Misbehavior is a given. It WILL happen, on occasion between people, especially when we disagree. When our ideas are threatened, we can become defensive and offensive, resulting in angry behavior. To combat this, we have developed Object123, a simple tool for behaving during disagreements, reducing ongoing conflict or disputes.
Firstly, we understand the difference between disagreeing versus HOW we disagree during a disagreement. We disagree with the content as usual, but in real-time, we OBJECT to how someone disagrees with us (misbehaves). In effect, we are having two conversations simultaneously. If one has taken offense to how the other has behaved, we can switch to Object123, and use the Stop-The-Line conversation buttons to slow and ultimately stop the conversation or meeting as needed.
By beginning this Stop-The-Line conversation process, we are entering into our safe space. We remain there until we resolve the behavior issue, and only then do we resume the actual conversation, discussion, or disagreement.
Simply CAUTION! the offender. The offended person should receive an acceptable acknowledgment of the offender’s misbehavior or a satisfactory explanation that justifies their behavior. If the offended person is not satisfied, he or she can escalate to an objection.
Simply OBJECT! to the offender’s misbehavior now and expect to receive an acceptable simple apology or a satisfactory explanation for their poor behavior. If still not satisfied, the offended can escalate to a stop.
Simply STOP! the offender now and expect to receive an acceptable apology consisting of:
1. What was said,
2. Why it was said and
3. What the offender will do next time.
The final Democratic Process (if needed)
If still unsatisfied, the offended person can escalate the issue to the final democratic process. This process uses a team of our peers (NOT HR or management) to adjudicate our dispute. This could be done as needed on the day, for example, or on a Friday afternoon during a weekly debriefing. And of course, all participants would need to agree to use Object123 before they started, and it would apply to every member of the organization, from the Janitor to the CEO.
Is it possible that we were and are tamed by conversation? I suspect so. I also suspect some of us have been tamed more than others, which would explain why some adults are still almost feral with their poor behavior and ill-temper.
Never fear, however, as I have come up with a simple tool to help those of us that still need some taming training. I call it Object123.com, and it could quite possibly make up for any lack of conversation taming we should have received previously.
Once agreed to, this behavioral tool can help us bring each other into line quick smart, as we learn to object to any ill-tempered misbehavior we produce, especially during disagreements.
Once tamed enough, we can then enter into some extreme, productive, and exciting negotiations and proposals that I believe all good conversation is supposed to entail.
Imagine we are in a company design meeting. You are new to the company but speak up with your suggested solution for a long standing problem on the company’s website? John, a leading Tech Designer stands up shouts out; “Yecch! That won’t work!” What happens next could well decide the fate of you, your idea and possibly the fate of the company, depending how big the problem is.
This scenario, I believe would happen countless number of times, in millionions of organisations, all around the world with no real standard way to deal with such disagreements. So, if this was you being browbeaten by John how do you go about dealing with this now apparent disagreement?
If we were an organisation using Object123 we would have a simple process for you to apply. You could instantly Caution John on his tone and volume and use of absolute language. “I would like to Caution you John on your use of tone, volume and absolute language!” At this point John could simply retract his statement and acknowledge his misbehavior reiterating in a more acceptable way; “Okay. Can I more accurately say that, in my view, your idea will not work because of …..” And so the disagreement can start on an even footing and if you can counter his argument, (now, without having to deal with his emotional browbeating) then we can have a meaningful and fair discussion.
However if John did not receive your Caution well and made another gafuffel sound; “Hugh!” And refused to give an adequate explanation for his outburst, then you could escalate your Caution to an Objection; “I object!” And then you can expect a simple apology from John for his obvious use of tone, volume and absolute language. But, if still no contriteness from John other than continuing to disagree vehemently with your suggested idea, then…..
You could now escalate it one more time to a Stop in real-time, during the meeting and now, unless John gave a definitive explanation for his behavior or an acceptable apology to you the meeting would now be called to a pause or conclusion in order for you and John to deal with the alleged misbehavior. Where by you would both front up to a team of peers to adjudicate your behavioral dispute and their decision would be final.
Now you might think this John guy has some serious behavior and ego issues or you may even side with him, who knows? But either way this process will sort out the sheep from the goats. But somehow I doubt any such scenario will get to a Stop because the ramifications of such high standards of accountability will outshine any ego, in my view.
“I agree with the content of your point but I object to how it was delivered”
Why is this sentence so important? Because it then allows us to have a duel conversation. One on the merit of the contents of a conversation and two, on the merits of the behavior while delivering the content.
Now add a few basic rules of engagement and we end up with Object123.
My belief is that we confuse these two premises and mix behavior and content together, during a disagreement and end up with a mess or war.
Every dictionary on the planet contributes to this error by not separating out “disagree” vs “object”, going on to define the verb “object” as: “To disagree with something or someone…” How I can disagree with something is beyond me? I can only disagree with the maker or user of the thing, I believe. And making no differentiation between disagree and object is, to me, clearly not helpful.
I believe the proper definition of the verb to object is to disagree with one’s behavior, not someone or something, period.
Taking offense, whether it is at work or at home, is not an uncommon experience. So you would think that we would have a commonly agreed-upon solution to approach this problem, when it occurs.
But ask any two random people, in an office or at home, how they should behave when they have been offended or when they have offended another and you will find a different answer every time. Well that is my bet. No structure seems to exist. It’s either “suck it up buttercup” or be equally or more offensive in return.
I am amazed by this lack of preparation. Even in the most advanced organizations and behavioral thinking, this gap in how we should behave when we misbehave, seems to exist.
Here is where Object123 comes in. A simple, memorable tool to use, in real-time when we have taken offense.
“Stop-the-Line manufacturing is a technique introduced by Taiichi Ohno (of Toyota Production System fame) in which every employee on the assembly line has a responsibility to push a big red button that stops everything whenever they notice a defect on the assembly line.”
Initially, people did not understand the idea as the dogma at the time was to keep the line moving at all costs. Taiichi’s idea was by stopping the line and fixing inefficiencies you were proactively building a better process.
Some managers took up his idea and some did not. The managers that took up the idea their productivity dropped by a shocking amount. They were spending so much time actually fixing defects on the line rather than just using Stop-gaps to keep the line moving. The managers that did not take up his idea thought they were vindicated for taking their stance.
Before long though, something strange started to happen. The managers that took up Taiichi’s ideas and fixed the defects on the line as they went, started producing their goods faster, cheaper, and more reliably than stubborn conservative Stop-gap managers. To the point where they caught up and out performed them. This went on to make Toyota one of the leading car manufacturers in the world.
Now, imagine if we did that for all our conversations? Where we all could push an imaginary BIG RED button during our conversations when ever we felt offended by someone’s behavior. Where we could adjust and fix each other’s offensive behavior, in real-time rather than using the Stop-gap method we all use during conversation today, that results in inefficiencies and defects in communication?
I am suggesting that Object123.com is that BIG RED BUTTON for Stop-the-Line Conversation. Where we could stamp out Stop-gap misbehavior such as the following by Cautioning, Objecting & ultimately Stopping, in real-time when needed:
I prefer all leaders and followers, for that matter, to qualify their thoughts as opinions rather than dress them up as facts. For example, I used “I prefer” but I could have said what “I think” or “in my opinion”, etc etc.
This would open us all up to be more easily challenged, I believe, as unfortunately there are far too many charlatans out their trying to seduce people to endorse their dogma, ie the blind leading the blind.
I don’t think anyone should take the risk of being either. That is, the blind leader or blind follower, and that, to me is integrity.
I will try explain the simple but radical principle of Object123.
Instead of drawing up hundreds of dot points on what to do, what not to do and basically how to behave in your organisation, you simply start with Object123 and that is it. Basically it becomes your very own AI for describing how to behave one objection at a time.
For example, when someone is simply offended by a team member’s behavior they can challenge the offence and if the offender cannot adequately justify their behavior in the offended person’s eyes, then the offended person can escalate the objection to the next level and if necessary, eventually have the perceived offence tried in the court of public opinion using their peers.
In effect, we have an ongoing process of drawing up the principles of the organisation that the team defines. This is wonderfully simple and as each new offence is documented and ratified we build up a landscape of how we should behave towards each other.
At the same time, poor behavior can be nipped at the bud before it becomes a disruptive, ongoing dispute between team members where other members get drawn in through gossip rumor and innuendo.
Well this is the principle but ultimately it needs to be fully tested.
Desmond Sherlock: But like all families Ray, we can get offensive behavior. What Social Just Culture do you have in place for your team members to use to address when someone inevitably treats them poorly? Or do they just have to suck it up and take one for the team? This is not about disagreeing, it is about how we treat each other when we disagree and how we resolve these issues before they become disputes?
Desmond Sherlock: I read it Chris, nothing in it describes just what I said. That is what happens when we fail to live up to the principles? How do we get social justice? Or maybe you could correct me?
Desmond Sherlock: These are Social Just Culture tools that my brother and I use in our organization of 2…ha, but hope to apply them one day to a large team. www.object123.com “.. a Social Just Culture encourages teams to expose and confront misbehavior, in real-time rather than repress it and backbite the offender.”
Chris Nolan: So that I can more clearly develop my picture of what you are asking, what is social justice? Bridgewater has a transparent environment and presumably, if someone is treating someone unfairly, that information will be able to be observed and addressed by the system. You read Principles? Ray explains the dispute resolution principles more thoroughly than I will here. What is social justice?
Desmond Sherlock: Exactly Chris, what “system” do they use? follow my link above, we use a 3 phase objection process that allows us to confront each other in real-time to address misbehavior and if still unresolved we would then go before a team of our peers NOT HR or management, to resolve any issue. If you could point to me anywhere in Ray’s principles, that they use a social judicial system to resolve misbehavior issues, that become disputes , I would love to see.
Chris Nolan: What is social justice? I believe a meritocracy is actually a more fair way to delegate responsibility than a top down system which often exploits talent for the benefit of the people who hold executive positions. Is your question about race, sexual orientation, or talent??
Desmond Sherlock: Sorry Chris, for me this is so simple and obvious, but then again I have been working on it for over 30 years. Let me give you a simple example. Your manager forgets your company principles and tells you to shut the f#@k up. You tell her you don’t like that but she say in this case you really deserved it and walks away. What do you do? How is this stand off resolved? The process to resolve such an issue or small dispute I have dubbed a Social Just Culture and as I mentioned before my brother and I use www.object123.com to resolve such disputes. Millions of these disputes happen daily but go unresolved even with principles, I believe.
Chris Nolan: I have also been challenged by my own abilities and knowledge relating to topics I am passionate about when others are not already as informed as I. What has historically happened is I would assume that everyone had been exposed to the same information as I before demonstrating my impatience about getting to the point. SO, I’ve been learning to initially be intent on establishing a mutual understanding which a constructive conversation can be founded upon. That’s a big part of why I ask questions. I am also exemplifying the approach you are explaining from my understanding of what you seek to accomplish. I am still developing my understanding about how this differs from the process described in Principles.
Desmond Sherlock: Fair enough, so back to the topic. 🙂 , if you could just tell me how Ray deals with unresolved disputes in his book then we will be on a winner. Surely ( my prediction) you and everyone else has at least one ongoing, unresolved dispute with someone? I believe a Social Just Culture is designed to democratically resolve them or end the relationship, so we can all move on. Well that is what ours is designed for. It has allowed us (my brother and me) to keep working together for the last 17 years, through a lot of huge and dramatic ups and downs and all the way through it ensure we resolve every disagreement and the disputes and bad behavior they do cause.
Chris Nolan: So you use a democratic dispute resolution method? Who is appointing the voting members of the body, you and your brother? Does this cause a bias implication that surfaces and if so, how do you address this? Principles (and Ray’s Ted Talk) explains that employees at any level are encouraged to give feedback. One example was an intern who gave Ray a low rating and mentioned he was unprepared. In his Ted Talk he then says, “Isn’t that great?! I need that kind of feedback.” There is a meritocratic decision making process which despite having the power to overrule, Ray never went against. Perhaps you are interjecting a bias and missing the whole picture of a culture that seeks to learn and grow together in a constructive way??
Desmond Sherlock: Peers decide in my model Chris, not HR or management. As it is usually management that is the problem …ha! Fortunately my brother and I, a company of two, have never needed to go to the peers to resolve an unresolved behavior dispute. We have managed to resolve all our behavioral disputes by ourselves. we also don’t have any peers on this level. But generally, in an organization a team of peers could be utilized. But I dare say when one person knows of their own guilt I believe they will eventually back down and apologize acceptably rather than face their peers.
Chris Nolan: This all sounds reasonable, but I still do not clearly understand how this differs from the meritocratic principles described in Ray’s book. I am reading it a second time and will probably read it at least 4 or 5 times to really absorb the material. 🙂
Desmond Sherlock: ok all you have to do is find an unresolved issue between two people in his book and you might be on to something. It should not be too hard considering there would be billions of unresolved issues and disputes in the world based on poor behavior during a disagreement. Regardless of having a hundred principles to live by we will fail to live up to those standards at times and THAT is when we will need a Social Just Culture to address these times, in my opinion. So my point is what social just system does Ray use for unresolved issues and disputes caused by misbehavior during a disagreement. Object123 does exactly that, in real-time and will always resolve these failures, ultimately one way or the other, I believe.
Desmond Sherlock: ok I will have a read now but once again my simple question is what’s happens when our disagreements are not so thoughtful or full of thought? How do we clean up the mess then.
Desmond Sherlock: Meritocracy deals more with making decisions based on merit. A Social Just Culture deals with the mess during and after the decision has been made. The mess being any misbehavior like raised voices, tone, name calling, browbeating, coercion that WILL occur because we are still human and WILL fail at times to live up to any principles. If you don’t understand the failings of humans then you won’t understand the need for a social just culture, in my view. The gossip and backbiting that occurs in organizations is a result of not addressing these emotional failings during and after the decisions have long been made, I think.
Desmond Sherlock: Yes, after reading it I can see he does not have a Social Just Culture for the mess that will occur during disagreements. People are emotional and will lose their cool at times during a disagreement and rays solution is give up and agree to disagree..ha, very funny. Granted he does say you can take our disagreement to a third person but how do I get justice when the person I was disagreeing with was swearing at me or raised his voice and tone during the initial disagreement?
Sorry Chris you have only managed to convince me that there is no Social Just Culture in Ray’s Principles, no way to clean up the mess caused by two people getting emotional during a disagreement. When the disagreement is not thoughtful or full of thought but emotional.
Chris Nolan: Again, I believe you are missing the picture of a culture that encourages thoughtful disagreement. If someone attacks or undermines the meritocracy and the culture that encourages the thoughtful disagreement, they may have to be cut. It is more important to preserve the integrity of the system that rises above the generalizations you are making about human systems than to preserve one big ego’s place in the environment.
Desmond Sherlock: And again I say sir, what happens when people forget to be thoughtful? You kick them out if it happens 3 times or what? unfortunately that’s what cults do when challenged by the individual, I think. So I think an anti-cult clause needs to be inserted into every organization. A Social Judicial Culture like Object123 could facilitate this need. I believe most, if not all organizations have a potential cultish problem, in that once established it is unlikely to allow change from an individual and ultimately that is its downfall.
Chris Nolan: Bridgewater’s culture speaks for itself. They find that most people prefer functioning in the meritocratic fashion and may even then find it difficult to function in a less evolved organization like one which you are describing. You are projecting your biases at this example. It’s also a business and not a charity so we are not really talking about serving one person’s big ideas of how to reinvent the wheel. We seek to develop and then maintain an environment that consistently produces financial gains. Bridgewater is the most successful hedge fund of all time. Would you tell Picasso to use water colors because that’s what you think looks better??
Desmond Sherlock: Sorry I didn’t know you were the spokesperson for Bridgewater Chris. But personally I would prefer to chat with Ray, I am more convinced he would understand what I am questioning here. Ok see you.
Chris Nolan: Happy you are hearing me. I am not any kind of official spokesperson haha, I have been learning about the methods for about three years now. I study successful people, I also came into this with a big ego and a closed mind that I thought was an open mind.
Chris Nolan: Did you notice I’ve been testing your ability to practice what you preach here? I’m giving you the feedback you are declaring is necessary but in the format I’ve learned here. It’s called radical truth and transparency 😎
Desmond Sherlock: Object123 works on agreeing to use it first. We have not agreed to do that Chris. If we had of agreed I would have cautioned you on many ways you have delivered your message, in real-time. Anyway I will leave you with what I consider your dogma. I guess I am hoping to create an anti-dogma process.
Chris Nolan: You are seeking to poke holes in other people’s methods to find a place for yourself. Do you know where you are right now?? This is a truthful and transparent environment. We are not running your process, we are running the process I am familiar with in order to give you a taste of the feedback you are abstractly requesting. Seeking to harmonize with others rather than finding everything you think is wrong may be a benefit to you. In other words, try and establish some mutual ground FIRST. Then clearly express your perceived problem and then question, perhaps entertaining some of the merit of the thoughtful responses instead of continuing to seek to poke holes in everything. Again I once came into things with a big ego, thinking I was smarter than everyone. Learning with Ray has humbled my mind. That said, I feel I should give myself a pat on the back about how patient I’ve been here. Take care Desmond…
Desmond Sherlock: Chris please read my first question I asked of Ray, not you. My question is still waiting for an answer. I don’t think you answered it only mentioning something about a “system”. I would love to know it? Chao!
“But like all families Ray, we can get offensive behavior. What Social Just Culture do you have in place for your team members to use to address when someone inevitably treats them poorly? Or do they just have to suck it up and take one for the team? This is not about disagreeing, it is about how we treat each other when we disagree and how we resolve these issues before they become disputes”
Chris Nolan: Are you demonstrating the behavior you are asking about on purpose? ” … to address when someone inevitably treats them poorly? … it is about how we treat each other when we disagree and how we resolve these issues before they become disputes?” You are treating me poorly Desmond, I’ve spent time here to patiently learn about your thought process and give you feedback. You’ve done almost nothing but challenge me and poke holes in every bit of logic I’ve shared, and when you are wrong you attack my position to comment. It’s ironic, to say the least. From my perspective, you are attacking the meritocracy rather than seeing how you can participate and add value. Ray describes the whole process in his book, maybe you will give it a second read (try to learn something) 🙂
Desmond Sherlock: Chris Nolan so you have taken issue with me and my behavior during our conversation. What does Ray recommend?
I would recommend first you: 1. CAUTION me on my specific poor behavior (using evidence and in real-time ) and if I don’t acknowledge it or justify my behavior then: 2. OBJECT and if I don’t apologize or justify my behavior then: 3. STOP me and if I don’t give you an acceptable apology or justify my behavior then:
Then we go before our peers and plead our cases and let them adjudicate. That is the answer to my question that I originally asked at the start. If you did follow this process I would feel confident I could justify my behavior and go before our peers and be will to be judged by them, would you? Now you know what a Social Just Culture looks like and I believe every organization should have one.
BTW you could have cautioned me on my “spokesperson” retort, my sarcasm is unacceptable, IMO
I rest my case, thank you .
Desmond Sherlock: I found this in Ch 6 page 501. I am here to fight for a change as per my proposal above.
Desmond Sherlock: My point being what do we do when our message is not conveyed calmly but delivered with emotion, especially anger, using sarcasm, accusation, rhetorical questions , raised tone and volume, dogma and absolute language, for example? There is no Social Just Culture tool within Principles that deals with this, as I thought previously. I guess Principles would not be for me unless such tools were added.
Chris Nolan: The issue is your mental process is destructive. You miss the whole point of seeking to cause credible parties to disagree in order to learn, TRIANGULATION, in Principles. What you are explaining to me is essentially Ray’s process by a slightly different way of thinking about it. In response to your screen shot, you go to the Principles rather than undermining the process. You Desmond, seek to poke holes in everything. Perhaps you are intent on tweaking a principle but it’s still not clear to me what isn’t covered in the book relative to what you are telling me. In other words, you’re explaining to me a portion of the principled process in your own words and demanding that it isn’t in the book. Your mind has already decided that you are not going to find a way to navigate a disagreement in the book, then you showed me a screenshot that explicitly shows the process for navigating such a situation.
Desmond Sherlock: Fair enough you have expressed your opinion and I have expressed mine. It is all there transparent for all to see. I am happy with that. Have a good day.
Ray Dalio: Because of the radical transparency and the clearly specified high standards for mutual consideration, though there is vigorous debate, it is very easy to see good and bad behavior. Most bad behavior takes place behind closed doors so, in an environment in which there is so much transparency, better behavior is the norm.
Desmond Sherlock: Granted, however, Even if it is the norm, in my view we still need a Social Just Culture for the occasions that it is not thoughtful or what do they do then? I still don’t know? Even though my conversation with Chris here was in the open and transparent, it is not hard to pick out some poor performances on both sides during our debate. If I had of had an agreement with him, from the start, to use our Social Just Culture then, I dare say we would have been able to OBJECT to these misbehaviors, in real-time, which would have changed the dynamics, I believe. The problem I see is that people are people and we will fail at times during a disagreement, with both at fault with no means to address these faults, in real-time, unless we use a Social Just Culture , during these times.
Anyway thanks for your input Ray, but I beg to differ, sorry. I believe a Social Just Culture is always going to be useful and necessary in every organization and in every personal relationship for that matter.
Chris Nolan: understood, part of the purpose of exploring this here was to stress test my understanding of the culture that promotes a different way of handling this topic. Thank you for validating this here.
Desmond Sherlock: Once again Chris I beg to differ with you also, that anything has been validated by anyone yet. That is, I began this thread with a very simple question, what do we do when people misbehave during a disagreement? Ray only replied that radical transparency reduces the likelihood of this occurring but could not state that it never occurs in his organization or any others that use radical transparency. Of course it will occur on occasion as rare as it might be and I will still wait for your answer and for Ray’s answer to my pressing question, what should we do when it occurs? I have already supplied my solution. In my view, validation of this thread will only occur when I accept that my question was answered satisfactorily. Thanks for you time.
Chris Nolan: this has been a very informative experience for me. I’ve found that some of the best advice I ever got was to listen to my own advice. In other words, we tend to project our weakness onto others. I went back through all of these comments last night and I feel your question was answered in a satisfactory manner by me and also by Ray. We should not continue this merry go round any further, you are still missing the picture. Perhaps given some time, you will open your mind to the concept of an environment that functions in a way that cancels out the tendency you are insistently demanding can not be cancelled out. Your mind is closed. You are asking a question in a way that cannot be answered because you are not allowing yourself to see the picture. That’s on you Desmond. Take care man. I’m not going to comment to you any further here so if you must have the last word, go for it…
Desmond Sherlock: You said “I feel your question was answered in a satisfactory manner by me and also by Ray.” And that answer is/was what in a few words? I don’t think that this is Trumps’s America, where one can just fudge there way through a conversation. If you and Ray answered my question of “what do you do for the occasional instance when someone misbehaves during a disagreement ?”, then can you just remind me and all others reading this what’s was your answer? Here is what we do when we misbehave, not rocket science mate. https://objectebook.com/2020/09/19/its-what-we-do-when-we-misbehave/ I will continue to ask this pressing question to you and anyone else but of course you don’t have to answer me but please don’t gaslight me as though you have answered it.