Why Have Rules of Engagement?

Burgas Municipality News : Prestigious free wrestling tournament "Olympic  glory" will be held tomorow in hall "Mladost"

I suggest that it works like this:

  1. Negotiations
    Being in a relationship or partnership of any sort means we will have to negotiate, propose, and agree to a countless number of issues; that crop up from day to day for the life of the relationship.
  2. Free and Fair
    If we want a free and fair negotiation, we will also have to agree to some rules of engagement. E.g., no spitting, biting, or scratching 🙂
  3. Breaking the Rules
    A violation of these rules is considered an offense, resulting in a caution, penalty, or disqualification by a referee/or each other. Ultimately we are accountable. We are responsible if we break or bend these rules.
  4. Rules Revised When Needed
    We can revise the rules when needed if we both agree to the changes. The better the rules, the better our negotiations, which leads to even better rules.
  5. In Contempt of Our Agreed Rules
    Failure to continue endorsing our agreed rules of engagement would result in contempt and would be grounds to end any agreements formed in the relationship or partnership.
    Basically, it would be time to say goodbye.

Let the negotiations and agreements for the first rules of engagement begin! I just happen to have a few that I have prepared earlier, I call them Object123 .

How to Really Tame a Shrew

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.

Let the real taming and conversations begin!

Accountability Will Outshine Any Ego

How do we deal with John’s misbehavior and ego?

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.

Welcome to Object123 – it’s how we behave!

This Sentence Could Change the World

“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

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 Conversation

Stop-the-Line Conversation, using Object123

“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:

We Object to the OFFENDER’S use of STOP-GAPS
We Object to the OFFENDED’S use of STOP-GAPS





Integrity is Not Blind

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.

The Radical Principle of Object123

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.

We Object to Misbehavior in Real-time

The Civility123 toolkit to tackle aggressive and submissive misbehavior

Prevent Vs Object IN REAL-TIME
We can’t PREVENT misbehavior; it 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, and uncivil behavior. We can, however, OBJECT to this misbehavior in real-time, as it occurs rather than complaining about the person later. For this reason, we have designed Object123. A simple toolkit to tackle misbehavior, in real-time, thus nipping any potential for long-term disputes in the bud.

Disagreeing VS how we disagree
Firstly, we understand the difference between disagreeing versus HOW we disagree during a disagreement.

  • We DISAGREE with the idea or content as per usual
  • But we OBJECT, in real-time to HOW someone disagrees (misbehaves).

In effect, we are having two conversations simultaneously. If you take offense to how the other is behaving during the conversation or in a meeting, you can switch (alt-tab) to Object123, and use 1.CAUTION to slow, 2.OBJECT to prepare, or ultimately 3.STOP to get the dispute reviewed by your peers in the organization.

What object123 looks like

To CAUTION! the offender you simply say “I would like to caution you” and on what grounds. You should receive an acceptable acknowledgment of the offender’s misbehavior or a satisfactory explanation that justifies their behavior. If you are not satisfied, you can escalate to an objection by informing the offender that they will receive a written objection by email shortly.

To OBJECT! to the offender’s misbehavior you would go to the Object Page after verbally cautioning the offender and expect to receive a written reply of either an acceptable simple apology or a satisfactory explanation for their misbehavior. If you are still not satisfied, the you can escalate to a stop where you can post your dispute on the Disputz Review Network.

To STOP! the offender you simply send your last reply to the offender informing them of your dissatisfaction and that you are posting the dispute on the Disputz Review Network site, where both your versions of the dispute will be on display to be reviewed by your work colleagues within the organization. From the feedback you both receive either one of you will owe the other a 3 step acceptable apology of: 

1. What was said/done, 

2. Why it was said and 

3. What the offender will do next time.

The Disputz Review Social Network Platform (Coming soon)

CIVILITY LIVE CONFERENCING & ADJUDICATION

Final live conferencing with peers to adjudicate

FINAL LIVE VIDEO CONFERENCE
Both the accuser and the accused would have a video conferencing meeting with up to 8 peers within the organisation to participate and adjudicate.
Failure to resolve the dispute at this stage would require the one deemed the offender, by your peers to resign. This is done by tallying up the votes using the democratic process to ultimately resolve the dispute.

Of course, all participants 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.

Civility123 – a workplace behavior toolkit