[Advice] On Focus Past the TL;DR World

By | Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Brain, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Dysfunction, Emotional Intelligence, Facebook, Google, Media, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Problem Solving, Relationships, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Strategies, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Twitter

In a world of seven second attention spans, and stimulus reward systems based in electronic tools that update with vibrations, beeps and blinking lights, believing in the efficacy of the multitasking myth is mentally and emotionally deadly.

The organizations, teams, and even individuals who will “win” the future, who will be the most successful in the long-term, will be those that can focus on one thing at a time. They will also be the ones that allow their employees the ability to mindfully focus on tasks to accomplish goals and reduce the friction engendered by interruption, conflict, and poor communication. This is the place where our new tools can take us, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and even the internet everywhere and in every physical thing.

It’s going to take more than a few new tools to reverse the evolution of the human brain: A brain wired for stimulus, reaction, giving into impulse, and desiring the illusion of safety and stasis at the expense of everything else. Sure, mental and tool-based “short hand” may fool our brains into thinking that we are avoiding chaos and indecision, and encouraging stasis and security, but in a world where the short-hand for absorbing ideas we’re too impatient to deal with is “too long; didn’t read” we need more focus, not less.

-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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Opinion] Edges of the Universe

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Peacemaker, Persuasion, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Strategies, Strategy

There is the edge and the long tail.

From the work of Chris Anderson, the idea of the long tail is that the world of “hits” (television shows, Top 40 music, etc.) is gone and the world of “niches” (Twitter users, YouTube video consumers, etc.) is here and is growing exponentially, year-on-year, as the cost of creating, developing, or doing, in general, drops to almost $0.

For peace builders looking to make money, get attention, gain credibility, or grow a practice, the “hits” are jobs in academia, working with NGO’s, or becoming lawyers who do peace building (i.e. mediation, negotiation, arbitration) on the side. The “niches” are where I am with this blog, launching a new podcast, or even trying to leap into live video streaming of mediation, negotiation, or arbitration sessions.

So why are peace builders chasing the chunky head (“hits), rather than heading out on the exponentially longer long tail (“niches”)?

There are two answers to this question:

The long tail is a lonely place. Peace builders by nature, temperament, and training are communal people, longing to connect clients with solutions and to resolve sticky problems. It’s lonely to go out to the long tail, because professional colleagues may tell you that you’re “wrong” in your approach. Or they may not let you into the world of conferences, associations, membership groups, or other places where business gets transacted. And when you’re a peace builder looking for work that matters, it’s easier to struggle to get into the chunky head and make noise there, than to take a professional risk to venture out on the long tail.

The edges of peace building are about the unknowable and unpredictable. Resolution is the reduction, or elimination, of tension between people. Engagement is about seeking out the tension, appreciating it, and not seeking to resolve it. At the edges of peace building lie technologies and technological developments, that have made the world of communication outside of peace building more striated, more differentiated (thus the long tail) and more separated. The tension has increased with social media saturation, 24/7/365 marketing messaging, and people increasingly choosing to opt-out rather than to opt-in. These changes are creating an atmosphere that is ripe for peace builders of all backgrounds to step in and show the way to reduce tension—or at the minimum get parties to engage with it in healthier ways—using stories that resonate with the language people in conflict at the edges are using right now.

Doing work at the edges that matters, requires going to the spot on the long-tail that matches your temperament as a peace builder and then to mine that spot ruthlessly. It also requires making peace with the tension of the unpredictable, and the unknowable.

But peace builders ask their clients to do this all the time, from the mediation table to the negotiation table.

-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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Strategy] Talent and Mechanics

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Education, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Reconciliation, Selling for Peace Builders, Social Communication, Social Media, Strategies, Strategy, Website

What they really want to know when they ask “how do you do that?” is the mechanics of the show you are doing.

Putting on a show is about talent though (and hard work), but putting on a show only happens when the mechanics of doing the show are suborned to the talent preceding the show.

When the mechanics are confused with the talent (by the people watching the show–or buying it), then imitation becomes the worst form of flattery. The hard work is disentangling the talent from the mechanics (and the tools to accomplish putting on the show) and focusing on what you do well. Then determining if that other person’s mechanics will work for the show you want to put on.

The answer to “how do you do that?” is always in two parts (talent + hard work), but it’s easier–and more palatable for the audience–to just answer by talking about how nifty the #2 pencil 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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] Storytelling for the Peace Builder

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Truth

It’s hard to imagine a world without stories and storytelling; after all, human beings are narrative animals.  And where peace builders are concerned, it’s even harder to imagine a world without conflict.

Conflict is a process of change driven by stories. Stories that, when repeated often enough—and with enough veracity—become capital “T” truth in conflict parties’ minds, hearts and psyches.

Peace builders are experienced in hearing stories of conflict and disruption. They tease apart those narratives to move parties past “who did what to whom” and toward, resolution, reconciliation or even forgiveness.

But, when peace builders have to switch and become brand builders, sometimes they struggle with stories about their business, their peace practices and their approaches to advocating for peace in the world. This has created a space where peace builders are sometimes defined by market forces, rather than acting to create narratives that will drive the market to their door.

Go back and look at that paragraph for a minute: That set of thoughts right there is a story, full of assumptions, truths and values.

All good story making revolves around a three act structure, focused around an epic journey of some type. Any reading this who has studied the books of Joseph Campbell—or seen Star Wars—will know what I’m talking about.

The peace builder as “hero” is a tough meme to construct for many peace builders. It smacks of violating client self-determination. A narrative where the client is the hero and the peace builder fades into the background, never to be seen or heard from again, is comfortable for many peace builders. Such a construct can be seductive, because it reinforces various themes and narratives baked into the structure of many peace building efforts, from education and training to certification and publishing.

But…

The marketplace (i.e. potential clients and customers) enjoys the journey of heroes and even anti-heroes. Acknowledging this fact is not approval of it, so when constructing the story of an approach, process or philosophy, many peace builders would do well to follow three basic rules:

  • The brand client is always the hero—All good, memorable branding stories begin by focusing on the hero first and identifying that person and their role clearly (see the Apple campaign from 1984). When building a brand and a business, the conflicting parties are the heroes; but, they can only be heroic with a little guidance.
  • The brand narrative winds through every piece of content a peace builder creates—When I work with corporate training clients, the second best moment I experience is the moment when they tell me that they recognize me from my “heroic” photo, splayed “Superman-like,” across my marketing (see this here). My best moment is when all that fades as they come to realize, through instruction, training and guidance, that they have the power to succeed or fail if they want to—and on their own terms. When building business brand, images that are selected for your blog posts, your business card, and even your website and print media should all integrate and express the same narrative.
  • The brand narrative you want to send to clients must be consistent—The professional peace builder can send one, two or multiple messages to clients through multiple channels (see the Chipotle campaign here). And in a world with fractured and shortened attention spans—and multiple marketing niches and channels—it may be beneficial to send out multiple messages. Or, telling one story, one time, in one way may work better. Either way, the professional, savvy peace builder must decide on what the message will be—and where and how hard to promote it.

-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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Three, Episode #7 – Justin R. Corbett

By | Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Old Posts, Platform Building, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Three, Episode #7—Justin R. Corbett, Entrepreneur, Community Mediator, Data Driven Researcher, Exploring the Data Artistry and Science of Alternative Dispute Resolution

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Three, Episode #7 – Justin Corbett

“I love data,” said—almost—no one in the field of dispute resolution ever.

Data and the field of alternative dispute resolution need to get in bed with each other, and our guest today is the ideal matchmaker.

I’m not a matchmaker though, except in getting you to listen to the show today.

Our guest today, Justin Corbett is a master matchmaker, who loves data, and he’s making matches using the data gathering tools that Google has built to bring the field in closer contact with people who need our services.

Moving the dispute resolution field, further faster, through creating messages that resonate, through research and data, and through technology.

Seems like areas tailored made for peace and conflict tracking in America.

And yet, many peace builders in the field are…hesitant to say the least…to leverage the tools that are laying all around us as a field to determine how we can help current and future generations who are comfortable disengaging with conflict, engaging passive-aggressively with conflict, or talking about conflict without a face-to-face interaction.

A reader of my new book, Marketing For Peace Builders, recently wrote me and said “I love the accuracy of your statement: Peace builders must persuade, convince, and sell to a skeptical, conflict comfortable public. I hope to draw inspiration from that statement.”

I hope that, even as technical as this interview with Justin is, that you draw inspiration from this interview about where the field can go.

And how, as the world becomes more conflict comfortable, not less, we can continue to build for the future, as individuals and as a field.

Check out all the ways below to connect with Justin today:

The Advancing Dispute Resolution website: http://www.advancingdr.org/home

The Advancing Dispute Resolution Blog: http://blog.advancingdr.org/

The Advancing Dispute Resolution Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdvancingDR

The Advancing Dispute Resolution Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/advancingdr/

The Advancing Dispute Resolution Google+ Page: https://plus.google.com/+AdvancingDRorg

Justin’s Social Science Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1818670

Justin on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justinrcorbett

Justin on ADR Hub.com: http://www.adrhub.com/profile/JustinRCorbett

[Opinion] The Infrastructure of Our Assumptions

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Culture, Leadership, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Privacy, Problem Solving, Relationships, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Workplace, Workplace Development

The infrastructure underlying our assumptions about work, the material world, and the digital world, and even how people get paid for work, have to change.

One assumption people still struggle with accepting is: If it’s not physical, then it’s not worth paying for.

Another assumption people struggle to change is: If I can’t see you physically doing the work, you must not be actually creating anything of value.

And yet another assumption people struggle to change in the face of shifting technology is: If it’s in the digital world (work, products, infrastructure, etc.) then there must be a physical corollary or else it’s not “real.”

All of these assumptions are being upended, moment-by-moment, bit-by-bit, by software companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) product companies (Tesla Motors), and digital goods companies (Amazon, Zappos, Netflix, etc.) and there are no signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, in the “real” world, the debates that rage in our public discourse are over basic income, wealth distribution, race and gender, and the nature of public policy, regulation, and laws in the face of rapid change.

We insist on using 20th century language and 20th century approaches to resolve 21st century problems. The solution to this is not to slow down, change, or push back machine learning, software development, or even physical and digital integration. Instead, the solution to this comes right out of the world of conflict resolution: Developing and sustaining the environments that will allow people to be creative, be generous, be courageous, and be truthful in a world that will increasingly reward by revenues of connection, referral, and relationship, those people who can successfully relationally connect with other people.

Rebuilding and reimagining the educational, social, and community infrastructures that will empower people to be their best, most ethical selves over the long stretch of their lives and creating and sustaining the systems to reward that growth—that’s the hard work.

Assumptions undergird work and the value of human labor. Assumptions undergird emotional labor and the value of that labor. Assumptions undergird adoption of technology, systems, and even the design of physical infrastructures.

But, the thing about assumptions is that human being make them.

Which means, with courage, and without apathy or defeatism, they can be unmade.

Even in the face of conflicts over change.

-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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Opinion] The Project Work Trap II

By | Advice, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Selling for Peace Builders, Strategies

In order to effectively scale such transitive and necessary products as peace, honesty, good faith and courage, project work—freelancing—has to serve as the next step up from the typical minimal viable product, an entrepreneur might focus on developing.

A blog (not a pretty website) may be the minimal viable product for the beginning peace builder, but the way to scale from that is to be clear about developing project work through freelancing. The trap of project work though, is that it can lead to the peace builder developing a “feast-or-famine” mentality.  This mentality is the jaws of the project work trap.

Developing books, developing processes, developing software applications, developing “train the trainer” processes and more are ways around, through and over the project work trap. Product development such as this is the path to entrepreneurial ways out of the project work trap. Developing product that makes money for the peace builder while she sleeps is the entrepreneurial goal.

The gap between freelancing and entrepreneurship is consulting. Consulting is the linchpin between project work and entrepreneurial growth.  It serves as the lever at the top of the triangle between work that can be done by the peace builder and the outcomes that may need to occur to develop peace.

And the savvy peace builder knows 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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

HIT Piece 4.05.2016

By | Blog, Entrepreneurship, HIT Pieces, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Selling for Peace Builders, Truth

Sometimes, but usually very rarely, an MVP won’t do in the market.

Sometimes, just interacting with the market with shoddy products, half thought through, is worse than not interacting at all.

Sometimes, the market (consumers, clients, audience members, etc.) need to see that you have actually thought through and engaged with the process of building something, in order to buy-in to the something in the first place.

The struggle is when you can’t discover—from what your competitors are doing, from market research, from just asking your potential clients, customers, etc.—what the market will bear.

Sometimes, the MVP is a question asked of the market, and the struggle is too read the tea leaves, in between the lines, and to discern what the market wants.

And sometimes, but usually very rarely (only twice in the history of the Industrial Revolution that I’m aware of), the solution is to build a product the market doesn’t know it ever wanted in the first place, to meet a need it never knew it had.

-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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] The Fixed Mindset Peace Builder

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Selling for Peace Builders, Social Communication, Strategies, Workplace, Workplace Development, Workshop

Peace builders often spend a lot of time trying to shift the worldviews, shape the mindsets, and break the frames of clients, systems, and processes in the world. This is reflected in much of their marketing materials, business development practices, and their overall approaches to sharing information in the world about making peace.

Peace builders often spend an inordinate amount of time trying to shift their own worldviews, shape their own mindsets, and break their own frames around the esoteric differences between transformation, evaluation, and facilitation. This is reflected in the majority of trainings that are offered, conferences that are attended, and speakers that are lauded in all the fields for peace making, from litigation to mediation to negotiation.

But this is where peace builders are comfortable.

Mediators will work on Bob. If Bob feels as though he got screwed in his last mediation session out of assets like a boat or a pile of money, his world view of the mediation process is different than that of his ex-wife.

Conflict coaches and consultants will work with Ann. If Ann sees her job I’m human resources as determining policy and keeping people in line, she’s going to take a different view of conflict management training than Jill who sees her job as being an agent of change in the organization.

Church litigators will work with Dave and Melinda. If Dave sees his role at church as being a person who keeps the boat from tipping over rather than as a person who is there to lead a flock to Christ, his approach to internal church conflict is going to be different than Melinda, who sees her role as a Deacon as one who is there to lead people to a relationship rather than through religion.

Peace builders inherently know that the worldviews of their clients around conflict matter. This is where they are most comfortable, feeling as though they are doing work at the edges. When in reality, this work, while unpleasant for some, is not the core hard work.

Peace builders inherently know that their own worldviews matter. This is where peace builders are less comfortable, but still not as uncomfortable as they need to be to truly be doing work at the edges. This work, while easy for many, is not the most unpleasant thing.

The hard, unpleasant, and edgy work lies at the edges of worldviews: The work involves going into places where the peace builders’ knowledge level and expertise may not be appreciated and doing the courageous work of digging in with people who have only even known conflict. The work involves designing products and services that are truly cutting edge—in technology, in mindset, in worldview—that match what clients, consumers, and the market is demanding, in the language that it’s demanding it. The work involves creating relationships at a global level with professionals in other fields and publicizing that interdisciplinary work in a cutting edge way, not for the field, but for a conflict comfortable public.

To go all the way to the edges, to be a champion of work that matters, and to design a life and career of meaning, peace builders must challenge inherent, field based assumptions loudly, rather than quietly, and have the courage to go to the furthest end of where those challenges lead.

Otherwise, the growth mindset necessary for peace builders to grow and make a revolutionary impact will remain far away from many peace building professionals. At the outer edges, of a field that will become more embedded in a fixed mindset at the chunky center, deep in the very conflicted world it seeks to impact.

-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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] The Minimal Viable Product

By | Advice, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Opinions, Platform Building, Selling for Peace Builders, Social Communication, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Training, Website, Workshop

If you’re building a peace project, it’s important to understand what you’re creating in the product phase, so that you understand what you’re selling.

Many creators misunderstand the idea of a minimal viable product. The definition, created by the writer Eric Ries (he of Lean Start-Up fame), is as follows:

“A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is: “[the] version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort”

In essence, a product that doesn’t try to be perfect (what the peace builder may want) but instead is a product that “ships” (i.e. gets into the market, gets out the door, gets into the customer’s hands, etc.) so that peace builders can interact with the market, rather than think about interacting with the market, is an MVP.

This is where many peace builders get caught up:

The blog that takes you ten minutes to set-up and allows you to distribute your ideas, thoughts, and passions about peace to the market is an MVP. The pretty website around the blog that “has to just look right” is not an MVP.

The email that is a conglomeration of various links, information about peace building, and allows you to interact with fans, audience, and potential customers, and that takes you an hour to set-up and an hour to send out three times a week, is an MVP. The list of emails to send the email to is not an MVP.

The workshop on active listening that you develop after ten minutes of thinking about the problems with clients in conflict that you are seeing at the mediation table is an MVP. Continually changing, researching, and referencing to make the workshop “perfect” is not an MVP.

The interaction with social media platforms through setting up a business page on Facebook, tweeting and retweeting links to peace building producers in other areas, or the posts that you consistently write and put on LinkedIn are all MVPs. The constant worrying about perfection (or not being wrong in what you retweet on social media) cannot lead to creating an MVP.

The issues with developing an MVP is that many creators of peace building projects get caught up in the idea that a product (a workshop) a blog post, a website, an email, or a social interaction has to be perfect. But the secret of the MVP is that the market isn’t looking for perfection.

The market for your peace building project is looking for YOU. The people in conflict who need resolution, engagement, help, ideas, a process, or even just advice, aren’t looking for perfection. And in many cases, once you engage with them with your MVP, enough people are generous enough to give you help, feedback, and encouragement to develop and reiterate your MVP so that it moves from being “minimal” to “maximal”

Selling begins when peace builders have the courage to engage with the market.

-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: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/