[Strategy] Average in the Future

There have always been people in societies, cultures, and among populations all over the world and throughout history who have committed an average level of effort to the work of building their lives.

They lived. They died. And they didn’t make a ripple or a dent in the universe.

It’s only in the last 100 years or so that the protection for being average was codified at a mass level through the direct efforts of the Industrial Revolution and the aftereffects of that same revolution.

Another way of saying this is “C’s get degrees.”

Yes, they do.

But, over the next 100 years, they may have to get a different set of skills in order to maintain that “C” status, both in life, and in their careers.

It’s always been demanding to be average; to stay in your lane; to follow directions without critically thinking; to not be the nail that sticks up; to protect the status quo by not engaging in conflicts that matter.

And it’s just going to get even harder.

HIT Piece 11.03.2015

If you haven’t seen the film Election, directed by Alexander Payne and starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, go get it on Netflix and stream in right now.

[HIT Piece] 11.03.2015

The script, from the movie released in 1999, shows the results and feedback loop that power, strategy and the ruthless pursuit of position can have in electoral politics.

And all wrapped up in the context of a high school student government election in Omaha, Nebraska. The director, Alexander Payne has directed many other films and brings a European sensitivity to Midwestern American dramatic situations, people and aesthetics.

In light of the results of your local elections yesterday and in light of the current political gamesmanship going on in American electoral national politics, it’s worth looking at.

And all before the era of social media, virality, the commonality of cell phones, and even the ubiquity of the Internet.

-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/

[Advice] Our Children

What we don’t teach our children in school for eight hours a day would be classified as child abuse, if we actually believed that the nature of the world of work has changed for adults.

But, we don’t.

The world of work is a place where adults are thrown together with other adults we didn’t choose to be with, with whom we have little in common, and must be “nice” to (meaning non-confrontational, but not too nice) in order to “get tasks done.”

School prepares our children for this, disappearing work world. The world of the white-collar office or even the disappearing, blue-collar factory. School tells our children to sit in desks for 8 hours a day, while an adult stands in front of them, lecturing every hour, on the hour.

No naps. No crackers. No grape juice. Not even in kindergarten anymore.

Governments get involved in schooling because people in power (politicians, political consultants, et.al) want nice compliant voters, workers and adults.

Parents send their children to school because that’s the only way to “get opportunities” out of an adult life that seems more and more volatile, or because of the threat of jailing.

Society overall demands schooling (and the ways we currently school children are a product of the Industrial Revolution, John Dewey, Henry Ford and Frederick Taylor—among many others) if no other reason than some adults would rather not see children “running around town” questioning the carefully constructed adult worlds.

Seems like an environment ripe for bullying, stress, mismanagement, organizational conflict, and avoidance of outcomes.

There are some ways out of this:

Teach to individuals, not groups.

The group lecture doesn’t work without individual engagement, even for well-trained adults. There’s a reason Greek philosophers taught outside by asking and answering questions, taught walking around, and were constantly considered to be “corrupting the morals of the youth” of Ancient Greece. If Socrates could do it with 15 kids under an olive tree (or walking through a marketplace), so can the post-modern, 21st century educator with all the technology that we have.

Teach principles, not values.

Here’s a principle: “Choose to be good to one another and learn how to get along with people you don’t like, and who don’t like you.” Here’s a value: “Let’s not bully each other because it hurts the other person’s feelings and it’s wrong.” Children are incredibly gifted at sensing the adult hypocrisy that lies dormant behind adults employing the language of principles to hide other motives that are sometimes value driven, and sometimes not.

Teach emotional intelligence, principles and individuals from ages 5 through 12, teach skills, abilities and life options from ages 12 through 17, then let children decide to go to college, or not with their families.

At a practical level, the current formation of primary schooling in this country is broken, no matter whether the governing policy is Common Core, No Child Left Behind or even Midnight Basketball (remember that from the 90’s). This is because the next world that our children face is post-industrial, requiring the ability to dance with fear, fail with grace and be courageous without shame (which children need reinforced between 5 and 12) and requiring people to be really skilled immediately, regardless of credentialing (what children need reinforced between 12 and 17).

Adults (who have children and vote and who don’t have children and don’t vote) need to change our story of why we send our kids to school, and change the assumptions and expectations that we have around learning and the world of work, before anything will change in the school system itself.

Until that happens, we will raise, and nominally educate, generations of people, who will be released into adulthood, with little understanding of what is happening to them in their working lives, why it is happening, and how to overcome it.

Which is a recipe for increasing societal conflict, not decreasing.

[Podcast] The Epidemiology of Conflict – The Earbud_U Minute

Conflicts, disputes and other disagreements are not the disease. They are symptoms of the disease.

When we think about how a virus spreads, doctors, researchers, data gatherers and others look at the patterns, causes and effects of health and disease conditions in a particular population.

Epidemiology is a very specific interdisciplinary science, but when we talk about the presenting issues that lead to conflict, even in our post-therapeutic age, we are still hesitant to become armchair analysts.

Or, we analyze and get it wrong.

The beginning of understanding the how and why the symptoms of conflict are confused with the nature of a conflict itself, begins with taking apart the behavioral and personality choices that individuals make—and that particular populations, in particular environments, support.

Think about it: In the workplace, there still remains the illusion that resources are limited, thus competition is reinforced.

Thus, individuals who would rather be collaborative are now in conflict with the underpinnings of the environment where they spend 40 to 60 hours per week.

Think about it: In the church—or any other religious organization—the illusion remains that faith and belief will remove the stain of previous wrongs and mistakes without active engagement on the part of the individual.

Thus, individuals who are looking for active engagement wind up within groups that would rather remain collectively passive in the face of all manner of wrongdoing.

Think about it: In the school, bullying behavior manifests, but politicians, teachers, policy makers and others would rather support a broken system that encourages collective, Industrial system based responses.

Thus, micro-schooling with smaller groups (or homeschooling) is pooh-poohed and parents (who vote) raise children who are overly aggressive due to familial environments, and are never directly confronted about the results of their uninformed parenting styles by the “system.”

Root causes—and getting back to them—is often the first thing that is dismissed by critics of therapy, counseling, and even mediation.

But without exploring and getting to the root of root causes, the solutions to the corrosive nature of conflict will never be fully teased apart.

And we will continue to be collectively surprised by apathy and inaction, bullying, poor communication, and ineffective organizational responses, even as we build more tools that separate us further.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principle 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] Does All This Stuff Really Work?


But it requires you to engage and be active, rather than passive.

How many people do you know that are passive participants in their own lives?

How many of them are in conflict with others?

Stuff doesn’t just “happen”(no matter what the bumper sticker may tell you) and active participation in choosing to be empathetic, to be a listener or to be positive is tough.

  • The family won’t save a person in conflict.
  • The workplace won’t save a person in conflict.
  • The school won’t save a person in conflict.
  • The church won’t save a person in conflict.
  • The society won’t save a person in conflict.

The only person who can save a person in conflict is themselves.

Originally published on November 24, 2014.

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


Christian Peacemaking in a Fallen World – Bully Edition

Bullies are everywhere it seems.


They are at school. They are at work.

Have they always been around or are we only now becoming sensitive to their presence and their impact?

From Donald Sterling to the workplace bully to the disaffected school shooter, modern Western culture seems to be turning up more and more of the disaffected and the dysfunctional.

Eventually, the societal call will come to violate the inviolable in order to ferret out and better address the impacts of bully pathology.

The conflation between the everyday bully and the societal scourge will become easier and easier as time progresses and peace will become harder and harder to attain.

There will be less understanding, less forgiveness and the road to reconciliation will be even tougher.

The hard work of #BuildingForTheFuture is just beginning…

-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/

Masculinity in Conflict-#ElliotRodger’s Edition

Another day, another mass shooting by a disaffected, young Caucasian male, and another day of the aftermath.


Not to be flip, but we have blogged about the importance of work, the damaging effects of envy and the nature of male violence before.

Because, unfortunately, this has happened before.

Now, we don’t know the killer’s mental health history, or deep family history, or life history, but a few things are clear:

Conflict occurs when there is a deep disagreement between two sides of an issue about something that matters.

Conflict continues when there is no resolution—or reconciliation—for that disagreement and thus no opportunity for catharsis.

We have blogged before about the solution to all of this, and its men.

  • Not changing the culture.
  • Not blaming the use of guns.
  • Not tearing down our already limited, mental health system.
  • Not taking to Twitter.

Because, as necessary as all of those conversations may be, it is no substitute for grown, adult, emotionally literate, responsible men taking responsibility for their lives, their wives, their children and their communities.

And men must step up and do this, if conflicts (which begin internally and explode externally) such as the one that Eliot Rodger was clearly suffering from, will abate.

Because misogyny, anger, self-righteousness, envy, jealousy all start in the home.

-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/
HSCT’s website: http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com

Dear Graduates of High School & College – 2014 –

Dear Graduates of High School & College-

Happy Employees

You have been told a lot of things by a lot of well meaning individuals on the way to the end at which you find yourself. You have been told things by your parents, your teachers, your counselors, your professors and even your crazy Aunt Ida.

But now, I’m going to tell you something that none of them may have had either the wherewithal or the gumption to mention. I’m going to try to do it gently, but, as a famous man once said “The Truth isn’t mean, it’s just the Truth.”

So….here we go…

Life is hard. Your grades, those letters that you spent a lot of time, sweat and—in some cases—blood, to get don’t matter a hill of beans to anybody outside of this institution from which you find yourself escaping.

Those little letters (and numbers in some cases) actually serve to hobble you and handicap you in venues outside of here.

The attainment of them has twisted your thinking into believing that there is only one way of doing, thinking, and being, when, in actuality, there are an infinite number of ways of thinking, doing, and being and no one can tell you which one is the best.

This realization is the chief thing that makes life hard for the first five years after you leave here. There are right and wrong decisions, but there are no definite decisions.

Employers don’t care about how smart you are.

You are the smartest generation to ever graduate from educational institutions that haven’t changed their approach to education significantly since World War 2 (it was something that happened in between the end of the Great Depression and the end of Jim Crow. Google it.) and no one outside of these walls cares about your level of intellectual intelligence. Unless you’re a doctor or engineer.

Employers only care about you showing up, doing the work, not complaining or bad mouthing them either in person or online, and then taking their check and going home to your one-bedroom, badly light and poorly heated apartment.

  • They don’t care about your student loan debt.
  • They don’t care that you fed kids in Kenya last year.
  • They don’t care that you have an active Youtube.com channel with 30,000 hits.

Employers are really…really…really…narrowly focused.

They only care about how much your work adds to their bottom line. In business speak, this is called “added value.”

And most of your bosses, i.e. employers, supervisors, managers and others above you, who will hire you, are people that never graduated college and couldn’t wait to get away from high school, or who drank their way through college and ten years later made anywhere between $250,000 and $1,000,000.

And all your intellectual capacity won’t matter a hill of beans to them.

Develop something, anything that you own.

Look, social media is great for Snap Chatting to your friends, knocking other people on Twitter or getting all hot and bothered about the Ukraine or social justice on Facebook, but these platforms can also be used to build a project, an idea or—even a business—that YOU care about.

This road, the road through entrepreneurship—is hard, heartbreaking, long, and lonely and will not be materially fulfilling for the first ten years that you are doing it.

  • Almost everyone will tell you that you’re crazy.
  • Almost everyone will silently cheer for your failure.
  • Almost everyone will tell you about their half-baked ideas.

But if you can survive all of that, you can have something that no one in any previous generation has had for a very long time: Positional financial security.

Or, you’ll crash and burn and fail.

But, at least you won’t have another $150,000 of student loans in your life, chipping away at your financial, emotional, marital (some of you out here WILL get married) and psychological health.

I will not close with the maxim that many do to “follow your passion.” The reason I won’t is because the Greek root of the work passion really means to “work unceasing.”

I will close by encouraging you to work.

Work unceasingly.

So…go do that.

Go to work.

Thank you.

-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: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Masculinity in Conflict – 2014 Edition

Masculinity is characterized in many ways, and in a country with 92 million Americans no longer in the labor force, we here at Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT), wonder what the impact of that could be on both men and women.

Work gives life meaning.  It doesn’t matter whether you are the Christian and Jewish God of the Old Testament, the scholar consumed with the workers and the bourgeoisie or the creator of a political party dedicated to the death of people, work gives meaning.
Here in this space, we have blogged previously about the issues that men face and the very public methods that they sometimes use to resolve them. Violence is never an answer to a conflict, but unfortunately, it seems as though violent response by men to any and all perceived slight, has been codified in our culture, from video games to the movies.
We believe that each person is responsible for their own level of self-awareness and is accountable for their own actions, and that men are particularly held to a higher standard.
This is an “old school” philosophy that may reverberate with some readers as being misogynistic or narrow, but when men cease committing the majority of violent crimes and the majority of violent wars, then we’ll take a step back.
But, what does this have to do with work?
  • Work creates freedom. It allows for meaning, creativity, growth and fertility.
  • Work fosters connection. It creates the situations and environments that allow for the growth of human beings through connecting with others
  • Work develops character. It creates not only commitment, responsibility, accountability and purpose, but it also incentivizes actions that lead to more character.
But, what if there is no work?
Then masculinity (and by extension, femininity) must be redefined.
We here at HSCT would rather see that happen through the efforts of men who are committed to doing the hard work of work with other men, than through a wandering George Zimmerman or a gun-wielding, angry 14 year old.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com