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 during a disagreement.
  • Complaining is usually done indirectly & after the fact ie back biting, gossipping to others.
    Whereas objecting is usually done directly & 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 etc.

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

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


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 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 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 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.

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

Why Have Rules of Engagement?

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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, 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;
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!