Archive for January, 2013

Why we treat the ones we love the worst

January 31, 2013

You need to feel safe , so you let your guard down. Seems like it should be the opposite, right, you need to feel safe, so put your guard up?

But think about it – having your guard up is work . It takes energy and effort. You do it because you are in a situation where you are not feeling safe. But as you expend more energy, you begin to just want it all to be over, to not have to work so hard. You look for ways to get yourself into a position where you feel safe, where nothing dangerous is supposed to happen, and you let your guard down. Big time negotiations have been won and lost in the bathroom of all places because someone spills some information critical to the negotiation. They thought they could put their guard down. They needed to feel safe so they acted like they were and ended up blowing it.

Think about road rage. Why does it happen? When you are in your car, you feel safe and you let your guard down. As a result, when something happens on the road that feels unsafe or unfair, your emotions explode. You would never act that way while walking or standing in line at a store register.

And who do we treat the worst? People we love. Why? Because when we are around them we relax and our guard goes down so if something happens that we don’t like, our emotions explode. If a stranger does the same thing, we have our guard up, and we don’t give it a second thought, unless you are in a car 🙂

But the key point is that our need, our belief that we need to feel safe, is dangerous to us. I think what we want to try to do is be very selective about putting our guard down, and when we put it down,  be ready to put our guard back up so we are not at the mercy of our emotions.

The problem with hanging in there

January 31, 2013

The worst is being stuck in a quagmire of mediocrity. Things are going reasonably well, but not spectacularly well. The reason mediocrity is worse than failure is very simple: Failure lets you move on, mediocrity stalls you and keeps you from reaching your potential

Of course, there’s one big counter-argument to all of this. How do you know whether you’re stuck in a quagmire? Isn’t startup success often about persistence and focus? What if that break-out success is just around the corner. Those are good questions. The simple answer is: There are no simple answers. If it were me, the question I would ponder is this: If 90% of everything started going “right” with your startup, what will it become? (I’ll call this the “wave the magic wand”, best-case scenario). If the answer does not please you, and you’ve been at your current idea for a while, I’d ponder a change.

From article “Failure is not the worst outcome, mediocrity is”

by Dharmesh Shah

Be a winner , not a whiner

January 31, 2013

 Read this on a sign above the pool at the Kent County YMCA in RI.

A proposed model for the development of human misery and mediocrity

January 30, 2013

Something bad happens to you, very bad, and you start to see things in a negative light. Then you start to think that since this bad thing happened to you, you have had your fair share of ‘bad’, and you become intolerant of other bad things happening to you. You can’t let things slide. You even seem snobby to people because you seem to think that everything is supposed to go your way and if it doesn’t, you get snippy and make everyone feel tense. You seem controlling to others. You might stop taking risks because you don’t want to get upset if something goes bad. So you get soft and weak because you are not challenging yourself – emotional atrophy. And this is how your life just keeps sucking.

You’ve become a shadow of yourself.

Negotiation is a high contact human performance event. Toughen up.

January 28, 2013

In a negotiation, it is important not to be needy or show need to your adversary. When you convince yourself you need something, chemical reactions start to occur in your body and mind that are designed to prevent your imminent death. Your senses and thinking are distorted. Some negotiation adversaries will simply take advantage of this as you are their natural prey, and others just won’t deal with you because needy people don’t exactly inspire confidence and trust.

Our consumer economy thrives on our neediness and all kinds of sophisticated efforts are made to convince us that we need things and services. Who doesn’t feel lost without a cell phone nowadays, and even that is not ‘enough’ – they have to be ‘smart phones’. My daughter was driving with a friend and got lost on her way to a new destination. Her friend had a smart phone with a GPS and they were able to get back on track. She thought this was proof that she needed her own smart phone or a GPS. It didn’t even occur to her that she could have stopped and asked a local for directions.

I am not knocking smart phones, though I find it annoying when trying to have a conversation in person and someone is attending to their phone constantly. I hope a new etiquette will evolve.

My point is that we are constantly being pushed in our culture to believe we need things to not be miserable or terribly disadvantaged. This is very dangerous for the aspiring negotiator. Unfortunately, so many of us are so habituated to feeling needy that we are numb to its deleterious effects on our negotiations.

As a result, subtle ways that negotiations create need in us are completely missed. For example, imagine someone has agreed to buy a product or service that you offer. How do you feel? Excited? Now imagine they changed their mind and they aren’t going to buy it. How would you feel then? Upset? The source of your upset is the same as the source of your excitement. Your neediness is like a super fertilizer for these emotions. They were triggered by a simple yes. You expected the client to stick to their yes, and that expectation was the seed that created the need in you.

You might go to a colleague and gripe about how flaky people are, but you would be missing the real lesson. The Camp Negotiation Management System will teach you these lessons and more, and help you to undo the conditioning that that sabotages your negotiations.

Like a young athlete has to toughen up and get used to some physical contact in sports like football and soccer, contact that would be unacceptable and even frightening to them in other scenarios, you have to toughen up to be an effective negotiator. Negotiation is a high contact human performance event that also requires great skill and savvy. Good coaching in a proven system is essential to your being safe and effective.

Please share your thoughts.

William Chase

PCOMS now a SAMSHA evidence-based practice

January 27, 2013

Hi Everyone!

Consumer privilege, partnership, and outcome accountability scored a victory today! The Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS), as disseminated by the Heart and Soul of Change Project, is now included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices (NREPP). PCOMS incorporates the most robust predictors of therapeutic success into an outcome management system that partners with clients while honoring the daily pressures of front-line clinicians.

The NREPP process is an arduous one that includes both a research and dissemination review. All three randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that enabled our application for evidence based practice status were conducted by Partners of the Heart and Soul of Change Project. We are committed to the ideas of client feedback and outcome management and to the values of consumer privilege, partnership, and service accountability, and we put our efforts in proving that a value-based client feedback system can really make a difference. When Morten Anker and I were first talking about the design of the first RCT, the Norway Feedback Trial, back in 2005, the possibility of PCOMS attaining EBP status was born. In many ways, I knew that that we could talk about these ideas and values, even though they were well supported by empirical evidence, until we were blue in the face, but that they would never be widely disseminated until we attained RCT credibility. And with this SAMHSA designation, we have accomplished this in spades.


A great stride in empowering consumers to have a voice in their own recovery and partnership in decisions about their care has happened—our goal from the very beginning. Thanks to all those who made the RCTs happen, including but not limited to the Norway Outcome King, Morten Anker (and Geir Skauli, Berger Hareide, Ann Kristin Stapnes , leaders at Bufetat who helped make the project happen), the University of Kentucky superstar, Jeff Reese (and coauthors: Larry Norsworthy, Steve Rowlands, Michael Toland, and Norah Slone), and the irrepressible client and social justice advocate, Jacqueline Sparks.


Thanks also to those who have successfully implemented PCOMS and CDOI in the real world and made the research palpable where it matters most. Bob Bohanske, Mary Haynes, and Dave Claud believed in these ideas and values long before the RCTs. They implemented PCOMS/CDOI in large public agencies, and proved that it made a significant difference in not only outcomes but in efficiency as well (see Bob’s chapter in The Heart and Soul of Change for details). Without these pioneers of major implementation, who had the vision to bring the ideas and values to fruition, none of this would have been possible.


Check it out at the NREPP Web site.



It is your gun, so ….

January 27, 2013

I’m big on storing guns properly and gun owners being held accountable if their guns get in the wrong hands and are used to hurt someone. Yes – jail time if they were negligent in how they secured them. And it should be mandatory to have to appoint someone legally responsible who will take over your guns if you are incapacitated or die, or who will call the police so they can take them. Guns are a huge responsibility and they should be treated like explosives or toxic materials.

5 steps to reframing obstacles in your negotiations so that you actually look forward to tackling them

January 20, 2013

Challenges in the right context can be fun, invigorating and ways to learn and grow.  I remember learning Spanish and loving the opportunity to try to communicate with a native Spanish speaker, as challenging as it was to get the nerve up to try to start the conversation.  I’d ask them to point out my errors because I was still learning. My lack of fluency was my obstacle, but my errors became my pathway to fluency, which I have since achieved and use almost daily.

In negotiation, obstacles are generally just seen as annoying at best and completely overwhelming at worst.  Even worse, they often stop us from even attempting to negotiate, and the alternative to negotiation can often involve neglect and even abuse of one or more of the parties that are going to be impacted by a decision.

So how can we transfer a positive even eager attitude to taking on negotiation challenges and obstacles?   You must change the context in which you see those obstacles. To help you see obstacles differently, the Camp Negotiation Management System instructs you to create a checklist as preparation to all negotiations and serves to change the context in which you see obstacles in the negotiation. The checklist reframes the obstacles in the following ways:

1)      The checklist shrinks obstacles: To start the checklist, you create a mission and purpose for your negotiations that sets your long-term aim. It is based on your vision of the features and benefits you want to bring to our adversary. You know why you are doing what you are doing, and not getting hung up on fixing everything right away because you know that what matters is that you end up where you want to go in the long run. Obstacles that seemed large up close are now viewed at a distance and effectively shrink.

2)      The checklist identifies obstacles and brings them into clearer focus:  You come up with a problem list, or a list of obstacles to the negotiation, and get clarity about what you and your adversary are facing. You may not know how you are going to deal with the obstacles, but knowing what they are and having them all laid out reduces uncertainty and fear.

3)      The checklist guides us to so we know where to start on obstacles: Obstacles or problems are prioritized to match the adversary’s vision of their importance and urgency. You start with what is most important to them. Your approach to obstacles is therefore organized to make you effective in the world of your adversary.

4)      The checklist makes sure you don’t get distracted from other tasks that are more essential to negotiation than obstacles. In the Camp system, you ask for what we want, and you always get it, because you want a decision from the adversary, usually yes or no to a proposal.  You do not create new obstacles by pushing for agreement.  And any obstacles that exist must not distract you from your most essential task in a negotiation, asking for what you want.

5)      The checklist   provides you with the tools to create vision that will solve the problems to overcome obstacles.   You create the questions and statements that you will make to build the vision required to face and overcome obstacles. It is the artistic side of negotiation, and at Camp it is often referred to as painting vision, with the words you choose acting as your brush strokes.

If you learn to execute a Camp checklist, you will not be intimidated by obstacles again. In fact, you will come to want to negotiate sooner rather than later by which time your procrastination may have hurt your position, not to mention added to your stress.

Please share your thoughts.

William Chase

Why negotiators should care about their basal ganglia

January 14, 2013

Recent research has shown that anticipation of the future activates the amygdala, a structure in the human brain. Stimulation of the amygdala causes intense emotion such as aggression or fear.

The anticipation of a negotiation is also going to activate your amygdala if you are not properly trained. This activation disorganizes your frontal lobe that informs your actions as directed by the motor cortex. Nevertheless, conventional wisdom tells us to take a long view of our negotiations, threshing out the big picture and anticipating as much as possible. But according to Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Srini Pillay, recent research shows that these long-term perspectives or big picture desires activate the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) , a subdivision of the brain that has been shown to light up in experiments where people where being chased by a virtual predator. It is no wonder that so many conventional negotiators actually start planning about how they are going to compromise or manipulate before the negotiation has even started. Their emphasis on anticipation in their preparation activates their vmPFC more and more until their decision to end their distress with a compromise or manipulation becomes a way to put themselves out of their self-inflicted misery.

The same research also showed that to handle the effects of too much vmPFC activation, we have to engage the action circuits in the present. This moves activation to the caudate nucleus, a part of the basal ganglia that is responsible for many functions, including movement. The basal ganglia are the information highways to the action centers in the brain. This free flow of information is critical to effective action, so we want our basal ganglia to be activated in our negotiations.

The genius of the Camp system is that it builds vision at a pace and with a degree of clarity that does not overstimulate the vmPFC, and instead activates the all-important basal ganglia. The Camp negotiation system integrates small actions based on principles of a system that are designed to solve the problems that arise in a negotiation. The Camp system has rules that its users follow that tell them what actions to take and when. Mastery of that system is not easy, but once accomplished, Camp trained negotiators take systematic actions to build the vision that will be required for decisions to be made to move negotiations forward.

Besides, Camp negotiators do not include anticipation in their preparation so they avoid activating the vmPFC in the first place. They have no expectation for what is going to happen in a negotiation, positive or negative, a mindset called blank slate. They do prepare for negotiations, but they base that preparation on what has already happened with the other party in in other negotiations, or what they have learned through valid research. They don’t try to anticipate what the other party might be thinking or what they might do. If a Camp system negotiator wants information, he goes to the source, not his imagination. They enter into the human performance event that is negotiation with a blank slate and a checklist that they prepare comprised of several elements that help them to stay on track within the Camp system. In the course of negotiation event, vision builds and effective decisions are made because the Camp system helps all parties have the best access possible to their full brain function.

It is hard for many people to grasp or accept that a negotiation system can be this effective, but that disbelief is nothing new in human endeavors. Think of what it takes to drive a car safely and effectively. Do you try to anticipate what might go wrong before you get in your car? You probably did when you started learning to drive, and when you got on the road, if you were anything like me, you froze. But when a teacher gave you simple actions to take to face challenges on the road, and you began to see for yourself that the system worked, you probably started to freeze up much less. You have your basal ganglia to thank.

Please share your thoughts.

William Chase

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