An analysis of some 900 CEOs' results shows they like magenta -- and are less dominant and confident than the rest of the population.
To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, the CEOs are different from you and me.
A panel of 900 CEOs organized by USA Today participated in an online 60-second color personality test, and the results were striking: The bosses don't like yellow or red, but they're big fans of magenta – at least compared to the rest of the population.
To most of us, that sounds like fun trivia that may (or may not) suggest a good color for the drapes in the corner office. But psychiatry professor Rense Lange said the CEOs' results – compared with the answers provided by some 750,000 others who've taken the online test – reveal that the CEOs are wired differently than everyone else.
How? Dewey Sadka, who's spent 15 years developing the test, said the color choices paint a picture of the typical CEO as sensitive, cooperative, and not a perfectionist. He or she actually is less controlling than the rest of the population – and more likely to be emotionally unstable.
Skeptical about the test itself? Well, it's trended on Google. Seriously, Bayer CEO Greg Babe and Hard Rock International CEO Hamish Dodds were among those shocked by the test's ability to sum them up based on a few simple color preferences. "I was floored," Dodds told USA Today.
Sadka says swapping hues for a questionnaire when testing personality eliminates the gulf between self-perception and self-truth. (How many times have you taken a personality quiz, for example, and quickly guessed which answer you "should" pick?) The color survey is designed therefore to reveal – you guessed it – a person's true colors.
James Fugitte, CEO of Lexington, Kentucky-based Wind Energy Corp. also felt the test captured his personality accurately: "It identifies the tension in my personality between facts and creativity," he said.
So what if you're already a business owner, but the test indicates that you're more suited to be a dental assistant?
These are colors, not a crystal ball – so the results are not a prediction of failure. "Color preference indicates your personality's best career fit," Sadka told Careerbuilder.com. "Preferred colors indicate passionate career pursuits;
non-preferred choices establish workplace skills you least enjoy."
Perhaps more useful than ideal careers (you're in yours, aren't you?) is what you can learn more from what the colors say about how you attack a task, and what you tend to overdo. (Spoiler alert: if you haven't yet taken the test, you might want to click here before reading further.)
If your favorite primary color is yellow, you're information-driven – a communicator who can create profitable perspectives. Blues are idea-driven activ
ists and red are results- (and money-) driven. Of the secondary colors, if green is your pick, you're a realistic evaluator of situations. Purple confirms you enjoy a good fact-finding mission, and orange says you focus on what's workable. For the third set, the achromatics, favoring black says value is your top priority, white says you like options, and brown says you're a doer – you like putting systems and solutions in place and finishing jobs. (Thinking about using the test as a hiring tool? Click here.)
And maybe the most useful information comes from what your least favorite colors reveal. These are the tasks and issues you tend to forget – things that may hamper your own success or that of your company's.
Hate orange? You may need to learn to prioritize and delegate, because you try to do too much at once. A dislike for green means you like to play Mr. or Ms Fix-It for your employees rather than letting them work out a solution on their own. And if you can't stand teal, you're desperate to prove your competence and you don't care what other people think.
Did you take the test? What were your results, and how do they square with your self-perception?
Inc. contributing editor COURTNEY RUBIN was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.