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.

Network Leap 4

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The impact of the next leap remains non-obvious for too many people, and too far off in many individuals’ minds. But then, there is the alarming presence of all the obvious “whens” all around us.

When the AI gets so good that human beings can’t tell the difference between the computer program and the human being.

When the machine learning gets so good that human beings can’t navigate managing and strategizing about the flood of data coming at us faster than the machine can.

When the amount of collected data is so overwhelming that human beings are paralyzed by analysis rather than having the courage to act in spite of the implications of the data.

In a world of those “whens”—which are arriving to the present as fast as they possibly can, no longer “whens” but “nows”—the only areas remaining to categorize, atomize, and to deliver on spec at low cost to an eager consumer, will be the emotional content of individual, human-to-human interactions.

The next leap is not around AI, machine learning, the Internet, or social media applications.

The next leap is not around robotics, data analysis, electric cars, augmented reality applications or virtual reality.

The next leap won’t even be around the industrialization of outcomes to spec on price, cost, labor, and work.

The next leap will be people—individuals, corporations, businesses, churches, schools—preserving and paying for the texture that individuality brings to human interaction.

The companies that are playing the long game of digitizing everything—every human interaction, every job, every product, every process, every service, and every crumb of knowledge—understand this las concept innately.

Google’s next great leap from dominance in the digital world will be from industrialization of outcomes to spec in a digital environment, to dominance in the material world of emotional, human-to-human interactions where spec means something different from individual to individual.

Are you playing Google’s long game, or are you playing humanity’s long game?

Price, Worth and Cost

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Relationships, Resolution, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Workplace, Workplace Development

There are three questions to consider the answers to before you begin your next project, start your next job, voice your next complaint, or become frustrated in your next conflict.

What is the price?

This question is about trade-offs in a world of scarce resources, such as time, energy, effort, money, and so on. The price of something allows narrow, transactional negotiation to happen with seeming immediacy. The problem is, if you are in a race to the bottom with yourself on price, you’ll always be losing because the least expensive price is free.

What is it worth?

This question is about values and benefits in a world of abundant resources, such as time, energy, effort, and even money. Worth is personal, subjective, and priceless. Think about how much a glass of water is worth to a thirsty man in the desert who owns a Lamborghini. The problem is, if you have a mindset focused solely on the worth of an item, you may miss the cost of it.

What does it cost?

This question is about the work that a person puts into the development, maintenance, and growth of a product, process, or service. The work has a cost, from emotional labor to technical competency. The work is the cost. The problem is, we both undervalue and overvalue work for a variety of reasons that stem back to the root of worth and cost.

Before you launch your next project, start your next job, voice your next complaint, or become frustrated in your next conflict, please consider the answers to the questions above carefully, so that you know exactly where to put your focus.

 

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.

The Model is the Thing

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The model is the thing.

Not the product that gets shipped or the challenges and leaps that it makes us take.

The model is the thing.

When we are building a project (or a product) the model of how somebody else accomplished the same thing becomes a valuable tool and set of data points.

The model inspires, the model activates, the model engages us.

When we need support, encouragement, or just reassurance, the model is the thing that does it.

The model is the thing.

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.

Unremarkable

By | Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Persuasion, Presentations, Problem Solving, Selling for Peace Builders, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy

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.

The 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 | 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.

But If The Answer Is…

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

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.