Effective Role Modeling by Asking a Question

By | Blog, Culture, Leadership

We’ve All Heard of Role Modeling

Role modeling is easy in leadership.

Role modeling is often touted as the easiest way for leaders to lead teams, lead initiatives, and lead others toward goals and outcomes.

We’re all in this together…

Just do what the right thing is, and then other people will see you doing it (social cueing) and will automatically do that thing (social proofing).

And then, of course, magically, the workplace will change.

The ease of role modeling has even been commodified into our culture.

Just do it,” right?

…Except, There’s a Minor Problem…

The problem with role-modeling, if we’re honest, is the fact of other people.

Other people have their own motivations, motives, and intentions. They have their own desires, appetites, and needs.

You and me, we’re in this together now.

And very often role modeling doesn’t address any of that, because role modeling is always an external act; whereas, the behaviors a leader seeks to change are always internal to individuals.

It’s a minor problem, indeed.

If Not Role Modeling, Then What do We Do?

Leaders lead. That’s the nature of leadership and the fact of being a leader.

But expecting that other people will do as you are doing as a leader, might just be creating an internal environment in you as a leader, that will raise fake expectations.

What are my options here?

Or, at least, creating internal environments where you will always be frustrated as a leader, because “they” aren’t following your lead.

Give Me Something I Can Use!

Here’s a tip: lead by example but change your expectations of your followers. Expect them to follow the smallest possible example that works for them.

And then, ask them this question: What am I doing in my leadership that you can see yourself replicating?

Then write down the answer, and double down on that.

Where Can I Get More Information?

Get more tips on how to navigate the hairy world of leadership by ordering My Boss Doesn’t Care, the latest book from Jesan Sorrells, today!

What We Want Matters

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Brain, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Presentations, Privacy, Problem Solving, Relationships, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

We as a society of consumers, publishers, advertisers, and owners have failed to understand fully the radical implications of the communications schema we now live under with the presence of the Internet.

When almost everyone in the world has access to a keyboard, a microphone, and camera, almost everyone will become a publisher.

But, someone must fund that publishing in order for it to be seen by an audience willing to be changed by its presence in the world.

And while publishers may fail to understand the relationships between awareness, advertising, persuasion, publishing, and creation, consumers do themselves a disservice when they pretend that what a third party–wedged between them and the publisher–wants doesn’t matter.

There are multiple parties to consider in this transaction that is now going on at scale in the world right now:

Publishers are people (and sometimes organizations) who want to publish. They create, comment, click, like, share, and otherwise either participate, or validate, an opinion, a fact, or an idea through their actions.

What publishers want is a platform upon which to publish and attention from the audience they seek to impact.

Consumers are people who want to consume. They passively watch, applaud, share, click, like, and otherwise take in the opinions, facts, and ideas that publishers create.

What consumers want is to consume. Preferably without much action or engagement on their part and with as little friction as possible.

Owners are brands, organizations, and community builders of all types and stripes who want to own a piece of the communication real estate that the Internet has created. Owners create and own.

What owners want is to get paid for their work, their creativity, their cleverness, and their time spent building something for others. And they want to get paid as quickly as possible, as much as possible, as often as possible.

Advertisers are organizations, buyers, creators, and others who seek to intersect themselves in between owners, publishers, and consumers, ostensibly for the benefit of publishers and owners, but in reality, for the benefit of themselves.

What advertisers want is attention, awareness of the products, services, and processes they are seeking to persuade consumers. And they want it at scale, with as little friction as is possible.

There is little alignment between all of these parties (even though there is often confusing overlap), as the Internet has fractured and atomized the 20th century’s mass media, mass audiences, mass attention, and mass awareness.

With this lack of alignment comes confusion, misunderstanding, miscommunication, and at the end, scandal, corruption, mismanagement, and further erosions of public and private trust.

The best alignment is the type that removes the middleman from the interactions between the publisher and the audience and gets the publisher and the audience aligned.

The worst alignment is reflected in what is happening right now.

We as a society have gotten the Internet we asked for; dare I say, the Internet we wanted.

Now, at the beginning of yet another unraveling, a further atomizing and erosion inflection point in the overall communication culture, it’s time to ask for, and to want, something better.

Workplace Change

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Culture, Leadership, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Relationships, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Workplace, Workplace Development

Employees, managers, leaders, and organizations, don’t really believe the workplace needs to change.

If we really believed the workplace needed to change, we would hire and encourage employees to be candid about problems and issues, in a way that would interrupt the hierarchical power structure, and would encourage creative thinking, innovation, and risk-taking at the lowest level at work, rather than at the highest level.

Which is why leadership training is a worthy investment by an organization into its potential and current leaders, but leadership follow-through and implementation will always be a chimera.

If we really believed the workplace needed to change, we would have the courage to question issues that we see at work and propose equitable, non-hierarchical solutions to problems, issues, and conflicts, despite the impact of politics, power, or other considerations.

Which is why management training is a worthy investment by an organization into its potential and current managers, but management follow-through and implementation will always be difficult, but not impossible.

Which is also why the organizational view of management must shift and change, from one of day-to-day “keeping the train on the tracks” to one of “investing in pushing employees to be better today than they were yesterday.”

If we really believed the workplace needed to change, we would have the clarity to describe issues, conflicts, ethical and moral lapses, in clear, unambiguous language, rather than covering up with jargon, info-speak, or other forms of hiding.

Which is why organizational communication needs to shift to being more transparent, truthful, and honest. Workplace communication is about promotions, compensation, and all of the ways that we communicate non-verbally about culture to employees at all levels.

Because we don’t really believe the workplace needs to change, we don’t really believe the workplace can change in these three critical areas.

But, in order for the workplaces of the future to be better than workplaces of now–or of the past–we must work actively to change the workplace, whether our belief is solid, or not.

Management Form of Writer’s Block

By | Active Listening, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Negotiation, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Workplace, Workplace Development

Making a decision should be easy for managers.

However, when the cost of not making a decision is lower than the risk of experiencing consequences from the impacts of a wrong decision, managers tend to experience paralysis.

Writers share a similar mental experience when they navigate the fear of showing up to do the work of writing and the fear of that work being rejected. In this case, writers experience writer’s block.

Both writer’s block in artists and paralysis by analysis in managers come from the same root: Fear.

The Resistance to making a decision, showing up, experiencing consequences, or doing the work to make the change in the first place, is strong, persistent, and unyielding.

Managers can be artists and creative with people as well as writers can with words, idioms or ideas; or, they can be technicians in the way that writers can be merely typists.

But either way, showing up and doing the work persistently and consistently, is the only act that frees us from paralysis and blockage.

Digital Wisdom

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Negotiation, Networking, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Twitter, Twitter, Virtue, Website, Workplace, Workplace Development

Many people who have the historical memory of a different communication world,  intuit that the digital world is moving too fast, taking away too much of the “old” world and values that used to be held dear, and is corroding what has remained.

There is also the unstated worry, that the world of digital is moving so fast that it has passed by the wise, in favor of the ignorant, ever seeking knowledge, but failing to ever find the Truth.

The list of problems and issues these people have with modern digital communication are endless:

Lack of relevant empathy.

Increases in narcissism.

Lack of ability to listen.

Loss of critical thinking skills.

Loss of interpersonal communication skills.

Valuing speed to being first over the patience to determine whether you could be wrong.

And so on. And so on. And so on.

I have immense empathy for those who believe that the world is passing them by.

There is an incalculable need for human wisdom from all areas and perspectives to add value by leveraging new digital tools, that it would be a shame to let people other than the wise, to have all the fun in our new digital paradises.

Don’t you agree?

Building a Pirate Ship

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Google, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Presentations, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, The Future & The Singularity

The steps to building an effective, online content pirate ship that will surprise your competitors, aren’t flashy or interesting.

But they are effective.

Step 1: Know which content ship to build before you build it.

There are three modern forms of shipbuilding in the value creation space online: writing (i.e. blogs, books, etc.); audio (i.e. voice search, podcast, etc.); and video (i.e. performing, editing, etc.).

You’ve got to know which one of the three is at the edges, which one of the three is the most valuable to you, and which one of the three will get you the furthest.

You’ve also got to just pick one. Better to pick the one you’re good at, rather than the one that’s most popular right now.

Step #2: Pick the right content slip, the right building tools, and the right materials to build.

Knowing your own intuition is key to the first part (pick the right slip) because, as the person building the pirate ship, no one can tell you what the “right” slip is. And, if you try to build a pirate ship in another slip, too far away from the water (i.e. other opportunities) you fail.

Knowing yourself is the key to the second part (pick the right tools) because, even there are many low to no cost solutions to building a pirate ship of valuable, online content, every tool is not for you. And there are a lot of dead ends.

Knowing what you want to accomplish with the ship you’re building is the key to the third part (pick the right materials) because if you pick the wrong shipbuilding materials, your pirate ship of content could sink before it even leaves the slip. Or, much like the Spruce Goose of old, it could only fly once. And then crash.

Step #3: Execute the building with patience, perseverance, and prayer.

Execution (shipping) matters more than anything else in building a pirate ship, and that means struggling through self-doubt, other people’s doubt, and the market’s doubt. Prayer doesn’t hurt either.

Step #4: Launch the ship with a crew (or by yourself) and raid the edges of the empire.

Having an attitude of shipping (launching the ship) and an attitude of raiding (staying on the edges) allows the pirate to explore first with their content, survive second, and to thrive third.

The real tragedy is that many people (now as in the past) will instead choose to eat off the raiding of other pirates, rather than taking the opportunity to build a ship of their own.

Tough Crowds

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Blog, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Speaking, Strategies, Strategy, Training, Workshop

Tough crowds are tough because they are skeptical, secure in their own assumptions, wedded to their own worldviews, and unwilling to be convinced.

The skill of being able to face that level of social norming—whether from a crowd of 5-year old’s in kindergarten to a crowd of intoxicated adults at your local comedy club—requires a little something more than bravery.

It requires the skill of being willing to die—metaphorically usually, but sometimes, with some crowds, literally—in order to prove a point, make an assertion, or to create a space for other people to advocate for a minority view of the world.

Being able to win crowds over by knowing your audience is another skill. As is knowing your own point of view inside and out. But, beyond that, there are two key elements to focus on when seeking to internally overcome the crushing psychic weight of a tough crowd:

Never lose focus on the point you’re making.

Don’t get your point caught in their weeds.

Tough crowds seek to tame and turn a presenter, or facilitator, for the purpose of serving their own motives and motivations, and for achieving their own desires and outcomes.

But when you realize that time, focus, and the strength of your position are more powerful than that of the crowds’, you will stay in sharp rhetorical shape.

And ready to face any tough crowds, anywhere.

The Dip Within the Dip

By | Blog, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Persuasion, Platform Building, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy

The act of working to get out of a dip, as it is happening, is a dip in and of itself.

The dip, of course, is the place that we all get stuck in when we’ve invested so much that we believe we can’t go backward, and that we are so buried in (emotionally, financially, psychologically) that we can’t see a way out.

And then we quit. In the dip.

When we are in the dip, however, certain acts we engage in create that place of being stuck. The acts of trying to exit the dip, become dips themselves.

Since no one tells us when we’re in the dip, and since no one tells us when our process of getting out of the dip is compromised, the act of knowing what acts are dips in and of themselves, becomes a necessary skill, rather than a “nice to have.”

Knowing what to focus on and when will help you travel through the dip to the goal that we are seeking to achieve. But just working on projects and patterns that will distract us from having to think about the dip’s we’re in, is a form of hiding.

We need to hide less and work more.