Relationships -- The Red Line

It's al about relationships...


Transactions are always about relationships—be they good, bad, neglected, important, casual, or professional. The list of adjectives could go on forever. Our lifetime of relationships weaves the fabric of our approach to life. In reality, our personal rules for how we conduct ourselves in relation to others is a key behavioral red line. To cross the red linies a phrase used worldwide to mean a figurative point of no return or line in the sand, or a limit past which safety can no longer be guaranteed.


In relationships, the red line is simple – how do I choose to interact with other people? What is my intention? What actions do I take? Which behaviors do I choose? Your intentions, actions, and goals show up in every relationship and create the style others experience when dealing with you. This TripleWin Relationship Model™ captures some of the most typical relationship styles.


Over time, the styles of the individuals, including the top leaders, accumulate and become the culture of the core unit – be it a family, social, or professional organization. 


The Point of No Return or Line in the Sand. The Limit Past Which Safety Can No Longer Be Guaranteed.


The bridge from a confronting, combative, adversarial relationship style to a more cooperative, collaborative, supportive relationship style is trust. When TRUST is compromised, the red line is crossed. Five important elements are trust are truth, respect, understanding, support, and trustworthiness.


T: Telling the TRUTH. Being honest and full of integrity.

R: Showing RESPECT. Not just in agreement, but in disagreement.

U: Being UNDERSTANDING and seeking to be understood. Finding areas of agreement and isolating areas of disagreement.

S: Giving SUPPORT so that others can be their best selves.

T: Being TRUSTWORTHY. All of the time. And acknowledging mistakes. Being accountable.


Without trust, it is difficult, if not impossible, to have win-win, supportive relationships. We must know how to grow and maintain important relationships. The challenge is to manage the demands on our time—time needed to invest in building and maintaining strong relationships with our family, colleagues, customers, and the world at large. Every day we have to fight for time for these all important relationships against the pull and tug of the hundreds of other priority tasks.


We must find the time, discipline, and skills to:

§ Resolve conflicts before they become roaring infernos

§ Solve problems at the lowest possible level

§ Communicate effectively in the full range of situations

§ Work collaboratively instead of at odds or in competition

§ Remove barriers to teamwork

§ Treat the relationship as important as any other task at hand

§ Stay aware and sensitive to the human dynamics at play

§ Coach and mentor others to build a stronger future

§ Lead with responsibility and care

§ Manage the impact of change and engage the affected stakeholders


The process of human interaction is one that seems mysterious but can be defined and understood. We need to invest in refining our relationship skills to clearly understand the red line of relationships and have the necessary tools and skills to be effective every day. 


Nancy Brown-Johnston is the owner and co-founder of TripleWin, www.triplewintraining.com. www.triplewin.nl. www.triplewin.ch.


Reference: The TripleWin Relationship Model


The fundamental framework of TripleWin is the TripleWin Relationship Model. It anchors our philosophy and guides us in our consulting and training approaches. The model is a powerful description of the range of behaviors found in most organizations.


The TripleWin Relationship Model™

I’m astounded by the number of organizations that operate in an adversarial environment. I’ve worked in those types of organizations, and I personally hated it. I found it difficult to go to work every day, and on many days I dealt more with interpersonal conflicts than with my work!  Practices like employing win-lose power tactics, placing blame, and punishing mistakes certainly did not bring out the best in me. I am sure many people can relate to this. This type of leadership and culture is one of the primary causes of dissatisfaction and disengagement in organizations today. 

 Unhealthy competition inside an organization wastes time and diverts energy from value-added work. Coexistence causes employees to avoid working with those they don’t trust or respect, and this can cause communication issues with big implications. It is this inwardly focused competition and unchecked coexistence that leads to poor performance.


The Alternative

 By focusing on coordinating and collaborating with their colleagues, a healthier work culture can be created. This change shows up in performance numbers. Some of the outcomes are:

·      One person helps another person to accomplish his or her goals or tasks

·      An environment of partnership is created with shared goals

·      Conflict becomes healthy and brings out new ideas

·      Opinions are expressed and solutions to problems are found

·      Resources and responsibilities are shared and work gets done

·      People are committed to the end result and accountability grows, often to the benefit of the customer

·      People approach situations without internal competition saving both time and energy

 Focusing on creating a win-win culture can fundamentally and quickly propel an organization forward; energy follows focus.


Try it, it works. Look inside a healthy organization, and you will find them working on the right hand side of the relationship model.

 Here are some great questions to get you thinking!

1.  Are members of your organization fully engaged in meeting your company goals and objectives?

2.  Are your departments or functions more collaborative or competitive?

3.  Do conflicts create pain or insight?