True Colors® is a model for understanding yourself and others based on your personality temperament. The beauty of this model is that its concepts and lessons can be applied in practically any environment where social conflict can arise or productivity can improve.

We interviewed Dany Hollingsworth at The American Red Cross to hear about her experience implementing the True Colors program across the organization.

Here’s what she had to say…

Dany, how did you first become acquainted with True Colors?

The American Red Cross launched an internal professional development program called the PMDP (People Manager Development Program). The program wasn’t just meant for people with “manager,” “director,” or “supervisor” in their title, but anybody that has direct reports. For PMDP, we chose True Colors as a course to offer our over 20,000 employee population to help them improve their communication styles.

I was selected by my team to be the True Colors Course Manager within the American Red Cross. We actually have 32 facilitators in-house.

Why were you chosen to be the Course Owner?

I think because of my facilitation experience, my enthusiasm for the content, and my level as a senior consultant at the American Red Cross.

Did you have any reservations about becoming a Certified Facilitator?

No. I was absolutely gung-ho about it. In fact, I remember my director paused a bit when I agreed so quickly because she wanted me to be aware it would be a lot of work! But I just loved the workshop so much. I was excited. I think it’s an awesome tool.

What overall impact has True Colors had at the American Red Cross?

It’s made people more aware and cognizant of others. One realization I’ve had is that when we deliver workshops to different lines of services, and seen the uniform color spectrum differences in large groups. For instance, we have biomedical staff, humanitarian staff, etc. If I have a group that’s primarily biomedical staff, it’s interesting to see how the group will typically lean Gold. However, if we have a group of humanitarian staff, the group almost always leans Blue and Orange. So it’s made our managers and directors more aware, and it’s encouraged them to be more patient with staff, and to hire more for diversity. For example, if you’re going to assign someone a task that doesn’t come easily to them, understand that they can do it but maybe be as a manager, they need to be more patient, provide support, or don’t make it a rush assignment. If the task has to be completed quickly, assign it to somebody whose strength speaks to the task.

Another thing I love about True Colors is how people can apply the concepts to their personal lives as well as their professional lives. At the Red Cross, we’re trying to really support our people managers. So it’s not just about knowing your unique color spectrum, but applying what you learned to improve your communication and empathy with other color spectrums that you work with.

What does a day-in-the-life of a Red Cross Facilitator look like?

First, each Facilitator reviews the schedule and signs up to facilitate. It’s up to the facilitator to prep and communicate with their co-facilitator (if they have one) and then arrange their travel. As I said, there’s a lot of scheduling and logistical work. Each Facilitator is responsible for obtaining the necessary materials for each workshop, scheduling travel, communicating with the team or department they’ll be delivering the workshop to, things like that.

What personality traits are important for the success of a Facilitator?

Things I look for in other facilitators are charisma, energy, a willingness to have fun, and good classroom management skills. We have other non-True Colors courses in the PMDP, but I believe some of them require a more serious teaching approach where True Colors is a fun and high-energy course.

But a lot of our corporate facilitators are H.R. professionals who have been tossed into the role. The great thing about True Colors is that its program is based on facilitation rather than simply lecturing. So, it’s more fun and once you’ve done it a few times you really don’t have to prep for each session.

What’s the certification process like?

After going through an actual Personal Success workshop, the Master Trainer then unpacks the entire curriculum. He or she breaks everything down to the tiniest detail and walks through a number of examples and different ways to present the workshop. There are numerous teach-backs with opportunities to critique one another—it was really neat to see how other facilitators outside of the Red Cross planned to deliver it and promote it within their organizations. You come away with other ideas on how to deliver it. It’s a pretty rigorous three-day process, so by the time you leave, you know what you’re doing.

So what’s in store for True Colors at the Red Cross?

Well, we’re working on our 2019 goals right now. I think we’re going to have thirty-nine different True Colors workshops in that time period across the country and even potentially several sessions overseas. I actually delivered a workshop in Puerto Rico earlier this year. My director just delivered a workshop in Korea at an Armed Forces base. So again, our desire is to get all of our managers through this course at some point. They have two years to finish the curriculum.

Do you have any tips for anyone who’s thinking about becoming a facilitator?

I’d say if you experience it, really believe in it, have a passion for it, then go for it because it’s a really fun and effective program, not to mention it’s very rewarding!



true-colors-flowerWant more information about how you can become a True Colors facilitator for your organization?

Join us for an upcoming workshop to learn more about the program and earn your training certification in a city near you.

Dany Hollingsworth

Senior Consultant, LMS, and e-Learning Programs at American Red Cross, National Headquarters, Training & Development
Certified True Colors Facilitator