Trade-offs and Triumphs 29 by @jennykim

Issue 29: Honesty Blind Spots, #NegotiationTribe’s special February guest, Gary Noesner - A Twitter Recap, Resources for the Week, Closing Thoughts: Ambiance of an Era From Another Time

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Welcome to issue 29 of Trade-offs and Triumphs - a newsletter of resources and thoughts about how to balance trade-offs in life to find and celebrate the small triumph; every decision point requires thinking through trade-offs and not just immediately aiming for the “solution.”

How was your week? What were your trade-offs and triumphs?

This week we will hit on:

  • Honesty Blind Spots

  • #NegotiationTribe’s special February guest, Gary Noesner - A Twitter Recap

  • Resources for the Week

  • Closing Thoughts: Ambiance of an Era From Another Time

For a quick oral summary of Issue 29, hit ▶️ below:

Honesty Blind Spots

That moment revealed two fundamental, often warring needs we humans come hardwired with. First is our deep-seated need to matter. We want to know that our existence has significance. And second, when that need goes unmet, we default to indulging the other need: to look like we matter. Looking smart, put together, competent, and “good” to others become the need we pander to when the former isn’t satisfied. And when you confuse one for the other, compromise becomes all too easy, and you have stepped onto that slippery slope.

And what happens when we don’t back away from the slope? We slip.

- “To be Honest: Lead with the Power of Truth, Justice and Purpose” by Ron Carucci

Last week, I asked whether any of us could actually handle the truth based on our penchant for telling white lies to others and to ourselves. Just as our emotions control us, the white lies we tell control us too.

But what is the truth, and what is honesty? How do you fix an organization that has great stated values but does not represent and live them? How do you create and sustain an organizational culture that encourages purposeful honesty? How do you persuade your employees that your organization values what it states is its purpose?

The road is long and hard, and sometimes, it never happens despite all our best intentions.

But in his new book, “To be Honest,” Ron Carucci breaks down the elements of honesty and a potential roadmap on how to get there:

  • You have to say the right thing (truth)

  • You have to do the right thing (justice)

  • Say and do the right thing for the right reason (purpose)

  • And, you have to say what you do, even if it is bothersome and scary, no matter where you are in the organizational hierarchy.

In each section - truth, justice, and purpose - Ron shares stories about people and organizations who managed to figure out and to fix the major disconnects between stated values and how employees perceived them. He also identifies honesty blind spots - e.g., our desire to seek approval and “to matter,” our best intentions that go awry and create dueling truths, and institutional biases left unattended.

And then at the end of each chapter, Ron summarizes key points and also has a series of questions that an individual or organization can work through together to advance towards truth, justice, and purpose. You can flip through the book as both a reference tool and workbook. Be prepared to use a pen and highlighter frequently as you scribble your immediate thoughts in the margins.

As Lisa Kwan identified in “The Collaboration Blind Spot,” when trying to advance any initiatives that breaks down silos, conduct a threat assessment first:

  • How might the collaboration be unsettling to the groups involved?

  • What’s the best way to dissipate that sense of threat?

Make sure that you understand how to minimize resistance to “honesty” and actually do something about it - create safety for those who are being courageous. And make sure that you are braced to absorb others’ “honest” assessments of yourself and to examine them closely - otherwise, none of this will work.

Don’t let this book and its lessons be like yet another diet and exercise book on your shelves - read, thumbed through, but not implemented.

And “get busy.”

“To Be Honest” will be out in May 2021, and you can pre-order it on Amazon.

#NegotiationTribe’s special February guest, Gary Noesner - A Twitter Recap

It’s not often that you have the former FBI chief negotiator and author of “Stalling for Time” be the special guest. On February 5 during the monthly #NegotiationTribe meeting, Gary Noesner provided an overview about the heart of crisis negotiation - it is not just about saving people, but actually about managing highly emotional situations with no clear solution.

🔑Key takeaways and Twitter thread to get a full recap of that conversation:

  • Everyone cares about families.

  • Everyone believes in honor and integrity.

  • Ask questions out of curiosity - be genuine and be willing to learn.

Resources for the Week

✨ - Ever had problems generating good headlines, blog titles, or product names? Experiment with this new tool that leverages AI to help you be your most creative self 👇

Negotiating with Goalith Workshop: How to Prepare for your Toughest Negotiations - February 19, 2021 at 1pm ET

This is not a lecture - there will be tons of role play - which is the best way to learn. And, you may learn how to be honest and to accept honesty without offending anyone - because you can lead in creating that sense of safety.

During this session, you will:

  • Learn the power and the limits of leverage, authority, and pressure that are used against you

  • Explore the potential of a valid mission and purpose statement and discovery to avoid being bullied

  • See the process of briefing and debriefing big negotiations to ensure success. 

  • See how professional negotiations anticipate dilemmas, biases, emotions/aggression.  Then having the habit to work through all of them to conduct discovery and get to the solution (or the trade-offs).

✨ Why Time Signals Still Matter When Working Remotely - Despite all the chatter about more productivity during COVID, it is still important to figure out how to create boundaries around “active resting” and stepping away from the screen.

  • Pay attention to output, not time - Judge people by what they do, not how quickly they respond to an email or how often they are on Slack. What are they producing?

  • Explicitly discuss time - Make a regular practice of doing informal 1-on-1 check-ins with employees to get sense of individual burdens, needs, and pressures.

  • Support your employees’ boundaries and signal your own.

  • Refrain, when possible, from sending communications outside of standard work hours.

This scheduling strategy can save you hours per week - Multi-tasking is not effective, but what about a staggered scheduling strategy? Find ways to have open days to focus on deep work.

Closing Thoughts: Ambiance of an Era From Another Time

We can’t escape ourselves from moving to another place, but sometimes, we can escape moments by gazing at beautifully laid-out spaces and imagining the perfect another era, another time.

Please leave me your questions or thoughts in the Comments section below 👇👇👇

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Be conscious of your trade-offs. Before settling on any one “solution,” run your fingers through all the trade-offs and decide intentionally and specifically.

And then celebrate your triumphs, no matter how small.

See you next week!