My Message to the Allusionist

Hi Helen Zaltzman (The Allusionist Podcasts),
I have been looking at the word Object as in Objection for the last few years and find it fascinating that we rarely use it/act on it, but instead of use the act of “disagreeing” or “complaining” rather than the act of objecting.

My question is can you explain what you think is the distinct differences between:

  • Disagreeing and objecting?
  • Complaining and objecting?

I think I may have discovered some very useful differences but cannot find any reference to what I may have discovered.

  • Disagreeing is usually about differing with the content of a discussion.
    Whereas objecting is more reserved for the way we disagree, ie the behavior.
  • Complaining is usually done by indirect & after the fact ie back biting, gossipping to others.
    Whereas objecting is usually done in direct & real-time to the offender.

By failing to object (real-time & direct) as we disagree, we then end up complaining (indirect & after the fact) or more commonly called gossipping, having a rant or venting.

In other words this may be the cause of all of our anxiety and anger. We become the aggressor
and the receiver becomes the submissor (and maybe later the aggressor), whereas, once again the solution becomes the Objector and Objecting, I believe.

Can we actually find the Objective by becoming the Objector and Objecting? I think so.

Let’s Agree to Object?

“Let’s agree to disagree”, is the famous cleché used to stop disagreements, that have become an impasse.
But what if we had a better solution such as “Let’s agree to object”? That is “lets keep the discussion open but if either of us feel threatened by the other’s imposition, then we can simply object to the way they are disagreeing”. In fact we can object in 3 phases, in order to achieve an agreement:

  1. Caution,
  2. Object
  3. Stop

This is my proposal that I believe will someday change the way we disagree globally.

Let’s Agree to Object?

We have all heard the cliche “Let’s agree to disagree”. In my view this is a cop out. The person is basically proposing the following:

“Let’s call it quits on our discussion as it will be too difficult to resolve and if we continue or even postpone our discussion it may result in one or both of us misbehaving”.

However, what if we used the proposal of “Let’s agree to Object” instead? That is:

“Let’s continue to discuss our disagreement now or at a later time and if one of us did misbehave or act uncivilly, then the other could object, in real-time, to their misbehavior.”

This is my solution to this age old problem of being at loggerheads with each other.

Let’s agree to object?

Object123

Object123 is the first tool in the Civility123 toolkit that we use to address incivility or misbehavior in the workplace. It consists of a seamless three step process that we use to address when we deem that someone is offensive. Consisting of:

1. Caution the offender with a simple verbal caution ie “I would like to caution you now” and on what grounds for your objection and you can expect to receive a simple acknowledgment or an explanation to defend their offense. If you deemed their response was unsatisfactory you can escalate to:

2. Object being an official email/text objection and on what grounds, ie simply tell the offender your objection will be in their inbox shortly and expect to receive a email/text reply with a simple apology or explanation defending their offense. If you were still unsatisfied you can escalate to:

3. Stop being an official email/text warning that you are about to post your dispute on the Disputz review network that will include any documented text between you and the accused offender. At this point you can expect to receive an acceptable apology of what was said, why it was said and what the offender would do next time. If not satisfied you then post on Disputz.com to be reviewed and commented upon by work colleagues.

The 3 step procedure of Object123 to hold each other to account for incivility

Workplace Civility

We can’t PREVENT misbehavior or incivility in the workplace; it is a given. On occasion, it WILL happen between colleagues or between managers and team members, especially when we disagree. When our ideas are threatened, we can become defensive and offensive, resulting in angry or uncivil behavior. We can, however, tackle this behavior rather than trying to put up with it or ignore it.

I could write reams of quotes on the adverse effects that incivility has on teams in organizations. Suffice it for me to say that it is significant and is still neglected in many organizations.

The solution we are proposing for our organization is called Civility123. Without going into too much detail here, I will give you a brief outline. It consists of 3 phases of accountability for our incivility or misbehavior.

  1. Object123
    That is, we OBJECT to misbehavior during a disagreement in 3 phases and in real-time, rather than complaining about the person later, thus nipping any potential for long-term disputes in the bud.
    1. Caution – A verbal warning that requires a simple acknowledgment, or escalate to…
    2. Object – A written email objection that requires a simple apology or escalate to…
    3. Stop – A post on our dispute peer review platform and requires an acceptable apology from either or both participants to resolve it.

  2. Disputz
    Once the offended person has posted their dispute on the Disputz.com site, it would consist of all their correspondence. Anyone in the organization can then offer feedback on their dispute. At this point, whoever is deemed to have misbehaved would need to provide an acceptable apology consisting of:
    1. What was said
    2. Why it was said and
    3. What he or she would do next time

  3. Civility Live
    The third and final phase of their dispute would be to zoom the dispute on our Civility.live video platform. Each person could nominate up to 4 team members in the organization to adjudicate their dispute. Failure to resolve the dispute at this stage without an acceptable apology from either or both would mean a vote is taken by the team members and they would recommend someone for dismissal.

Of course, all participants in an organization would need to agree to use the Civility123 toolkit beforehand, and it would apply to every member of the organization, from the Janitor to the CEO.

Looking for Objectivity? Object!

Explainer: what is peer review?
Independent Peer Review Process Takes Us Closer To Objectivity

The scientific process of an independent peer review has been responsible for getting us to the scientific progress level that we all can benefit from today. What is missing is a similar process applied to our social discourse to achieve such levels of objectivity.

Could it be that by simply objecting to any misbehavior during a disagreement or discussion that we can find objectivity or get closer to it? Well, I think so, and I think that I can prove it.

I believe that by objecting to any misbehavior in real-time during a disagreement, we begin to activate a transparent process for dealing with more subjective viewpoints that, cause misbehavior.

Being subjective seems to leave us believing that we are oh-so-right which can and has resulted in some terrible deeds in the past and also just general misbehavior and incivility during disagreements. Such incivility as the use of absolute and dogmatic language and thinking where you are wrong and I am right. Along with tone, shouting, swearing, sarcasm, steamrolling, ignoring, sulking, nagging, blaming, threatening, etc., etc, we have all been there!

It seems to me that when we are angry we are at our most subjective. By beginning the objecting process during a disagreement in real-time, it allows for an open discussion on our behavior itself rather than just on the content of the discussion. Effectively it enables us to split the conversation into two parts:

A: The scope or content for whatever disagreement we may have  

B: The behavior in how we deliver this content.

Also having the option of a final democratic process whereby we use a panel of our peers to openly and independently scrutinize and adjudicate any objections raised, ensures we are always putting out high-quality behavior and information, taking us that much closer to objectivity.

Object123 is my proposal to begin the objectivity process to reduce our subjectivity and the misbehavior it can cause.

Victim Blaming

When it comes to the abuse of a victim, the politically correct squad has set up what seems to me to be a barrier or no-touch zone for looking at the victim’s role in the abuse. I know this is very controversial, but I am willing to broach this subject here, at the risk of becoming a victim myself…ha!

So, we have the abuser and the abused and a framework that allows this behavior to exist. Let’s identify all three components here.

The Abuser

The abuser is offensive in their behavior, which usually has a measure of anger attached to it and results in the following misbehaviors:

The behavior of the abuser usually stems from anger and results in the above misbehaviors.

The Abused

The abused person is usually submissive in their behavior, stemming from many well worn sayings that seem to be designed to keep the abused from speaking up to stop abusive behavior.

Submissive behavior encouraged by these cliches.

The framework

Putting it all together with implicit intimidation and implicit submission, and we have what seems to be an ideal co-dependent framework that sustains the misbehavior of the abuser and the submissiveness of the abused. That does not mean we are only one or the other. We can go from one to the other on different occasions during the day. For example, I might come from a framework that allows my boss to abuse me and then go home to a similar framework that allows me to abuse my wife or kids.

The goal here is to change these behaviors by adapting a new framework designed for us to object to misbehavior as it occurs. Object123 is our proposed FRAMEWORK we use to object to misbehavior that leads to abusive and submissive behavior.

Tackling Misbehavior in Real-time

Sports Academy: Teaching the lost art of the tackle
We Tackle Misbehavior in Real-time

If a soccer player gave away a free-kick during a tackle, you wouldn’t wait until the end of the game to blow the whistle. You wouldn’t wait until the end of the first half to blow the whistle. Of course, you would blow the whistle instantly in real-time to penalize the offending player.

Why is it that we delay dealing with misbehavior in the workplace? Because we are so unsure of the right way to approach it, I believe. I bet you could ask any two people in any organization how they should tackle misbehavior from a colleague, and they would not have the same two answers. Try it in your organization. My bet is that they would more likely reply “it depends”.

This lack of consistent procedure in organizations creates uncertainty in teams and results in us walking around on eggshells, afraid of offending each other and afraid of being accused of misbehavior.

Object123 is our solution to this uncertainty, by agreeing to tackle misbehavior in real-time and holding anyone that fouls to account.

Caution! – Penalty! – Disqualification!

Caution – Penalty – Disqualification

What if we agreed that there were explicit rules of engagement while having a conversation, discussion, or disagreement? And we also agreed that there would be consequences if we infringed upon these said rules.

As in soccer and many other sports, the first infringement or misbehavior is just a mild caution, but a penalty could result if continued. And if this was not enough deterrent for the offender, a disqualification could ensue.

Nothing is startling about what I just said here: just about every sport in the world has them but try to apply this to a relationship, either business or personal, and people could think that I am crazy.

Well, crazy or not, that is precisely what I am proposing. To design and apply a simple accountability system for how we interact. Reasonable, right? Overdue? I dare say.

Object123.com is my proposal for how we should behave while engaging.