Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

by James W. Tamm, Ronald J. Luyet


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The second edition of the essential guide, updated with new research and observations to help twenty-first century organizations create models for effective collaboration.

Collaborative skills have never been more important to a company’s success and these skills are essential for every worker today. Radical Collaboration is a how-to-manual for creating trusting, cooperative environments, and transforming groups into motivated and empowered teams. James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet provide tools that will help you increase your ability to work successfully with others, learn to be more aware of colleagues, and better problem-solve and negotiate.

Radical Collaboration is an eye-opener for leaders, managers, HR professionals, agents, trainers, and consultants who are seeking constructive ways of getting the results they want.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060742515
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/13/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 189,652
Product dimensions: 7.38(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.84(d)

About the Author

James W. Tamm is a former judge and an expert on dispute resolution and building collaborative relationships. He is currently managing director of the international consulting firm Business Consultants Network, Inc.

Ronald J. Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has advised Fortune 500 companies for more than thirty years. Ron is a vice president of consulting and training services for Business Consultants Network, Inc.

Read an Excerpt

Radical Collaboration

Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships
By Tamm, James W.


ISBN: 006074250X

Chapter One

Attitude and Intention

Staying in the Green Zone

Where do you spend most of your life, in the Red Zone or the Green Zone? It's a choice. Most people don't recognize that this is a choice between two fundamental attitudes as they enter into relationships and conflicted situations with others. It's a choice that will fundamentally affect everything else you do and how you approach collaboration. Early in relationships, your attitude will either support collaboration or undermine it. Your attitude will determine how you perceive the world, whether situations are safe or threatening, and influence how you respond to those situations. The terms Red Zone and Green Zone summarize two alternative mind-sets and intentions. We must first understand our attitudes and then, if necessary, change them.

We invite you to reflect on this question:

Do you build your relationships
from the Red Zone or the Green Zone?

The Green Zone reflects an authentic, nondefensive presence. In the Green Zone, people's actions in a relationship are not driven by fearful motives, nor are they determined by an unconscious competitive spirit. Individuals in the Green Zone seek connectionfrom a centered place according to deeply held values and character, rather than tactical or strategic thinking. Their outer self and their inner self are congruent, meaning their conscious actions are in harmony with any unconscious motivations. When conflict arises, they seek to understand and to grow, for they desire mutual gains rather than victory. They seek to get their interests met rather than simply trying to defeat the other side. From the Green Zone, people do not perceive potential conflict as threatening, for they have tools and coping methods that allow them to deal with difficult situations in a less reactive way. Green Zone attitudes foster collaborative actions and are more receptive to overtures for collaboration from others. Green Zone attitudes also give people additional skills for responding effectively to those who don't want to be collaborative or don't know how to be collaborative. Individuals in the Green Zone are more effective when called upon to deal with others in the Red Zone.

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins writes that his research team evaluated more than fourteen hundred companies to identify those that had progressed from good companies to sustained greatness and to determine the factors necessary for the transformation. Collins deliberately avoided the hypothesis that a company's greatness is a reflection of the CEO. The results of the study, however, proved otherwise. The leaders of each "great" organization have two things in common. First, they are fiercely ambitious for the long-term success of the company. Second, their personalities fit the Green Zone mold, namely, each CEO exhibits a compelling modesty and humility. They aren't boastful or egocentric. They demonstrate understanding rather than bravado, and they reveal a nondefensive authenticity.

In contrast to the authentic confidence of the Green Zone, individuals in the Red Zone exhibit defensiveness and fear. They often appear to be aggressive, so others usually fail to perceive that their attitudes and behavior are driven by underlying fears. Their motivation, however, is often to defeat the other side in order to defend themselves, to win regardless of the cost, and to make the other side feel wrong so that they can feel right.

It's not enough that we win; everyone else must lose.

Red Zone statement of Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, discussing his bid for PeopleSoft

These Red Zone protective mechanisms lack a generosity of spirit and heart. More often than not, they arise from fears that produce short-term thinking rather than long-term planning. Conflicts feel warlike rather than like problems to be resolved creatively. Forgiveness is foreign, and apologies are begrudging rather than heartfelt. Individuals in the Red Zone focus only on the best outcome for themselves with little or no regard for the interests of others. Positions are often stated in very strong terms, and the other side's views may be only a secondary consideration, if a consideration at all. Individuals in the Red Zone continually argue the validity of their own position and the fallacies of the other side's position, and they will often take disagreement more personally than warranted.

A Person in the Green Zone

  • Takes responsibility for the circumstances of his or her life
  • Seeks to respond nondefensively
  • Is not easily threatened psychologically
  • Attempts to build mutual success
  • Seeks solutions rather than blame
  • Uses persuasion rather than force
  • Can be firm, but not rigid, about his or her interests
  • Thinks both short term and long term
  • Is interested in other points of view
  • Welcomes feedback
  • Sees conflict as a natural part of the human condition
  • Talks calmly and directly about difficult issues
  • Accepts responsibility for consequences of his or her actions
  • Continuously seeks deeper levels of understanding
  • Communicates a caring attitude
  • Seeks excellence rather than victory
  • Listens well


Excerpted from Radical Collaboration by Tamm, James W. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We have purchased a copy of this book for each employee. We feel the Radical Collaboration strategies will greatly improve our internal and external communications and outcomes!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a management consultant the most important is to be deeply grounded in the concepts I use in the client environment. To understand the background, the deep meaning of a concept, the theory, the research, and framework connections to other theories is critical. In Radical Collaboration I find theory, research, exercises, relevant experience from the authors, and connections to other theories integrated as a whole. The authors reflect their philosophy in each chapter by being open and sharing their own experiences, examples and struggles. They successfully create an atmosphere of curiosity where the reader is invited to explore and to make choices and find their own path to self awareness. Radical Collaboration gives me a pedagogical structure for my own understanding and better tools/exercises with clients. This book will be an eye opener for many people around the world who want to increase their effectiveness in professional relations as well as their effectiveness in all relations. People who are not content with mediocre communication and relations will find great pleasure in the book. Radical Collaboration will be a great experience for newcomers as well as for experienced consultants.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have long been impressed by the concepts developed by the authors and Will Schutz (the Human Element). This is a great application of how the concepts can, and should be, adapted in business at any level. Kudos to Jim, Ron, and the BCon WSA staff for pullling this all together!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be easy to read and very practical with many helpful exercises. I especially liked the information about reducing defensiveness and the impact it can have on relationships at work. I also found it to be just as helpful in my personal relationships. I give this a strong five stars.