“Are you losing your marbles?”


This is something I ask businesses all the time – and the response I get is:-

“what do you mean by marbles?”.

It’s really easy – marbles are your people – the people you work with and who work for you every day.  They are also your customers, and your friends and family.

Marbles come in different sizes, different colours – but they are all marbles.  Each one is unique, inexpensive, durable and quite beautiful.  Each individual marble plays the game in a slightly different fashion, has a different approach and delivers what you need, but in its own way.  Now, if you understand your marbles and how each one works, and you understand how they will work better together – then collectively you can win the game.

“If only it were that simple” – is the response.  But it is!  It is not hard to find out what makes your people ‘tick’, what they enjoy, why they come to work. The key word is ‘understand’ your marbles, your people.  It just requires a little profiling or communication style testing on your staff to find out their personality and communication preferences. I use the TetraMap® tool – and then relate it to marbles – blue, green, red and yellow.

The first time I experienced TetraMap®, I was amazed and intrigued how such a simple assessment made all the difference.  Really quickly, I could identify communication problems that I had witnessed between staff,  in some of the places I had managed – and this seemed to be the basis of ongoing workplace conflict.

I realised though,  the importance of having all 4 communication styles in your team – if you want a winning team. Each individual has a combination of all 4 communication styles – but you have particular preferences  and strengths which determine what color marble you are. Then you will understand more about your team and how to work better together.

I guarantee that if you implement this within your workplace, morale will increase, productivity will increase, absenteeism will decrease.  If it is going to save you thousands of dollars per year, why wouldn’t you do it?

So, how many people do you know of, that have left a workplace because of conflict, poor communication, or because they didn’t feel valued?

In recent international research, the main reasons staff leave their workplace are:

  • Availability of higher paying jobs
  • Organisational Performance
  • Organisational culture – reward system, strength of leadership,  level of work stress, conflict, low employee morale
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Demographics
  • The Person – family situation, unsolicited job offer

If you look at that list above, the easiest ones we can change or have influence over are – ‘Organisational culture’ and ‘Unrealistic Expectations’. We can start by valuing and understanding our people – and the rest will follow.

It’s almost always a surprise when employees hand in their notice.  They keep their plans secret because of the lack of trust for their manager and/or management team. They feel that their work will be made difficult or miserable if their manager knows. How many times have your staff felt like they will be labelled a traitor and made to feel guilty for leaving.

It is for good reason that the number one cause of employee dissatisfaction is their relationship with their manager(s).  Managers need to be skilled at creating an atmosphere of trust and respect – which helps employees to open up more.  Try asking questions like “what do you like most about your job” or “what makes you get up in the morning and come to work”.  The secret to employee retention is not being a ‘nice’ or ‘liked’ manager or good role model – it is more about deep and meaningful communication and trust.  It is so very important to understand your employee’s concerns and their dreams or hopes, to help solve or achieve them.

Low employee morale is also a leading cause of staff turnover – often caused by conflict, poor workplace culture, lack of open and honest processes.  Managers should always remember –  ‘treat your staff as you would like to be treated’, then we will see a difference.  Know what colour marbles work for you!!!

When we don’t understand how others communicate and how they like to be communicated to – we lose staff.  We lose our marbles! When we do understand our staff and their communication styles, the results can be amazing.


Linda Guirey “The Marbles Expert”