Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Green Zone' Work Culture Can Be Good for Bottom Line

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Green Zone' Work Culture Can Be Good for Bottom Line

Article excerpt

Byline: Candace Moody

Ernest Hemingway once wrote: "The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." Going first is one of the principles of creating a Green Zone culture in your company. Going green, in this context, is about creating space where organizational trust, emotional commitment, and collaboration rule.

Celeste Blackman is an international consultant and co-founder of The Green Zone Culture Group. She's also an adjunct faculty member at the Wharton School of Business where she teaches communications in the Executive MBA program. She believes that fear and defensiveness in the workplace are the underlying cause of most of the human problems in organizations, and she's committed to making work a better place.

When our working environment is full of fear and blame our brains go into survival mode, a tactic that helped us when our cave dweller ancestors faced deadly danger. Our brains still react as if we might be eaten when we face a bullying boss or angry coworker. "Neuroscience has proven that your brain doesn't function well at all when you're in survival mode," she says. "We shut down the part of the brain that makes decisions and processes thought." Constant stress attacks our immune system; a toxic work environment - what Blackman calls a Red Zone - can literally kill you.

"When we are relaxed and safe, our brains function at a higher capacity," Blackman asserts. "We are more creative, less reactive, healthier and more willing to collaborate." And collaboration is essential to getting anything done in a world where work is increasingly complex and fast paced.

Blackman is certified in FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) theory, a theory of interpersonal relations introduced in 1958. FIRO theory says that we all have the same three basic human needs: to feel significant, to feel competent, and to be liked. …

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