Beginnings are Overrated

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Mediation, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Speaking, Storytelling

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.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode # 2 – Eric Goldman

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Arbitration, Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Mediation, Negotiation, New Earbud_U Episodes, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Peacemaker, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Reconciliation, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling, Workplace, Workplace Development

Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode # 2 – Eric Goldman, Entertainment Lawyer, Mediator, Entrepreneur, Shaman, Profit-Leader-Coach

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode #2 - Eric Goldman

Side hustles.

Uber drivers.

Amazon arbitrage.

Freelance income.

Consulting.

Speaking gigs.

Selling apps.

Drone rides.

There are more and more and more ways for your employees to work “on the side” than ever before. And as these pockets of work become more and more profitable, you as an employer will have to negotiate, not against an employee’s behavior in the workplace (although that will still happen) but against an employee’s side work.

Which is why what our guest today, Eric Goldman, is going to talk about makes so much sense.

But he isn’t the first to note the trendlines, and he won’t be the last.

The fact is, it’s never been easier for your employees to have choices about how and where to collect extra income, that you as an employer may not be aware of.

If this type of behavior—which is reflective of overall shifts in consumer behavior—doesn’t scare you (or at least get you to pay attention) into beginning to shift how you address employee concerns and balance profits, then I don’t know what will.

As usual, connect with Eric Goldman in all the ways that you can by clicking on the links below:

Eric Goldman – Profit Leader Coach: http://www.profitleadercoach.com/

Eric Goldman: http://www.esgesq.com/

Eric Goldman on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eric.goldman.986

Eric Goldman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EricGoldmanEsq

Eric Goldman on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericsgoldmanllc/

Empathy in Your Peacebuilding Marketing

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, Mediation, Networking, New Posts, Opinions, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling

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 | Advice, Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Media, Mediation, New Earbud_U Episodes, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Peacemaker, Platform Building, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Relationships

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: https://imamediation.com/

Interaction Management Associates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InteractionManagementAssociates/

Interaction Management Associates on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ima_mediator/

Interaction Management Associates on Twitter: https://twitter.com/imassoc

Kate Otting and Interaction Management Associates on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/imamediation/

Sunk Costs in the Conflict You’re In

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Divorce, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Mediation, Negotiation, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Virtue

When you’re an entrepreneur, the emotional labor you put into the project is a sunk cost. So is the time you spent on not getting a deal. The coffees and dinners that you paid for are also a sunk cost.

When you’re experiencing a divorce, the twenty years of marriage is a sunk cost. So are the kids that you raised together and the house that you bought together. The money that you spent on gifts, trips and other items is a sunk cost.

When you’re going through a lawsuit, the respect that you once had from neighbors, co-workers, friends, and relatives is a sunk cost. So is the peace and quiet you worked so hard to achieve in the face of what was metastasizing under your nose.

When you’re fired from work, the mistakes you made at work and recovered from are a sunk cost. The emotional engagements that didn’t work out. The twenty years with an organization and the self-worth that you exchanged for a paycheck—these are all sunk costs.

Continuing to invest time, money, attention, emotional labor, caring, and other investments in a conflict situation, because you’ve been doing it anyway, even after the conflict proves to be intractable, unsolvable, and the other party is unwilling to work, is a fallacy.

It’s understandable. After all, time, emotional labor, attention; these are finite resources from a human perspective that, once they are spent, can seemingly no longer be recovered.

There are two options in a conflict then: lament the fact of the sunk costs and seek to ameliorate the impact of the cost in terms of future gains. Or, just write it off and let it go.

The choice is yours.

Seeking Support

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Culture, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Mediation, Negotiation, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Relationships, Social, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Truth, Virtue, Workplace

There are five different types of support you can seek ahead of launching any type of initiative inside of your organization:

Moral support—this type of support comes from individuals who cannot give material support, but who believe fervently in whatever it is that you are doing. Belief in you, belief in the initiative, belief in the story of the initiative—these stories distill down into moral support.

Material support—this type of support comes from individuals who may not morally (or ethically) believe in what you’re doing, but they have access to power, money, and other organizational resources. Sometimes this access is conditional, sometimes this access is unconditional, and sometimes this access starts as one thing and ends as another.

Emotional support—this type of support is often confused with moral support in the mind of the person receiving it. The important difference is that moral support has little to do with whether I like you or not. Emotional support is all about whether I like you or not.

Public support—this type of support generates the same feelings of “being picked” in the person receiving it that being chosen on the grade school playground engenders. Public support is oriented not towards you—or towards the initiative you are championing—but is oriented toward convincing the audience that you are supported and that what you are championing has value.

Private support—this type of support generates the same feelings in the person being supported that material support does. The important difference is that private support is almost always exactly that: private. In this context, private means: “I’m supporting what you’re doing, but politically it’s more important for me to preserve private face than to endure the consequences of public exposure.”

When you’re launching an initiative, be sure that you are carefully considering what type of support you are seeking, and from whom.

Disconnect as the New Standard

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Mediation, Negotiation, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Virtue, Website, Workplace, Workplace Development

The disconnect between what people know about how the Internet (and by extension social media) “works” (choices, behaviors, options, etc.) and what people use the Internet (and social media) to accomplish (tasks) is underrated and massive.

Part of the disconnect comes from a lack of interest and caring about how the world of communication (and the tools in it) work, not only for the people with whom we are immediately communicating but also for the people not part of the communication.

Part of the disconnect comes from distractions that exist in the world of social interactions between people, and differing filters of awareness and attention. Individuals pay attention to all kinds of things that other individuals believe are unnecessary, irrelevant, uninteresting, or even unknowable. And then, because the human mind seeks order out of chaos, individuals, make judgments, create attributions, and create frames and boxes for language and ideas that further the disconnect.

Part of the disconnect comes from a lack of curiosity and even a lack of education about what to pay attention to. Lack of curiosity is endemic in discussion around the Internet (and social media) because our communication tools have prioritized lack of curiosity as the “new normal” in social interactions.  Lack of education comes about when the market responds to a lack of curiosity as a new standard, and then complies by providing less nourishing meat (education) and more easily digestible milk (displays where people advance by how well they kiss).

The disconnect is massive and troubling, for two reasons:

In the market’s breakneck race to monetize every human interaction and behavior, combined with the alarming reduction in human economic productivity, we have a recipe for a society and culture where the very tools of educating, enlightening and uplifting are being monetized and controlled by a select few individuals—or organizations.

Which would be fine if those individuals and organizations were angels, but like most people, they’re just people.

The second reason is economic in that we have prioritized facility and adaptation as ways to get ahead in a world of Internet-based (and social media based) communications where competition for attention and awareness is fiercer than ever. But if the average individual is non-curious (or too disinterested or disconnected to care) about where their future dollars to pay their future electric bills are going to come from, then we have opened society to the wavering whims of every political, social, cultural, and economic demagogue (both individual and organizational) promising to make such important decisions “simple.”

“Simple” of course meaning, “Simple in a way that works for me, my power base, and my tribe, and creates distractions, confusion, disillusionment, and disengagement, for you, your power base, and your tribe.”

Which would be fine if those individuals and organizations were angels, but like most people, they’re just people.

A standard of anti-intellectualism comes from a standard of non-curiosity, which combined with the disconnect between people and how they use their new communications tools, leads to the creation of a world of communication, rhetoric, persuasion, and power, we should all be wary of.

To resist the new standard, we need to fight to establish access to education about how to use our new social tools across the disconnect, eliminate distractions as a way to encourage disillusionment and disengagement, and re-establish curiosity about the unknown (or about blind spots) as an alternative “normal.”

Otherwise, the conflict outcomes could be disastrous for everyone.

Three Places to Thrash

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Mediation, Negotiation, Neuroscience, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Truth

When faced with a project there are three places to thrash:

Early—before the project begins.

Middle—as the project is proceeding.

Late—as the project ends.

When you (or your team) thrashes early, brainstorming becomes a way to develop new ideas. Speed and immediacy become the primary goals of early thrashing: Speed to actionable ideas and immediacy to the implementation of action, moving toward accomplishing end-of-project goals.

When you (or your team) thrashes in the middle of a project, brainstorming becomes a place to hide. Hiding emotionally, “getting to know your team,” or struggling to decide about the efficacy or practicality of an idea, become the unstated, primary goals. Speed becomes less important than looking good to peers, and groupthink really kicks in at this point, bogging down the implementation process.

When you (or your team) thrashes at the end of a project, brainstorming becomes a place of panic, anxiety, and on some teams (or with you) a place of abject fear. The combination of pressure to ship something out the door encourages a mindset and attitude focused around speed (but for negative reasons) and impatience with people and processes. The implementation process recedes in the face of the attitude of “just get it done.”

Thrashing—that is brainstorming a direction, deciding on an approach, planning a process, managing opinions and conflicts, and implementing a plan for action—should be done early, rather than late if you’re really interested (or your team is really interested) in shipping a product, idea, or service out the door and direct to the market.

Dollar Value of Mediation Skills in the Connection Economy

By | Arbitration, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Mediation, Negotiation, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Problem Solving, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

It’s hard to place a dollar value on human-to-human interactions in the current (and growing) connection economy, because connection is about engaging in acts of caring.

And whoever put a dollar value on acts of caring?

But here are a few challenge questions if that’s your attitude:

Whoever put a dollar value on the act of raising crops in an agricultural economy?

Whoever put a dollar value on the act of building a widget in an industrial economy?

Whoever put a dollar value on the act of providing a customer service in the service economy?

Humanity figured out the dollar value inherent in all the economic transitions from hunting and foraging, to agriculture, to industry, to service and created functioning economic systems—from trading and bartering to late stage capitalism. And humanity will figure out the current global transition we are in right now.

The space between the old system and the new system is a space of conflict, anger, incivility, uncertainty, spectacle, entertainment, along with a healthy dose of depression, worry, and anxiety.

This is a space where the skills of mediation (particularly around distraction, diversion, and deflection) can be helpful (and monetized) at scale.

But whoever put a dollar value on the acts of caring?

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 10 – David J. Smith

By | Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Education, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, Mediation, Negotiation, Old Posts, Platform Building, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling, The Future & The Singularity

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 10 – David J. Smith, Peace Builder, Consultant, Speaker, Educator and Author

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode #10 – David J. Smith

Some things, ideas, and even spaces are hiding in plain sight. Like the idea of walking in peace. Or building a career in helping people walk in peace.

The big question is (to paraphrase from the film The Prestige): Are you paying any attention?

Our guest today, David J. Smith is the author of many books on teaching peace. He most recently wrote the book Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace.

And he has come on at no better time than now, to talk about what really matters.

Look, I asked a podcast guest recently, “Why aren’t peacebuilders paid more?” and she gave that question an honest and thought provoking answer which you’ll have the pleasure of hearing next season.

I assert that the reason peacebuilder’s struggle to get appropriate compensation for the emotionally draining work that they do, is because we live in a conflict comfortable and peace skeptical society and culture.

David answers the question in another way on the podcast today.


Look, this is the last episode of our penultimate 4th season of the podcast, and I for one, could not be more grateful and appreciative of your ears, your attention and your focus this year.

Your feedback, as always, has been tremendous for a podcast that runs no advertising other than mine, and where I don’t come on the mike and ask you to donate to my Patreon page, or to rank me in ITunes, Stitcher or on Google Play.

Though the Earbud_U Podcast is available for download and rating on all those platforms.

Thank you for all your support in this self-funded effort, and we’ll be back in January 2017 with a new year, a new slate of guests, and even a new opening I’ve been working on.


Connect with David J. Smith in all the ways you can below:

Website: https://davidjsmithconsulting.com/

Peace Jobs Book Link: http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Peace-Jobs

Facebook (For Peace Jobs): https://www.facebook.com/PeaceJobs1/

Facebook (to Connect with David): https://www.facebook.com/david.j.smith.54584

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidjsmith2013