HIT Piece 12.20.2016

When thinking about conflict, the lock-in effect controls our reactions and responses.

We become accustomed to the reactions and responses that we have integrated into our lives on a regular basis. And the people to whom we are responding become locked-in to their responses and reactions to us as well.

Lock-in comes about when the benefits from a decision accrue at scale and the downsides are irrelevant.

Lock-in can be intentional (trying to use the other party’s known conflict responses and reactions to leverage them into or out of a decision), or it can be unintentional (“I don’t understand why he/she keeps reacting this way.”)

Some people are immune to the effects of lock-in, but many more people are controlled by the power of lock-in so much so, that they don’t even realize that it’s happening at the time.

Once a person’s conflict behavior and conflict choices are revealed to them, lock-in can become a powerful deterrent to future poor choices.

But only if we are aware of its presence.

HIT Piece 12.13.2016

Changing people’s behavior can only happen when you embark on having a relationship first.

We know this instinctively, yet we pursue the “command and control” model of authoritarian, top-down, imposed change repeatedly.

Maybe it’s because the narrative that we tell ourselves about other people—and the way that they change—is so deeply embedded we can’t extricate ourselves from it.

Maybe it’s because we are incessantly seeking a shortcut to the easy outcome and the easy solutions to genuinely hard problems.

Maybe it’s because we know that the hard work of relationship building is a long term game rather than a short-term “fix.”

Or maybe the real reasons have nothing to do with any of those reasons at all.

HIT Piece 11.29.2016

Sometimes a presentation doesn’t “work.”

Sometimes there’s no connection with the audience.

Sometimes the presenter talks more to themselves than they listen to the crowd.

Sometimes questions aren’t asked (or answered) by the audience or the presenter.

Sometimes there is no active listening on the part of the audience.

Sometimes there is no active listening on the part of the presenter.

Sometimes the content is not what the audience expected.

Sometimes the content is not what the presenter expected.

Sometimes personalities clash.

Sometimes the content is exactly what the audience needs to hear, but not in the way that they need to hear it.

Sometimes the presentation is just a failure, and there’s nothing that the audience (or the presenter) can do at all to “fix” it.

Sometimes trying again, with a different audience, is enough.


HIT Piece 11.22.2016

The power of stories is undeniable, particularly around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Stories about the Pilgrims.

Stories about the country today.

Stories about the country yesterday.

Stories about the neighborhood.

Stories about the family.

Thanksgiving is a curious holiday, because at its root, it is about thanking God (who the Pilgrims believed in, by the way) and about sharing the overflow (which the Pilgrims did with each other and the Native tribes that surrounded them).

Gratitude and sharing are at the core of the stories we tell each other on Thanksgiving.

But it is hard to be full of gratitude (or even to share for that matter) when there is conflict, strife, oppression (psychological or otherwise) or when there are outside signals that create meaningless internal noise.

The distractions from getting to the root of your story, are a story in and of themselves. But those distractions, many of which are focused on conflict, strife, and oppression, are not the core story of the holiday.

Thankfulness is a story.

Gratitude is an attitude. And a story.

Sharing is a story.

The power of the stories we tell—and the power of the stories we don’t tell—lies at the core of giving thanks, being grateful, and sharing with others.

HIT Piece 11.01.2016

I wish that you had more time.

Time to explore all that the world has to offer.

Time to be more.

Time to do more.

Time to have more.

Time to do the things that really matter in your life.

Time to develop more personally, professionally, and even spiritually.

Time to make the right decisions, for the right reasons, to impact more people positively in your life.

I wish that you had more time.

But you don’t.

And you’ve chosen to use the time allotted to you to do, well, those things that you believe matter, in the long run.

Whether you have considered the long run, or not.

HIT Piece 10.25.2016

The top six questions for leaders (or aspiring leaders) at work, are as follows:

  • Who is responsible for the organizational culture at work? You, or your boss?
  • Who is responsible for the conflict culture at work? You, or your boss?
  • Who is responsible for the innovation at work? You, or your boss?
  • Who is responsible for having the courage to change? You, or your boss?
  • Who is going to accept responsibility if changing doesn’t work? You, or your boss?
  • Who is going to get the credit if changing creates more productivity at work? You, or your boss?

The answers to those six questions will define how you work, where you work, and what outcomes derive from the work that you do.

HIT Piece 10.18.2016

Transparency means different things to different people.

Some people believe that transparency means establishing, maintaining, and growing connection to another person.

Some people believe that transparency means collaboration with another person or with a group of people.

Some people believe that transparency means authenticity, a species of “being real” or “keeping it real” in language, attitude, approach to an issues, tone or topic.

Some people believe that transparency means honesty and integrity—all of the time rather than some of the time.

Some people believe that transparency means refusing to “groom” a social appearance for the sake of other people, the crowd, or the audience.

Some people believe that transparency means being responsible and accountable—particularly when no one else in the group, the team, or the organization, will be.

Some people believe that transparency means acting with faith and hope in a future that could be, rather than complaining about the present that is.

The question on transparency is not one of who sees transparency through what lens, instead the question on transparency focuses around whether or not transparency matters—and in what context.

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

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.

HIT Piece 10.04.2016

Seeing is believing.

Why is that?

Role modeling is still the most powerful predictor of leadership success or failure.

Role modeling builds a company culture and ensures that the culture grows.

Role modeling is about both presence and absence. It’s about what is there, and what isn’t there.

Role modeling is unstated, unsaid, and often unremarked upon, but its power is acknowledged in the actions people choose.

Role modeling starts in childhood. Children follow their siblings—or don’t—directly due to what they see role modeled before them.

There are some questions to ask to determine if you’re actually role modeling or if you’re just putting on a show for an audience:

Is anyone actually watching?

Do I care what they see?

Can they learn a lesson?

Does my absence speak volumes?

Who will be impacted?

Is this a test?

Could I have done better at that last action?

Do I owe an apology?

Does it (i.e. my words, or deeds) matter to someone else?

Do they care what they are watching?

The difference between putting on a show (which is what the performer, the impresario, and the flim-flam man do) and role modeling (which is what parents, teachers, supervisors, managers, and responsible adults are supposed to do) is that putting on show requires that you answer none of the above questions.

Role modeling requires that you take responsibility and accountability for the answers to each one of the above questions.

HIT Piece 9.27.2016

Conflict is the process of change.

No great change—not one—happens without conflict.

The key is not to fear conflict (which many of us do) but to manage it.

Many people are afraid in times of great change because they aren’t offered a vision for what the change will bring, nor are they offered the courage to look the change in the eye.

The role of statesmen, leaders, and even executives used to be to provide assurances to the masses of people that the conflict would be manageable, that the outcomes (or changes) would be beneficial, and that the future would be positive.

Those roles stand empty now, and thus it is up to us to choose individually: A past state of supposed peace we cannot return to, or a future state that we need courage, clarity, and candor to get to.

There are no more statesmen and leaders “over there” anymore.

Which is good.

Because, they’re right here.