I happened to see this article, What Happens in the Brain When We Disagree, a few minutes after coaching a client on an important negotiation. The essence of what these scientists discovered by watching brain activity during a hypothetical real estate negotiation is, when people disagreed, their brains became less sensitive to the strength of others’ opinions.
(1) If we sense that the counterparty essentially agrees with our fundamental position we are able to logically consider their evidence, even if it contradicts our position.
(2) If we sense they disagree, our response is dominated by the fear-generating parts of the brain and we dig into a defensive, less logical posture.
This confirms the old adage, Start by establishing common ground, e.g., Philosopher Daniel Dennett on How to Argue.
How to compose a successful critical commentary:
You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
Is there anything about human relations that has not been written thousands of years ago?
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it,
it is folly and shame unto him
We live in America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” yet we meekly surrender our freedom at work. I know, “We call it ‘work’ because ‘play’ means something else.” But we give up so much so easily! Employers dictate whether we wear our hair: long or short, covered or uncovered, coifed, clipped, combed, or corn-rowed. Whether we are allowed to wind down after work with alcohol, nicotine, or cannabis. Or, whether we wind down at all, with texts, emails, and travel at all hours of any day. We let them record our phone calls, read our emails, count our keystrokes, search our pockets, and time our bathroom breaks. We must not discuss our pay or take a job less than …_X_ miles away, then get fired anyway over a Tweet or a bumper sticker. There are even worse examples, but…
You don’t need more evidence that too many jobs are intrusive and demeaning. You know … You know it! I can tell. You may even know that inventing and enforcing these rules wastes money and reduces profits. I’m not here to prove that this is a problem. I’m here with the solution. I have the answer! … The answer… is, “No.”… “Just …say, …’No!'”
My friend took a job on the Hubble Space Telescope, where programmers had not delivered a single finished program in three years. When he heard his first deadline, he said, “No! I need more time.” His boss shrugged. My friend delivered working code “late” -but on the exact date he promised.
He got another assignment with another impossible due date. Again, …he delivered on the date he promised. He didn’t get a third program to code. He got three programmers to manage. His team delivered quality code on the dates they promised. So, they put him in charge of all the programmers. Not because he was a coding savant. Not because he was a charismatic leader. No, just because he had demonstrated the awesome power of, “No.”
Our reluctance to say, “No,” comes from fear. Fear that you are your job. Fear that your income is your value. That is not who you are. You get to say who you are.
You get to say, “No,” anytime, anywhere, to anyone. Because we live in America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Video Transcript by Machine for the sake of the search engines:
hello today is my birthday and of course that’s not unexpected it’s done scheduled it’s known it’s been coming for quite a while and last few weeks I’ve certainly thought about it more than once the implications of reaching this advanced age and I’ll admit my attitude toward it was pretty well reflected by the change in the seasons as the day is that shorter darker damper the leaves turned and fell from the trees I was thinking about maybe I should move into sort of an elder role back off from some goals not expect quite so much out of life and just turn into an old man but I happened to hear an interview with the actor Michael Caine and he mentioned that at his 62nd birthday which is the age on that right now he’s seriously considered giving up his acting career because he wasn’t getting the roles as the romantic lead anymore they wanted him to be the secondary character actor and he didn’t want to do that but his good friend Jack Nicholson talked him into taking one of those roles and now that he’s 85 years old he has continued to make a movie or three every year including what Michael Caine considers some of his best work more important closer to home my good friend Ralph Lee Smith who was a great musician and the world’s foremost expert on dulcimers he was in Greenwich Village you know with the Beat Generation and got to know Bob Dylan and Joan Baez he had his 92nd birthday this week 92 he’s 30 years older than I am 30 years that’s a lot of life in the past 30 years I I met married and raised three fine adults with my beloved wife Christine it may be just as many more adventures successes disappointments ideas I mean who knows what’s gonna happen in the next 30 years maybe I’ll get those and you know maybe I won’t maybe I’ve just got today like everyone we’ve only got today a long string of “nows” now to appreciate where we are what we’ve got and what might be next to anticipate contemplate and that’s what happens on my birthday when I get a greeting from a good friend like you who reminds me that I matter to other people and that those other people matter so much to me so your birthday greeting makes a big difference to me thanks for reaching out and reminding me that what really matters is our impact on other people and the impact of other people on us I appreciate you and thanks for reminding me of how much you appreciate me happy birthday to us all so long
If you took a business or economics course in the past quarter-century, you were probably taught that the sole purpose of a corporation is to return cash to its shareholders. This widely accepted and seldom challenged idea is a dangerous innovation from the 1960s that radically departs from the centuries-long social contract under which corporations were invented, created, and proliferated. This relatively recent change is responsible for many harmful corporate decisions and disastrous government policies. It is well past time voters and shareholders got our corporations back on their more beneficial and benevolent track.
I could lay out all the historical details and legal arguments here, but I’ve already made the case in a much more accessible and entertaining form. Chapter eight of my first novel, Crimes of Cunning, covers it thoroughly. To help inform the public, I am making that chapter available for free, right here.
Today’s podcast, “Powerful Requests” is the audio from a webinar presented by Tony Mayo, The Business Owner’s Executive Coach. Listen to this recording and then join us for Tuesdays with Tony at Twelve, a weekly, free webinar where you can explore powerful executive coaching tools and ask Tony about applying them in your life and career.
Tony presents his model for, perhaps, the most important type of business conversation, the request. Much of what you accomplish, much of what people reward you for, much of the structure of our days can be understood as a complex network of requests and promises.
By thoroughly understanding and applying the three components of a Powerful Request, you can get more done while burnishing your reputation as a reliable colleague, supplier, or employee.
Today’s podcast, “Say Anything to Anyone in a Way that Works for Everyone” is the audio from a webinar presented by Tony Mayo, The Business Owner’s Executive Coach. Listen to this recording and then join us for Tuesdays with Tony at Twelve, a weekly, free webinar where you can explore powerful executive coaching tools and ask Tony about applying them in your life and career.
Tony shares two tools to help with your most difficult and confronting conversations.
12 Steps for Difficult Conversations
The Conversation Contract
Video, handouts, and other resources from this and other webinars are available for free at:
Today’s podcast, “Breakdown to Breakthrough” is the audio from a webinar presented by Tony Mayo, The Business Owner’s Executive Coach. Listen to this recording and then join us for Tuesdays with Tony at Twelve, a weekly, free webinar where you can explore powerful executive coaching tools and ask Tony about applying them in your life and career.
Tony continues last week’s discussion by reviewing the meaning of breakthrough, how to manage yourself and your environment to increase your chances of experiencing breakthroughs, and the foundational importance of taking control of our interpretation of events.
Today’s distinctions include:
• Why are some coaching concepts called “distinctions”?
• The holographic, non-linear nature of coaching distinctions
• The benefits of not resisting, even welcoming breakdowns
• Both breakdown and breakthrough are creations in language
• The background of obviousness
• Speech Acts: Declaration is an action that changes the world