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.
Misbehavior is a given, it WILL happen, on occasion between people, especially when we disagree. This is how we behave during our disagreements so that they don’t become conflicts or ongoing disputes.
Firstly, we understand the difference between disagreeing versus how we disagree, during a disagreement. We disagree with the content as per usual but we OBJECT, in real-time, to how someone disagrees with us. Then, if we have taken offense to they behave, we can use one, two or three consecutive, objection phases, as needed. These are:
By beginning this process we are entering our safe-space and remain there until we resolve the behavior issue and only then do we resume with the content of our disagreement.
Simply CAUTION! the offender and receive an acknowledgment of their poor behavior or a satisfactory explanation that justifies their behavior. If the offended is not satisfied he or she can escalate to an objection.
Simply OBJECT! to their misbehavior now and expect to receive a 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 what was said, why it was said and what the offender will do next time. If still unsatisfied the offended can escalate to the final democratic process
The democratic process uses a team of peers to adjudicate our ongoing dispute (NOT HR or management). This could be done as needed 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.
Here is the tip of the century (my view) or what I have called a Social Just Culture
When we are having a disagreement don’t allow ourselves to get confused or sucked into a personal dispute. Only DISAGREE with WHAT (content) someone says. NEVER disagree with HOW they say it (delivery). Learn to OBJECT to HOW they deliver the content. This will give us a duel or tandem conversation running in parallel and in real-time. Then get your “opponent” to agree and begin your discussion/debate/negotiation, switching between when we DISAGREE (content) and when we OBJECT (delivery/behavior). The objection can be for anything that you may find offensive or objectionable like: Tone, Volume, swearing, rhetorical questions, absolute language (dogma) etc etc.
Next step is to temper when & how we OBJECT, splitting it into 3 phases or levels of objection and response.
Caution the offender – Respond with an acknowledgment, or escalate…
Object to the offender – Respond with a simple apology or escalate…
Stop the offender – Respond with an acceptable apology or escalate…
Finally if our objection is still unresolved we can take the offender to the Friday afternoon meeting of our peers to have them adjudicate our dispute.
What You May Find You will be amazed what you experience. My bet is that you will find their content usually quite weak in substance but their delivery filled with absolute language, volume, tone, expectations, rhetorical questions and other coercive tools used to get you to acquiescence rather than agree.
Now, some may say that this only complicates conversation and life, splitting a conversation in two and in real-time. My answer is granted but what complicates life even more, in my view, is not addressing coercive delivery of content and making decisions based on emotive, browbeating behavior of others. Also the repercussions of such poor behavior during a discussion can become a full on dispute resulting in backbiting, strained relations and office or family politics after such encounters, with other members being forced to take sides.
Psychological Safety: The Psychological Safety movement has been getting some legs over the last 5 years since a few articles came out as a result of Google’s research into what makes a successful team at Google. “Psychological safety is being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career. It can be defined as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected. It is also the most studied enabling condition in group dynamics and team learning research”
Just Culture: Recently, after learning about Psychological Safety I also discovered another movement in the workplace called Just Culture. “Just Culture is a concept related to systems thinking which emphasizes that mistakes are generally a product of faulty organizational cultures, rather than solely brought about by the person or persons directly involved. In a just culture, after an incident, the question asked is, “What went wrong?” rather than “Who caused the problem?”
Social Just Culture: But it seems to me that there needs to be a cross pollination of both cultures to create a Social Just Culture. Where as a Just Culture encourages teams to own up to mistakes by not blaming or punishing them, “A Social Just Culture encourages teams to expose, confront and acknowledge offensive or misbehavior, in real-time, rather than suppress it and later end up backbiting the offender.”
A Social Just Culture allows us to face our disagreements and know that we have a just process in place to address situations when either one of us becomes emotional during our disagreement. It is way way for us to clean up any mess that can and WILL occur when we disagree. Object123 is our proposal for a Social Just Cultural tool in the workplace.
There is a lot of talk about meritocracy now a days. Ray Dalio has famously built his Principles around this idea, I believe. But just as importantly I believe we need to include a demeritocracy. That is we get merits when we step up and succeed but we also get demerits when we step up and fail.
It does not have to be the electric chair for us when we fail but, I believe that we need to recognise clearly the difference between failure and success and take responsibility for either. A simple accolade for our successes or a frozen chicken for example and an acknowledgement and a simple apology for any failures. (We used to do that at our soccer club. What started out as a dinner for two award, ended up as a simple frozen chicken being presented to the best player).
Of course these successes get added up in our psyche as merits and the failures also get added up as demerits. Unfortunately our society seems to be going the way of gold stamps for all our successes and failures which I do not agree with.
I recently posted a comment on Ray’s Linkedin post stating this:
“There is certainly some merit in what you say Ray, in my view. I guess like any idea it can be taken too far, though. Example, “I am the expert here and what would this novice know about our business”. So I guess factoring in this possibility is also important. My brother and I have developed a simple system of stepping up. Whoever is brave enough to step up and succeeds gets the merit points, (accolades) but if he fails gets some demerit points (apologies). Imagine if the tea lady was brave enough to step up to the plate (as in you analogy) on how we should run our business and we were brave enough to let her do a trial, who knows what could happen. But I agree merits and also demerits are the way to go.”
Why are so many so-called intelligent people so easily sucked into conspiracy theories? I am not exactly sure but I dare say that our biases have a lot to do with it. That is, we are more likely to believe what we want to believe or as the saying goes “having itchy ears”…ha! just waiting to be scratched.
Unlike our legal system we have today, where the accused is innocent until proven guilty let’s make the information that we receive guilty until proven innocent. That is we check the sources. Where they came from, how many we can find and what possible conflict of interest they may have.
Coming from a Sherlock I would say this is elementary my dear, elementary!
Why is it that when we are offended by someone’s behavior we end up being even more offensive in reply? Because they started it, simple. Of course this is a childish reply and as adults we would never be seen giving such an excuse for our offensive behavior but deep down I think that is what we still believe.
It explains every conflict, dispute and fight we have ever had. If someone has dared to cross us first then we will make sure they will remember not to ever do it again, by crossing them by even more. The offended becomes the offender and so the cycle has continued for milenia.
But imagine if we lived by, and agreed to, the principle of being less offensive and what effect that would have on our lives?
The way I see it is that we have 3 choices when we are offended
To be equally or more offensive in return
To be passive or submissive and suck it up buttercup
Or to object, which is a neutral stance
Objecting seems to be a lost art. For example when was the last time you actually said to someone that you objected to their behavior? Never, is my bet.
That is why I have developed Object123. I believe it can allow us to be less offensive when we are offended and help de-escalate a situation when someone is offended by the other’s behavior, without having to be submissive.
Of course for this to work we would need to agree to use this method and the process can be even used when one fails to use it correctly, by objecting to this behavior also. So it becomes sort of a singularity that can self correct itself.
Object123 is a simple Social Just Culture tool that we have developed to help stop power abuse in the workplace. We see this as a very important part of workplace health and safety, that is, a Psychological Safety using a Just Culture process. And as Just Culture encourages teams to own up to mistakes by not blaming or punishing them, a Social Just Culture encourages teams to expose and confront misbehavior, in real-time rather than repress it and backbite the offender.
Organization members are encouraged to openly disagree and simultaneously OBJECT to, and acknowledge any poor behavior during the three phase process. Thereby, nipping at the bud, any disputes before they become heated conflicts and saving countless lost hours of gossiping, backbiting, strained office politics and abuses of power.
disagreeing Vs objecting
Firstly it consists of us agreeing to observe and separate our disagreements into two parts. 1. Our content of the disagreement 2. Our behavior while delivering the content We disagree with the content as per usual but OBJECT to our behavior, in real-time. during our discussion.
three phases of objection
Object123 consists of three phases of objection, small, medium and large. Each phase requires an acknowledgement from the offender or they can try justify their offensive behavior. The three phases are: 1. Caution – Receive a simple acknowledgement or escalate to… 2. Objection – Receive a simple apology or escalate to… 3. Stop – Receive an acceptable apology or escalate to…
final democratic process
It also includes a final democratic process to ultimately eliminate any unresolved disputes, where the offender and offended attends the Friday afternoon weekly meeting and their case is adjudicated by a team of their peers (not HR or management). Without an acceptable explanation or acceptable apology the offender will most likely be let go, regardless if they are the manager or even the CEO. We want to shift power from the top and give everyone, from the janitor to the CEO, access to social justice.