‘All right. All right. All right.’

By | Active Listening, Blog, Brain, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Dysfunction, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Negotiation, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Peacemaker, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Virtue, Workplace Development

We laugh at movies featuring the 35 or 40 year old who won’t leave the parents’ house and get a life.

Lead_Through_Conflict

We believe that the current Best Actor recipient once starred in a movie centering around such an animating theme.

But failing to launch (or even failing to recognize the oncoming signs of failing to launch) is not just the provenance of Hollywood scriptwriters and actors, it is a real occurrence in the real world of corporate boardrooms and small business back rooms.

Typically, this failure coalesces around an idea, an innovation or a project that doesn’t get enough organizational political support, organizational money or organizational time. This most obvious failure to launch shows up on the cover of the industry magazine, or as a hit piece on a blog or social media.

But failure to launch also happens quietly, under the radar, lurking like a submarine beneath the conflicts between people in the workplace. And it’s a moment that is so fleeting—so ephemeral—that it’s missed almost all the time.

The failure goes something like this:

Sharon and Bill have a disagreement about a project in which they are both invested. Sharon can’t see Bill’s point of view. Bill thinks Sharon is being obstructionist on purpose. But before Sharon and Bill can really get into it, they both pause—maybe at the water cooler in a conversation with another person, maybe in traffic on the way home—and they have a moment where the thought “Maybe I’m wrong here,” flits across their minds.

Like gossamer.

And just like that, it’s gone. Along with the twinge of regret and disappointment—as well as an oncoming sigh—accompanied by each parties’ resolve, hardening to “Do what is right. For the company.”

The question that makes consultants uncomfortable to ask—and employees and employers uncomfortable to ponder—is the question that on the face seems confrontational and too direct, but underneath is probing. Aiming at the dark heart of what happens in—and out—of the cubicle:

“Have you ever failed personally at resolving a business conflict?”

Or put another way, “When was the last time you failed to launch?”

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Conflict Engagement Systems Design: Will You Choose?

By | Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Consulting, Dysfunction, Leadership, Old Posts, Platform Building, Presentations, Seminars, Social Communication, Speaking, Strategies, Strategy, Training, Website, Workplace, Workplace Development, Workshop

Organizations, just like individuals, have a particular conflict style and support a particular conflict response culture.

Happy_Employees

Since culture eats strategy for breakfast (thanks Peter Drucker), conflict is an inherent part of the cultural process of continual misalignment at many organizations.

Don’t believe me? Well, organizational misalignment between cultures and products can cause problems for people in organizations who are trying to innovate. It also causes problems for customers who experience a confusing product and poor customer service.

With all of that, one of the easiest ways to break a culture and let it grow is to reach inside the culture to the people who are part of the culture, to develop something new. But, this approach is fraught with difficulty and mixed motives, which are why most change management—and conflict development processes—tend to fail.

One easy way to overcome resistance to change and organizational misalignment is to develop a visual model, because people in organizations are more attuned with what they can visually interpret.

However, getting a person who can facilitate, storyboard, capture the visuals, and circulate the story among the gatekeepers and decision makers who often aren’t in the room, requires bringing in an outside presence; which, can be fraught with difficulty, because if the person—or organization—that you choose doesn’t work out, well, then all that investment gets no return.

Of course, you can always accept the alternative in your organization, where continual misalignments create disputes and the conflict process never gets straightened out or successfully engaged with.

[Thanks to the folks at HBR.org for moving my thinking on this.]

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Stop Fooling Around

By | Active Listening, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Emotional Intelligence, Negotiation, Networking, Old Posts, Platform Building, Relationships, Social Communication, Strategy, Stress

“Let’s get serious.”

So…what…we’ve just been fooling around the whole time?

Typing_Fingers

Those three words, codified through social niceties and small talk, are often said before official, issue driven, conversations and negotiations begin.

Typically, they are used as a way to separate people from each other and to categorize those who seem issue focused and decision driven—from those who seem distracted and lazy.

But, this is a false equivalency: equating being “serious” with being focused, driven—and by extension—successful in life in all the ways that the folks in the other silo are not.

And all this siloing through language only serves to inflate individual egos, and to deflate the potential for a positive situation to develop between parties who may be viewing the same issues through different frames.

We’ve got a better idea: just get started with the large talking and move right past the short hand, small talk, to the issues that matter.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] Work – Life Integration

By | Blog, Conflict, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Mediation, Old Posts, Peacemaker, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Relationships, Resolution, Strategies, Strategy

The engaged, consultant maximizes her time, so that she is working on her business, rather than in her business.

Employees_Compromising

This is the difference between a job and an entrepreneurial venture.

Or even, dare I say the difference between golden chains and a golden ticket.

There are spaces between responsibilities to family, meetings, and other gaps in our lives that can be maximized for the greatest level of productivity.

But that’s not work/life balance.

That kind of balance is not attainable.

There’s only maximizing as much productivity and gaps as possible, and then hoping for the best.

The work of an entrepreneur is to minimize the level of risk in her project: To codify and commoditize the process, the product and even the productivity.

Work/life integration is more attainable than work/life balance, which is the Holy Grail of all entrepreneurial ventures.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Emotions in the Machine

By | Active Listening, Blog, Brain, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Resolution, Dysfunction, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Networking, Neuroscience, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Privacy, Relationships, Technology, Virtue, Website, Weird, Workplace Development

At a neurobiological level, the facts and triggers for emotions in the human mind are complicated and diaphanous.

6 Billion Likes

If human societies create functioning, artificial intelligence, the chance of human level emotions evolving within those machines, will be slim to none.

Machines, even intelligent machines, can’t rise any higher than their creators.

The emotions that we have as human beings are too complex to be codified into streams of code—with the results streaming out as observable, quantifiable data points.

Data comes about as a result of an action; emotions come about as the evolutionarily developed responses to external stimuli.

One is external (data) the other internal (emotions).

Jealousy, hatred, envy, wrath, lust, love, appreciation, gratitude, respect, duty, honor, sacrifice and on and on, come from the result of constant, human-on-human conflict and rigorous A/B testing, from birth to death.

How, exactly, are we planning on codifying that into mathematically based code, so that adaptive learning, long-term evolution and short-term development can happen?

Powering down an intelligent machine won’t be murder—unless human beings decide that it is.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Conflict Engagement Systems Design: Real Innovation for Your Organization

By | Active Listening, Arbitration, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Dysfunction, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Mediation, Negotiation, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Peacemaker, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Technology, Workplace Development

Innovation is the “hot” word among all the business thought leaders as we kick off 2015…

Authenticity is the new Credibility

There’s “dark-side” innovation, “game changing” innovation and even “shark jumping” innovation, as a recent search of LinkedIn thought influencer posts recently revealed.

But there’s very little talk about organizational innovation focused on the greatest—and most taken for granted resource—that and organization has: its people.

Now, as companies are emerging from the trance of Frederick Wilson Taylor, they are still continuing to treat employees and others as disposable widgets.  The current pressure on Marissa Mayer and Yahoo is just a recent high profile example of this.

But, organizations are more than short term ROI and their daily stock ticker price.

Something has to give, if innovation is the key to moving forward in a business environment that is increasingly unstable and unpredictable.

It’s time to hack at the organizational culture that underlies preconceived notions of productivity, innovation and even people.

Conflicts are part of the innovation process and disputes are the result of that process.

Conflict also brings change and can serve as a driver for innovation in even the most entrenched organizational culture.

It’s time to hack a new system. It’s time for conflict engagement systems design for the 21st century.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Build Your Own House

By | Blog, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, Marketing for Peace Builders, Media, Old Posts, Persuasion, Platform Building, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Twitter, Twitter

For some people, renting is the way to go.

CRaaS for Your Organization

It removes the hassles of having to do yard work, deal with snow removal, or fix the things that invariably go wrong with a house.

For some people, ownership is the way to go.

It allows the person (or couple, or family) to feel psychologically, financially and spiritually grounded in a world of impermanence.

The same parallel can be drawn with organizations and their use of marketing tactics through social platforms.

Some organizations would rather pay the rent to get to eyeballs that the landlords of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pintrest, Instagram, and on and on have decided to charge.

Some organizations are choosing to opt-out and go back to doing the work of building their own platform through the use of their website, their blog and their email distribution lists.

Which strategy is better is really a matter of whether an organization is looking to persist and remain relevant in spite of the changing winds of social platforms, or if an organization is just looking to “make some noise.”

However, never forget: The social media landlords of Facebook, Twitter, et.al., already put in the hard work building a really, really, attractive space for all those tenants whose eyeballs you want to show your content to.

So, are you a renter or an owner?

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

The Crack-Up of The New Republic

By | Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Resolution, Dysfunction, Leadership, Old Posts, Platform Building, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Technology, Website, Workplace Development

Watching old industries get disrupted is a painful thing, and nowhere is this more evident than with established media companies.

#ContentValue

From the New York Times to the New Criterion, everyone is feeling the pinch from digital disruption and “vertically integrated” media companies, such as Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post, who rely on click-bait articles to justify the spending of advertising dollars.

And all of this is happening in a world of declining audience attention spans, increased distractions and with the ever present specter of “content shock” on the horizon.

In case you missed it, The New Republic, recently purchased by Chris Hughes, is cracking up.  The media driven articles about the methods and responses to this change, serve as another sign that, what was once thought secure and assured in an open market, is now not so much.

This is what happens, when digital replaces physical, all methods and modes of communication have to change in order to adapt to the new market realities.

In other words: It had to happen.

Content distribution channels remain the ultimate arbiter of content market value. They are—as they always have been—agnostic on the substance of that content: uplifting or entertaining; progressive or conservative; educational or vapid.

Look, digital disruption is taking out everyone, even the old gray lady is offering payouts to journalists who want out because they can’t adapt to the new rules. Say what you may about the direction of The New Republic, and about whether or not it becomes “vertically integrated,” the underlying hand-wringing for “educational long form content” getting out to “the masses” is misplaced.

Content, is content, is content. Long form, investigative, journalism has never been immune to forces of digital market disruptions.

This is a time for excitement, not dread. A time for hope, not fear. A time for response, not blind, reaction.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Strategy] Changing Our Approach to Facebook

By | Blog, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, Marketing for Peace Builders, Networking, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Platform Building, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Strategies, Strategy, Twitter, Twitter, Website, Workplace Development

Remember the days when it was still “The” Facebook and all of your friends’ information, pictures and stories scrolled up right away in your newsfeed?

We got involved with Facebook a couple of years after its inception at around 2006. Since then we have had, admittedly, a “love/hate” relationship with the platform on both the personal and the business side.

Since launching the HSCT page in late 2012, we consciously decided to leverage Facebook strategically to gain an audience, and drive traffic to our blog. For the most part, this approach has worked well. About 44% of traffic to the HSCT #Communication Blog comes to us through Facebook. The remainder comes through email connections, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social distribution methods. And that Facebook driven 44% is almost 100% organic traffic.

Even as our dependence on Facebook to drive traffic has increased, we have noticed that conversion among our live audiences (the people who come and see us) has fractured, mainly along age lines. Those between the ages of 35 and 55 are connecting with us through Facebook, but the younger demographic (i.e. 18-35) are connecting with us through Twitter.

So…in 2015, the question becomes: What are we to do about social distribution through Facebook?

Well, this is a larger puzzle that many brands are working out in 2015, but for our money, the best approach is to change our thinking taking the following two points into consideration:

  • Facebook is now a billboard service on the digital highway. And, just like billboards on the physical highway, certain people see the billboards if they drive on that highway and certain people don’t. Physical billboard space has become pricey in the “real” world. In the digital realm, Facebook Ad spend, and Boost Post spending in an era of zero organic growth has also become pricey for a small, one-person shop.
  • The gamification of the SEO process on Facebook continues to yield dividends. We have to tag our friends on our personal page, whenever we post a blog article, in order to bump up our numbers of content views. This is unsustainable, to say the least, because the cost-per-click of ad spend on Facebook is only going to increase, even as the dubious benefits of gamification become less viable.

So, what to do?

Beginning this week, and for the remainder of 2015, we here at HSCT are going to pay for fewer posts, less often. The posts will be mostly image based and will always link back to blog based content.

The other thing that we will be doing is posting fewer links back to our original, blog based content. Instead, we are moving in the direction of creating newsletters and beefing up our distribution model directly to—and through—our website.

So, for those of you who have liked and consumed our content via Facebook, we’ll still be there, just less often.

To join our email list, please, head on over to http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com/hsct-offers  page and sign up today. After you do that, download our two FREE offers, our [download id=”2414″] and our [download id=”2390″]. 

And have a great 2015!

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/