Deal With The Color!
If you have not read about “Our Colors” and how we use them click here for a description.
The first requirement of effective communication is the belief that there is a resolution to a problem. This thought is a blue stance. It will require a willingness to view each situation from a broader perspective. The perspective includes an awareness that options are endless and one option will be better for solving the problem than another option. In the end, the task is to find the best option for the task at hand.
Ms. Taxpayer is not happy about the increases in vacation time for the city employees. She may choose to attend planning meetings that will include discussions about budgets, salaries, and tax increases; even “shadowing” a government employee for a couple of days to learn more about the job each paid servant performs. She may also research other similar sized government organizations to learn about their policies regarding salaries and vacation times.
Mr. Homeowner has neighbors who are unhappy about the location of some new shrubs. He may choose to relocate the shrubs because he would also prefer them farther away from the curb. He may ask his neighbors for suggestions, or he may study more landscape designs for alternate ideas.
Mr. Customer has a new battery that is faulty. He may prefer a replacement or could choose another model. He may check about repairing the array and ask for a reimbursement for the repair charge or may prefer a refund for the whole battery.
In each of these cases, they moved their initial emotional reactions of red, green and gray to a more balanced mindset where they can entertain logic and feelings simultaneously as blue. How do they do it?
Ms. Taxpayer is “in the red.” She must deal with and leave behind this stance of “I’m right, and everyone else is wrong” before she can entertain options or openly discuss what to do about her displeasure. Dealing with her color of red before being ready to problem solve and is accomplished through questions. She can internally ask herself questions, or someone who she has expressed her frustrations to can ask questions. Answering the questions will give Ms. Taxpayer a sense of personal control while alleviating her stress-response of powerlessness. She relaxes her hold on demanding her way and begins to consider another’s ideas and suggestions. She has dealt with her color of red first and is now able to move to a balanced position of blue.
Mr. Homeowner is “in the green.” He fears his neighbor’s unhappiness and potential rejection. This person must leave behind the stance of “I’m wrong, and others are right.” He will conclude that his thoughts and ideas count just as much as his neighbors. Meaning, one of his choices is to leave the shrubs where they are and work with the neighbor to make that decision palatable for both. To add logic to his ruminations about the bushes means thinking clearly about what he wants, what options there are for attaining that end and looking for ways to get there. When questioned, he will have discussion points ready with facts to back them up putting him in a problem-solving mode and chances are good that he and his neighbor will come up with new ways to solve the problem. Perhaps they will come up with some creative ideas that were not in consideration before.
Mr. Customer has a faulty battery and needs to move from “I’m wrong, and so is everyone else.” He needs to get himself into action, or someone else needs too. For example, the customer service person needs to take charge of the situation. “In the gray”, Mr. Customer takes no action beyond making his complaint. He is even resisting another’s invitation to move forward. Using the directive approach instead it is personally applied or applied by someone else will have the best chance of overcoming inertia. Once activated, someone in the grey moves into logical thinking and can discuss options.
In each of these cases, the emotional element of the color is present in the needs to be dealt with first. Red had to deal with frustration. Green had to deal with fear. Gray had to deal with withdrawal. When a position of blue is reachable, then the problem-solving can begin. Discussions, exchanges of ideas and decisions will be forthcoming, reasonable and satisfying.
As you move through the next few days, be an observer. Watch for your own and others’ circumstances of emotions vs. logic. Consider which color is evident and whether the feeling of the color was dealt with before problem-solving began. Ask yourself, “Was the outcome successful?”