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    Choose a Colorful Yearbook Staff


    It seems like only yesterday that the principal called me into her office. The yearbook program was in debt. The former staff had never made a deadline. The yearbook always arrived late. She told me that our school would be laying off teachers in the spring and that keeping my job depended on my doing the yearbook. My own children were young and I couldn’t work long hours after school. I had never worked on a yearbook before and I had no idea where to begin…


    Today, as I look back on my five years as a yearbook adviser, I realize that my staff never missed a deadline. Our program made money every year and our book won awards. But most of all, we had fun. I loved advising the yearbook, but what made it so wonderful for me were the relationships that developed among our yearbook staff. Choosing the right students was the key to a successful yearbook program.

    Before taking on the responsibilities of the yearbook class, I was fortunate to attend a True Colors® seminar on personality typing that was offered by my yearbook rep. Personality typing has been studied since Hippocrates first proposed the theory that people are intrinsically different. In 1978, based on the work of Hippocrates, Carl Jung, Myers-Briggs and David Keirsey, Don Lowry, the founder of True Colors, developed a fun and easy-to-understand system of personality typing which identifies four basic personality types: Gold, Blue, Green and Orange.


    We can all relate to people with whom we have similar likes and dislikes, but trying to understand those people who appear to be our polar opposites can sometimes be a challenge. With True Colors, students simply prioritize four different cards in order of their preferences to determine which is their strongest personality color.
    The use of colors instead of other monikers makes it easy for yearbook staffers and the adviser to understand each other’s personalities. By understanding the core character traits of each student, members of the yearbook staff can value each other’s differences and develop unity. But what do these “colors” mean?


    TrueColors-goldA GOLD STUDENT is task-oriented and is organized, detail-oriented, dependable, on-time and accurate. Gold students follow the rules and are great at completing tasks and making deadlines. These are the students who want to know what is expected of them and what the requirements are for the class.

    To improve the work environment for GOLD students:

    • Assign work that requires detailed planning and careful follow-through
    • Define the tasks in clear and concrete terms
    • Be punctual and reliable
    • Provide a well-structured, stable work environment and avoid abrupt changes
    • Give standard rules and regulations and set a good example
    • Let them share in the responsibilities and duties of their workplace and take their work ethic seriously
    • Praise their neatness, organizational capabilities and efficiency
    • Give feedback every step of the way to reassure them that they are on the right track
    • Recognize their need to be straightforward, dependable, responsible and business-minded
    • Give tangible recognition for their work


    TrueColors-blueA BLUE STUDENT is people-oriented and is optimistic, empathetic, friendly, imaginative and abstract. Blue students prefer an atmosphere of cooperation and do not like conflict. Blue students need to be valued and respected. They are great motivators and enjoy interacting with others. They do their best work when working with others rather than working alone.

    To improve the working environment for BLUE students:

    • Create a warm and personal working atmosphere
    • Interact as much as possible with openness and honesty
    • Establish a harmonious work environment and avoid conflict and hostility
    • Show your support, caring and appreciation by offering frequent praise
    • Allow them the freedom to express feelings and the time to heal emotional wounds
    • Make use of their natural gifts for communication, nurturing and people-oriented ideas
    • Praise their imaginative and creative approach to the job
    • Provide them with one-on-one feedback


    TrueColors-greenA GREEN STUDENT is idea-oriented and is probing, abstract, curious, logical and conceptual. Green students might question just about everything in their quest for “why” and “how.” They often prefer to work independently and they need to be challenged. They can also be very demanding of themselves because they set their expectations very high.

    To improve the working environment for GREEN students:

    • Assign projects which require analytical thinking and problem solving
    • Discuss your “big picture” with them and elicit their universal outlook
    • Inspire them with futuristic ideas and potentialities
    • Respect their inclination to go beyond the established rules of the system
    • Allow them the freedom to improve the system
    • Take their ideas to the next step and encourage them to think independently
    • Praise their inventiveness and their ingenuity
    • Understand their need to avoid redundancy and repetitive tasks
    • Recognize and appreciate their competence on the job


    TrueColors-orangeAn ORANGE STUDENT is action-oriented and thrives on freedom and adventure. Orange students are playful and energetic and perform best in non-structured, spontaneous environments. They love action and they love to have fun. Orange students can be flexible, and are often great trouble-shooters and negotiators. They enjoy competition but may lack focus to complete detailed assignments and will bore easily with paperwork or repetitious tasks.

    To improve the working environment for ORANGE students:

    • Assign projects which are action-packed and which require a hands-on approach
    • Provide opportunities to be skillful and adventurous
    • Let them use their natural abilities as negotiators
    • Give them the freedom to do the job in their own style and in a non-traditional way
    • Help them keep a good sense of humor and avoid boredom while on the job
    • Encourage them to use their gifts of originality and flair
    • Provide opportunities for job competition
    • Allow freedom of movement and understand their preference for action over words
    • Praise their performance and skillfulness while on the job



    Confucius said: “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Imagine a year where your students rush to your classroom with excitement and enthusiasm. Imagine a year without staff conflict, a year where deadlines are met and a year that is as memorable as the yearbook itself.

    This can be accomplished by empowering your students to perform to their maximum capabilities and by creating an environment that will not only acknowledge individual differences but will also foster students’ self-esteem. How can you do this? By assigning your yearbook staffers jobs that match their personality types and by improving the working environment for each color type, the process of creating the yearbook will be enjoyable for all.

    By applying the simple principles of True Colors to the tasks necessary to complete a yearbook, you will find that not only will your students be happier and perform better, but that you too will have an enjoyable, stress-free year.

    Find out how to make True Colors a part of your program by visiting

    Contributed by:
    Jane Roehrig
    Herff Jones Sales Professional, CA


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