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.

Network Leap 4

By | Blog, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Media, Music, Networking, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Privacy, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Twitter, Twitter, Virtue, Website

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?

Digital Wisdom

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Negotiation, Networking, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Twitter, Twitter, Virtue, Website, Workplace, Workplace Development

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?

Messages in 730 Characters

By | Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, New Posts, Technology, Twitter, Twitter, Website

Speed: Fast and wrong is still wrong.

Inaccurate: Wrong facts cannot create right truth.

Ephemeral: No culture–work, community, family–can survive anonymity in delivering feedback.

Caring: Practicing empathy is not about liking the other person.

Humility: The entire world does not revolve around your use case of conflict.

Status Quo: This current status quo only showed up recently in human history. Just like your worldview about it.

Power: Knowing what the work is–and isn’t–is power.

Politics: The personal is not political. Stop outsourcing your emotional life to political and policy decisions by other people.

Billboard: What’s on the billboard of your mind matters more than the messages on the one along the side of the road.

ROI of Ethics

By | Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, Leadership, New Posts, Organizational Development, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Twitter, Virtue

One of the main reasons that social entrepreneurship is sometimes scoffed at by audience’s observing from the outside, is the recognition of the obvious tension between the founders’ personal ethics and business revenue generation.

So, what’s the ROI (return on investment) on founders’ ethics?

The ROI on founders’ ethics is the same as the ROI on using the Internet and the tools of communication to leverage business practices against future audiences’ time and attention.

The ROI on founders’ ethics is the same as the ROI on corporate social responsibility—the idea that business must be more like Martin Luther King, Jr., and less like Milton Friedman.

The ROI on founders’ ethics, at the core of social entrepreneurship practices, comes down to deciding whether maintaining principles matters more than generating revenues through all manner of non-ethical business practices.

But, every business person, every founder, every person who starts a social entrepreneurship project, must decide—usually at the beginning of a project—about what those principles are.

And about how far they are willing to travel with them.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby

By | Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Old Posts, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Problem Solving, Relationships, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby, Political Pollster, Strategist, Data Analyst, Trend Spotter, Author, Entrepreneur

It’s popular, trite, and somewhat cliché to say, when talking about the current social and political state of America, that “the things that unite us should be stronger than the things that divide us.”

But this an American conception of unity and solidarity that only began historically after the ugly mess of the Civil War in the 1860’s.

Today in America, we are divided by political lines, social lines, and even class lines, in as almost a pernicious way as we were in the decade leading up to the Civil War.

Now, I’m not an advocate for armed conflict—this is a peace building podcast, after all—but I am an advocate for analyses, understanding, strategy, and planning.

So that we can get out of the mess we currently find ourselves in.

Our guest today, John Zogby, is probably the most famous pollster that you’ve answered the phone for, but have never heard of.

Along with the Gallup Organization, and Nate Silver’s efforts over at FiveThirtyEight, Zogby has carved out a unique niche in American public life.

His analysis on this podcast episode is delivered without fluff and with hope.

Which we all need more of these days.

Hope is the eraser for despair, and since this is our last episode in our 5th season, I want to thank you for listening, for commenting, and for your feedback.

This last episode acts as a “bookend” to our first episode of the season with Bathabile (who’s got her own podcast now, you should go listen to it) and serves as a way of moving forward past despair.

As usual, connect with John and John Zogby Strategies all the ways that you can by clicking on the links below:

John Zogby Strategies: http://johnzogbystrategies.com/

John Zogby Books: http://johnzogbystrategies.com/books/

John Zogby on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/John-Zogby-327444807331559/

John Zogby on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheJohnZogby

John Zogby on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-zogby-59928688/

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby

By | Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Old Posts, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Problem Solving, Relationships, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby, Political Pollster, Strategist, Data Analyst, Trend Spotter, Author, Entrepreneur

It’s popular, trite, and somewhat cliché to say, when talking about the current social and political state of America, that “the things that unite us should be stronger than the things that divide us.”

But this an American conception of unity and solidarity that only began historically after the ugly mess of the Civil War in the 1860’s.

Today in America, we are divided by political lines, social lines, and even class lines, in as almost a pernicious way as we were in the decade leading up to the Civil War.

Now, I’m not an advocate for armed conflict—this is a peace building podcast, after all—but I am an advocate for analyses, understanding, strategy, and planning.

So that we can get out of the mess we currently find ourselves in.

Our guest today, John Zogby, is probably the most famous pollster that you’ve answered the phone for, but have never heard of.

Along with the Gallup Organization, and Nate Silver’s efforts over at FiveThirtyEight, Zogby has carved out a unique niche in American public life.

His analysis on this podcast episode is delivered without fluff and with hope.

Which we all need more of these days.

Hope is the eraser for despair, and since this is our last episode in our 5th season, I want to thank you for listening, for commenting, and for your feedback.

This last episode acts as a “bookend” to our first episode of the season with Bathabile (who’s got her own podcast now, you should go listen to it) and serves as a way of moving forward past despair.

As usual, connect with John and John Zogby Strategies all the ways that you can by clicking on the links below:

John Zogby Strategies: http://johnzogbystrategies.com/

John Zogby Books: http://johnzogbystrategies.com/books/

John Zogby on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/John-Zogby-327444807331559/

John Zogby on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheJohnZogby

John Zogby on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-zogby-59928688/

Laboring in Vain to Make Spectacle

By | Blog, Leadership, Media, New Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Website

Many people are laboring in vain online to create, distribute, and promote content that has all the actionable substance of milk designed for infants, rather than meat to be served to adults.

Long ago, symbolism and spectacle have come to replace action and substance. First with the TV-advertising complex that dominated much of the 20th century, and now with the ubiquity of social media use and through our mobile phones.

Content we create that should be focused on that which is concrete and actionable will not be found in our social media feeds.

Just as the television and mass advertising of old, our collectively new, spectacle driven environments, tend to encourage and reward the development of content designed to appeal to the interest of the masses, who have all the attention span of infants.

Or much less.

Adults—people with longer attention spans searching for the meat of substance–have now had their interests, attention spans, and content pushed to the edges of the content universe of the Internet.

In the niches.

They’re tucked away reading long blog posts, listening to challenging podcasts and watching long videos.

They’re investing in online classes and developing learning experiences that marry the life online with the life off line.

If you want to get the attention of the masses then, by all means, compete in a race to the bottom on creating, developing, curating, and distributing spectacle-driven content.

But make a decision about what you’re actually offering: meat or milk, once the spectacle has run its course, that way your laboring won’t be in vain.

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.