It’s Not For You…

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Risks are only risky because of the way we feel about them.

Feelings about risk matter, in as much as they drive decisions that we make.

Decisions have consequences, and thinking about those consequences often creates feelings of fear, which leads to us not taking the risks we need to take to advance a culture, an idea, or a product.

Change happens when our feelings of dissatisfaction plus our first steps toward solving a problem plus having a clear vision of what the outcome (or consequences) could be of not changing, outweighs the resistance we have because of our feelings.

Risks are only risky because of the way we feel about consequences and the resistance we have toward taking them.

Feelings matter. Which means, persuasion matters if you want to affect change.

But at some point, we must be willing to say to the other party (or ourselves) who is paralyzed by our feelings around risk and resistance to change: “It’s not for you.”

“And that’s ok.”

Necessary or Urgent

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Urgent is what is needed right now.

Necessary is what is needed to make the “right now” accelerate faster toward resolving the tension inherent between the urgent and the not-so-urgent.

We confuse the necessary with the urgent, sometimes in the pursuit of speed (just get it done) or in the pursuit of fear (just stop the demand for urgency from being so—well—urgent).

Urgent emotional labor is all around us. Here are some examples:

  • Caring when it’s not “our turn” to care.
  • Listening to someone else’s perspective when we disagree.
  • Searching for hard answers to seemingly easy questions.
  • Truly understanding context and subtext in an interaction.
  • Delaying gratification in the moment.
  • Teaching without losing hope.
  • Learning without losing interest.
  • Sacrificing ourselves for ideas, projects, and people that will outlast our existence.

Necessary emotional labor is all around us. Here are some examples:

  • Feeding the hungry.
  • Clothing the naked.
  • Honoring the memory of the dead.
  • Telling the truth in love.
  • Facing the consequences of our mistakes.
  • Letting other people face the consequences of their own mistakes.
  • Preserving face at the expense of immediate gratification.
  • Not losing focus when the emotional going gets hard.
  • Pressing into the uncomfortable and doing more of the hard things.

Don’t confuse the necessary with the urgent.

Consumers or Products

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

The participants to your training, development or educational opportunity can either be consumers of the information (and the opportunity) or they can be products of the impact of the information (and the opportunity).

Consumers or products.

You can argue with this perspective all you want, but fundamentally, this is the distinction. And it comes with a difference:

Consumers are always right—even when they’re wrong. And you, as the provider of the learning experience, will move mountains to keep them happy and avoid the friction that comes with unpopular ideas, perspectives, and approaches to learning.

Products are always proof—even when they are negative proof. And you, as the provider of the learning experience, will move mountains to make the results of the education you are giving more relevant to the world they are going to interact with based on the information you give them.

Consumers or products.

You may object and ask “Well, can’t a participant (or attendee) of a training, development, or educational opportunity be both a consumer of the opportunity, and a product of the opportunity?” And the answer is, yes and no. The person paying for the participant (or attendee) to take advantage of the opportunity may be a consumer. But the attendee (even if they are paying directly) is always the product of that interaction.

Consumers or products.

What matter so much is not the distinction (although it is important to be clear in your own mind about what’s exactly on offer in an educational interaction); instead what matters is the posture you take toward the participant.

If they’re a consumer, you’ll reduce friction, give easy answers, and hand out “A’s” (or the industry equivalent) without worrying too much about the outcome.

If they’re a product, you increase friction, give Socratic answers, and not bother with the extra approval and permission associated with credentialing a learning experience.

If they’re a consumer, you’ll make sure to say nothing controversial in your marketing, close sales at the mass level, and not be too concerned about outlier ideas, research or approaches to learning.

If they’re a product, you’ll make sure to be pointed and direct in your communication, you’ll close sales at the individual level, and you’ll be really concerned with what’s happening at the edges of the idea, information, or education universe.

Consumers or products.

It doesn’t matter what you decide, but be clear in your own mind about what’s on offer, so that the participant isn’t confused about the experience, and the education, that they’re paying for with their time, their attention, and their money.

Paying Lip Service

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

There are ideas, projects, and even people that we commit to on a Monday in the afternoon, and by Friday of the same week, we aren’t committed to those projects, ideas, or people anymore.

And since human nature rarely changes, even though cultures, technologies, and knowledge bases do, it is important to acknowledge the importance of two things:

One, we pay lip service—that is, advocacy, adherence, or allegiance expressed in words—to ideas, projects, and even other people without thinking about the cost to us of doing so.

We underestimate the costs while overestimating the price of inaction to the other party. This comes through in Friday statements such as “Oh, they’ll find another person,” or “Well, get Sharon to do it,” or “I ran out of time.”

Two, we underestimate the benefit of quitting; quitting early, quitting often, and quitting the right ideas, projects, and even people, for the right reasons.

We often refuse to clarify in our own heads “right”—which is a subjective piece of analysis, not objective (as we would sometimes like it to be)—and we fail to communicate to the other party what our “right” is—this requires courage and candor.

Here’s a suggestion: Instead of committing enthusiastically on a Monday, and then regretfully backing out of your commitment by Friday afternoon, quit early, and quit often.  After you’ve done that, explain why you’re not committing (and quitting) to the other party—and to yourself—in a way that both you—and them—can understand.

Otherwise, be prepared to follow-through with what you committed to in haste on a Monday with regret on that Friday.

Away from the Market Center

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Away from the cultural, economic, and social centers, businesses, organizations, people and ideas are desperately attempting to preserve their declining share of the fat head.

This is problematic if you have a new idea, a new approach, a new product, or a new business to bring to market. But it’s critical to your continued survival if you have a legacy business located away from a “hot” cultural center.

There are certain businesses that are geographic specific: car dealerships, hotels, dental offices, hospitals, and so on. These businesses have an obligation to serve their local clientele as best they possibly can in a market environment where things are happening way out on the long tail, whose impacts will arrive at their doorsteps sooner rather than later.

Which means, if you’re a local car dealer in a town of 50,000 people, you should be paying close attention to what Tesla is doing, not with electric cars, but with concierge level delivery systems.

Which means, if you own a local hotel chain, you should be working assiduously to develop applications, connections, and services, that will disrupt the local economy so that more potential customers come to your town—and so that you don’t have to spend more marketing dollars fighting the noise on the online booking platforms.

Which means, if you own a local dental office, paying close attention to the battles around healthcare policy are critically important, but so is understanding that your clients’ behavior in the market will be switching at the speed of the internet.

Which means, if you’re a local hospital group, the way to avoid consolidation with a larger, national group is to consolidate with your local university or college to build a medical or pharmaceutical school, whose graduates will serve the local area.

Away from market leaders, and cultural centers, the act of preserving your real estate on the declining land mass of the fat head, is a losing proposition.

Instead, it is much more strategic to figure out how—and where—to land on the long tail.

Empathy in Your Peacebuilding Marketing

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Selling for Peace Builders

If you want more people to resolve more conflicts, your training organization, your mediation practice, or even your content and marketing around peacebuilding, must acknowledge the current state of consumer behavior.

When the reality set before you, is that you would prefer to shop on Amazon, date online, order food from a service that you can turn in to a pre-made meal, and watch whatever you want on-demand whenever you want it, you have to expect that the people in conflict you seek to serve are interacting with the market in the same ways.

This is market and consumer-based empathy.

You favor convenience, so do parties in conflict.

You favor speed to a solution with low friction, so do parties in conflict.

You favor paying attention to what you like and ignoring what you don’t, so do parties in conflict.

You favor the appearance of having access to multiple options, but only accepting one or two, so do parties in conflict.

This is market and consumer-based empathy.

If you examine your own consumer behavior in the market of ideas, products, and services, and still can’t find a way to change your training and mediation marketing to match consumer reality…

…then the reality is, you might have an empathy problem in your marketing.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode # 1 – Kate Otting

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Theology, New Posts, The Earbud_U Podcast

Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode # 1 – Kate Otting, Mediator, Ombudsperson, Entrepreneur, Organizational Peacebuilder, Founder/Owner-Interaction Management Associates

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode #1 - Kate Otting


Hello and welcome, back to the sixth season, which is really the third year, of the Earbud_U Podcast.

So, I’d like to use this time to mention some changes that you are going to hear over the next few months, throughout this season and into season seven, next year.

First, there will be a lot more of Jesan just ranting. This is because—as a result of positive activity on my Youtube Channel, Jesan Sorrells Presents, I’ve been getting a lot of requests to pull the audio from the videos that I’m cutting, and to make that audio available in other formats.

Like here on the podcast.

So, I’m going to do that.

The second thing that you will notice is that I’m going to ask you all to DO stuff for me a lot more obviously than I have before.

This is not advertising. It’s actually helping the show, boosting our place in iTunes and on Stitcher and making it possible for advertisers to support the show. By the way, if there are particular advertisers you’d like me to pursue, reach out to me via all the ways you can on social media and let me know.

Lastly, the audio is about to take a major step forward. I’ve been pursuing a studio space so that I can move the podcast out of my basement (or my home office) and into a soundproof area. It will make it be more professional and less gritty, sure. But it will also help me do other things.

Speaking of other things, our guest today on the show, Kate Otting owns her own mediation practice, Interaction Management Associates, based in Arizona. She has a wide range of interests, but she is focusing on one of the grittier realities of our modern world, diasporas.

You know, the reality of people moving around.

Look, when populations move, everything changes. Some of those changes we like—such as new foods that we can eat, or new clothes that we can try on. Some of those changes we don’t like—such as people living next door to us who might speak a different language.

Every change is unique, just like every story. And Kate will walk us through a lot of this, though not all of it, and will make the complicated, and complex, understandable.

As usual, connect with Kate and Interaction Management Associates in all the ways that you can by clicking on the links below:

Interaction Management Associates:

Interaction Management Associates on Facebook:

Interaction Management Associates on Instagram:

Interaction Management Associates on Twitter:

Kate Otting and Interaction Management Associates on LinkedIn:

Mediocre Leadership is More Toxic than Bad Leadership

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Mediocre leadership is more toxic to organizations than bad leadership.

Mediocre leadership that begins as a reasonable response to organizational ennui and institutionalized apathy, ends up as a habit that becomes tough to break when disruption from the edges (or the competition) arrives.

Mediocre leadership always winds up in recriminations, blame gaming, and at the end, people getting fired, replaced or acquired.

But it’s hard to change mediocre leadership because it’s so often the only leadership around.