Golden Yellow with the caring, service-oriented orientation of Azure Blue. We find this orientation to be abundant in the human service sectors of our society and in the human relations divisions of contemporary organizations.

This orientation resides opposite to Ruby Red and is often the source of critiques about the “human costs” of taking a precipitous action. Verdant Green is also about opening the options for action (once again contrasting with the tendency of Ruby Reds to close off the options too quickly). The perceiving function of the MBTI is closely aligned with Verdant Green. The term Verdant is used because this is a Green that is fully alive (perhaps even overgrown) with abundant foliage (choices).

At the Golden Yellow end of Verdant Green, we find those human service schools of thought that are highly rational and systematic. Think of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or the use of career aptitude inventories (such as the Strong Interest Inventory or Holland’s Career Aptitude Test) or career planning processes). By contrast, we find more depth-oriented psychotherapies and aspirational career planning processes, such as those advocated by Richard Bolles (2019), at the Azure Blue end of Verdant Green.

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