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High Definition Trust, Understanding and Camaraderie
Reduce Struggle Dissipate Conflict Improve Relationships Relieve Stress

Volume 2    Issue 12                                                                                          December, 2009
Promo Clarity Summit
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In This Issue
Identifying Red Conversations
Christmas Truce of 1914
Creating our own Reality
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Why Clarity.....
....and why now?

We can no longer fathom watching standard definition TV broadcasts.  We HAVE to view our sporting events, National Geographic programming and late night comedy in HD -- High Definition. 

HDClarity is an e-zine for those wanting to develop more trust, understanding and camaraderie in their work environment, and their life in general.  A smoother running team is a more profitable team.  They get things done faster, for less cost.  If you'd like to discover methods for developing High Definition Clarity in your daily life, please read on. 
"When selling, it's far more productive being a Matador than being a Bull".
Paul Friedman, Friedman & Associates, LLC
Identifying Red Conversations


What is a Red Conversation?

When two people have histories that do not match up, they are probably going to have a red conversation. A conversation about bathroom etiquette between "toilet paper over the top" people and "toilet paper from underneath" people is red. Here are some other examples:

    Buyers, who have to spend less money, and sellers, who have to make more

    Operations managers, who need to comply with federal regulations, and sales people, who need to bend the rules in order to create revenue

    The Muslim West Bank occupant and his Israeli counterpart

    12-year-old Harriet, who just has to go to a movie in the city with friends, and Mom, who's responsible for little Harriet's well-being

    Mr. Jones, who must run his family by the book -- whatever book that is -- and Mrs. Jones, who was raised to believe life is too short and wants to go for it

In almost every conversation, you will discover some level of disconnect because each person understands the world differently and has a different life script. Operating from the Knower/Judger, each person knows and judges the world and what others say differently.

Spotting Red Conversations

How can you tell if you're engaged in a red conversation? There are lots of telltale signs.

1.  One participant is dominant, perhaps pointing fingers or using words like "have to" and "must," indicating an agenda tied to some "rule of life."

2.  One participant's body language indicates being one-upped -- shoulders sag, eyes wander to the floor.

3.  One participant nods in agreement but starts his next sentence with "But...," indicating that he'd spent the listening time formulating his defense.

4.  One or both participants are defending a position.

5.  One or both exhibit aggressive or defensive body language.

6.  One attempts to "nurture" the other in a patronizing manner.

7.  The conversation ends with one participant giving up and the other "winning."

8.  Nobody's listening.

9.  "Blame" is an operant word in the conversation.

10.  Quick conclusions abound.

There are more signs -- lots more -- but you get the idea.

The Problem with Red Conversations

We spend most of our lives having red conversations. They do not often erupt into violent discourse, but they often leave the participants unclear about what was said or needs to be done.

Most of our knee-jerk or automatic verbal responses are red. "Hi, how are you?" "Fine, you?" is a red conversation. At the other end of the scale is the boss who wants to know "WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS ORDER?" while using the body language of Attila the Hun. It's all there: blame, intimidation, the slinking, responsible party.

Can you see how this poisons the atmosphere? And yesterday's managers learned (stored concretely in their Knower/Judgers) that you have to (have to? Hmmmmm) manage your people that way, or they'll just run over you.

From Marcus Buckingham in First, Break All the Rules, we learned that people do not leave companies, they leave supervisors. Why do you suppose that is? My bet is that it is because of the constant barrage of red, toxic conversations riddled with "have to" and "wrong" and "blame." The human spirit can only take so much of that.  

In this recessionary period, people are not leaving their supervisors (or companies), so they're tolerating more and more red conversation. What cumulative effect do you think that has on them? Does the term "going postal" ring a bell?

We picked the term "red conversation" as a metaphor for "warning." Not all red conversations will erupt in violence...most will go totally unnoticed. But they are at best, not productive, and at worst, damaging. Although a red conversation may produce a desired result for one of the parties now, the big picture suffers damage. (E.g., The direct report accepts the blame, admits the wrongdoing, acknowledges all the "have tos," and then wonders how this company stays afloat.)  

Going Green

In a green conversation, both parties become aware of the big picture (frequently the mission or vision in the corporate world) and measure their agendas and defenses against that goal. They do the best they can to drop their prejudicial histories (Knower/Judger) and operate from the Learner/Researcher. We'll discuss that more next month as we start off a spectacular 2010!

The Christmas Truce of 1914

Legend has it that combatant German and British soldiers put their nationalistic pride aside for a short time and frolicked on "no-man's land" on a battle field in Flanders at the beginning of the Great War in 1914 for Christmas.  True?

Christmas Truce

German and British Military choose to quit fighting....if only for a few days.

(click on the picture for the full story....it's worth it.)

A clear indication that under the most extreme circumstances we can choose to abandon the filters which govern our behaviors and do what we as human beings...as conscientious citizens...as grown-up children...want to do. May this season give you the courage to let go of your marching orders, both internal and external, even if only for a short time, and do what you want to do.
I urge you to take six minutes and 46 seconds out of your busy, busy holiday schedule to
view a video with a John McCutcheon soundtrack about this very event and understand the power of choice.
Meanwhile, what I want to do is give you my best wishes for a Merry Christmas -- or a healthy, happy season, whichever holiday you celebrate.

Creating our own reality (or dealing with the one we currently create)


We've all done it. Maybe to your annual New Year's Resolution. Perhaps to a casual commitment to "for sure do ___________ in 2010!" Whether flippant or deadly serious, we've all failed to accomplish what we set out to accomplish. And if you're like most of us, you've done so more than once.  You might even recognize a pattern.

That's why I invite you to spend a weekend of discovery with us at our Clarity Summit in St. Louis on January 8-10, 2010. Join other executives, middle managers, staff -- and rally drivers -- who struggle to be understood or to be effective. Who struggle to get what they want. Who struggle to win.

In my experience, most leaders don't comprehend the sources of their strife. If only they could see the causes of their struggle clearly, then their lives, careers, families could change forever.

This is your opportunity to see clearly.

Click here for more information, call me toll-free at (877) 245-8250, or email me at kim@corporatecodriver.com for registration materials.

A block of rooms at group rates at the new Drury Inn Forest Park awaits you (but only until December 22nd).
See you at the summit!


There is a clear and present danger.....when you are neither clear nor present.
Saving the planet one conversation at a time,

Kim DeMotte
Power of NO, Corporate CoDriver
(877) 245-8250