Times You’re Waiting For

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Truth

The times that you wait to take a risk.

The times that you wait to apply an innovation.

The times when you wait for reassurance.

The times you wait for enough external motivation.

The times you are looking for permission to act.

The times you are waiting for “everything” to be “just right.”

Those are the times that never come.

The times you take the risk, despite not knowing how it will turn out in the end.

The times that you apply the insight from the innovation.

The times that you don’t wait for reassurance.

The times you don’t need any more motivation.

The times when you don’t need permission. You just act.

The times when “everything” is not “just right;” in fact, “everything” is “mostly wrong.”

Those are the times that are always here.

They surround you all the time.

If you’re waiting for stability, safety, surety, and certainty, those times are rare. And they don’t come unless you act—actively—to do.

Now.

Otherwise, the times that you’re waiting on are assured to never arrive.

 

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?

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.

No One Cares How Hard the Work Is

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Negotiation, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Truth, Workplace, Workplace Development

Here is a brutal, unavoidable, and unpleasant truth: No one cares how hard the work you’re doing is.

The fact is, many people believe their own story more than they will ever believe yours. And their story is one that involves their work. And their work is always harder than your work.

The fact is, many people (although they would never say this out loud) believe that their pain—disappointments, disputes, troubles, failures—is more important, more pernicious, more deep, than your pain.

The phrase “You don’t know me. You don’t know my pain,” has real resonance with many people.

The fact is, they are right: You don’t know them. You will never know their pain.

And that knowledge of that pain is unimportant in the grand scheme of how hard the work that they are doing is. Your pain is also unimportant in the grand scheme of how hard the work that you are doing is.

But many people care about the process of shipping the hard work.

Process is the thing that fascinates, connects, resonates, and ships. Seeking empathy (or sympathy) around the hardness of shipping the work, producing the work, or failing at getting enough people to care about the work, doesn’t scale.

Get your audience to care about your process, not about how hard the process is.

Necessary or Urgent

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Blog, Leadership, Negotiation, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Reconciliation, Relationships, Speaking, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Truth, Virtue

Urgent is what is needed right now.

Necessary is what is needed to make the “right now” accelerate faster toward resolving the tension inherent between the urgent and the not-so-urgent.

We confuse the necessary with the urgent, sometimes in the pursuit of speed (just get it done) or in the pursuit of fear (just stop the demand for urgency from being so—well—urgent).

Urgent emotional labor is all around us. Here are some examples:

  • Caring when it’s not “our turn” to care.
  • Listening to someone else’s perspective when we disagree.
  • Searching for hard answers to seemingly easy questions.
  • Truly understanding context and subtext in an interaction.
  • Delaying gratification in the moment.
  • Teaching without losing hope.
  • Learning without losing interest.
  • Sacrificing ourselves for ideas, projects, and people that will outlast our existence.

Necessary emotional labor is all around us. Here are some examples:

  • Feeding the hungry.
  • Clothing the naked.
  • Honoring the memory of the dead.
  • Telling the truth in love.
  • Facing the consequences of our mistakes.
  • Letting other people face the consequences of their own mistakes.
  • Preserving face at the expense of immediate gratification.
  • Not losing focus when the emotional going gets hard.
  • Pressing into the uncomfortable and doing more of the hard things.

Don’t confuse the necessary with the urgent.

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?

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.

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.

Old Ideas

By | Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, The Future & The Singularity, Training, Truth, Virtue

There are old ideas—and “old” just means “ideas we don’t think will ‘work’ in whatever cultural, economic or political ordering of the world humanity is advocating for now”—that sometimes need new traction.

Ideas fall out of favor for a variety of reasons that reflect cultural evolution. When this evolution reaches a standstill (or when going forward seems scarier than standing still) old ideas from the past tend to return to the minds of the present.

Unfortunately, the speed of the Internet has convinced humanity (at least in some places on the globe) that the speed of cultural evolution should match the immediacy with which an individual can order a latte from their phone.

Here’s a list of some old ideas that are still relevant regardless of how fast you are culturally evolving:

  • Love your enemies.
  • Do good too (and for) those who would seek to do wrong to you.
  • Actively practice humility and grace.
  • Live your life according to a set of values, ethics, and morals that you can explain when the rubber meets the road.
  • Help others who are not as fortunate as you in acquiring stuff.
  • Be interested, open and caring about another person’s story so that you can grow as they grow.
  • Listen more than you talk—either with your hands or your mouth.

When an old idea returns to prominence (or when an idea that never had traction in the first place takes its turn in the milieu of cultural evolution), we often say that it is “an idea whose time has come.

Of course, for ideas as old as the ones above (and many others I’m sure that you could think of) their time never really left.

Critical Thinking is a Byproduct of Education

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Culture, Education, Entrepreneurship, Networking, Neuroscience, New Posts, Opinions, Problem Solving, Relationships, Speaking, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Virtue

Critical thinking is a byproduct of education.

When a culture prioritizes the educational process as one that exists to indoctrinate minds, ensure conformity of behavior, and to socialize to a certain level, education transforms into something other than a vehicle for encouraging critical thinking.

When public education becomes something else, it serves to overpower and induct rather than something that serves to grow engagement and interaction with hard ideas—and tough (rather than utopian) choices about life, morality, ethics, and care.

Critical thinking becomes the byproduct of analyses, interaction, and engagement in a model that favors the development of such traits. In this scheme, critical thinking is not to be confused with “criticism-thinking”: where a conclusion is pre-determined and then the student is educated backward to make sure that their answers (and their thinking) conform to the “right” answer.

Whatever that answer may be.

Fake news” as a public information issue is exacerbated by the presence of a lack of critical thinking among college students: people who are exiting a public education system that overpowered their critical thinking (but not their “criticism-thinking”) long before they became encultured to the vagaries of choices and options in the world that only applied critical thinking could help them manage.

When the public focus is more on telling people what to think, because that process sells more papers, encourages more compliance, or makes better workers (but not better citizens) the public overall shouldn’t be surprised when, after a few decades, critical thinking becomes less of a byproduct of education.

The critical thinking for which the public is looking—to create informed voters, for instance—comes about through first determining what exactly the educational system is for.