HIT Piece 11.15.2016

I don’t know.

The three words that kill any consulting, coaching, or training gig.

The three words that kill any sale (B2B or B2C).

The three words that kill any career around a meeting table.

We recognize the vulnerability, powerlessness, and transparency in the “I don’t know” statement. And in the face of workplaces, organizations, and even communities, increasingly hostile to vulnerability, powerlessness, and transparency, “I don’t know” seems like a time waster.

Better to just bulldoze through and hope for the best.

Destigmatizing the “I don’t know” would go a long way toward normalizing the fact that there are legitimate things that we don’t know, legitimate information that we don’t have access to (or understanding of), and legitimate perspectives that we don’t acknowledge.

And, to be the appropriate role model, I’ll start:

I don’t know…

HIT Piece 8.23.2016

Courage, awareness of trends, and thinking outside of your own box, work well when pushing innovation and getting new ideas at the individual level, but are tough to get to scale past just a few people.

Group think, social proofing, ego driven statements, fear based responses, body language cueing and other forms of involuntary people management begin to kick in when a groups gets to be larger than four members.

Which is why understanding your own conflict style, your own communication approach, and being clear on your own goals (not at the expense of understanding and listening to others’ goals though) becomes the bedrock of innovative action.

Don’t believe me?

Try this: The next time you’re in a meeting with the “smartest” people in your department, your division, your company, or your organization, say nothing (or little) and instead watch how they respond to each other.

How they subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) manage each other.

And if the group is larger than four people, watch even closer.

Watch how “good” ideas become mired in indecision, vagueness, and lack of forward motion.

And then, wonder to yourself: “How can I make this situation better the next time?”

[Strategy] The Trust Deficit

Losing trust and getting it back—always a hard process—has become that much harder because of how we have changed socially in reaction to the presence of our new digital communication tools.

Credibility used to come from the work you performed, and from showing up every day, like clockwork. In the world of work, our workplaces, and in the world of communication, when everyone can show up, credibility is lost when consistency is abandoned. Just look at the world of lifestyle coaching, blogging, podcasting, and even the early days of adoption of streaming video platforms such as Meerkat, Periscope, and Blab. Credibility used to be built by sticking around after the “newness” of something wore off.  Now, in the constant, impatient chase to pursue the new, credibility takes a hit.

Transparency used to not even be a consideration in public communication. The public was happy not knowing the details of the lives of those considered to be “famous.” Affairs, cheating, fraud, abuse, addiction, moral failings: all of these used to be fodder for the arena occupied by scandal rags, “yellow” journalism, and gossip columnists—and dismissed, or viewed as scandalous in and off themselves, by “decent” people. But now, all of that has gone mainstream. And while there are a few people still around who value the old ethic of the personal and the private not being public, many individuals choose to transparently video stream, Tweet, Facebook update, and otherwise expose their reality to the world. We are arcing over to a time when how much you have been transparent matters more than what you have been transparent about. A place where the act of participating matters more for your credibility than the content you are sharing.

Authenticity used to be about the soundness of moral (or ethical) character, in the face of tough decisions no matter their impact. Sayings such as “He (or she) is bona fide” speak to the idea that being authentic was once about character—which no longer often gets commented on. This is not to say that character no longer counts, but the shared moral and ethical framework that undergirded much of societal cueing about who had character—and who didn’t—has gradually eroded away. Now the way we determine authenticity has become individualized, rather than corporately shared, and authenticity is simultaneously about ourselves (“I need to be free to be who I genuinely am”) and about negating a previously publicly shared moral and ethical framework (“Don’t judge me”).

Establishing, building, and maintaining trust in an environment of tools that reward impatience and a lack of focus, where the act of being transparent matters more than what we are being transparent about, and where authenticity has become personal rather than shared, has become infinitely more difficult.

But not impossible.

The way out of all of this is to hearken back to some older truths:

Credibility is about commitment and consistency, rather than about the shiny, the new, or the tool. Judgement about credibility should come from looking at a track record, rather than a snapshot, moment-in-time event.

Transparency has to revert back to being a sacred part of a two-way relationship, rather than either a selfish one-way act (“I broadcast to you.”) or a selfish two-way act (“We broadcast—or share—only with each other and our narrow band of ‘friends’.”).

Authenticity is the sacrifice that the libertine makes on the altar of the public good, rather than seeking to hold onto it all the time at the expense of the public. Shakespeare had it right about Julius Caesar: The sacrifice of being “on” all the time in public and in private is the ultimate trust building tool.

But all of this is hard.

And without getting our arms wrapped around these three areas as leaders, employees, and even individuals, trust will become yet another sacrifice made on the altar of our post-modern communication tools.

-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/

[ICYMI] Curating Vulnerability

We tell ourselves compelling stories, where the drivers of the conflicts that move the narrative along, are not us, but others.

We do this for two reasons:

  • We want more credit for successes and less blame for failures.
  • We get uncomfortable with tension and discomfort.

In an era of curated reality, the biggest tension is between the realities we choose to show our audiences, versus the realities we know exist inside of us.

Social media provides somewhat of an outlet for us to resolve this tension. However, too many people keep telling the same faulty story, where we are the stars and everyone else is a goat.

In reality though, we are just perpetuating the tension and creating more unreality.

But, what is “real?” Is the “real” person the one that lives inside of us, or is the “real” person the one we display to the world via our endlessly streaming social feeds?

Acquiring authenticity requires us to be vulnerable in ways that we cannot, because we have never learned to be vulnerable within ourselves, too ourselves, and by ourselves.

The leading of double lives are destroying and reshaping the social contract, and the results of that destruction are ongoing and endless intrapersonal conflict, as well as depression, anger, resentment, impatience, and narcissism and so on, and so on, and so on.

Originally published on December 15, 2014.

Download the FREE E-Book, The Savvy Peace Builder by heading to http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com/e-book-the-savvy-peace-builder/ today!

Authentic Teaching

Authenticity has become synonymous with credibility.

Authenticity is the new Credibility

Consistency has become the new currency.

Yet, in the world of content development (and the entrepreneurial base that it begins from), the “old” rules of marketing, advertising and sales still apply:

The audience doesn’t really care what you know; they only care about what you can teach them.

-Peace Be With You All-

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