[Advice] Intentional Anchoring

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Dysfunction, Mediation, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Relationships, Resolution, Speaking, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Training

The first sentence in a discussion anchors the rest of the conversation.

“I need him to shut up.”

“I don’t like what’s happening here.”

“She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

“The fact that we’re focusing on this issue is crazy.”

“They don’t know what they are talking about.”

“Who’s in charge here?”

“I’m in charge here.”

The first sentence of a blog post, the first sentence of an online status update, the first sentence of an email does the same thing.

In a negotiation, this tactic is called anchoring. It’s the process of putting an idea into another party’s mind about a topic of discussion, and then using that initial idea to push or pull the other party in a particular direction.

There is verbal and nonverbal anchoring. Anchoring occurs with signs and symbols. Anchoring happens when parties speak and when they are silent. Anchoring happens with body language.

People perform anchoring all the time, mostly unintentionally, but occasionally, someone “gets” it and intentionally chooses their words carefully and judiciously for maximum effect. And with the purpose of generating maximum conflict.

In any negotiation—along with management, facilitation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation—of a conflict, the person who establishes the anchor first has a greater chance to do better than the person who doesn’t. In this context “doing better” just means “getting an outcome that works for me.”

What outcome are you dropping an anchor for?

[Strategy] Facilitating-as-a-Sales Process

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Speaking, Strategies, Strategy, Training, Workshop

The skills required to facilitate training for an audience with content that wasn’t developed by the facilitator, are the same skills sale people practice every day:

Persuasion: Since a facilitator doesn’t create the presentation content (or product) they are facilitating (just like the sales person doesn’t create the product they sell door-to-door), the skills of persuasion through using influence in the room, is critical for success. The facilitator must use all the skills of persuasion their fingertips to get the “customer” to buy the product. Yes, the audience already “bought” the product by being there physically. But just like children in school, you have to “re-earn” their attention caring and awareness, rather than taking it for granted.

Body language: Sales people know that confidence, body language, and silence combined with active listening (more on this one below), can help close the sale in a face-to-face encounter. Facilitators need to keep this in mind. Particularly, when facilitating content with which they are not familiar. A facilitator with none of those traits, just like a sale person with none of those traits, can stumble and fall in the room.

Active listening: Facilitators should listen more that they talk. This is easy when the facilitator has developed the product they are facilitating. It’s hard when facilitators haven’t developed the product they are facilitating. The problems compound when they don’t believe the content itself. The first person to listen and react to the content should be the facilitator. But not in the room. Not in front of the audience. And not when the audience pushes back and disagrees, asserts themselves, or engages in conflict with the content.

With all this being said, the facilitator should remember, above all else, that the work is on the line in the room, not the facilitator as a sales person.

[Advice] Self-Awareness, Altruism, and Critical Reasoning

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Peacemaker, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, The Future & The Singularity

As people choose the messages that they will receive and believe, does self-awareness, critical reasoning, and altruism matter?

  • There are people in the United States who have no idea that conflicts between police and African American communities are raging.
  • There are people in the United States who have no idea who’s running for President, or why, even as November 8th approaches.
  • There are people who are unaware that there are celebrity divorces going on, sports controversies, and other, seemingly ‘low-level’ and ‘unimportant’ cultural conflicts going on right now.
  • There are people who are unaware of the presence of wars (and rumors of wars) in the world today.

When mass media falls apart at scale, and when the historical, cultural, political, and social forces that used to bind disparate populations in the United States together in the last century and a half, no longer matter, can altruism, critical reasoning, and self-awareness matter?

Or, are we returning to a smaller, localized, conflict-ridden past that may be out of our historical memory, but that hews closer to the way people have always interacted?

And the sub-question: Cui bono? Who benefits the most from this seeming cultural return to a baseline we don’t remember?

HIT Piece 9.20.2016

By | Blog, HIT Pieces, New Posts, Old Posts, Technology, Truth

Technology changes are comparatively easy to predict.

The computer.

The fax machine.

The interstellar rocket.

The airplane.

The cell phone.

The drones.

The lie detector.

The biometric scan.

The electric car.

The driverless car.

The internet.

These are just some of the technologies that were developed, conceived, proposed, or prototyped in early to middle part of the last century and now have come to full commercial fruition in our time.

Societal changes based in changing behavior and ideas (economic, social, political, etc.) are less easy to predict.

The rise and fall of cigarette smoking.

Women in the workplace.

Gay marriage.

Minority civil rights.

The illegalization of drug use.

The end of child labor.

Prohibition.

The move of manufacturing away from the US.

The rise of globalism.

Mass genocide.

Mass immigration movement.

The rise of religious based radicalism.

The fall of the British Empire.

The rise and fall of Soviet Communism.

Until we can predict how people will use the technology they now have (i.e. Twitter) in conjunction with behavioral changes at the societal level (i.e. Black Lives Matter) to create a future where half of that equation stubbornly refuses to be examined (behavioral changes at the societal level) we will remain blind to future changes, surprised by black swans, and bound to hindsight biases.

And we’ll get no closer to being able to predict the future than we are now.

[Advice] Entrepreneurs Disrupted

By | Blog, Culture, Entrepreneurship, New Posts, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Technology, Workplace, Workplace Development

We are at the end of about a ten to fifteen-year cycle of entrepreneurship being sexy. And now is a good time for disruption.

This is evidenced by current exits, acquisitions, and even the folding of companies. And while some VC dollars are drying up a little bit in traditional geographic locations, other dollars are moving to non-traditional geographic locations.

Like Pittsburgh.

Or Cleveland.

In those places though, where the culture of Silicon Valley (“fail fast, fail hard”) has yet to completely penetrate, two distinct phenomena are going to bump up against each other over the next few years. And this friction will occur even as breathless articles—and blog posts—will be written about the death of entrepreneurship in the major media, political, and social centers of the United States.

The first phenomena will be the mismatch between a traditional VCs perception of what the culture of investment should be, and the perception of culture in places geographically, (and culturally as well as ideologically) removed from that culture of investment. There have been a few businesses built like this in the Midwest (Basecamp, formerly 37 Signals, comes to mind) but there will be more friction in the coming years.

The second phenomena will be the mismatch between a “small business” mentality, and a “entrepreneurs” mentality. This will manifest in all kinds of ways, including work ethic, employee education level, and other localized influences. Many of these are unquestioned and “in the air” in Silicon Valley, and the mismatch is already acute outside of Silicon Valley.

Both of these mismatches can be overcome, managed, or eliminated completely through the effects of numerous, gossamer like transactions, but they all represent disruption.

That is, disruption for both the end of entrepreneurship being “sexy”, and the beginning of something else, even greater taking root in unexpected places.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 4 – Halelly Azulay

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Old Posts, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Workplace, Workplace Development

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 4 – Halelly Azulay, Leadership Coach, Facilitator, Consultant, Speaker and Upgrader of Sustainable Leader Development

podcast-earbud_u-season-four-episode-4-halelly-azulay

So, I talk and write about this stuff all the time.

Growing talent in the workplace cannot happen with considering work in a different way.

Talent is something that everyone believes that they have, but very few people can target and develop in a meaningful and demonstrative way.

Trust, follow-through, belief, and a standard of work and an understanding of labor, is changing in the world of work.

But this should be nothing new for you, because you’re listening to this podcast on your way home from work, on your way to work, or while you’re sitting in your cubicle, trying to avoid doing work.

Our guest today Hallely Azulay knows about all of this and is going beyond just exploring the changing world of work, she is actively trying to mold it into something better for everybody.

So what’s the solution?

Well, I argue for more training, as you would assume. I also argue for more transparency and authenticity around emotional labor. But I know that could be something that you may not be comfortable with.

But what about your manager?

The chasm between our comfort zones at work and the growth that we need to do at work to remain relevant is staggering. We need guidance, shepherding, diligence, and respect to cross that chasm successfully.

Without this, we won’t cross the chasm and truly develop our talents, skills and abilities in ways that allow us to become true stewards of the workplace.

Such guidance can come from the outside of your organization from folks like myself and Hallely. But more often than not, it’s going to have to come from the manager or supervisor who you actively do work to avoid during the day.

To paraphrase from Juvenal: Who trains the watchmen to watch in the first place?

Listen to Halelly and take the time to connect with her via the links below:

The Talent Grow Podcast: http://www.talentgrow.com/podcast

Talent Grow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TalentGrowLLC

Talent Grow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/talentgrow

Talent Grow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HalellyAzulay

The Talent Grow website: http://www.talentgrow.com/

HIT Piece 9.13.2016: Facebook-as-the-Internet

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, HIT Pieces, New Posts, Old Posts, Platform Building, Privacy, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth

You are probably going to read this post by clicking on a link from Facebook, if you read this at all.

More likely than not, you won’t read this if you see it posted on LinkedIn (it seems too arduous to click on an article, thus the increase of click-bait recently on the platform).

If you happen to see the link to the blog post on Twitter (I didn’t pay for it to trend, nor do I have enough heft to cut through the constant firehose of information on the platform) you most likely won’t read it either.

These three platforms (along with Google) have created an environment of ease of access, shareability of information, and have grown through social proofing (“Everybody else is there, so I must be there as well”) that their influence as media companies is now being seriously discussed by media companies still around from the 20th century.

This leads to three problems, beyond the obvious ones though:

  1. There are biases evident in both the algorithms that run these platforms (as usual, computer models and programs are created by human beings, and human beings have biases) but that phenomenon is compounded by the fact that the people using the platform the most have their own biases. The real struggle is not to get more human curators to do the work of curating that an algorithm is programmed to do. The real struggle for both human curators and the human programmed algorithms running in the background of these platforms, is to educate and inform the audience using the platforms in spite of their biases.
  2. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pintrest, Snapchat, and on and on, are not the Internet. They are applications built atop the Internet. By only accessing information through these silos (the search engine Duck Duck Go actually gives better results than Google) the “lock-in” effect gets deeper and deeper in the person doing the search. This can be a positive. But it can also create myopia, willful ignorance, and a lack of curiosity about the world outside of these platforms.
  3. In the future, the social media and information communication platforms built on top of the Internet will become more fractured, not less. This is the reaction/response to the first two problems, and to solving the problem inherent in the sentence that opened this post. Eventually, more and more niche audiences, being less and less served by the platforms built at “mass” (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, et.al) will seek information out on the long-tail of options. There will be some reverting back to what came before social media (i.e. chatrooms, discussion boards, email listservs (I’m on two or three) and other tools) but eventually, niche audiences will seek access to their own silos outside the megaphone of established social media platforms.

Note, I did not say that these platforms would be profitable, popular to the masses, or easy for outsiders to integrate to and use. Reddit is already like this to some degree in its resistance to monetization, its relative openness, and its vain efforts to curtail its core users’ language and political preferences.

But as every woman seeks the promise behind being her own information queen, the seduction inherent in getting away from Facebook-as-the-Internet will grow in popularity and promise.

[Strategy] Average in the Future

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Relationships, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Virtue

There have always been people in societies, cultures, and among populations all over the world and throughout history who have committed an average level of effort to the work of building their lives.

They lived. They died. And they didn’t make a ripple or a dent in the universe.

It’s only in the last 100 years or so that the protection for being average was codified at a mass level through the direct efforts of the Industrial Revolution and the aftereffects of that same revolution.

Another way of saying this is “C’s get degrees.”

Yes, they do.

But, over the next 100 years, they may have to get a different set of skills in order to maintain that “C” status, both in life, and in their careers.

It’s always been demanding to be average; to stay in your lane; to follow directions without critically thinking; to not be the nail that sticks up; to protect the status quo by not engaging in conflicts that matter.

And it’s just going to get even harder.

[Advice] Nostalgia and Disposable Income

By | Blog, Entrepreneurship, New Posts, Old Posts, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Relationships, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

When a town economy runs on the fuel of nostalgia for an imagined past, and relies on a pool of people with disposable income who are willing to spend money to remember the past, the town is in trouble when either the nostalgia or income run out.

This is not anything new in the culture of towns away from bustling city centers globally, but the phenomenon will become more acutely noticed in the coming years, as nostalgia is abandoned in favor of the new and the shiny (you can’t compete with that) and as disposable income becomes less evenly distributed and less disposable.

And if you don’t think that it can happen in the 21st century, well, there are gold and silver “rush” mining towns throughout the American West that do a brisk business in seasonal tourism as ghost towns.

And it only took them 100 years to get there.

[Strategy] The Deep End

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Mediation, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Social Communication, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Workplace, Workplace Development

The deep end of the swimming pool is the best place to be in order to change through conflict.

The deep end is where no one wants to go. It’s at the edge of the conflict universe, far away from the shallow center and a place for pioneers, adventurers and a place where safety is not a primary concern.

The deep end as an idiom describes all the ways that people used to respond emotionally to being put in situations that didn’t conform to the status quo, and that required a level of rebellion and non-conformity to confront and overcome. The idiom comes directly out of the last century, a time when personally, professionally, academically, and in every other way that mattered, challenging the safe, right, and easy path wasn’t as profitable as it is now.

We use the phrase “off the deep end” to mean that we have been involved in a situation, or trapped in a behavior, that we have no previous experience in handling, and that we feel so uncomfortable in, that it feels like death.

Of course, out on the edge of the universe, out in the deep end of the pool, we might drown. Or we might just decide to suck it up and persevere, gaining grit and resilience in the end.

Bringing up the importance of swimming in the deep end is somewhat problematic these days, in a public culture that’s built around filing down the rough edges and hammering down the nails that insist on not being hammered down. This is an interesting phenomenon, because there have never been more opportunities to be weird, to stand out, to go to the end of the emotional universe, and to jump willingly into the deep end of the pool of emotional experience.

There are few strategies for managing getting into the deep end:

Realize that you won’t die—the pool of conflict is deep on purpose, so confronting your boss, your co-worker, you parents, or someone else who you think has power over you about their conflict behavior and choices, won’t result in death. Just you being uncomfortable for a while.

Realize that the deep end is where real changes happen—getting excited about the new Iphone or Samsung phone is not a change. Going to the deep end with another person on their behavioral choices that have impacted you negatively is a change. And change always happens at the edges of confrontation and away from the safe, chunky middle.

Realize that, of course you can’t handle it, that’s why you’re doing it—just responding to a conflict (i.e. with accommodation, avoidance, confrontation, collaboration, or compromise) in the ways that you’ve always been comfortable responding is what you’ve always been able to handle. Moving away from that safety emotionally and behaviorally will feel scary, uncomfortable, and will yield results that you couldn’t have imagined. Because you had no basis from which to imagine them in the first place.

If you’re not doing something every day, to change how you address conflict behaviors in your life, you are placing yourself in the shallows of life. And when a real storm comes, and it always does, the deep end of life will come and visit you, instead of the other way around.