Getting “Out of the Box”
by The Arbinger Institute 2000 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
The book portrays the efforts of the leadership team of the fictitious “Zagum” company to teach a new team member about their unique management style. The team members use examples of their own family conflicts, to demonstrate how the new member has been “in the box” with his co-workers.
In the Box. Even though most of us value honesty, and think we are being honest in our relationships, the book effectively clarifies how we get “in the box” with other people. What does this mean? The book explains that when a person is “in the box,” he or she is operating under the assumption that his or her reaction to another person is honest & sensible. Actually, however, the person in the box is unconsciously distorting the other person’s motivations & actions in order to defend his or her “in the box” viewpoint. The distortion & justification, of course, is done unconsciously. The person “in the box” is convinced that his or her actions & responses are perfectly justified.
Collusion is not an illusion. According to the book, sometimes people “conspire” to keep each other in “the box” by subtly encouraging each other’s behavior to conform to their expectations. They are influenced by each other’s cues, and behave in the expected way, thus validating & vindicating the other’s negative viewpoint. The characters in the book describe how they often have done this with their own children.
Break-thru. The leader of the “Zagum Company” describes how he learned to break through the long maintained and painful communication barriers, between himself & his son. This moving passage is based on the actual experiences of Arbinger Institute’s founder when his son completed the Anasazi program. Parents can’t help but hope that a similar experience might occur with their own child.
So how does a person get “In the Box?” The book says, through self-betrayal, that is, by responding to a person or an organization in a way that is “contrary” to how one should. Reacting inappropriately to a person or organization causes the “self-betrayer” to be “in the box” and causes him or her to unconsciously justify the reason for not responding in the desired way.
(getting “In & Out of the Box”, see “People…as People” continued in Premium Content)