EX – Employee Experience

SammyACX- Customer experience

Customer experience is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction includes a customer’s attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy and purchase and use of a service. It is measured by the individual’s experience during all points of contact against the individual’s expectations.
This is just one part of the equation

What about our employees?  Seems pretty common to treat folks with little or no respect..

Beat them and they will submit …  but never will you capture their spirit or their minds..


EX- What could it be? (Mazhar Mansoor)

EX = CX

“Here is a simple framework to understand relationship among various drivers of employee experience and see how employee experience, in turn, becomes the primary factor in creating business results.”

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Spend time thinking about and investing in employees in the same manner as you would customers.  Customers pay the bills but employees can turn customers into advocates or enemies.    Blue Focus Marketing

 

The worst thing a company can do is lie to their employees.  There are many legal implications to lying  but beyond it simply being wrong, it hurts the corporate brand.   Even if you are barely connected to a company it can and will hurt.

Large companies need to find ways to make “big things small.” –Jon Bidwell   If every customer matters then every employee should matter.   There is a lesson to be learned here.

A focus on the employee experience is an investment in the company just like any other asset or capital investment.  A focus on the process around employee engagement and the analysis / data to support an evidence based approach to respecting employees is a “sure thing” in terms of overall productivity and opportunity with customers.

If we are going to take lessons from the masters on profitability wouldn’t we look at the current number one in the market?

Alphabet / Google

Small Steps..

Companies can flog their employees and create fear but today with the younger generations entering the workforce those old practices can’t hold up.  You have to respect what everyone brings to the table.  In fact, a lot of companies are overcompensating today with the younger generation and that isn’t great either.

This isn’t a “solution” but it is an ongoing conversation with multiple considerations.   As an industry leader one of the go to guys on practical (EX) is Hemal Patel I met with him and asked him about this subject area and he said “It all begins with two concepts, start with gratitude and integrity.”  He suggested that employees that understand organizational gratitude and integrity as part of the larger culture will seek to help build and support the company in ways that we could not foresee.

EX- Gratitude and Integrity

  • Measuring gratitude  <– study from Berkeley  (Basically says gratitude is in fact good and can lend itself to happiness and positivity.) <– well whaddya know?
  • Measuring integrity The-value-of-great-CEOs1

It appears that Mr. Patel is onto something…

Summary:

  • Don’t lead with fear..
  • Make Big things Small
  • Focus on Gratitude and Integrity
  • Measure using an outcome based approach..
  • Focus on CX and EX for a healthy approach to organizational success…

 

Any comments, questions or did I miss something?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working Out Loud: Speak to the Heart and Mind (Part 4 of 5)

Show up whenever possible. (Part 1)
Ask to speak with senior leaders; chances are they will see you. (Part 2)
Advocate for yourself and others. (Part 3)
Speak to the heart and mind. (Part 4 You are here)
Have faith and courage.

Living a Life of Legacy

We are living on a spinning rock full of magma destined to be consumed by a ball of fire in the form of an extinguished star. It is pretty easy to question the purpose of our existence.  Some look to religion, others to philosophy.  Either way, there is some form of rationalization on why we are here. When I turn on the news I mostly find a cold world full of consistent tragedy. It is 2015, and as a child I dreamed of a world with flying cars, robots, and peace.

I thought my generation was so intermixed and informed that we would simply starve out racism, sexism, and challenge all that was wrong with the world.  I was looking for something big but I have come to believe that I should be looking for something small.  This post is about speaking to the heart and mind because you can speak to one or the other; however, we can communicate our message best if we seek to address both with purpose and passion.  

A lot of people believe that they have to wait to be great.  They spend years building wealth and working hard to achieve this ultimate dream of having success and security.   Born from this sense of security and wealth, they can now live a “life of legacy” where they can go and do good things and be charitable.  They can find the kindness in their hearts that they had to set aside to be good at being tough.  Being tough and strong is a characteristic associated with good leadership.   Rarely do you hear of leaders being weak and wimpy.   It is always said that the “strong survive” and that is how our world works.   In business or war ironically, we see and hear similar practices around strength.  I believe there are forces that are underestimated in our world.  There are both strong and weak forces and to focus on strength and toughness holistically would be missing the benefits of these other factors.  People can be made to do something by force and people can be led to do something by inspiration.  It is part of our nature, but either way the same rules don’t always apply.   

With this in mind, these new philanthropists believe they can be what they want with no person to control them as they did their time and generated the income needed to find security and success.   As I am speaking generally, I recognize that a lot of people “do good things” but more often than not in my experience it doesn’t seem to be enough for them to recognize how good their daily acts really are.  The point is that if you want to live a life of legacy, there is no reason to wait to do something that your heart is calling for.  Right now is a good time and it starts with behavior over events.

Speaking to the Heart

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.  If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. (Nelson Mandela)  

The intent of this quote was to address people in their mother tongue as a sign of respect and understanding.   This quote can go much further than intended in that language is complicated.  Even when I speak or write in English, it is when I find common connections and words that that seem to touch something inside that goes beyond logic is when I am most compelling.

Watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeWks6cgJ-k  it is only two minutes. The first time I saw this it came from  Dr. Madelyn Blair on storytelling.  

It is the experience or feeling of something great and compelling that inspires thought or action.  It touches on a memory or something inside of us that helps us “get it.”  We don’t need to stand on a pulpit or talk from a mountain to find this voice. More often it comes from something simple like a Post It note, a whisper, a kind word or simply diverting attention from a computer screen or phone to look up at someone and listen.  

In order to live a life of legacy everyday, it seems that we should practice working out loud. As life inspires us, we have an opportunity to take our thoughts and snippets of wisdom and do something with it to help others.    One personal example comes from my very good friend and mentor, Mr. Ron Batdorf.    Ron exemplifies working out loud and speaking to the heart and mind.   He works hard and faces adversity and he never quits.   He is soft spoken and thoughtful, and he shows up when called and he practices leading through small kind acts.   I have seen the impact of his good work in many forms, but I also benefit from his friendship and wisdom almost every day.  I hope he doesn’t mind that I share a note here from him.

“Howie, I have found that Rabbi Heschel has the same understanding of dialectic patterns as St. Paul (Sal) had.  See below a excerpt from the website: https://theshalomcenter.org/node/88   Interesting that this is foundational to both the Christian and Jewish Faiths.  Just wondered if you know of Rabbi Heschel’s Theology?  Hope all is well and that the new owners understand your value to them.  It seems that unless we are directly into the processes of an organization our purpose is diminished.  I guess it gets back to concepts that if not effecting processes are not part of the value to an organization.  Integration of knowledge can be seen this way.  I have started looking at Multi-agent systems and the processes of developing a “Learning agent”.  I think there is insight in that design that can be developed into a KM format for any organization.  Just a thought.

Shalom to you and your family Howie.

Ron

PARADOX AND POLARITY

A necessary condition affecting human beliefs in philosophy and religion is the paradox. The source of their paradoxical character has its origin in the essential polarity of human being.

To ignore the paradox is to miss the truth.

Jewish thinking and living can only be adequately understood in terms of a dialectic pattern, containing opposite or contrasted properties. As in a magnet, the ends of which have opposite magnetic qualities, these terms are opposite to one another and exemplify a polarity which lies at the very heart of Judaism, the polarity of ideas and events, of mitzvah and sin, of kavvanah and deed, of regularity and spontaneity, of uniformity and individuality, of halakhah and agadah, of law and inwardness, of love and fear, of understanding and obedience, of joy and discipline, of the good and the evil drive, of time and eternity, of this world and the world to come, of revelation and response, of insight and information, of empathy and self-expression, of creed and faith, of the word and that which is beyond words, of man’s quest for God and God in search of man. Even God’s relation to the world is characterized by the polarity of justice and mercy, providence and concealment, the promise of reward and the demand to serve Him for His sake. Taken abstractedly, all these terms seem to be mutually exclusive, yet in actual rising they involve each other; the separation of the two is fatal to both.

Since each of the two principles moves in the opposite direction, equilibrium can only be maintained if both are of equal force. But such a condition is rarely attained. Polarity is an essential trait of all things. Tension, contrast, and contradiction characterize all of reality.

However, there is a polarity in everything, except God. For all tension ends in God. He is beyond all dichotomies.”

Failure comes easy

It is easy to fail.  It is easy to quit and say that you can’t do something.  It is easy to allow someone else to impact your thinking.   Everyone has a boss and everyone is influenced by someone.   Very few people in the world are an island to themselves.  I would be willing to bet that even those who live alone are troubled by their own duality.

People will tell you that you can’t do something and if you let them, they will hold you back.  Dreams could be shattered easily.   Again, this is a tough world and we all face adversity. There isn’t a person on this planet that isn’t faced with challenges.   The question is when given the choice, what will you choose to do?   We are all destined for an ending and that is part of life, we are born and we live and we die.   Sometimes, I think we forget about the dying part or on the other end of the spectrum we focus too much on dying.   Regardless, we still have choices and opportunities.  We can choose to get up when we fail and we can choose to share our failures along with our success.  In fact, if we shared more of our failures we might give others an opportunity to learn from these and they could achieve their dreams or desired outcome that much faster.  (See blog on learning from failures)

Speaking to the Mind

Our humanity often gets in the way of logic.   There are multiple types of intelligence, speaking to the mind or logical aspect of ourselves limits our ability.  That being said, logic is important and needed as if we were running around simply making emotional decisions all the time, what would the world look like?  War, famine, divorce, disease, power hungry people, I apologize as I digress.  We need to use math, analytics, and science to address universal truth.   Things make sense often because there is logic behind them not because they “feel good” and this is the part of the story of working out loud.  

In Practice

As I have written, I like to consider if I were reading these words, how would I use them?   How could I find benefit in my daily life?  How could I find benefit at work?  We spend a lot of our time at work or working, or so it seems, at least in the US.  I would hope that it is for something beyond simply punching a card and getting a paycheck to be a cog in the great corporate machine.   Here are a few things I do to work out loud while speaking to the heart and mind:

  1. Write a narrative:  For everything I do, there is a story,  I spend some time with my team writing a short narrative of what we are doing and why.  I also look to identify the outcome of the work and measure it.    It is normally no more than 2 pages and it is accessible to everyone in the organization.
  2. Meetup: I meet with people often and I listen to their stories.  I look to find common bonds and/or opportunities to share something I know or learn from them.  
  3. Advocate:  As I have written in past blogs, I advocate for others and myself, but this comes in the form of both written and oral history.
  4. I write: I try to write at least once a week for myself and I look at this as an opportunity to learn and share.
  5. Consider my purpose:  I don’t know why people get to stay or go.  I don’t know why we wind up where we are and why fate has us here.   I believe that I have purpose and when I don’t know what it is in the big design, I consider the small things.    When I was a baby I came down with the flu.  We were scheduled to fly to Miami to see our family in Florida.  My parents chose to cancel our flight and I can tell you that my father is a person who would take high consideration to make this choice.   The plane crashed and everyone on board died.   Maybe in another universe I was on that plane but in this one, I am here and I have things to do.   I consider my purpose often and work hard to remind myself that today is a gift and not a promise.  

In practice, it is the small acts that matter. Consider that working out loud is part of this practice and it is just like exercise.   We know that it is healthy to do all the time, and we have no need to wait until the day that we have more time to do it.

Working Out Loud: Show Up (Part 1 of 5)

This is a five part series about working out loud and engaging people across multiple organizations in order to tackle tough problems in knowledge management.

Showing Up and Working Out Loud

  • Show up whenever possible. 
  • Ask to speak with senior leaders, chances are they will see you.
  • Advocate for yourself and others.
  • Speak to the heart and mind.
  • Have faith and courage.

Part 1 “Show Up” In you We Trust

If you are invisible, no one can see you.  If you are quiet, no one can hear you.  If you aren’t present, you can’t be felt.  

After 9/11 the Pentagon had a lot of work to be done beyond just rebuilding the walls.   The impact of the attack had disrupted what we held as fact and truth.   It took an emotional and psychological toll on many people and it reshaped the reality of war at home. Something interesting happened during and after this event that changed the way I understood leadership.   Some leaders that I expected strength from chose to step back and become quiet, while others gained clarity, focus and resolve and chose to step up.

Stepping up meant showing up, making yourself visible was risky and took courage.  The war on terrorism is still a hot button topic by 2005 we were still seemingly reacting and responding with a great deal of emotion.  People are very passionate around this subject and passion may not always convey to good decision making.   This being the case, any approach to help with this subject area had to be carefully examined and measured.    As my old friend Vince said “Cohen, attacking a nat with a baseball bat may not get you the desired result you seek.”

Trust is Tied to Knowledge   

When I first stepped inside the Pentagon, I could see the damage that was left over from the devastating attack on our country, our people.   I had this feeling that overwhelmed me and I was overcome by feelings that I didn’t understand or have words to describe.   As I tried to contain myself I was reminded verbally by my Chief Division Officer why I was there at the Pentagon in the first place.  He said “The men and women of this nation make critical decisions for the safety and well-being of our warfighters here in these walls; I understand how you feel and this is why I brought you.”  

Walking through the small passageways of the Pentagon, I thought about our long drive, sitting through traffic.   It could be 4 hours or more each way on a good day.   He did this drive at least a few times a week just to make sure he was physically present.

We walked into a room filled with defense leadership and supporting cast members end to end,  there was a large long rectangular wooden table with senior leaders sitting and most others standing up against the wall.    After general practice and introductions there was silence.  I was looking around at the fine grain wood, paintings and designations on the walls.   There is history in every nook and corner of this building.  It is almost like going through a museum and art gallery at the same time.  Being in the room itself makes you feel as if you are part of this history.

They introduced my senior leader to the group with natural formality and gave him the floor to speak.  I can share the spirit of what he said in that room on that day.

We understand that there are things that we don’t know and we don’t ask.  We make the same mistakes over and again with assured confidence and certainty.  We make the same mistakes over again because even when we have our lessons learned, we don’t use them to prevent us from making poor choices.    Our great service men and women deserve better. They deserve our willingness to say that we don’t know.   We have to make both informed and uninformed decisions but we have a responsibility to them, to ask the questions and gain as much knowledge as we can.   We have to work together and be a joint force to accomplish this and we have to build trust across the services.   We can do these things with enterprise architectures.  We can do these things with knowledge fed to us with and for purpose for reuse across all of the services.

In his presentation and discussion his only request was for people to use our architecture tools and approach to pull together and share content in context for operations, decision making and analysis.

We were there to build trust and build knowledge through these trusted relationships. The high level objective was to learn and share in order to raise awareness with partners. The knowledge would then be used and reused to help reduce risk, save money and increase opportunities for operational and mission success.  My Chief didn’t stop here, he traveled and spoke with hundreds of people.   His message was known by all of his team and we were all encouraged to share information and help build a coalition with partners from various domains.  

We seek to “Help those who eat the MRE’s.”   (MRE= Meals ready to eat)

Showing Up is 

Showing up is a critical first step in the knowledge management practice.   Most leaders don’t have time to read.  I know how that sounds but it is true.   Chances are they will make time to meet if they are given a good reason.  That meeting is critical to both you and leadership.  It could be an opportunity to move forward with your ideas or fail fast and move on.

Part 2..  

“Senior leadership isn’t interested in what I have to say.”

“They (leaders) don’t care what we think.”

“We are just the hired help here.”

“I don’t have time and I am not really motivated”

“I have tried before and it didn’t work.”

Sound familiar.. will talk more about this next week.

  

Lesson From the Pope

Today Pope Francis spoke about trust and our interconnectedness.  He essentially said that the more we focus on ourselves as individuals, the more we are lost and alone.   I believe that is true as well.   We have lost something of ourselves in our social media.   When I was a child,  I knew the names of the people who owned local stores and they knew me.    We don’t talk to each other, we broadcast and in that mode of communication, we are losing our humanity.    It is very difficult to build trust today.   It is difficult to read and listen to each other because we are overwhelmed with information.   It is difficult to know which information is true or false and we get so much information that it disables us.

We are so connected that we are disconnected.  It is that simple.   The lesson that I took from the Pope during this visit was to look up over the phone, the tablet, the laptop, the book, the newspaper or whatever it is that has us distracted and find ways to be a connector.

Just one day before, Pope Francis was late on his trip to Philadelphia, we had the news on in the background and I was pouring a cup of coffee.   The Pope was stepping off the airplane and into his car for his drive over to Philly.   I heard one of the commentators ask why the car was stopping.   I looked up and walked towards the television to see what was happening.  The Pope had stopped his car and gotten out, he walked over to a boy in a wheelchair, he leaned over and he kissed his head.  He looked up and held the hands of the boys mother; she was full of tears and saying, “Thank you, thank you.”  I immediately started to tear up in appreciation for the true kindness and totality of this act.   The world was literally waiting for him (Pope Francis) but no one at that moment was more important to him over this family.    For the boy, maybe nothing, for the parents it is hope.   It is this recognition that we must have hope and that we must build trust and relationships beyond some social network construct.   We must practice good listening and empathy over broadcasting.  We must become “connectors.”

I recently read, Synchronicity by Joseph Jaworski. This book is 20 years old, but speaks of both collective intelligence and our interconnectedness.  Awareness and belief that we are all connected is nothing new.  It is this knowledge that fundamentally drives us to a desired outcome of connectedness.  The challenge that we have is in our substitution of technologies as a replacement or placeholder for our actual human interaction.  The Pope demonstrated in his actions the other day his keen awareness of the spaces between.  It is no coincidence that change management starts with “awareness”

This brings me to the thinking about what I can actually do about this challenge.    I have to ask what being connected means?  I have to think about actions and activities that will help me be more connected but moreover, have better awareness.  I believe we must practice building trust by getting past the social network and building relationships with hand shakes and if you know me… hugs every so often.    To what end do we practice these behaviors and what do we aim to achieve? I think Joe Jaworski thought about this when he met with the physicist David Bohm.   They had a conversation around the connected universe, but Bohm boiled it down in some practical thinking as follows:

Dialogue: Collective Thinking and Listening

“From time to time, (the) tribe (gathered) in a circle. They just talked and talked and talked, apparently to no purpose. They made no decisions. There was no leader and everybody could participate. There may have been wise men or wise women who were listened to a bit more ­ the older ones ­ but everybody could talk. The meeting went on, until it finally seemed to stop for no reason at all and the group dispersed. Yet after that, everybody seemed to know what to do because they understood each other so well. They could get together in smaller groups and do something or decide things.” -David Bohm, “On Dialogue”.

Finally Peter Marino corporate trainer wrote on active listening… from Madelyn Burley-Allen and Michael Nichols respectively.

  • Taking in information from speakers, other people, or ourselves, while remaining nonjudgmental and empathetic.
  • Acknowledging the talker in a way that invites the communication to continue.
  • Providing limited, but encouraging input to the talker’s response, carrying the person’s idea one step forward.
    Listening is the art by which we use empathy to reach across the space between us. Genuine listening means suspending memory, desire and judgment, and for a few moments, at least, existing for the other person.

Summary

Religious or not, we can learn something from the actions of Pope Francis and this is coming from a Jewish kid from Co-op City in the Bronx.   We can work on a daily basis to find the space between and make ourselves aware in order to connect with others on a deeper level.  These connections will lend themselves to a more collective intelligence,  if we focus on people through our humanity and not through the lens of our IOS devices.

Emotional Business in Employee Engagement

qua·le ˈkwälē/  noun a quality or property as perceived or experienced by a person.Link

We are physically blind in each of our eyes, we have a blind spot.

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There’s a way to find your blind spot. Cover your left eye and look at the dot on the left in this image. Be aware of the cross on the right, but don’t look at it – just keep your eye on the dot. Move your face closer to the monitor, and farther away. At some point, you should see the cross disappear. Stay at that point and close your right eye. Stare at the cross, and you should see that the dot has disappeared

Our world is what we perceive it to be but not what it is.

We can demonstrate over and again that things aren’t always what they seem.  We can identify sense gaps and find ways to augment them but it is difficult to identify the emotional gaps and find ways to engage.  If it is dark, I can use a light.  If it is hard to hear, I can use an amplifier.   If I can’t smell something, I can add a smell to it (for detection) like garlic added to acetylene.  When asked in an employee engagement survey a question or a statement it may read.. “On a scale of 1-10, my employer values how I feel.”  No matter what number leadership reads there will be a challenge on how to deal with the results.  Are they a reflection of some common reality or common blindness?  If it is dark for everyone and I turn on a light, everyone can see, but if I take an action to deal with emotions.. results will vary.

How does this translate to business?

In a very literal sense, we are enamored with technology because we can see, feel, hear, touch, smell a change.  We can all share in this idea that together we went from someplace to somewhere using something.

This is one of the reasons why today we have more challenges in human interaction and success in employee engagement.  It impacts everything in business.

Emotional continuity in business is part of business continuity and operational agility. Leaders try to address it with tools.  

…  Company X has a problem transferring knowledge from older workers to incoming 20 somethings.   Company X reduced benefits to cut costs, decreased pay to cut costs, cut jobs, gave all of their senior staff a pay increase, and started to make strategic investments and acquisitions.

Company X created a new internal business capability for communications called “JAM” and they asked all of their employees to use it.   The organization spent $3m dollars on the product in licensing and services, hired the best consultants in the world to advise them on the technology and built a marketing campaign around the capability that included a “Jamboree”

It was new and innovative, built on the best technology that anyone could offer, had the best analytic engine in the business to get all sorts of communication, relationship and sentiment analysis.  It could handle all sorts of communications traffic and it could even make predictions.

Brain Drain

Company X started to look at JAM to see how it was being used and what the adoption rate looked like.   As they got closer to the screen the cross disappeared <— look up at the top if you forgot about the cross.  They are looking at the world with one eye shut.

Due to the new healthcare laws, the cost of working actually went up for the older folks. (Read this for more).  “The costs are going up, the benefits are going down and now you are asking me to train young folks that came into the world with the book knowledge of a billion lives at the tip of their fingers.”    It’s like a reverse shark tank.. they are out.

They didn’t join JAM and they won’t, in fact, they plan on leaving but they are just in the process of questioning themselves on when.

Emotional Business

If you want to reach a person, they must have some trust in what you say.  It isn’t simply that you are a person they like or that you have a great scope of influence, you have to speak with both actions and words.  People will give you a chance to back your words with action but if you fail to do what you say you are going to do, they will leave you.  They will leave you first in emotion and you will be blind to that and they will leave you physically and that you will be aware of because of your focus on the circle.

Leaders wonder why that we have “Crew Change” problems in every industry and every market but there should be very little to wonder.  They are looking to solve the wrong problems with great precision with both good and not- so good intentions.   When you believe your organization would sell your organs to make a buck on you in order for them to spend that same dollar on a bottle of the best rot gut they can find, you will lose your emotional inclination to be loyal to them.

Solutions

When someone in your family is hurt, you engage them. You talk with them and not at them.  You find ways to communicate with them.  If your son is hurt, buying him a watch won’t change his pain.   It is the same thing in an organization.  There are choices made by multiple parties.   People choose to work for the organization and the organization chooses to have these people work for them.   You have to take the blinder off and look through both eyes and at the same time, use all of your emotional understanding as well.  At the end of the day, communities are families of people who are working together for common goals.  If leadership in a community separates itself from the community and creates an (us and them) situation, the community will respond in kind.   If you want to build the best organization to work for, you have to start with building trust.   Trust is not a slippery business word or consultant speak, it is a real thing that is not something we can touch but certainly something we can feel.

Helping Toxic Co-Workers (Aesop Twist on The Scorpion and The Frog)

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Toxic Behavior

I have a great friend and teammate named Kim who was lamenting about the behavior of some people in the workplace. Kim raises some very good points in that people can be incredibly selfish and self centered.  Of course no one is perfect but sometimes their toxic behavior impacts our own behaviors.  If someone hurts you repeatedly, do you still help them?   How do you engage employees that have intent on hurting you to better their own position?  How do you deal with direct reports or even leadership who may be jealous?  How do maintain yourself and be consistent as the person you are choosing to be?

When you are a passionate worker that cares about the work and the outcome of your activities, it is easy to be mistaken for someone who wants to LEAD that work and those activities.   Just because you care doesn’t automatically mean that you want to be in charge.   That being said,  people who are passionate and involved happen to be productive.  Productivity leads to recognition and a so on.   You can easily find yourself in a leadership role that was thrust upon you without your desire to have that role.

The key factor is that you don’t have to be a leader in title to be a leader in practice.   You can always lead from where you are.

While serving active duty in the Navy as a Damage Controlman, I walked the decks as a watch stander looking for dangers to the crew and ship.   In one occasion, the ship was being worked on by welding and pipe-fitting teams which strung toxic gas hoses all through the ship.  As I walked up the ladder way from a lower deck, I quickly realized a faint garlic odor.  That was a sign of danger (they add the odor).   I ran down to my shop and grabbed a gas detecting device to determine how much gas was in the air.  I knew it had to be more than allowed because the odor was so powerful and I could start to feel dizzy.   Once I found that the numbers were high, I immediately yelled for everyone to get out of the closed spaces and get outside.    I ran to the Officer of the deck whom has direct responsibility for the safety of the ship and told him of my concerns.   I said “sir, clear the decks, it is an emergency.”  In that very moment, he looked at me a young Petty Officer many ranks below him and said to watch stander, “do as he says, clear the decks.”    The shipyard workers found the broken and damaged hoses but at that very moment, I was assuming a role by context and nature to protect my ship and crew and to lead from where I was.   Any of my shipmates in my position from my perspective should have done the same.  Most people that noticed the odor while in their spaces and passageway ignored it.   It was later found that if we all ignored the issue, anyone in the immediate area of exposure would have been unconscious within 5-7 minutes.

None of this meant at any point that I wanted the job of the Officer of the deck.  

Changing You

I don’t want to get hurt.  I don’t understand why someone would want to hurt me.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense.  The fact is that it doesn’t make sense because it isn’t logical, it is emotional.

In Aesops Fable The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”

http://www.spectacle.org/995/scorp.html

Can people change? If someone hurts you over and again by attacking your credibility or backstabbing you by playing office politics or ignoring you, what do you do?  Do you change yourself?

The Frog is Satisfied

This is the part we really need to focus on.  The frog heard the answer from the scorpion and took the chance knowing that the scorpion has a long history of doing scorpion things, like stinging stuff.     The point is that the frog had options other than just accepting the scorpions answer and taking him for a ride.

What if we were to introduce some other characters?   Helping someone doesn’t always mean that you are the actual helper.  You could take that leadership position and lead from where you are and recognize that .. well …you know, over the course of history, the scorpion by its very nature will strike, because that is what they do.   What can I do to help the scorpion get to the other side but not get hurt?

I will save you.. Mr. Scorpion.. !

Introduce another opportunity to help.  I would rather carry the world through the power of the crowd than pretend I could bear the burdens of Atlas.   That is how we get crushed.

If the frog would have simply recognized that he doesn’t himself have the ability to help the scorpion and protect himself, he could have phoned a friend.

Toxic Coworkers

After school, I am gonna find you and beat you up.- 10 year old JayBee, Bronx, NY

We have been dealing with people all of our lives that put pressure on us or create a perception of crises.  These people could be dysfunctional or maybe dysfunctional is normal.  Regardless, we have to make a choice on how we respond and who we want to be as people.  It is our choice to be kind.  Being kind doesn’t mean that we have to be vulnerable.  If you want to feed a shark, you can throw some meat over the side of the ship, you aren’t obligated to jump in the water.

Advice from Dr Paul White  (http://www.drpaulwhite.com/how-to-deal-with-dysfunctional-people-and-not-go-crazy-yourself/)

1) Realize that the current “crisis” is probably not a crisis (you could see it coming a long time ago) and they will be able to live through it.

2) Remember that if you “help them out” this time, you will be expected to help them out again (because the issue is really their misbeliefs about life and the resulting poor choices they make, and they will continue to do so.)

3) Do not accept false guilt from the dysfunctional person. The whole problem is not your fault and it is not your responsibility to fix the problem or rescue them.

4) Talk with and get support from others whom you believe are functional. You need affirmation that you are thinking clearly and responding appropriately to the situation.  Otherwise, you will start to second-guess yourself and may “give in”, thinking “just this once won’t hurt.”

Now all of this can sound rather hopeless — can’t people change?  Yes, they can.  But they have to decide they want to change.  And often, individuals with severely unhealthy patterns have to “hit the wall” of reality — that their beliefs about life and their way of living doesn’t really work because they don’t match the way the world really works.  Continuing to “help them out” only prolongs their dysfuctional patterns because they are not experiencing the true (and usually hard) consequences of their approach to life.  So the best way to help them is to not “help” them.

At the end of the day, if you want to help and you can’t see a clear path on how to do it and you are feeling as if it is bringing you down, be who you are but call a turtle!