The Object Proposal is my attempt to get a level playing field for personal and business relationships. It allows us to deal directly and in real-time with controversial issues when we don’t want to be walking on “eggshells” to avoid the resultant disagreements, arguments and conflict that can come with them.
Forming the Object Agreement
Firstly it requires discussing the behaviors that we find offensive and setting up agreements with each other that allows us to object in real-time if we feel these agreements have been breached and we have been offended. It consists of proposals on how we be behave when we engage and proposals on how we disengage if these agreements are breached. Here are my proposals:
ALIN – Anger, Lying, Ignoring, Nagging
The basic premise of the Object Proposal is that while engaging, if one person is offended by the other’s behavior, whether that is through Anger, Lying, Ignoring or Nagging, then they can temporarily suspend the topic of conversation, by objecting to that behavior, in real-time. There are 3 stages or levels to the objecting process starting off with a simple caution. An analogy is baseball’s three strikes and we’re out, or soccer’s free kick, yellow card and red card.
COS – Caution, Object, Stop
- Caution: Starting with a caution, the offended person can inform the offender of the perceived breach and if the caution is sustained the offender can simply Acknowledge their breach and the conversation can resume. This can continue with any number of cautions and does not necessarily need to escalate to an objection unless the offender refuses to acknowledge their breach.
- Object: Failing to acknowledge the caution means the offended could step up at this point to an objection and now the offender would be required to give more than just an acknowledgment, but now a Simple apology.
- Stop: And you guessed it, if the objection is not given a Simple apology then the offended can escalate the objection to a Stop and the offender would then be required to give an Acceptable apology,
ASA – Acknowledge, Simple apology, Acceptable apology
This is how we make amends when our behavior is deemed objectionable. The level of our contrite response will also correspond with the level of objection used as with COS.
- Acknowledge a Caution
- Example: “Ok, I retract my jibe”
- Simple Apology for an Objection
- Example: “I am sorry for my insulting remark, I was out of order”
- Acceptable apology for a Stop
(Needs to be accepted by the receiver)
- What I did, “I am sorry that I used insulting language”
- Why I did it, “Unfortunately I fell back into my old habits of name calling”
- What I will do next time. “I will deal with the issue next time, by offering you an agreement proposal to fix my problem rather than use name calling”
For far too long, I believe, we have allowed each other to get away with poor behaviour, especially during disputes and disagreements. This poor behavior will add up over time and eventually can erupt into overblown conflict when “the last straw” is added or “death by a thousand cuts”. The Object Proposal (and agreement) is a great way to bring us into line (if in fact we want to be treated well and we are willing to treat others equally as well) and dissipate any anger that may be building up due to mistreatment during a disagreement. It also encourages us to speak up and be heard, knowing that we are protected by our explicit agreements and by a simple process that allows and encourages us to object.