Organisations around the world use the red2blue model to help support high performance under pressure. We all go ‘red side’ from time to time; we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. But it’s not a great place from which to operate, and spending too much time there isn’t going to help. A participant in one of our recent webinars said they spend lots of time ‘purple’ and I bet most of us can relate to that. But the skill, and it is a skill, to make the red2blue shift is one worth developing.
Going red side will mean different things to each of us. It’s often characterised by:
- ‘APE’ behaviours – aggressive, passive or escape.
- Apportioning blame, pointing the finger,
- Complaining life’s not fair, or not as good as it used to be
- Putting attention on things we can’t control
- Taking short-cuts to the outcome, whilst ignoring the process
These are all natural, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up because we do some of this. But getting ourselves out of this mindset and into the blue, is helpful. So how do we do it?
There are three steps.
1. Recognise it
Now we have a name for it ‘red head’, it should be easier to recognise. Recognising we are there, or heading there is probably the most important step. Sometimes it’s helpful to have an anchor to shake us out of it. The NZ All Black legend Richie McCaw used to stamp his foot on the pitch to tell himself he was at risk, and needed to shift. For me, making a cup of tea is a simple process that starts to shift my mindset.
2. Accept it
It’s not bad or wrong to have this response. It’s just a process that’s unhelpful. So if we can accept and acknowledge that it’s our job to do something about it, that’s also helpful. Different things will trigger us to go red side, depending on a whole bunch of factors personal to us. For one of my colleagues it’s IT and Computers. And he has learned to accept that these are part of life. He knows he’s never going to be brilliant at this stuff, but he knows he needs a clear head if he’s going to handle it better.