The Red Zone of Collaboration is the zone where the highest levels of productivity occur. It is where both assertiveness and cooperation are present and have achievement of the shared goal as their main focus. This is a zone where very few executives in my experience actually work. What comes into play are unconscious beliefs and attitudes that are deeply embedded in the executives approach to getting things done and remaining safe. What most people call collaboration is actually compromising.
For instance, most executives in the western world are brought up inside a belief structure that fosters a win/lose approach to life. Those executives with assertive personalities lead with their aggressiveness, while those with personalities of a cooperative nature lead with cooperation. The challenge enters when an executive does not feel they are being successful. Assertiveness then turns into intimidation and cooperation turns into accommodation or passive aggressiveness with the outcome falling way short of its potential. The cost is much wasted time, energy and the relationships become taxed affecting ensuing communications. Does this sound familiar?
The challenge is to get into the Red Zone where everyone is assertive in pushing for the best possible outcome in a cooperative fashion. In this place of passionate dialogue creativity is at its peak and unforeseen answers and outcomes arise. For some executives that is like telling a fish to just come out of the water and breath the air.
It requires the executive to have dialogue skills at a certain level which balances advocating their opinion with inquiry into others’ thought process, open to being influenced. This requires personal awareness and the ability to manage one’s emotions. The shared goal needs to remain the focus of the dialogue untainted by personal agendas. This is not an easy task. There are five dimensions and five specific collaborative skills that make this possible.
Do you need to be more assertive or cooperative to stay in the Red Zone?
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