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.

 

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?

Our 1,000th Post

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Leadership, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Presentations, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Speaking, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Twitter, Twitter, Website, Workplace, Workplace Development

I thought it would take less time to hit this milestone than it has taken.

But that’s not an unusual expectation. Many people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in ten years.

My expectations with this blog started out high minded and then crashed to earth and then became high-minded again.

But with 1,000 published posts, some of which are guest posts, podcast episodes, and other sundry items, I can say, with some assurance, that I have gone further than I thought I would.

And you have responded.

You have retweeted, e-mailed, reposted, commented, Facebook “liked” and “shared” posts, and have even gone as far as to reach out to me offline to give me feedback.

That’s how this blog grows.

It’s not like kudzu, where you plant a vine and then come back a year later and there’s growth without investment.

It’s more like planting corn: Some years it’s good. Other years it’s not so good. But the farmer still tills the soil, plants the seed, prays on the knees, and then brings in whatever harvest there may be.

Year after year. Bumper crops and thin ones.

What comes next? What does post 1,001 to 2,000 look like?

Well, there’s another book coming this year, a collection of my best posts about work, disrupting your workplace, and how to accomplish all of that while also disrupting your boss. And it’s about why external training and development doesn’t work for the creation of change.

Look for that in the Fall of 2018.

There will also be a shift as parts of this blog go elsewhere on the web to serve other functions.

In 2018, as I advance and grow my personal brand, the writing will separate, and my blog posts covering conflict management, self-awareness, storytelling, and other contemporary leadership and people management skills and best practices will be featured in this space more prominently

Articles about personal leadership, business development, branding, entrepreneurship, bootstrapping, risk-taking, marketing, social media, the future of human communication on the Internet, and other more personal brand based content will migrate to a new site, focused on building my personal brand with an eye towards keynotes and speaking opportunities.

Look for this split to happen gradually, and then all at once by the Fall of 2018.

But no matter how it plays out, I want to thank you for joining me on the journey so far.

I write this blog because it’s good for my mental and physical health.

I write this blog because it’s good for my writing muscle and it further establishes my own “voice” in my own head.

I write this blog, because it connects me to you, whether that connection happens now, or one, two, five, ten, or twenty years from now.

I write this blog, whether anybody will read this blog or blogs in the future that I may launch, or not.

I write this blog, because the acts of thinking, writing, and then publishing to the world, is still an amazing thing—even in a world of Internet thinness.

So, the real question is where would you and I like to go next?

Ravening Lions

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Relationships, Resolution, Workplace, Workplace Development

Much of what you read, hear, and consume on the Internet is the intellectual, spiritual and emotional equivalent of baby formula.

Much of what you read, hear, and consume on the Internet is pushed to you with the intent not of edifying you, or raising you up, or of giving you new knowledge, but is pushed to you with the intent of tearing you down, or tearing someone else down.

And because this formula, or milk, is being pushed hard by people, organizations, and systems all of whom seem well-meaning on the surface, but underneath are like ravening lions, it’s tough to know what to absorb, and what to let go of.

The conceit wrapped deeply in this conclusion, however, is that somehow during this time in human history, it’s somehow different, worse, or more intractable, than it was at any other time in the history of human interpersonal communication.

It’s not.

The only difference between the communication schema now (formula + malicious intent + power in access to ways of flooding (or hacking) your attention) and the schemas used in the past (from carrier pigeons to television) is the speed with which it can get to your attention.

And the speed with which you can ignore it.

For people and organizations with radical, deep ideas, serving meat to a population whose attention and desire have been hacked to artificially desire milk, the problem of speed has never been an issue.

Difficult ideas, changes of approach, and adaptations always take time. Patience really is a virtue.

Easy ideas, cosmetic marketing changes, and powerful manipulations are always the province of those people and organizations who seek speed over results. For them, patience is a fools’ game and something to be hacked to get to a larger goal. FOMO is just another way of creating false anticipation for information or experiences that aren’t all that fulfilling in the long-term.

Which is usually not in your best spiritual, emotional, or intellectual interest.

Beware the ravening lions.

Shipping Matters

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Peacemaker, Problem Solving, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Strategies, Strategy, Training, Truth, Workplace, Workplace Development

When we fetishize the act of failure more so than the lessons learned from risk-taking, shipping a product takes a back seat to preening in public.

Ok. But what is shipping?

Shipping is getting an idea out to the world.

Shipping is putting a product out on the market.

Shipping is connecting people together in a network.

Shipping is showing up and working with your whole heart.

Shipping is talking to that person in charge who you don’t want to talk to.

The act of shipping—delivering a product, idea, message, or service to the world, whether the world is ready for it or not—is the most important thing.

The lessons we learn from the act of shipping matter more, in the long run, than the act of failing to get people, audiences, and the market to “buy-in.”

It wasn’t that way for the majority of humanity over the last 5,000 years, and particularly in the last 150 years. But now, at this point in human social and economic history, shipping matters more than whatever you learned after the shipping happened.

Stop fetishizing the act of failure.

Start fetishizing the act of shipping.

Writing with Your Non-Dominant Hand

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Negotiation, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Relationships, Resolution, Stress, Truth, Virtue, Workplace, Workplace Development

One easy way to think about strengths and weaknesses is to try writing with your non-dominant hand. This means if you’re left-handed, switching to your right; and from your right to your left.

This also means that the results of your writing with your non-dominant hand will be critiqued mercilessly by people who have had it drilled into them that the results of your non-dominant handwriting matter more than anything else.

To make matters worse, you might not be promoted, chosen, or even given a passing grade (or granted something beyond a passing grade) if you don’t show that you’re putting in effort to get that non-dominant hand in line over the course of a lifetime.

There are all sorts of examples of this kind of deficiency based thinking in our culture (and in cultures around the world), but it manifests itself most notably in the following ways:

Waiting to be chosen by the boss, the teacher, or the person who’s got more status than you.

Raising your hand before answering a question, not because you don’t know the answer, but because the risk of being wrong is too great to bear.

Sitting through a performance evaluation waiting to be given a “passing grade” (i.e. a promotion) or waiting to be given a “failing grade” (i.e. a firing).

And there are more that could be listed.

These are all forms of (metaphorically) writing with your non-dominant hand.

The fact is, when you’re constantly being rewarded for producing mediocre work with your non-dominant hand (metaphorically speaking) the idea of choosing, developing, supervising, managing, and leading people through a strategic application of their strengths, sounds like a foreign concept.

But the thing is when the boss isn’t looking; when the teacher doesn’t choose us; when we don’t get the promotion or the advancement at work; some of us begin to go back, slowly but surely, to using our dominant hand.

Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we just started people out that way from the beginning?

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.

Louis C.K. and the Cortez Problem

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Truth, Workplace, Workplace Development

There is a story (probably apocryphal) that the comedian Louis C.K., burns his jokes, his stand-up material, and his writing after successfully delivering it at the end of each year.

This story reads like a corollary to the idea (popularized through the constant repeating of the alleged actions of the explorer Hernando Cortez upon arriving in the New World) of burning the boats on the beach.

This idea of creative (or not-so-creative) destruction, as a motivator to either exploring further (because there is nowhere else to go) or rebuilding (because everything you built before is destroyed), can be scary for some.

Even for those who believe that they’ve already burned the boats…and the jokes.

What’s never talked about is developing the will and the courage to look at what you have accomplished in the past (i.e. a successful negotiation, a big project, a positive relationship) and ask the two following questions:

What about this could be better than it is now?

Who here will have the courage to change in order to make this thing better?

Having the will to destroy what’s already been created in the pursuit of a better future is the first step toward realizing that better future.

Overcoming Your Fear of Working to Connect

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Persuasion, Relationships, Resolution, Storytelling

Fear of not connecting with another person, fear of not making an impact, fear of speaking and having no one listen, is the old resistance, dressed up in a new outfit.

It’s really just another form of hiding.

Attempt to connect.

Fulfill your promises.

Try to make an impact.

Speak whether anyone listens or not.

By the time you’re done fighting the resistance, you’ll care so much about the connections you do have, that hiding from doing the hard work of connecting, impacting, and speaking, will be dwarfed.

You don’t have to own all the corners. Just a few.

Just enough.