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.
Misbehavior is a given, it WILL happen, on occasion, between people, especially when we disagree. This is how we behave during our disagreements.
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, with how someone disagrees with us. Then, if we have taken offense to their behavior, we can use one, two or three consecutive phases, when needed. They are: Caution!, Object!, and Stop!
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
I think that there is too much emphasis on us NOT being offended and NOT speaking up when we are offended. And what we see are terrible arguments, domestic disputes, malicious gossiping etc as the result. That is, very poorly delivered objections, that we have been encouraging people to build up and contain and when eventually released, usually ends up being even more offensive than the original offender’s misbehavior.
This is a tweet from Mark Manson #1 NYTimes bestselling author of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”. I beg to differ with Mark as I mentioned to Mark, although I do agree that how we choose to be offended should be done wisely:
And then you have this from his followers….
It is no wonder we have so many relationship issues in our society when everyone is being encouraged to basically “shut the F#*K up!”
Object123 goes in the opposite direction, I believe, by encouraging team members to actively and openly object to offensive behavior or misbehavior in real-time. Emphasizing how and when we object being the most important point and that we agree to use a singular platform to do so. Finally, we can now rightly know that we can even take offense to these idioms, and no longer think we have to accept being called a Snowflake.