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?

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?

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.

HIT Piece: 10.11.2016 -“For” You, or “To” You

By | Advice, Blog, Facebook, Google, HIT Pieces, New Posts, Old Posts, Privacy, Social Communication, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Twitter, Twitter, Website

The government (and the corporations that consort with it through lobbying efforts) can’t provide every service, fulfill every need, and relieve every want for every individual.

The government (and the corporations that consort with it through lobbying efforts) can be hampered from taking away rights and encouraging responsibility, from individuals.

One perspective is known as “positive rights” and the other perspective is known as “negative rights.”

In online interactions with corporations that are coalescing and acting like “real-world” mega-corporations (consorting with, and lobbying against or for, government policies and such) the issue in conversations around online anonymity is whether or not you believe that those mega-corporations should do for you, or should not do to you.

“For” you, or “to” you.

The preposition makes a difference.

If you believe that Google should do for you, then you will gladly give over your private data without a thought, to companies that view you as a product, and your privacy and anonymity as an afterthought.

If you believe that Facebook should not do to you, then you will be savvy about what you reveal online, where you reveal it, and to what company you give access to your data. You will interact with companies on the Internet who view you as a customer, and your privacy and anonymity as their first thought.

The preposition makes a difference.

If you believe that SnapChat should do for you, then you will gladly stay inside the walls of that communication garden, adopt the rules of the garden without thinking, and will complain when the rules of the garden are changed—as they inevitably will be—because you didn’t build SnapChat. Evan Speigel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown did.

If you believe that Dropbox should not do to you, then you will gladly pay for their premium service which protects your anonymity and expands company revenues in ways that allow it to continue to grow, because you will realize that you aren’t the product. The cloud storage is the product. And you won’t get caught the next time there’s a data breach.

The preposition makes a difference.

If you believe that AirBnB should do for you, then you will gladly applaud as they make changes to who can use their app as a part of their service, to reflect current political and social considerations based in long-simmering cultural passions, rather than revenue based considerations.

If you believe that Uber should not do to you, then you will sign petitions to bring Uber to your town, while also insisting on anonymity in driver data, protection from harassment from incumbents such as taxi drivers and others, and encourage the founders to develop robust responses to charges of sexual assault by drivers in countries not America.

The preposition makes a difference.

If you believe that the Internet should do for you, then you will happily engage with the Internet as a finite communication and connection tool. You will be happy inside walled communications (Skype), commodity (Gmail), and collaboration (GoToMeeting) gardens, and you won’t explore much further than those gardens. Because the Internet has too many options, is too confusing, changes too fast, and is too chaotic and scary to make an informed decision about services or products.

If you believe that the Internet should not do to you, then you will read blogs that have only been read by under 100 people or so, you will mourn the death of RSS feeds and will manage your email subscriptions carefully, and you will be unhappy with the “walled gardens” that the majority insist upon using. Because the Internet is infinite, never-ending, and like any other communication tool, requires self-control to manage, intuition and critical thinking to navigate, and patience to address on its own terms.

“For” you, or “to” you.

The preposition makes a difference.

When considering issues of online anonymity, harassment, bullying, bad behavior, privacy concerns, data breaches, and all the other unethical and illegal behavior being engaged in by individuals and corporations, the understanding of the difference in the meaning behind the preposition matters.

[Opinion] The Quality of Mercy Doesn’t Scale…and Never Will…

By | Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Emotional Intelligence, Facebook, Google, Media, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Peacemaker, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Twitter, Twitter, Virtue

From the Coliseum to Facebook, there has rarely been any mercy from the mob watching the participants in the arena.

The reason the writers of the Constitution favored a Republic over all else, was that they believed the mob was a dangerous, unpredictable force that moved without logic, rationality, reason, or mercy. And then the horrors of the French Revolution proved them correct about human nature.

In modern times, we have psychological and sociological surveys, assessments, and experiments, that show that when it is possible for individuals to stand-by, and watch degradations happen to others, people will. This is called the Bystander Effect.

In modern times, we have psychological and sociological surveys, assessments, and experiments, that show that when it is possible for the mass of people to suffer the injustices of the moment as long as those injustices do not personally affect them in any way, people will. This is called social proofing.

In modern times, we have psychological and sociological surveys, assessments, and experiments, that show that when it is possible to go along with others en masse as an event of any kind happens, because that even happening confirms a belief deeply and long held, people will. This is called confirmation bias.

The quality of mercy comes about when you know someone personally; when you are connected to their story intimately; and when you empathize with their struggle in a real and powerful way.

The quality of mercy cannot scale.

The outcomes of mercy—justice, forgiveness, reconciliation—can scale, but the actual quality of mercy comes along in an individualized process that cannot be scaled, and must instead be seeded, from one person to another.

No matter whether you’re among the mob watching in the Coliseum, or among the mob engaging on Facebook.

[Advice] On Influencers

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, Marketing for Peace Builders, Media, Networking, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Selling for Peace Builders, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Twitter, Twitter, Website, Workshop

Influential personalities and brands online are about to become even more influential as the years go by.

And mediators, lawyers, and negotiators should take note.

Influencer advertising is tricky to navigate, whether you are trying to partner with the peacebuilding neighborhood association with a vibrant Facebook community or the pop singer Rhianna.

Influencer marketing is only going to grow larger in the coming year for the very same reasons that social media is influential now: Individuals trust other individuals more than they trust brands. In the field of mediation and peacebuilding, where trust is a huge deal, influencers and thought leaders such as Bernard Mayer and Kenneth Cloke bring their substantial influence to academic programs, academic writing, advocacy and other areas.

However, as the influence of those individuals begins to fade, a new generation of influencers is rising in the ranks of mediation and peacebuilding professionals, such as Patricia Porter, Brad Heckman, Cinnie Noble, and others who have begun to leverage social tools and the wide reach of the Internet to make a dent in the peace building universe.

For the ADR professional with limited resources to be able to connect with larger names in the peacebuilding world, there are a few things to remember when considering using influencers to advertise your content, your services, your philosophy, or your processes:

Does the influencer’s brand link well with my brand promise?

Carefully considering how an influencer’s brand (which may range from Bernard Mayer all the way to Kim Kardashian) complements the strengths and reduces the weaknesses of the peacebuilder’s brand promise is key to developing a long term relationship with the influencer. Influencers are people first and foremost, and peacebuilding professionals should be about building that relational knowledge ahead of jumping into a branded relationship.

Is the influencer’s audience an audience that I want to be addressing as a peace builder?

Depending upon who the influencer’s audience is (and audiences range in taste and structure from the 1,000 followers the neighborhood peace builder has on her Facebook page, all the way to the millions of fans and followers Jon Stewart has) the peace builder has to decide carefully if that is an audience worth talking to. The fact of the matter is, every audience that a brand influencer has is not appropriate for a peace builder to talk to, nor is every audience open to hearing a message about peace.

Does the influencer’s message help or harm my message?

Every influencer talks to their audience in their own way, using words, images, symbols, and other forms of social cuing that inexorably tie that audience to them.

Some influencers are less savvy than others, but that does not mean that they aren’t sophisticated communications professionals in their own right.

 

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode #1 – Chris Strub

By | Advice, Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, Leadership, Media, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Privacy, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Twitter, Twitter

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 1 – Chris Strub, Social Media Engager and Connector, Part 2

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode #1 – Chris Strub

Welcome back to the fourth season of The Earbud_U Podcast!

The nostalgia for the perceived security and safety of the Industrial-TV complex dominated world of work and human interaction, is almost deafening.

The nostalgia mostly comes in the form of complaints about the work ethic of the current generation by a generation feeling left behind, and discounted.

Our guest today, Chris Strub is back from the second season of The Earbud_U Podcast. He defines putting in the work and redefining what the new work ethic is, by building a new way of working, using tools that allow him to grow his impact, and actively demonstrate the changing nature of the work ethic conversation.

When work ethic (or nostalgia for an imagined time in the past when people worked “harder” than they do now) is discussed, it’s often framed in the context of “paying your dues.” That mythical state of working hard, being unnoticeable (except for the work that you do), making no demands upon the work structure, and showing appropriate deference to the life experience of people older than you.

In a communication world with digital tools that are reshaping everything from shopping to working globally, “paying your dues” can begin at the age of 15 doing things that

  • Don’t scale
  • Will not appear on a resume
  • That an employer will never know about
  • And will bring the person passive income that can be leveraged after ten years…at the age of 25.

You know, at the moment when the “you should be ‘paying your dues’” conversation begins to happen, directed by superiors, co-workers, and others who didn’t have the digital tools that the 15 to 34 year olds have at their disposal right now.

Work ethic still exists. We just haven’t figured out a new way to calculate its value.

Listen to the podcast and take the multiple opportunities out there to connect with Chris today:

[Advice] Blogging for the Peace Builder

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Ebooks, Education, Facebook, Google, Marketing for Peace Builders, Media, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Selling for Peace Builders, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Twitter, Twitter, Website

Blogging is still the easiest, lowest cost, way to build a business, establish a client base, become an influencer, or just to use a voice that matters.

It’s almost free marketing that is always on, always distributed, and always accessible.

There are great ADR professionals such as Cinnie Noble, Tammy Lenski, Victoria Pynchon and a few other high profile ADR practitioners, capitalizing on their blogging efforts. But for many ADR professionals, other than the contributors at Mediate.com (and here at ADRTimes.com), blogging is still viewed as a “one-off, one-time” thing.

There are many objections to blogging from the peace builder, but three are primary:

  • I don’t have time to blog.
  • I don’t know what to blog about.
  • I’m not a writer.

Let’s break those down:

I don’t have time to blog:  ADR professionals lead busy lives. They mediate, negotiate and arbitrate complex issues that place psychological and emotional strain on them. Then, they return to homes where they may be confronted by more conflict (Ever hear the joke about the mediator who mediated their own divorce proceeding? I have. It’s depressing.) And, peace building professionals are exposed to more conflicts in social media feeds and from popular culture.

Then, there are children, partners, and responsibilities. By the time the end of the day comes, they are ready to do what their clients do: Go to bed and go to sleep. Then they get up and repeat it.

Who has time to blog?

Well, I’m writing this article in between just having fed my four-year old daughter and working on a client project. What I have found is that there are spaces in the day where thoughts worth blogging about can come flooding in. And, when we sit down at our seats in front of the computer, time becomes available, in spite of distractions, children, clients and other responsibilities.

I don’t know what to blog about: There is so much conflict in the world, at both an organizational and individual level, that I am often surprised by how many peace builders believe this. Peace builders witness disputes in line at their favorite coffee shop in the morning. Disputes occur at local school board meetings, attended the night before. There are disputes in our social media feeds, or even in the newspaper.

When I started blogging regularly, I worried about filling digital space with something meaningful. Then I had a revelation: The number of people consuming content in a digital space will always outweigh the number of people creating content in digital space.

The other piece to consider in this, is a thought that many peace builders have that goes “I don’t have anything to say (or write) so what could I possibly write about?” The fact of the matter is, we need more people who are involved in building peace to have the courage to lay out an argument, stake a claim to a position of truth, and then defend it vigorously and assertively. Courage has always been in short supply in the digital space (see the proliferation of Buzzfeed-like listicles and “Top 25” posts) and hiding away from the consequences of taking a position on topics such as neutrality, client-self-determination, or even the area of deep listening, does not negate the overwhelming need for online wisdom. The fact of the matter is, wisdom is also in short supply in a world where every piece of knowledge is a Google search away. We need more peace builder’s wisdom in the online space and the best place to get that wisdom across is through online, long-form, writing.

I’m not a writer: Many people stop writing regularly about the same time they put college (or high school) in the rearview mirror. Writing is hard, but for the peace builder, writing is the best way to explore and develop thoughts about process, procedure and practice and to grow the field. We need more writing, not less.

And, putting together a sentence or two is really all that it takes to begin. Once that happens, the real struggle becomes how to improve writing, rather than how to start.

One last point on all of this: Many peace builders want to begin writing, but fear that when they are vulnerable in the online space; when they take a position, raise their hand and say “this is me, this is what I’m making,” that there will be pushback from trolls, baiters, scammers, critics, and other bad actors (or actors with mixed motives) online. The thing to remember is that, at a practical level, the bad actors, spammers, and trolls are merely seeking negative attention and—even more perniciously—are seeking to place their shame on the person taking a stand.

At a practical level, the way around this for the peace builder to not accept comments on their blog. Or, to moderate them, or even to not read them. But, peace builders should never allow the bad actor to steal their voice, out of their own mouth, before it has even been used.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/