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.

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.

 

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.

Thinking You Know the Answer

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

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 | 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.