Posts Tagged personal responsibility

It can’t be just me, right?

Posted by on Thursday, 5 June, 2014

IMG_0770A dear friend recently blogged about his experience years ago dealing with a situation in which the ‘problem’ was an “is it them or is it me” kind of scenario. He mused on the fact that in the face of everyone pointing to him as the problem, it really wasn’t him, that in fact, the problem really WAS with everyone else.  It’s a hard place to be, but luckily he came out of the situation well and can look back if even with a hint of smugness and know he was indeed in the right.

But, like my friend, when you’re deep in the thick of it all, it isn’t quite as easy to see the truth. When we, as individuals are in the middle of situations that are degrading at a rate forcing action, we don’t have the luxury of detached observation that we are afforded with time and experience behind us. In these cases, when we are in the middle of a situation, it is often hard if not impossible to see our own truths for what they are and guide us to the right choice.

I’ve recently been wrestling with this same feeling, the “is it me or is it them” feeling when it comes to a lot of socio-political issues. I have an odd dichotomy of emotion where my confidence in truth is shaken, while simultaneously being reinforced and strengthened. I wonder if I am really as smart and progressive as I think I am, or if I really did miss the memo and am off in lala-land with the other nut jobs who think similarly to me? When you’re in the thick of a cultural shift, conviction to your ideals is essential albeit difficult for fear that in some small way you may be wrong. After all, the crazy people are convinced of their certainty, and totally unaware of how crazy their ideas really may be.

When people I respect, consider friends, and look up to hold views in contrast to my own, I wonder how otherwise very intelligent people don’t see the world as I do. How can they not see the same truths as I? Surely they have more experience, deeper knowledge, and greater intellect than me, so how can some of their beliefs be so out of step with my own as to seem almost backwards? It is in times like this I begin to reflect on the “is it me, or is it really them? Are so many of them really that wrong, or are my own ideas the problem here?” questions that shake my convictions just enough to cause doubt and deeper contemplation.

I guess it all just means I am still a work in progress with no real answers yet…

Information is currency; Privacy doesn’t exist

Posted by on Wednesday, 23 April, 2014

IMG_1955Earlier today one of my dear friends shared this article and tagged me for comment: Facebook Knows Everything About You, And If You Don’t Believe Us Here’s Proof

The article details out how UbiSoft’s marketing for their new game inadvertently shows how much Facebook knows about you. This is done via their Digital Shadow site after asking you to connect to it via Facebook authentication in which you grant access to your data as housed in the social network. The article paints a F.U.D. based theme (fear uncertainty, and doubt) around an individual’s privacy and how they may want to change their settings within Facebook to tighten things down.

Here’s the thing, though: there is no privacy on the internet. Security settings and custom privacy tweaks are speed bumps at best, and theater at worst. Like a glass window next to your home’s front door, any motivated attacker can bypass these settings with some small effort. While the addition of privacy settings are indeed necessary and effective to avoid the most common of breaches, they have also worked to the larger cultures disadvantage by allowing us to be a bit more complacent and reliant upon tools to do the job of privacy control. The best privacy control you have is the ability to choose what information you share.

Be careful, though. What you share may initially seem innocuous and irrelevant to most security or privacy concerns, but as the article above and the site referenced, there are things that can be inferred and connected across the data you share to build a view of your life which you may not have intended to be visible. Simple things like your location when combined with a job title can tell me a fair estimate of income as well as likelihood of work schedules and how valuable your digital life may be. The site does a good job of holding up a mirror to anyone sharing via Facebook and how that information can be connected to build a larger, perhaps unintended picture.

What does this really mean for you, as a participant on social media channels? It means you need to make informed choices. Understand that information is a form of currency used to trade for access to these sites and deeper connections to your networks of people. In my case, I trade quite a bit of information to maintain my connections with you while also working to build domain expertise in my career as a social business strategist. I make very specific choices about how open and transparent I am with what I share via any social channel, knowing that information is at best only obscured by my privacy settings and likely will be seen by many more people I’d not intended or expected. (Oddly, it is one of the lessons I’ve learned from blogging for so long now: you may be writing for one audience, but there’s likely other audiences reading and connecting… pay attention to them as well, as there may be wonderful opportunity for growth when you identify those unknown audiences).

We can’t trust companies to maintain our privacy for us. We need to take personal responsibility for our own information, what and how we share. While this may seem like a call to lock down your profiles, it isn’t. Rather, it is a call to become more informed and to begin thinking before we share and making the choice to use our information to pay for access or connection instead of just assuming it all comes for free. There’s a cost to social interaction, and what we are willing to pay will likely differ for every individual. Knowing that cost is the first step before paying the toll by sharing your information.

 

My top 5 strengths- redux

Posted by on Thursday, 17 January, 2013

gallup_top5Thanks to the wonders of the hive-mind, I’ve found a suitable solution to my prior post on my top 5 strengths and the difficulties I encountered when going to share them through a blog post. Previously, I’d been unable to locate any content that was shareable to provide context around my top 5 themes. From the strength finder site where I obtained my results, everything that provided this greater context and understanding of definitions was locked behind a paid and copyrighted report labeled unshareable by the terms of use.

Well, my friend and business partner @coreybowers came to the rescue and quickly located the definitions I was seeking. While still protected by copyright, I can now link off to each one in a publicly accessible way to provide that context to discussion that makes blog posts like this more relevant and valuable. I urge you to click-through and read the explanations for each term to help my own opinion and thought on the strengths become a bit more clear to you. Before I continue, I will say that I believe Gallup has some confused business strategies, or at best is not enabling the sharing of contextual information like it could from their strengths finder site and is hindering their business more than helping it. Sharing is caring, folks… make it easy to share and your content will spread. Make it difficult and only people like me who are bound and determined to share will find a (legal and ethical) way, the rest just won’t bother.

Without further ado, here are my previously identified strengths with definitions and context behind the links, and further discussion from my own perspective in the bullets below:

  • Relator: It is no surprise to me that this was the strength in the first slot. Interpersonal relationship have always been deeply critical for me and a source of nearly all of my success in business and in life. Because of this strength I am often asked my opinion, though I admittedly share it even before I can be asked in many situations. What really spoke to me, however, was the reliance on character and personality than status or job title, a trait I’ve carried with me long before I ever entered the corporate world, and one which while seen as a strength here has also likely cause me problems in advancement, or at least what others may see as problems. Sometimes labeled insubordination, I prefer to think of it as engaged discussion and collaboration between people who hold differing opinion. Still, one of my driving traits is the need and desire to help others succeed in their own goals, which is also one of the key points of this strength.

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  • Intellection: I’d be hard pressed to consider myself an intellectual, but this particular strength really calls out one of those traits in my personality that can be often misunderstood: my desire to think. Often that manifests in debate as I work to learn by talking through what I believe to be correct, and expect others to show me better ideas by supporting arguments with fact and information. As a Myers-Briggs INTJ/ENTJ, this strength also manifests during my introspective moments needed to either discover my own ideas or recharge from my more extroverted moments. While the thought process is indeed energizing at times, the constant din of thought does feel to me like constant audible conversation may feel to others. I also try to surround myself with people, friends, whom I consider smarter than I am, which also can manifest in misunderstood personality traits of others perceiving me to be haughtier than I am. Specifically I believe if I have figured out something, then surely everyone else has as well since I only surround myself with people who are smarter than I; an obvious flaw in an otherwise pleasing strength.

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  • Empathy: This is likely the one strength I may not totally agree with. I don’t think I have a talent for sensing other people’s feelings. Often I feel quite the opposite that I have no idea of what others are feeling or thinking. I do, however, think I have a good sense of being able to place myself in a consumer’s role and help see flaws in design or user experiences where others may not have thought about use cases I can see. Given the questions in the assessment, I think my business focus here skewed this result a bit towards more of a social personality trait than I actually exhibit, though I do agree that I can often hear the unasked questions and anticipate some level of need. The downside here is my inclination to not remain silent when at times I should.

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  • Command: The empathy strength noted I should partner with someone who has a strong command theme. I guess that means me 😉 The first line of this should sound very familiar to my friends, in that they all know I have little compunction with imposing my view on others. I never thought that would be seen as a strength! To me, this plays directly into my preference for open, honest, and transparent communication. And sometimes that does come off as intimidating, or so I’ve heard whisper of. Truly not my intent, but a side effect of combining a mild take-charge attitude with my inclination to use debate as a learning tool from my intellection strength. While I reel at the idea of being intimidating, holding back is even more damaging to me as I work to drive what I believe to be right.

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  • Deliberative: With empathy being the strength I doubt the most, Deliberative is the one I agree with the most. This one manifests itself as ‘negativity’ or being a ‘detractor’, when in reality it is just my strength at pointing out risks and mitigating factors that I don’t believe had been thought of. I can only smile in agreement when it is pointed out that this strength has me saying what I believe is correct regardless of potential impact upon my own reputation, all too true. In fact, it is the one instance where I likely don’t take the deliberative view and protect myself, but rather push forward for the right thing regardless of the risk to myself. And yes, I rarely dole out praise or recognition; another trait which has likely caused me issue professionally, but one I am aware of and have made deliberate strives towards changing.

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The Gallup Strengths Finder is $9.99 to take the assessment and unlock your top 5 strengths like I’ve shown above. With that you gain access to 3 reports containing similar but different information and organized for differing purposes such as action planning and full descriptions of each theme. You also gain access to their action planning tool and certificate generator. For an additional $89.00 you can unlock all 34 strengths and relative ranking which not only shows your top strengths, but your bottom strengths as well. From discussing the full report with others who have accessed theirs, it seems that the access to those bottom strengths can be just as beneficial and helpful as identifying your top 5. Personally, I’m not sold on the benefit to cost ratio of the full 34 report, but feel that the top 5 for only ten dollars was an expense well worth the professional improvement it could provide. If you opt to invest in yourself and open the top five report, I’d love to compare/contrast our results and learn more about each other.