Story by AJ Anderson
Dr. Taylor Hartman is most known for The Color Code. Published in 1987, the Color Code is a personality test that looks for the driving core motive in a person’s behavior.
Hartman is religious, and claims that he was inspired when he discovered The Color Code. He describes his moment of clarity as “One of the most powerful moments in my life . . . I received the most beautiful power, intimacy, peace, and fun; with those you have clarity that you could never gain without.” Reds are driven by power, blues by intimacy, whites by peace, and yellows by fun.
People receive their results in different ways. According to Hartman, “People who like who they are have no problem with being identified . . . those who are struggling with the identification are not complete themselves and are having trouble being identified.”
In talking about his career Dr. Hartman says “I have been far more successful in business than I have been in education . . . Business lives more in the real world because they could apply it tomorrow.” Hartman talked about how his take on The Color Code is not backed by the evidence and research that educators demand, but how people in business could use it because it logically works and they are more pragmatic.
The success of The Color Code being business oriented could also be explained by its origin. Hartman explains that business men “were saying to me ‘I don’t want to talk about my problem; I want solutions,’ and I wasn’t taught solutions, I was taught to talk about the problem, and I liked what they were saying. Why shouldn’t we have something that is just as simple as two plus two is four?” When Hartman saw the need for immediate solutions he saw an opportunity. The Color Code helps people to understand themselves and others now. It lists strengths and weaknesses. It is something that has been found to work, even if it is not backed by all of the academic research.
Dr. Hartman explained some of his philosophy in counseling by stating, “I think that nobody is fired because of their strengths . . .You lose a marriage because you are screwed up emotionally somehow. You lose a job because your weaknesses get in the way of the gifts that you bring. So I think it is foolish to not pay attention to our limitations. However, it would be foolish not to play to our strengths.”
When examining those strengths and weaknesses further Dr. Hartman took his explanations color by color.
For reds he said, “I can say your strengths lie in causing things to get done, creating energy, leadership . . . I would use your natural gifts of vision and charisma to get you where you want to go . . . Your flaws might be that you are insensitive . . .you do not follow through as well as you should with details, and you need to know that there are people that will be criticizing you because you see a vision, but you have no idea how get across a bridge.”
For the blue personality Hartman’s advice was, “I would say you’re excellent with follow through and the details, but you are not good with vision. You do not see where it needs to go. So you would do well to align yourself with somebody to create that for you and respect you for what gifts you bring. You should learn how to speak your mind more articulately because if not you will find that the reds and the yellows you need will be bored and inattentive.”
Counsel for the white personality was, “You are so good at seeing things. Your clarity is phenomenal. You must learn to speak your mind. You must learn to have confidence.”
The yellow personality, which Dr. Hartman identifies with the most he said, “To yellows I would say you are cute, but you are not that cute. I mean it is great that people like you, but you have got to realize that life is not all about you, and you need to show up sometimes because it is the right thing to do; not just because you want to.”
Hartman’s main philosophy is, “Play to your strengths, and acknowledge and work on your limitations.”
When asked how often Hartman uses The Color Code in marriage counseling he responded, “Every time. They may not know that I am using it. I will give a red or blue homework that has to do with attitude because that is where they are weakest, and I will give a white or a yellow behavioral homework because that is where they are weakest.” Dr. Hartman finds his counsel well received, “I think people want advice, and I think they want to figure things out.” He also talks about why he can be direct with people and they will still come back. “I am yellow so when I say it it does not have the same weight as it would have if I were red or blue. I’m not judgmental. I can be more direct and not have that weight. I think change is hard. I think going home and changing that is hard to do.”
The Color Code has had a wide circulation. On this topic Hartman expounded, “I’ve let The Color Code be used more than it probably should, and it is great if it helps people. I’m happy when people use it in a beneficial way. I don’t like it when it gets misused when people say I’m yellow so that is why I’m always late. I don’t want to be used as an excuse. That offends me.”
When asked about other personality tests like Which Frozen Character Are You? Hartman said, “I hate it. If math did what psychology does no one would trust it.” He talked about how psychology is a scientific field, and needs to be treated with respect.
The Color Code and Dr. Taylor Hartman are not two separate entities. Dr. Hartman views The Color Code as divine inspiration that has shaped and continues to shape his life.