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An Open Letter

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

An Open Letter To Anyone Who Will Read It

In case you haven’t noticed, the last few months have been very dynamic, but not very solution oriented, in the world of social media.

And, as this lack of orientation toward solution manifests itself as more gaslighting, trolling, and in poor communication behavior in general, it has come time to make an announcement.

It is getting almost time to exit Facebook altogether.

An Open Letter
Jesan is pulling his “Banksy” muscle and exiting out the back of the gift shop…

Along with Instagram and Twitter.

Let me clearly explain so that there’s no misunderstanding or thinking that “I just couldn’t ‘hack it'” in the rough and tumble game of social media.

An Open Letter With Clearly Laid Out Reasoning…

I’ve had a mixed relationship at best with social media going back to the old MySpace pages and profiles in the early 2000s. I was always a person who liked forums (like what Quora is now) but I wasn’t a big fan of putting myself out there, so to speak.

Then, Facebook burst on the scene and I have ridden this wave–good, bad, ugly, and indifferent, for the past 16 years (yes, I remember when Facebook was The Facebook because I worked with college students and they were the only ones on it) and now, well, all of that is slowly coming to a close.

There are business uses for Facebook, but even the utility of those is questionable and over the next few months you’ll notice me slowly fading away at the personal level as I launch new projects (like my podcast, Leadership Lessons From The Great Books), and in general begin to pull away from platforms that are just about shouting, gaslighting, trolling, and “being right” and have little to do with engaging people in nuance, focus, or real problem-solving.

Which our country–and our world–desperately need.

An Open Letter… To Anyone Who Has Ears to Hear

Lest you think I am going to head to another platform, fear not! I have always been more of a Twitter person than a Facebook person, but I exited there about a month and a half ago and I don’t even have the app on my phone, nor do I much care about what happens there anymore.

LinkedIn is another beast that is gradually transforming under the weight of social pressure to conform to the crowd and the requests of the mob, and surely as I am leaving Facebook and have left Twitter, I’ll eventually exit there as well.

I have little patience for corporate and marketing virtue-signaling under the guise of solidarity for whatever “cause de-jour” of the moment might help a brand get “traction” and a few more dollars.

Instagram I will stick with for a while because there is a video play there, but I do not think that will last long.

The fact is, there are higher levels of engagement there than here and have been for a few years now and there is less vitriol on Instagram to be sure. But I expect that will change in time as well.

If you understand human nature and, then it will come as no surprise that inevitably that even a “pretty pictures” photo-sharing app must bow low to the whims of the gaslighting crowd.

An Open Letter With Solutions…

If you’ve read this far, you might be asking “Ok. Well, how can I get in touch with you then, if I really want to?”

Well, there’s always email.

We need to return to long-form conversations in order to generate the kind of clear-eyed, courageous leadership that can solve difficult problems.

In order to support that developement I am beginning to form the outlines of a Leadership Salon Project involving podcasting, blogging, a discussion board on my website and an email list.

There are all kinds of legs on this journey

This will be a project in which talking with people who disagree with me but who can do that while not being disagreeable, will be the “coin of the realm.”

And we’ll learn from each other (or not) and get sharper (or not) but at least we won’t have to contend with our conversations being drowned out in your feed by memes, advertisements, and other meaningless tripe.

Maybe I’m a Pollyanna.

Or maybe I’m the last realist.

Either way, I am building an email list and if you want to be a part of it, please send me an email (put your email address in a comment at the bottom of this missive) and I will add your name.

I am connected to 1,000+ people on the Facebook platform, 2,000+ people on the LinkedIn platform, and 3,000+ people and brands on the Instagram platform.

That’s an audience of close to 6,000 people and brands who see barely .005% of content I have posted.

The fact is, many who could see this message will not see this message because fails to “play the game” that social media demands.

What a shame.

Not for me, or for the message.

What a shame that we have outsourced our communication and our ability to connect to corporate giants, begun with good intentions, run by groups of people who no longer care about connecting us in meaningful ways, but only about farming our attention to harvest another buck.

Instead of pouring more gas on the fire, hopefully, this message will provide a pinprick of illumination at the end of a very long tunnel.

It’s time to go. There are other fields than just the social media one to plow.

If you’re interested in joining my Leadership Salon Project and becoming part of conversations that matter for the future, send me an email directly at jesan@jesansorrells.com and I’ll be more than happy to add you to our Early Adopters email list.

Or visit the page for this project on our website and enter your information.

And we can start talking about what kind of community we’d like to have.

May God go with all of you who choose to hang around the corrupted Wonderland of social media.

Sincerely-

Jesan Sorrells

Management Form of Writer’s Block

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

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

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?

Thinking You Know the Answer

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

Thinking you know the answer to the question before its even asked, is a sign of a mind that is at the bottom, impatient, arrogant, and prideful.

When you think you know the answer before the question is asked, you have to wonder if curiosity and empathy, or impatience and self-interest are the  motives that are driving you.

Thinking you know the punchline, before the joke is even finished, demonstrates that your ability to be open to the new—is really closed.

Now, there are some answers to some rudimentary questions that are obvious.

But there are so many places to add value to the human experience—through effective conflict engagement, the application of radical self-awareness, and the use of connective storytelling—that we need more people to be impatient for the joke to continue.

And for the punchline to remain non-obvious.

However, if individuals continue jumping to conclusions about the answers to hard problems with non-obvious solutions, in a race to the bottom to “just be done” already, well…

…we all have seen how that has worked out in the past to solve the hardest human problems.

Haven’t we?

Beginnings are Overrated

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

Beginnings are overrated and too often imbued with meaning.

Endings are also overrated and too often imbued with criticisms, “what if’s” and irrelevancies.

It’s what’s in the middle that counts the most.

Who did what, where, how and why. And, of course, what was shipped.

When you begin a new project, hire new people, or start working on a new idea, remember three things:

The longer you stick with a formula, the more chance it has, to work. This doesn’t mean that you stick with a losing formula, or that you stick with a formula that has not chance of a positive outcome. It means that changing in mid-stream is a bad idea.

The more innovation you can build in at the beginning of a project, the more likely creativity will be the key thing that will be valued—even in the mundane. Many people don’t build expectations, clear communication, or follow-through into their projects. In the rush to get a result out the door, they neglect the small things that will ensure innovation and change happen even as they stay the course.

The smaller bets you make, the smaller wins you are guaranteed, which will lead to much larger wins further along the way. The compound effect is real and has real consequences. Aim small, miss small. The bigger the goals, the bigger the risk, and the less likelihood your project will ship out the door.

Beginnings are overrated and too often imbued with meaning.

Endings are also overrated and too often imbued with criticisms, “what if’s” and irrelevancies.

It’s what’s in the middle that counts the most.

Unremarkable

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Selling for Peace Builders

The problem with many (if not most) people, processes, services, and products is that they are unremarkable.

This is not to say that they are unreliable, undesirable, or unmistakable.

There are people, processes, services, and products that fill niches that are banal, boring, and seemingly unnecessary.

They aren’t worth talking about, thinking about, or even spending a lot of cognitive effort in justifying.

UnremarkableThe problem of unremarkability is compounded by the fact that the organizations developing and promoting these products, services, processes, and people, is that the solution to their unremarkability is thought to be a lack of attention and awareness.

That’s not the problem.

Not even close.

Buying more followers, increasing social proof, becoming more likeable; these are long-term processes, that cannot be successfully applied to the banal, the boring, or the seemingly unnecessary.

Here’s a tip, for winning the long game.

Instead of trying to figure out how to scale unremarkability with money, time, or other resources, figure out how to scale the number of activities (i.e. process, services, products, etc.) that are actually remarkable.

Tough Crowds

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

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.

But If The Answer Is…

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

When followers say that they want self-awareness, storytelling, and conflict management as traits in their best leaders, then leaders must ask questions starting with the words “why,” “how,” and “what.”

But, if the answer to questions beginning with “why,”is an ever-descending whirlpool of internal negativity, defensiveness, and fear-based answers in leaders, then followers must ask what the real purpose for pursuing the attaining of self-awareness is.

But, if the answer to questions beginning with “how” is applying, and advocating for, ever-increasing layers of organizational bureaucracy and lethargy in the team, then followers must ask what the real purpose of storytelling is.

But, if the answer to questions beginning with “what,”is endless handwringing about the potential consequences of actions before they are even taken by leaders, then followers must ask what the real purpose of positive conflict will be.

Self-awareness, storytelling, and conflict management are the only traits that matter in the 21st century if we want leaders to lead effectively.

These traits—which are really skills—are also critical to encourage if we want to create more leaders rather than more compliant followers.

The lack of inner curiosity, desire to care, and hiding from decisions are the real skills hobbling the development and growth of the kinds of leadership that followers say they want.

Let’s eliminate those skills first.