It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life
that no man can sincerely try to help another
without helping himself.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

On a flight recently, a high school senior asked me where I was going. I explained that I would be conducting a two-day retreat on Communication and Team Synergism. She wanted to know more about the content, and at the conclusion of my Reader's Digest version, she said:

"Oh, so you help grown-ups get along?!"

Her interpretation hit me right between my eyes. I had never thought of it that way. As an educator for 15 years, my primary task was teaching children to GET ALONG so we could get some work done! And now, as a consultant, author, and speaker for over a decade, I have a similar objective, only with an adult audience. What the high-school senior said seemed so simple, and yet, so profound. Adults too, need to re-visit how to get along so that we can get the work done.

I think you go around with the insane delusion that people like you!
- Woody Allen, Deconstructing Harry

Research indicates that of all people who are downsized, or just plain fired -- only 20% lack technological know-how or competence. 80% are let go because they are not able to deal with personal differences and emotional situations in the work environment.

Now, more than ever before, we need to know how to "get along." The demands on our attention, energy and time are greater than ever before as productivity expectations increase and technology speeds up our ability to get tasks done. A project which used to take 10 weeks, now may be expected in 10 days! This, demands that people communicate with an "instant" understanding between them, and also that they determine how to commit and go forward. One common theme I see, as I work with teams in the corporate environment, is the belief that we all have to agree before there can be forward movement! At Intel, they have a motto:
Disagree and then Commit!

Their consensus is that it works… and it's still difficult. We are human after all, and we all tend to have a bit of arrogance in holding on to the notion that my way is the only way. So what do we do about this? Demystify Compatibility! Compatibility, or the lack of it, is not such a mystery. Both rapport and tension are rather predictable, once you know what to look for.

Communication breakdown comes from not fully understanding other people. We try to talk to other people in a language that we expect them to understand, when in fact they are listening and speaking in another language; "their" language. With so many ways to interpret other people's behavior, why not take time to remove some of the guesswork.

Colors of Success…
Your behavior is affected both by the situations you are in and your social style, which is the result of many years of conditioning and development. No style is better than any other, yet you enhance your relationship with others if you understand your motivations, strengths and weaknesses, and those of people around you.

When I am brought in to corporations to work on Communication, Leadership and/or Team Synergism, the first thing we do is determine the Predominant Communication Styles of each participant. Understand that you will have a little bit of every color. What we are most interested in is where you dig in your heals during difficult encounters -- This is your Predominant Color. Go back to the Connecting with Colors link and invest some time in looking at the descriptions of the different styles and the way they interact.

So what happens, now that you know your type, and you work with a type that polarizes you?

Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is.
Treat a person as if he were what he could be, and he
will become what he could and should be.

The technique that I bring into corporations in conjunction with the analysis of predominant styles is called: Matching & Mirroring. Michael Grindler and David Bandler first developed this technique in their creation of NeuroLinguistic Programming. The intent of Matching & Mirroring is to understand that each communication style is based on what a person values and how they think psychologically and neurologically. It has nothing to do with greater than, less than caparisons. It's about the diversity of individual "wiring" for thinking, learning, understanding and the value which that creates within each of us.

3 SuccessBytes for
Matching & Mirroring

SuccessByte #1:
Get in the Driver's Seat!

Take full responsibility for your communication with others. Don't expect them to read your mind. Stop giving yourself excuses about "what's wrong with them." Get to work building rapport with the people with whom you work. And you start by honoring how they integrate information based on their style. Don't expect them to match your style… get your rear in gear and match theirs.

SuccessByte #2:
Get an Attitude Adjustment!

Judgement, condemnation and arrogance all cause rifts, resentments and undercurrents, which are very destructive to the culture of an organization. You can't afford to be resentful. And give up arroganceā€¦ yours of course! One form of arrogance is the tendency to believe that our way is best, and it causes more alienation than any other factor. Rather than denying negative emotions, view them as choices. You can choose to be angry in response to frustrating circumstances, or you can keep your cool, assess the situations objectively and decide on a course of action to solve the problem, perhaps by utilizing the Matching & Mirroring technique that will align you with your associates instead of separating you from them further. Make a habit of looking for the best in other people, and be generous with sincere praise and compliments.

SuccessByte #3:
Get in Sync - Match & Mirror.

Match the other person's attitude, body language, voice tone and pace. When dealing with a Red type, for instance, sit up, be succinct and talk results. With a Blue type, soften up and relate, be descriptive and discuss how and why. With a Green type, be fast, efficient and systematic. With a Yellow type, smile and connect personally, then be ready for a burst of creativity. You can get more detail on this from

Possibly the most important work we will ever do in this life is that which we do in relationships. There is nothing more important, because when we leave this world, it will be the quality of the life we lived and how we made people feel when they were with us that will be everlasting. Remember this: you can't fail at relationships, you only get results. If you don't like the results you are getting, then IT'S TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW! The real power behind identifying the colors, is learning to take the risk of aligning yourself with people who are not like-minded with you. The intent of this information is to soften the hard mental constructs that we often use to deal with each other and our differences. You can, at any time you choose, actualize the Power of Successful Communication…


©2002 Mary Robinson Reynolds, Heart Productions & Publishing

Mary ReynoldsMary Robinson Reynolds, M.S., Educational Psychologist, Author and Producer of the world renowned Internet videos, and - both amassing over 10 million views within a few short months of their releases - spent many years as a classroom teacher K-8 and then as a counselor K-12. She parlayed her phenomenal success with youth at-risk into her programs for business leaders, entrepreneurs and managers on how to be energetically effective in leading improvement in their organizations through the power of Team Synergy and MasterMinding. She has written eight books, developed UTrain&Coach programs that anyone can take into their place of work to build organization wide Team Synergy, and has presented to over 20,000 people in two year period in every major city in the U.S. To learn more go to:

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