Record Family Memories, Beat Squid game, Problem vs Person

Record Family Memories, Beat Squid game, Problem vs Person

Hi 🍻,

I have changed the format of this newsletter. I want this to be more valuable and easier for you to read. Let me know what you think by replying to this email directly. I am using my personal email to talk to you, and I love chatting with you! 😀

A few things I thought were worth sharing this week:


1. Tales.com is an amazing service. It helps you record your family's memories by making professionally produced private podcasts. I am going to have them interview my grandma. She has some amazing stories.


2. Dads & Moms & Kids: I have found Bluey, a Children TV show from Australia, absolutely adorable. Don't know how to stop your kids from begging you to show them Squid Game? Show them Bluey. 🐶


3. Kelvin Yuen, a 24 year old Photographer from Hong Kong, beating out over 3,800 entries from around the world and won the 7th International Landscape Photographer of the Year Award. He waited 3 days, without sleep, in -20°C weather, in order to capture one of his award winning photos. He is crazy.

(Tromsø, Norway, Kelvin Yuen)

On Leadership:

"Confronting the Problem Without Confronting the Person"

If your objective is to achieve a goal, deliver results, hit a deadline, deliver a product, then when there are problems, you should try your best to lead the conversation to focus on the problem and not the person.

(Of course if you really think the problem is the person, bookmark this newsletter, and read about my thoughts on "Managing Others" instead)

🔬 The Problem of the Problem:

Often we didn't get to thoroughly investigate a problem because we spent time arguing how we felt,  justifying our intentions, what we did, what didn't do, etc. We also often jumped into discussing options prematurely (and then wasting even more time debating why it's premature to discuss solutions).

💊 Try This Framework:

When investigating the problem, ask both sides to ONLY describe the "the context," "what happened," and "the impact" the way we saw them.

In other words, the things we ought to suspend are emotions, the why, judgements, and solutions. This method allows both side to compare notes and look at how each side understand the situation. It allows both side to focus on what happened.

💬 A Sample Script:

Difficult to put into practice? You may want to structure the conversation into slightly more rigid steps to help both sides stay on track. Here is a sample script:

"Let's investigate the problem and focus on the problem first. I promise we will get to the people, me, you, our teams, other humankind. I have found this approach less scary and more useful. Here is what we will do. We will take turns and share these 3 things:

1, Let's describe the context and the circumstances as we remember them
2, Let's share what we saw happened
3, Let's share the impact we each witnessed"

🤨 Why Does This Work?

This is a structure that gives everyone in the conversation a chance to NOT get distracted. Imagine "the context," "what happened," and "the impact" as guardrails. These guardrails set the boundary of the path of the conversation.

Another way to think of these guardrails is to consider them as our protection. Just like guardrails on a flimsy bridge, focusing on "the context," "what happened," and "the impact" save us from falling into the abyss of feelings and judgements.


Pro Tip:

If you are discussing the problem with folks you don't have a great rapport with, or if you sense that the participants are becoming fearful / avoidant / defensive, have all sides answer these 3 questions in private and then share them to everyone. This approach reduces the tendency of one side reacting and adjusting their answers base on the sharing of the other side.

I know this sounds mechanical. Furthermore, obviously, there are heaps of additional skills to deploy when navigating these kinds of conversations. But trust me, by just experimenting with this framework, the discussions will become more peaceful, productive, and, yep, empathetic.

Try this and share with me your experience.


How was this Issue? How are you feeling after reading it? Happy to give me some support?

1. Reply to this and chat with me!
This is my personal email. Tell me what you think of this. Or whatever is on your mind. I will always reply, I guarantee it.

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2. Share this with someone whom you think wants to sound smarter, and or anyone who deserves something light and fun.  (Plus, they trust your recommendations more than my LinkedIn ads.)

Thank you for reading this. I think about leadership & psychology in the showers. I know it's odd, but these topics are important and fun. I hope you find them useful too.

David