Color Me a Profession
By Sara Ayoub

Who thought one’s career could be determined by a color? That’s exactly what Shoya Zichy proves in her new book, Career Match: Connecting Who You Are With What You’ll Love To Do.

On Friday, April 13, 2007, Baruch’s Women in Business (WIB) society held an event called “Pearls of Wisdom,” a woman’s leadership conference headed by WIB’s president Kelly Ifill. The event included various speakers, among them Zichy, Dr. Kathleen Waldron, president of Baruch College, and Carla Harris, managing director of Morgan Stanley.

Falling into a career you don’t love or that doesn’t suit your persona is a common occurrence among young people like ourselves on the verge of graduating, or Generation X “kids” just coming to this realization.

When asked in an interview if Zichy had ever found herself in this described predicament, she responded, “I always knew I wanted to work with people but did not know in which area. While I don’t regret any of my careers as teacher, journalist, private banker and now seminar leader, I would have moved forward with greater confidence had I understood earlier the special talents of my personality style.” You don’t have to remain stagnant and unfulfilled, as students learned with Zichy’s model.

Zichy conducted exercises around the Color Q personality model, a derivative of the Myers-Briggs methodology, that serves as the basis of the book. Participants take a 10-minute either-or quiz to determine if they are either of the green, red, blue, or gold primary personality and whether they are either an introvert or extrovert. From this they can define their work- related strengths, ideal work environment, best boss, interviewing style and a broad range of careers suitable for their color group.

Don’t distort perception of personality, though, as I learned from Zichy: “ Your personality type does not determine if you are going to be successful. Your awareness of it does. A recent study of 500,000 people showed 82% of top performers where highly self aware; only 2% of low performers were . So it is not about changing yourself; it is about putting yourself in situations where you can use your natural strengths.”

The fifty people profiled in the book include famous news reporter Diane Sawyer, business moguls and CEOs of successful companies such as Donald Trump, along with our own president, Dr. Waldron. After using Zichy’s assessment procedure, Dr. Waldron was able to assess her personality as a gold, who is generally characterized as responsible, thorough, and wanting to pass on tradition. When discussing her Color Q personality this past Friday, Dr. Waldron stated she believes she is a rising blue—this may mean many transformations for Baruch, as blues are characterized by wanting to change things.

Dr. Waldron, who spoke of leadership at the conference, says to explore your options if you are a student who has not yet chosen a career path. “Research fields of interest, reach out to individuals who are in those fields and ask lots of questions. Find out what the challenges are in those specific professions, and the insight into the true job requirements. Then you’ll know better if a good fit is likely, also how to market yourself appropriately and if a graduate degree is needed for career advancement. Entry level positions can give a college graduate a unique perspective on possible career paths and are essentially a ‘foot in the door,’” she added.

For more information, read Career Match, available in Baruch’s Bookstore, and other book retailers in your area.

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  • "Awareness of the variety of styles was a career-altering event. It has provided me with a strategic advantage in many career & personal situations."
    K. O’Hare, Partner

    "Your presentation was both educational and entertaining and we have received tremendous feedback from all who attended."
    T. Kamradt, Partner
    Baker & Hostetler LLP

    "Zichy scores a bull’s eye in showing leaders how to understand their strengths and use them to work and manage more effectively."
    P. Tanous, President
    Lepercq Lynx Investment Advisory

  • "I have successfully used Color Q with hundreds of associates to increase their awareness of personality and leadership style, which has resulted in higher performing teams. It is an incredibly fun, memorable and effective resource!"

    Rehana Farrell
    Chief Administrative Officer
    Guggenheim Investments

    "I recommend Personality Power, a unique reading selection in today’s crowded business literature. The ideas work; the suggestions are easy to remember. One can bring out the best in oneself and others while succeeding on the job. The key is to insightfully access and understand the personalities that surround us in our work environment."

    Sergio I. de Araujo
    AnSer Latin American Opportunities Fund

    "We all know that 'people skills' are important in one’s career. Perhaps no one has defined those skills and their potential applications as well as Shoya Zichy. At last, the mysteries of successful, professional interactions are solved -- laid out in plain English and organized to allow the reader to immediately understand difficult personality types."

    Ellen Reynolds
    Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer
    The Segal Group, Inc.

    "Leadership is about bringing out the best in people or an organization. This book provides a unique framework, combining business experience and psychological insight."

    Kathleen Waldron
    William Paterson University

    "We've reviewed dozens of personality profile approaches and what I love about the Color Q method in this book is that it does what personality assessments rarely do well - it answers the great 'so what?' question. We coach with Color Q because it gets to this extremely important bottom line - finding a job that really fits, and keeping it."

    John Courtney
    NextJob, Inc.

    "Personality Power opens the floodgates to improved profitability, productivity, and communication. Individuals who embrace the principles in this book are happier, more productive and committed to their career choices; organizations learn how to make internal and external meetings and conversations more successful and less stressful, and ensure that the 'right people are in the right seats on the bus.'"

    Jeannette Hobson
    Senior Vice President
    Eastern Division
    Vistage International