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 .

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!

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





One Simple Way to Remove Psychological Unsafety in the Workplace!

Type “psychological safety” into Google and you will see a bunch of articles on “so many ways to add or create psychological safety in the workplace”. Since the New York Times article in 2016 about Google’s research into “What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team” the buzz phrase has been psychological safety. The number of books written on the subject is exhaustive and exhausting.

Psychological Safety Books is Exhaustive and Exhausting

But what if we chose a new tact and instead of trying to add or create psychological safety we set about simply removing psychological unsafety. You see no one exactly knows what psychological safety looks like, although many have theories, no one exactly knows how to get it as a simple step by step formula otherwise there would only be one book and one way to do it and everyone would be doing it that way.

But dare I say that we have a much better clue for what psychological unsafety looks like and especially feels like. My definition is walking on eggshells. A common idiom we use daily to explain how it feels to be in an organisation that feels psychologically unsafe. Now imagine if we knew what caused this feeling and went about removing it? Hey presto! Problem solved. This presentation is my very simple theoretical solution for removing psychological unsafety and ultimately leaving us with psychological safety, as we learn to utilise the Object123 tools.