Byron's Babbles

Saying Nothing

I really enjoyed the most recent article by my friend, Maya Hu Chan, “7 Steps to Take Managing to the Next Level,” published in Inc. It caused me to reflect on how important relationships are and how dignity, trust, and respect play into those relationships – and our everyday interactions. Then, this week through some encounters I either witnessed or was a part of, I thought about how sometimes saving face is not saying anything. For example, is anything gained by reminding someone that we were supposed to leave at 11:00 and it is now 11:18 serve any purpose? If you think it does, I won’t argue, but I don’t really think so. My point here is that our emotional equilibrium requires inner strength and a sense of self. We need our protective inner guardrails. For me, a good question to ask is: will what I’m about to say serve any valuable purpose?

Sometimes our comments only serve to humiliate. I am guessing you are like me and have been guilty of embarrassing someone, either willfully or inadvertently. I have learned from Maya and her great book, Saving Face, that we many times accidentally cause another person to lose face due to misunderstanding, lack of information, or because we’re startled or shocked. That’s why, again, as I analyzed some interactions I was witnessing or a part of this past week I was reminded that a tool in our saving face toolbox is to just not say anything. To be clear, I am not saying that’s always the best tool; it is not. But sometimes it is. Situational awareness is key here.

The idea of saving face is so important. Take a few minutes and think of scenarios. For example, you might be in a group where someone asks if you saw the new Spider-Man movie. Do you immediately say that you hated it and it was the worst made movie in history? Or, do you just acknowledge you have seen it and save face for the person raising the question if she loved it? See the difference? You can still express why you didn’t like the movie after the discussion gets going. You haven’t lied, you just didn’t say the first thing that came in your mind. I get it! This is tough! Frank and “straight-shooters,” are often viewed as uncultured, overbearing, and even rude. I have to watch this. Some of you probably do too. It is particularly important to put this in check when dealing with other cultures.

In thinking about the idea of sometimes not saying anything, I believe my three rules for tweets applies here. I believe tweets should be light, bright, and polite. I leave it there for you to ponder.

Top 10 Books Of 2020

2020 was an incredible year of reading. I finished reading 119 books this year. I was an extremely tough chore to pick my top 10 and then put them in order. I love books because for a brief moment in time, books release us from the constraints of our own reality. They take us beyond our own small place in the world and into another person’s real or imaginary one. Each of us has a unique and valuable role in life. When experiencing life through the eyes of another, we encounter diverse angles on life’s most common situations. I have read such great books this year by very talented writers. Finally, I am a better person and understand many more diverse perspectives from reading 119 books this year.

Here are the posts that give the posts influenced by books I read in 2020 by each quarter:

The First Quarter Of An Incredible Year Of Reading

Second Quarter 2020 Book Inspired Posts

2020 Third Quarter Book Inspired Posts

The Books That Opened My Eyes In The Fourth Quarter Of 2020

Here is my video revealing my Top 10 Books Of 2020:

The Books That Opened My Eyes In The Fourth Quarter of 2020

Well here they are; the collection of blog posts inspired by great authors and great books in the last quarter of 2020. There has been so much great learning from books this year. So many times it might be just a sentence or paragraph that makes me pause and reflect, make me want to study something a little (or a lot deeper), or make me want to read another book. That’s why I always seem to have three to four books started at the same time. I know, that would drive many of you crazy, but it is how my mind works. Everything we read fills our mind with new information. We never know when those new bits of information might come in handy. The more knowledge we have, the better-equipped we are to tackle challenge we may face. You might want to consider allowing yourself some time to read each day. Because of all the distractions available to us now we don’t spend much time on any one thing. When you read a book, if you’re like me, all of your attention is focused on the story, I get lost in the content and the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing.

I’m sure I am going to need to update this post as it is just the 28th and I know of two or three posts I am formulated that are inspired by great books I am reading right now, but I wanted to go ahead and get this out there and will update before the end of the year. I’ve already posted about the posts inspired by books from the first three quarters of the year in these three posts:

The First Quarter Of An Incredible Year Of Reading

Second Quarter 2020 Book Inspired Posts

2020 Third Quarter Book Inspired Posts

Here are the posts inspired by great books for the fourth quarter of 2020:

October, 2020

Do Not Look Outside Yourself

Shine Brighter

Take Off The Mask & Cut Out Those Frustrations

Safety Nets Instead of Safety Barriers

Approaching The World With A Sense Of Childlike Wonder

November, 2020

Becoming The First Me

Getting Wound Around The Axle

What Are Your Filters

Catch Me And Prop Me Up!

Leading With Artisanship

Building A Community

Beyond COVID-19

The Education Catapult

Do Ideas Cause Change Or Does Change Cause Ideas?

Spreading The Wealth

December, 2020

Do You Feel Like I Do On Christmas 2020?

Building The Cocoon

The Language To Open Our World

Adding Fiction To The Reading Diet

Going Platinum

If Only We Would Just Ask

A Great Unknown

A Penguin Inspired Quest


Second Quarter 2020 Book Inspired Posts

This is the second of five posts highlighting my 2020 blog posts that gained inspiration from books I was reading at the time. The first quarter posts were highlighted earlier in the week in The First Quarter Of An Incredible Year of Reading. I really love to read and think I maybe read in a little different way than others. I know leaders who many times I can guess what they are reading because they are copying everything that is in the book or copying the person the book is about. I always say, “Great leaders don’t copy.” I prefer to think of myself in terms of being a portrait that is being painted that will never be completed. Everything I read, every person I come in contact with, every event I experience are strokes of the brush or different colors of paint being added to what I hope is becoming a beautiful portrait of who I am becoming. Another thing I say a lot related to this is, “I’m not done!”

It is curious to me that with global literacy rates as high as 86%, we are shown to be reading less and less. I worry about this because reading catalyzes insight, innovation, empathy, and personal growth and effectiveness. For example one of the books, Saving FACE, by Maya Hu-Chan that I blogged about in FACE Is Social Currency (listed below), has made me a better person. I can honestly say that having the opportunity to read her book, get to personally know Maya, and do some webinars with her has changed my life and enabled me to help in the professional and personal growth of those I serve. Let me tell you, the signed copy of her book she sent me is one of the most valued possessions in my library. Again, I point out: how did this all happen? It started with reading a book. I’m going to keep you all in suspense until the last post of the year when I announce my top books of the year where this one ends up, but let’s just say it’s already on the list. This is one of those cases where being a bibliophile paid off in getting to know and learn from such an incredible leader.

Take a moment and check out just a little of what I learned from some of the books I was reading in the second quarter of 2020. Now, on day 281 of the Global Pandemic that seems so long ago, but all of the books I have read in 2020 have been an important part of the continued journey to get on the other side of this pandemic. Here are my second quarter posts referencing some of the books I was reading at the time:

April, 2020

Whether It’s Spinning Plates or Juggling Balls, We Can’t Afford To Drop Either For Our Kids!

Educating Students To Improve The World

Advanced Consulting

Being Perfectly Imperfect

May, 2020

Good Enough: Five Positives For Every Negative

June, 2020

FACE Is Social Currency

Coaching To Examine Meaning

Pretty great set of books from the second quarter of 2020. It’s probably obvious how these books inspired blog posts. Let me know if any of these books have inspired you along the way, and how.

Going Platinum

Last week I had the opportunity to lead a session at our Principal’s Academy. My topic was “Professional Capacity of School Personnel.” Building the capacity of others is a passion area of mine. As a believer in intent-based leadership I love telling the story of creating a leader-leader instead of leader-follower community. I learned this from former United States Navy Captain David Marquet, who also taught me that we should build relationships such to understand how others want to be treated and understand their needs.

In Leadership Is Language Marquet taught us that we need to change the way we communicate. We need to drop the prehistoric language of command and control and learning the language of creativity, collaboration, and commitment. When building the capacity of our teams, how we communicate matters.

This session I brought in some other content that I was introduced to by my friend Maya Hu-Chan, author of Saving Face. She introduced me to the “Platinum Rule.” The “Platinum Rule” is the brain-child of Dr. Tony Alessandra and goes like this: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Brilliant! Ever since being introduced to this I have been sharing with as many as I can.

What a difference. The Platinum Rule accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.” This brings empathy and compassion to a new level.

This really resonated with the group and they spent time discussing how to implement this into their daily work as a principal and leader of learning. I was so thrilled to get this message in a thank you email today: “Some even shouted out your presentation in their follow-up feedback. When asked “What is the most important thing you will take away from today?” One wrote “Strategies to get into the classroom – a great perspective from one of the presenters, ‘treat teachers the way they want to be treated.'” You never know what will resonate with participants, but I am thrilled that others are now treating others the way they want to be treated. Let’s all go platinum!

FACE Is Social Currency

Saving Face: How to Preserve Dignity and Build TrustSaving Face: How to Preserve Dignity and Build Trust by Maya Hu-Chan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one book that you will want to put on your “to read” shelf and then move immediately to your “currently reading” shelf. While reading this book there were many things that became immediately applicable and usable. This, to me, is the greatest of compliments. There were also times when, as I read, I would literally say, “So, that’s why I screwed that up so bad.” “Face,” as Maya Hu-Chan said is like social currency. The more you have, the easier and faster you can get things done.

IMG_8795Immediately after reading my advanced copy of the book I had the opportunity have Maya be a part of a professional development webinar I put on for teachers. Maya and I used Angry Birds as the throughline for presenting the professional growth. We actually watched part of the first Angry Birds movie and picked the part of the movie where Red is asked to be a leader and he says, “I’m not a leader.”

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 1.41.26 PM

“I’m not a leader!” ~ Red

This provided a great springboard for Maya to connect the teachings of her book. One of the things she discusses in the book is using the Platinum Rule instead of the Golden Rule (not that the Golden Rule is bad, mind you). The Platinum Rule is, “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”
Think about how just doing this would improve relationships – “face.” Needless to say, Maya’s teaching is a huge hit with educators.

Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 10.11.50 AMOne of the most impactful parts of the book dealt with psychological safety. Hu-Chan posited that, “At the very heart of creating psychological safety in an organization is the ability to honor face, save face, and avoid situations where someone loses face.” Psychological safety is one of the number one variable for team performance. Psychological safety allows for moderate risk-taking, speaking your mind, creativity, and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off — just the types of behavior that lead to ideas, creation, and breakthroughs.

Finally, Maya also taught us the BUILD model in the book. BUILD stands for Benevolence, Understanding, Interacting, Learning, Delivery. By putting the BUILD model into action in our lives we will be able to live a life of significance while saving face. As you can see, you are going want to start reading this book right now.
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