(Issue #477) Call-Out Culture: Increasing Understanding or Volume?


If you have to name-call, then you have no argument;
you have admitted your lack of understanding and/or
inability to intelligently debate the issue at hand.

One of the byproducts of social media has been the legitimization of a call-out culture. One can argue that “calling out” irresponsible, cruel, hurtful, and illegal activity, in fact, can hold people responsible for their actions. By shining the spotlight, a dialogue can develop, and behavior improve. In this manner, one might call out in order to increase understanding and the moral climate.

Increasing understanding.

But that is not always the case.  Calling out has become a way of shaming those with whom we disagree. Yell louder. Embarrass. Demean. Name call. Vitriol. No dialogue. One person points a finger at someone and yells about lack of principle. Of course his principles are always just fine.

Increasing the volume at the expense of conversation and understanding.

We have all seen it (and, perhaps, many of us have done it): Someone reads a social media post and responds. Rather than comment on the content of the post, the person’s reply calls out a person or group—and, usually in an insulting way. And, the called-out party may or may not even be a part of the original conversation.

Example.  I saw a video post that involved a heart-warming act of acceptance, understanding, and compassion.  One viewer agreed about the need for such acts of generosity—but this person’s response could not stay on that positive note.  The next sentence went to an insult of a national figure (not even connected to the video).  What purpose did this serve? The video below offers that such callouts serve a way of gaining “prestige” or “credit” in the social medial world. Or a way to gain more credibility within our own “resistance bubbles.”

I often hear people lament the decline of civility, and then immediately engage in name-calling. Is name-calling leading to civility? Or, as I was taught as a child, if you have to curse or name-call, then you have no argument; you have admitted your lack of understanding and/or inability to intelligently debate the issue at hand.

When we call out, does it turn up the understanding or the volume? Is the call-out leading to deliberative dialogue or more collective monologues?

Video Recommendation for the Week.

Jonathan Haidt describes the rise and consequences of the call-out culture in this podcast excerpt (https://youtu.be/m5dIS8NmK1U).  INTERESTING NOTE:  One of the viewers of this video posted, “His voice is annoying.”  What in the world does that have to do with the topic or message?  Rather than address the nuances of Haidt’s position, the viewer criticizes him for something extraneous and (probably) beyond his control.



My latest book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

has been released! You can purchase it (print or e-book) on Amazon.
More information (including seven free podcast episodes to highlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.



Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). Another university recently (May 2019) adopted it for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in call-out culture, Civility, collaboration, Communication, Community | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #476) Red Team Analysis


Reaching critically reviewed, dissected, and discussed decisions may require creative thinking about how to do it.
Critical thinking, though, is not a synonym for creative thinking.

I received a reminder about the simple eloquence of critical thinking during a recent visit to the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.  Throughout the museum, visitors have opportunities to listen to primary source accounts of what spies do and how they do it.

Two things jumped out as we toured the facility.  One was a statement and the other a strategy.  Perhaps our current environment of jumping to conclusions, tweet storms, “fake news,” and ideologically embracing only what serves one’s POV, made these memorable for me.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

One background video shared the perspective of a long-time intelligence official.  She explained that the intelligence community gathers an overwhelming amount of data.  She reminded the audience that intelligence officers cannot (should not) tell a whole story from a single piece of information.  That piece of data must be connect to, corroborated by, or dismissed because of the other data that surrounds it.

The Lesson/Reminder.  Don’t jump to a conclusion because one piece of evidence is compelling or supports a preconceived notion or ideological stance.

An interactive exhibit shared the story behind the Osama bin Laden raid. In particular, the intelligence analyst spoke about Red Teaming (Red Team Analysis).  Museum visitors sit at a board and walk through the process the intelligence community did as it reviewed the evidence (lots of data points) pointing to the probable location of the intended target. (If you click here and scroll to the Media Gallery and then move to item 4/8, you will see a still photo of this exhibit.)

The Lesson/Reminder.  Red Teaming requires assuming a role to rebut an original premise.  So, in the raid mentioned above, the starting point placed the key person inside a compound. The Red Team analysis established three other credible explanations as to whom or what else could have been housed in the same compound. The intelligence community then needed to sift through the information—the original hypothesis and the alternative explanations—in order to determine the course of action.  It was not easy.

Critical thinking requires gathering information, evaluating the information and sources for credibility, examining possible alternative explanations, discussing the findings, listening to and weighing contrary points of view, and then drawing conclusions based on analysis of credible evidence.

Critical thinking is not memorization of facts, blind ideological adherence to only what supports a preconceived belief, remaining steadfast in the face of countervailing information, or creating a narrative to support a belief.

Reaching critically reviewed, dissected, and discussed decisions may require creative thinking about how to do it. Red Teaming is one example of such thinking.

Critical thinking, though, is not a synonym for creative thinking.  Creating the facts to support our view or ignoring facts that do not support our beliefs is not critical thinking.


Video Recommendation for the Week.

This TED-Ed video explains a five-step critical thinking process.



My latest book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

has been released! You can purchase it (print or e-book) on Amazon.
More information (including seven free podcast episodes to highlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.



Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). Another university recently (May 2019) adopted it for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in accountability, Critical Thinking, Life lessons, red team analysis | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #475) Purposeful Relationships Require Deliberative Efforts


Consider how you can incorporate deliberative efforts
for deeper organizational relationships—one person at a time.

I often stressed to my students that strategies for student success would prepare them for life success. My words came back to me as I have been settling in as a board member with a community group.

First, let’s look at one strategy I encouraged my students to embrace: Building authentic relationships with instructors.

Photo by (c) Steve Piscitelli

I urged them to contact their instructors as soon as possible at the beginning of the semester.  The ideal timing would see contact made prior to the semester starting; before entering the physical classroom or signing on to an online class for the first official day of class.  Such contact (by way of an office visit, email, online chat, or phone call) serves multiple purposes, For instance, it will allow the student to:

  • Establish the beginnings of an integrity-based relationship with the instructor.
  • Learn more about the course.
  • Learn more about what students need to do and have for class.
  • Ask about the top one, two, or three challenges past students have had with the class. The same for achievements.
  • Find out what resources are available to supplement the class material.
  • Help check assumptions about the professor that might have developed from past student evaluations.

That’s just a short list.

When I started my most-recent community work, the first board meeting confirmed that I had a great deal to learn about the organization.  Some things I have learned by trial and fire—going to meetings, taking part in discussions, and jumping into the program planning and delivery.  These were/are instructive, but I needed more grounding.

So, I listened to the professor whispering in my ear.

I reached out individually to each board member and set up a time to have a cup of coffee.  My purpose was to learn from people who have been doing this type of community work for many years.  I asked questions about the past, present, and future.  I learned about challenges, strengths, and weak signals for the group. And, I developed a better picture of what my space could be within the group—where and how I could serve with purpose.

Review the bulleted list above for students and apply it to community work, or a workplace team, or a new spiritual community membership, or [you fill in the blank]. By reaching out to, meeting with, and asking authentic questions of people who have a history with a group, you can:

  • Establish the beginnings of an integrity-based relationship with each member.
  • Learn more about the organizations past, present, future, strengths, challenges, and weak signals.
  • Learn more about what you need to do for the group. How can you serve best?
  • Ask about the top one, two, or three challenges each member has experienced with the organization. The same for achievements.
  • Find out about resources (available and needed) for the organization to carry out its mission.
  • Check assumptions about each member you might have formed from brief encounters in meetings.

Consider how you can incorporate deliberative efforts for deeper organizational relationships—one person at a time.


Video Recommendation for the Week

This brief video, while specifically addressing the context of campus culture, reminds us about the importance of building collaborative bridges. When we reach out, in a deliberative manner, we can learn about resources. And, after all, before we can use resources, we must know about them.



My latest book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

has been released! You can purchase it (print or e-book) on Amazon.
More information (including seven free podcast episodes to highlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.



Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). Another university recently (May 2019) adopted it for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in assumptions, authenticity, awareness, collaboration, collegiality, Communication, Community, community development, emotional intelligence, generativity, growth, Life lessons, resilience | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #474) Live, Lose, Laugh, and Learn


Fear can lead to growth inhibiting action or inaction.

When we stretch our comfort zone and no longer sit on the sidelines weighing options ad nauseum we can set the stage for flexibility and growth.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli. ©2019

I’ve always admired true entrepreneurs—real risk takers.  While I have never done anything so chance laden, I have taken pride in pushing myself to do things without waiting until all the safety nets were in place. If I had postponed and fretted, I would not have written and recorded two music CDs (with phenomenal musicians and friends who helped me produce the projects and kept me from “hurting” myself in the studio!), twelve published books, a podcast channel, a registered trademark, and years of national speaking engagements.

Same with Roxie (B.D.E.) and our pet therapy adventures. And a host of other community enhancement activities.

Even kayaking in the ocean. I’m embarrassed to share how fearful I was when I first paddled out from shore. White knuckle kind of trepidation.  I kept forcing myself—and over time the fear turned to respect for the ocean. That helped my mindset.

Fear can lead to growth inhibiting action or inaction.

The key I found is to jump in and do it. If we don’t fail, how do we know how much more we can grow? I think of some things I have done in major presentations that did not work…fell flat.  I did not like the feeling…and I grew from each uncomfortable situation.

Where can you jump in this week?


Video Recommendation for the Week

Enjoy this repeat video of outtakes from mistake after stumble after miscue I committed. These came over a period of months as I shot more than forty videos for a book project.  If I had given up after any of these frustrating attempts, the project would have suffered.

Live, lose, laugh, and learn.


My latest book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

has been released! You can purchase it (print or e-book) on Amazon.
More information (including seven free podcast episodes to highlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.



Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). Another university recently (May 2019) adopted it for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in Life lessons | 2 Comments

(Issue #473) Legacy


What is your hope for your community? What do you want to see, and more importantly, what will you do to make it happen? What legacy will you help build and contribute to for the coming generations?

Last week, as I sat in the front row enjoying original performances at the monthly Atlantic Beach, Florida Songwriters’ Night, I had an aha moment.

This event, and its sister event, Acoustic Night, have been operating for sixteen continuous years. About three-hundred months (when taking both events into account) of music and entertainment provided by community residents of all ages. The events provide a safe place for people to test and stretch their stage presence and musical chops, while connecting with neighbors and visitors.

That night, I thought of how the events have become mainstays in the community.  It all started with a simple thought—a hope— I had taken to a community committee I served on in 2003—and it grew. I hoped to see a live, monthly musical event for and by the community members. I was fortunate to have had a cadre of help to move the idea forward.

  • An INITIATOR. The late Commissioner Desmond Waters nominated me to the committee-the committee that would eventually move these events from thought to action.
  • A BELIEVER. The committee chair at that time, Rusty, saw merit in the idea of a music event, and helped me push forward. Mostly, he helped me massage and develop the idea and, then, moved out of the way. A true leader.
  • A SUPPORTER. The City of Atlantic Beach has provided the resources so that this event could start, develop, and mature. They still do today.
  • A COLLABORATOR. Veteran singer-songwriter-performer-friend Mike Shackelford helped me stage the first (and all future events). He took on the tasks of stage host/sound man/and musical mentor. He still serves in that capacity today.
  • An APPRECIATOR. Or, in this case, appreciators.  It’s always about the audience. If they don’t come, there is no event.

As one performer finished on this night, and Shack helped the next one get plugged in, I was grateful to have had the opportunity afforded me by Commissioner Waters.  Sixteen years later. A proud feeling for what we developed in and for the community. But there was something else that tugged at my gut.

What’s next? What do I want to see sixteen years from now? What will I do to make that happen? Who will be the initiators, believers, supporters, collaborators, and appreciators? What do I want to smile at and feel joy about for my community?

And, I leave that question for you. What is your hope for your community? What do you want to see, and more importantly, what will you do to make it happen? What legacy will you help build and contribute to for the coming generations?


Video Recommendation for the Week

In this short video clip (63 seconds) I remind an audience that HOPE is a wonderful fuel—but it is not enough.



My latest book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

has been released! You can purchase it (print or e-book) on Amazon.
More information (including seven free podcast episodes to highlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.



Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). Another university recently (May 2019) adopted it for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in action, amplifying, assumptions, awareness, collaboration, Community, community development, intentionality, leadership, Life lessons, resilience | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#Issue 472) Action, Gratitude, and Community


While thinking about gratitude feels good, action creates greater benefits.

At the beginning of our monthly Beaches Watch Board of Directors meeting, we pause for a “Mission Moment.” We share how, where, or with whom we have experienced our mission come alive. Sometimes that involves a resident commenting on a past meeting or a program participant thanking us for our service to the community. There have been many mission moments for this organization over the past fifteen years.

Last month, I shared a mission moment I had while reflecting on our initiatives this year:

We do not ask, “Why isn’t our community a better place?”
Instead, we ask, “What can we do to make our community a better place?”

Action over words. Doing rather than yammering. And in the doing there is gratitude for the work, the team, the community, and the product.

Research has shown that “the practice of gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, promote happiness and well-being, and spur acts of helpfulness, generosity, and cooperation.”

Helping a community be a better place one action and one person at a time.

Video Recommendation for the Week

I first viewed and shared this gratitude video with my students six years ago. Watch the entire clip (only about 420 seconds long).  The key takeaway: While thinking about gratitude feels good, action creates greater benefits for others and ourselves.



My latest book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

has been released! You can purchase it (print or e-book) on Amazon.
More information (including seven free podcast episodes to highlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.



Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). Another university recently (May 2019) adopted it for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in action, Community, Gratitude, Life lessons, resilience | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

(#Issue 471) Confronting the Bullies


What we do in these situations defines our characters,
our communities, and our destiny.

DeRay Mckesson, in On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope, reminds us of the power a bully holds when we fail to confront the bully.

  • “The bully aims to become the center of your everything.”
  • “Bullies don’t just happen, they are enabled.”
  • “Silence too easily becomes acceptance.”
  • “The bully must be confronted intentionally, his impact named and addressed.”
  • “If we don’t have a vision for our desired future, how can we plan to achieve it? … We must all imagine the block without a bully, otherwise we cannot get there.”

A few years ago, on this blog I wrote about courage. I will repeat a part of that post below as it applies to bullies, speaking out and up, paying attention, and creating a more compassionate and just future. You can read that entire blog post here.

Samuel Adams, one of the leaders for the American War for Independence said,

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” 

And he went on to fight against immense odds for a cause he was willing to sacrifice his life for.

While most of us will never be in a situation like Adams, we still have every-day situations that can allow us to step up, to ignore the fear, and move forward.  Consider the following examples and how they embody courage:

  • Stepping up for someone (or yourself) who is the victim of a bully (I recently heard a young girl singing a song about how she helped a school friend back down a bully).
  • Standing up to workplace bullies even when a job (your job) might be on the line.
  • Speaking up for a just cause when you are a lone voice in the wilderness.
  • Bouncing back from a setback and continuing to move toward your goal, even as others may attempt to minimize or dismiss your efforts.
  • Befriending the unpopular kid in class or co-worker in the office.
  • Pointing out that gossiping about someone who is not present is, in fact, cowardly. And you lead the way by walking away from the gossip.

We have opportunities each day. We can ask for help. We can collaborate. We can seek the higher ground.  We can engage in little acts of courage that we may not even be aware of when we do them. And, then, there may be other opportunities that we do not take advantage of.

What we do in these situations defines our characters, our communities, and our destiny.

Make it a great week. And H.T.R.B. as needed.

Video Recommendation for the Week

Martin Luther King reminded us that “a man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right” in this 1965 speech excerpt.



My book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

has been released! At this point, you can purchase it on Amazon.
More information at www.stevepiscitelli.com.



Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). Another university recently (February 2019) adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Appropriate Behavior, bullies, core values, courage, Life lessons | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment