Blogging and the fairness challenge

A dear friend was recently lamenting that her blog had become nothing but blah, blah, blah.  There was no commentary, discussion, or meaningful debate. But ironically, she said that it was not her style to “take a stand” on any issue. She would rather go with the flow.

Obviously if you stay in the safety zone of “likability,” you’re never going to attract much conversation other than a polite “great post!”  But think about this … on the social web, the only distinct value you can deliver is your opinion.  And if you never offer an honest opinion, you’re not really creating much value. You are probably well-liked but invisible.

My story

When I was in my 20s, I had a revelation that helped me be a better man and a ultimately, a better blogger.

In a performance review, my boss made an interesting observation: it seemed like it was important — maybe too important — for me to be “liked.” At that time, I just assumed everybody had this same goal, but the more I thought about this, I realized that innovation, change, and progress can never occur if you are preoccupied with just being popular.  I’m not saying anybody should be rude or disrespectful.  I’m saying that there is tremendous value in learning how to take a stand in a kind and nurturing way.

A focus on being liked as being the end goal may get in the way of being respected.  It’s easy to be liked. It’s difficult to become respected.

A new outlook

So I began to re-frame my perspective.  It’s impossible (and exhausting) to try to be “liked” by everybody.   But I do think it is realistic to have a goal of being seen as “fair.”  Somebody who is fair can take a stand and attack issues without attacking people. Somebody who is  fair can have the courage to take a strong stand and also exhibit humility and admit when they are wrong. Somebody who is fair is at peace because their beliefs are congruent with their words and actions.  I think there is tremendous power in that … in life, and as a blogger.

Trading a goal of being “liked” for one of being “fair” will unleash your creativity and embolden your writing style. Having the courage to start a conversation instead of meekly repeating what you think people want to hear is liberating.  And I think you might even be surprised when you voice an opinion and others chime in and say “Yes! Finally somebody is saying what needs to be said.”

Trading in “like” for “fair” will make your words MATTER.  Isn’t that important to you?

All posts

  • Very good point.  I have seen that in a lot of blogs, and it can really get boring.

  • Mark, 

    yes having your opinion is a way to go. Being fair and not biased is part of it. The problem is that many people don’t understand what opinion is and they start attacking. I saw many attacks on Social Web.  I would also say that no matter who the blogger is, everyone should be treated as equal. No matter on which list you can find him/her. 

    But then will we ever be able to please everyone ? 🙂 

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  • Thanks.

  • Good point Jure. The fear of attack is an obstacle for sure. But in general, I have found the people of the blogosphere to be kind.  I’ve certainly had debate and dissent on this blog but out of 80.000 comments I’ve only had to delete four for being inappropriate.

  • There is definitely a fine line.  There needs to be balance.  Going against the grain for sake of going against grain is no more admirable than following the herd every time.  I think one has to pick their spots at making a stand, otherwise you’ll be labeled a “complainer” which is neither respected or popular. 

  • I have similar issues but for different reasons. If I was just blogging for myself, I’d probably be a lot more prone to taking risks with my content. However, even though my blog is not affiliated directly with our agency, I do mention that I work at my family’s agency right *there*, right to the right of my content. Whether I like it or not, people will know that what I’m writing is probably a reflection of how I work, or even more, how WE work. 

    Based on that, I am probably overly cautious. However, there is a way around that. Rather than simply offering up your opinion on a controversial issue, invite people to offer their own opinions. Let them carry the conversation and see how that goes. It has worked rather well for me and creates the sense that even if I am not ranting and railing, I’m at least shining a light on the issue in question. And that’s something.

  • Had a similar revelation early in my sales career.  Shifted from being a ‘peace-maker’ to being a challenger – one who encourages the heart – but challenges to move past the status quo.  This year I have a similar theme – I chose three words that thread through all my goals and desires – per @chrisbrogan:disqus  – Tension, Discipline, Practice.  Creating Tension to encourage the heart makes me get out of the comfort zone of peacemaking. 

  • This is a timely post for me, Mark, as I’ve been working very hard to combat the echo chamber effect both on my blog and those in the larger community in which I participate. It always worth repeating that there is a big difference between disagreeing with a position and simply being disagreeable. 

  • Totally agree. Authenticity is a given!  : )  Thanks for making that point Steve.

  • I totally understand not wanting to invite controversy in to your business corridors. However, I would appreciate working with a firm that “tells it like it is” instead of one that is “safe at all costs.”  When I work with clients big and small I usually don’t hold back unless I sense that egos are fragile. I figure these folks are paying good money for what I have to say so I better say it. Even when I take risks and push the edge a little, clients seem to appreciate this. Again, striving for fair, balanced, nurturing. It all gets back to your goals I guess! Thanks Margie.

  • Wow. That is powerful.  Creative tension can be so uncomfortable but so valuable! That’s one of the things I miss about not working in a large company — the constant intellectual challenging. Thanks for the great comment Marilyn! 

  • This is tricky for me. There are so many people who believe they’re being open and honest and instead, they’re being a jerkbag. Civility is something that seems terribly absent in the modern blogger. Pile onto that the strange and oft-repeated experience of people not exactly disclosing their angle or their competitive nature, etc, and that causes extra friction to the “just be yourself” angle.

    See, what I believe, Mark, is that you’re absolutely right and that this advice is right, but that most people will misunderstand that being yourself isn’t license to be an asshole. Having a strong opinion is certainly admirable, but using it for shock and awe is the unintended result quite often.

    That all said, I learn more from people who plant a firm flag of what they DO like and DO want and DO feel passionate about, even if that runs against other’s perceptions. I want people to use their “honest” voice in the positive sense of its expression, not the negative. 

    But then, that’s imposing, and so, there’s the quandary. (Just learned that I don’t know how to spell “quandary.”) 

    Great post, but that is quite frequent for you, sir. 

  • A very keen point Jason. There are a number of people out there who are disagreeable.  I avoid them. Unfollowed and I will never go back. Then there are those who authentically challenge, like @webby2001 (Tom Webster) and I never want to miss one of his posts. I don’t always agree with Tom but I totally respect his intent and his attempt to push thinking in a new way. That is the blogosphere at its best — creating your own authentic voice. Not easy.

  • Of course you are correct.  People will read what they want to read I suppose. 

    I think you are really a model as far as taking an authentic stand and then taking your licks, even when they are nasty.  But without question that is why people are drawn to you. That is the heart of your success. You are the personification of my blog post and way ahead of me as a best practice! Thanks so much for the comment and the kind encouragement Chris!

  • Through respectfully sharing from an authentic place, so much more conversation can happen… Thanks, Mark for another insight-filled, thought-provoking, convo-igniter!

  • I’m the type of person who enjoys playing devil’s advocate. Not so much to simply go against the grain, but to remind people that there are always two (or more) sides to any argument. However, there is no devil’s advocate side for me to play.  As @chrisbrogan:disqus said there is a difference between having a different opinion and being a dick. Open discussions vs. an argument is the key. 

    Listening, and backing up statements is also key. Simply making a rash generalization is going to make you seem like an ass rather than someone who actually has a point. I can say “Tim Tebow is the best QB in the NFL” and I’m basically just being an ass. However, if I say “Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards against a deflated Steelers defense and proved that he does have a decent passing game on top of his excellent leadership skils.” I’m actually bringing a point to the conversation. I’m adding facts to back up my opinion. 

    The biggest difference between being an ass and bringing an alternative point of view is facts. 

  • Helen E. Brown

    Great observation, Mark. 
    It feels like walking a thin line sometimes.  I had a realization a few years back that no
    client wants to hire a consultant that doesn’t have an opinion.  I know, pretty basic!  I decided that instead of just trying to be
    liked and give vanilla advice, I’d have to tell them honestly what I think
    about whatever they’ve consulted me on.  But
    there’s always that sub-current – what if you risk losing a client because they
    don’t like what you think?  And in a blog
    post we tend to stray even more into personal opinions about ideas, products
    and services which can get really tricky if you’re worried about being ‘liked’
    (both in the real sense and the +1 sense). 
    Now that I’m established it’s easier but in the beginning when I was
    trying to build my consulting practice it felt more difficult to risk an
    opinion.  Maybe it’s just part of growing
    up.

  • Anonymous

    To go along with that, and @markwilliamschaefer:disqus you may be able to give some more solid numbers to it, I feel like as the social web has become more and more popular, the number of positive comments are skyrocketing. 

    I remember people telling me that for every 1 negative comment written about a company there were 10 – 20 positive comments that weren’t written.  I’m willing to be that the number of unwritten positive comments is getting lower and lower because of the ease of posting. I think people also believe that they need to post positive reviews now more than ever because if they do care about a product if they don’t it may go away (like your new favorite TV show that gets cancelled after 2-3 episodes).

  • I agree, Chris. I’ve had it in my head for awhile to write a post called “The difference between a jerk and a truth-teller.” Some people tread that line pretty darned closely. 

  • Tom is quickly becoming a close friend of mine – and I always enjoy our conversations in both the digital and analog worlds.  

    I’m always a bit leery of the notion about ‘creating’ authenticity because in doing so, you’re suggesting that it is a tactic that can be employed strategically for advancing brand goals and objectives.  Like my good friend Tamsen McMahon (@tamadear:disqus ) has said on her own blog, ‘Whether angel or asshole, you are authentically that.’ There will always be people operating in the blogosphere (or any community for that matter) that relish in being disagreeable and antagonistic. I simply don’t have the time and energy to put up with them, so I use the delete, unfriend and unfollow buttons with intentionality. Let’s not forget that we are responsible for shaping our online experiences – not some external force. 🙂

    One of my ‘flaws’ is that I do seek approval from others – but I’ve learned over the years that openly expressing my opinions and viewpoints (even when they’re not particularly welcomed) are far more beneficial than the alternative. 

  • Tom is quickly becoming a close friend of mine – and I always enjoy our conversations in both the digital and analog worlds.  

    I’m always a bit leery of the notion about ‘creating’ authenticity because in doing so, you’re suggesting that it is a tactic that can be employed strategically for advancing brand goals and objectives.  Like my good friend Tamsen McMahon (@tamadear:disqus ) has said on her own blog, ‘Whether angel or asshole, you are authentically that.’ There will always be people operating in the blogosphere (or any community for that matter) that relish in being disagreeable and antagonistic. I simply don’t have the time and energy to put up with them, so I use the delete, unfriend and unfollow buttons with intentionality. Let’s not forget that we are responsible for shaping our online experiences – not some external force. 🙂

    One of my ‘flaws’ is that I do seek approval from others – but I’ve learned over the years that openly expressing my opinions and viewpoints (even when they’re not particularly welcomed) are far more beneficial than the alternative. 

  • The goal of being liked is ineffective in social media, and I’d argue it’s even more devastating in the consulting world. If the goal is to always be agreeable with your clients and refuse to challenge them in order to keep them happy, you’ll not only be doing a disservice to their business but also likely won’t be in business long yourself. 
    Great post as usual, Mark! 

  • I haven’t seen any numbers on this and don;t even have a feel for a shift. But the social web is run on economy of favors and reciprocity. If you piss people off that goes away. I don’t think you necessarily have to piss people off though to be yourself, be interesting and and be fair.

  • “creating” was not meant to modify authentic. It was meant to modify “voice.”  That is an active and iterative process. I agree that authenticity is not. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • You’re welcome Becky. I’m glad you were here to read it! 

  • Mark:

    Not sure I agree with your concern.

    In the age of Klout and inlfuence-optimization (someone has a book coming out soon on that topic, right?) I suspect that everyone knows that controversy attracts interaction and audiences.

    I fear that the trend will be toward Glenn Beck or MSNBC -type idiocy…

    – Gary

  • Mark, as always a great post and what fantastic comments!  I feel hard-pushed to add anything intelligent apart from to pose the question “does a jerk always know he or she is being a jerk”  If that’s the way you’re wired there’s very little you can do about it except not post!
     
    I also wanted to share something I heard at the weekend about wanting to be liked.  A guy on the radio was talking about the time he interviewed some cod-military leader in one of the smaller African countries and this leader kept insisting that all he wanted was to be liked.  When questioned about why this was so important to him he said that if someone likes you, you can manipulate them to do whatever you want.
     
    I think this is one of the tests carried out to identify a psychopath!  😉

  • The phrase I use is “There’s a fine line between brutal honesty and brutality.” I don’t cross the line.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting about the “likeable” thing…I wonder if there is some culture and gender-based stuff to explore here?

    For example, I value likability and harmonious exchange, seeing enough value in it that I adopted a Southern form of it when I moved to Texas years ago. (NYC culture seemed to value a more overtly “get real,” confrontational style – witness one of my dear friends from that time who still uses a four-letter word that rhymes with “ducking” as a form of conversational italics.)

    I am also aware that, as a woman, choosing to step away from likeability produces a different impact on my (mostly male, tech-savvy) audience than it might for you.

    Well, I need more coffee to explore further, but wonder if other commenters have thoughts on the cultural and gender issues around likeability?

  • I can’t remember a time where the web wasn’t populated by a certain number of idiots some of whom are proud to announce that they are “assholes.” 

    They think that because they own the title it serves as some sort of mitigating factor when all it does is make me want to punch them in the mouth a second time, but I digress.

    I want to read a post that outlines the person’s position on topic XYZ. It is possible to do so without being a complete jerk. Sometimes it doesn’t come across well because of how it is written, but it is possible.

    I agree with Mark about the need to shed being liked and to try to write fairly about whatever it is we are writing about. I would add that part of the problem is that people lack faith in their writing and perhaps in their conviction.

  • Fair is certainly a good thing to strive for. You have an opinion to share, and doing so fairly, without needlessly cutting others down, is admirable. 

    However, is simply striving for ‘fair’ and being respected for your fairness enough? Is being a reporter presenting a balanced view enough? For many, I don’t think it is. We cannot simply be fair, we need to have a point of view, presented with respect for other people.

    If you have ever heard the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”, I think you will agree it also captures what is happening in blogging and social media today. Attacks have become personal, often looking to discredit an idea through discrediting the individual, rather than focusing on the ideas themselves and avoiding tearing down an individual. 

    When we are willing focus on the issue, instead of on the propagator of it, we have far more civil and production conversations, even when we are in disagreement.

    Likability? That’s apparently just for Facebook likes, right? 

    Great post, as always, thanks for making me stop and think!

  • Fair is certainly a good thing to strive for. You have an opinion to share, and doing so fairly, without needlessly cutting others down, is admirable. 

    However, is simply striving for ‘fair’ and being respected for your fairness enough? Is being a reporter presenting a balanced view enough? For many, I don’t think it is. We cannot simply be fair, we need to have a point of view, presented with respect for other people.

    If you have ever heard the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”, I think you will agree it also captures what is happening in blogging and social media today. Attacks have become personal, often looking to discredit an idea through discrediting the individual, rather than focusing on the ideas themselves and avoiding tearing down an individual. 

    When we are willing focus on the issue, instead of on the propagator of it, we have far more civil and production conversations, even when we are in disagreement.

    Likability? That’s apparently just for Facebook likes, right? 

    Great post, as always, thanks for making me stop and think!

  • Guest

    Fair is certainly a good thing to strive for. You have an opinion to share, and doing so fairly, without needlessly cutting others down, is admirable. 

    However, is simply striving for ‘fair’ and being respected for your fairness enough? Is being a reporter presenting a balanced view enough? For many, I don’t think it is. We cannot simply be fair, we need to have a point of view, presented with respect for other people.

    If you have ever heard the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”, I think you will agree it also captures what is happening in blogging and social media today. Attacks have become personal, often looking to discredit an idea through discrediting the individual, rather than focusing on the ideas themselves and avoiding tearing down an individual. 

    When we are willing focus on the issue, instead of on the propagator of it, we have far more civil and production conversations, even when we are in disagreement.

    Likability? That’s apparently just for Facebook likes, right? 

    Great post, as always, thanks for making me stop and think!

  • That is a really great observation. My friend Amy Howell (@howellmarketing:twitter ) says that she is patient enough to know that first you have to give the client what they want, then work to give them what they need. I think that is a key trait to being a successful consultant. : )  Thanks Helen!

  • Excellent lesson.

  • I’ll have to think about that one. Whether online or offline I do think there is something to be said for likability as a source of power and influence. I cna think of a number of people who created an entire career out of it : )  Thanks Garrett. Thought-provoking as always! : ) 

  • Philosophically correct. Difficult to execute!! : )   

  • What an entertaining comment Neil. Much appreciated. And I agree with the first part.  I’ve been skeptical about this “be authentic” mantra on the social web. What if you suck? : ) 

  • Wow. You have opened up a ducking can of worms here. Really wonderful points to explore. An entire new blog post probably. Maybe two. There are some weird gender and cultural issues on the social web to be sure. Now … do I want to go there?  Yeah, probably. Maybe you can help me think this through.

  • Beautifully said. Truly,  Your comment is better than my post Jack.

    The other mask people hide behind is “snark.” No. You are being an ass and “snark” doesn’t coat it with sugar.

  • It means a lot to me that you took the time to flesh out these thoughts Eric. Thank you!

    I want to distinguish between fair and balanced.  I do try to be balanced when warranted but I’m also not afraid to take a position — which is different than being balanced. I’m not trying to be the “news” and I am accountable for my views.  I’m only saying that it is possible and desirable to be fair when taking a position. I think that leads to respect.

    Many thanks! 

  • And I would still say, “Go Steelers.” Largely because I am an ass. : ) 

  • You have most certainly earned my respect. Your desire to treat others with respect, both agreement and disagreement, and the thoughtfulness of the positions you take, both popular and unpopular, have both been critical. 

    Your comment here is an excellent example. Yes, dissenting from my view (only a little bit, mostly just better said!!), delivered with respectfully such that I appreciate the response. 

    I have a lot to learn from you Sir!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the post should be a “he sez, she sez” dialogue? I do think it’s worth going there – and after all, given this is MLK Day, it’s timely to consider exploring issues related to social media, diversity, and different cultures. It might stir some things up – and it would at least stir my brain cells up!

  • That was exactly the format I followed the first time I covered the subject: 
     Is blogging a man’s job?vsb.li/ETGBhf

  • Mark,
    This post was just what I needed after a long day dealing with difficult people. I am happy to be challenged to think, not just by you, but by the other members of the community. When I moved to southwest Virginia a few years ago (native New Yorker am I; never lost my NY “edge” despite 23 years in Bal’more) I was told that I was “refreshingly direct” in my first performance review. What that actually meant was that people were perceiving me as brash and abrupt. I often neglected to spend the requisite 5-10 minutes of a meeting inquiring about everyone’s pets, kids, hobbies and spouses, but instead would launch directly into the business at hand. I was taken aback. While I have never focused my behavior in such a way as to lead to being liked, it turned out that I was surrounding myself with people who appreciated the directness that  I brought to most situations. Did my new location mean my authentic self would not be liked by my new colleagues? 

    Then I realized that it didn’t matter. I don’t need to be liked in my professional life. But I do need to be respected. And I am. So when I started blogging, I knew that I would sometimes offer opinions that wouldn’t appeal to everyone. But I also knew that if I offered opinions only in areas about which I am passionate, and in which I have some degree of knowledge beyond the typical individual who would read my blog, that I could grow a level of respect and trust with the community. I will only ever tell the truth (as I see it). 

    For me this is working. And also explains why you won’t EVER see me offer an opinion about Tim Tebow or any other football player on my blog or yours. It just wouldn’t be the authentic me.

    Thanks for opening up this topic. I think its great to see the kind of comments and interactions that are here. Respectful and direct. Perfect!

  • Tremendous advice Mark. The whole concept of wanting to be liked is a pretty poor reason to get involved with blogging, especially considering the saturation of so many industries. Today, what stands out are opinions, authenticity, and like you said–being fair.

    Great message here Mark,

    Marcus

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  • Anonymous

    Good points. Of course plenty of bloggers attempt to get around having a potentially controversial opinion by inverting their argument as a provocative title for a post and subsequently withdrawing this sense in the content, but this isn’t enough and readers usually see through it.

  • …but fair should be mandatory too!

  • Interesting observation. And the result? Disappointment! : )

  • Thanks for the encouragement Marcus!

  • I am a big fan of “direct-speak” but I also try to look at the context of the situation. If somebody is in an emotionally fragile state, I try to be sensitive to that. Maybe they need a dose of encouragement more than an injection of feedback : ) 

    You also have me wondering about the built-in authority and respect you enjoy because you wear a lab coat and I do not. For me, I may have to earn trust by first being liked before getting into a position of respect at some point. You wear the badge of respect every day. Would be an interesting discussion. Thanks for your always thought-provoking comments!!

  • Thanks for those very kind words Eric!

  • I’m all for writing what people NEED to read Mark, not just what they want to reinforce ye olde echo chamber. I like to think I have, at least a few times. Jack, Margie and Jason made my points for me.. it is not that I won’t take a stand. I’ll tackle an issue, a topic – if I think I can add something different, substantial to the debate – in a way that supports my biz. But I hate being disagreeable for the sake of it, picking apart a post just to do it, calling out – by name – someone (rather than the ‘bad’ practice), or making a blanket gripe b/c something is negative or off color. Different strokes; and not everything I write and/or share is meant to appeal to EVERYone. Like you say, it’s exhausting to try. So here’s to going after the audience I want, writing what I WANT to write and what I NEED to. FWIW.

  • Although the picture shows me in the white coat uniform of my profession, I actually spend most of my time trying to avoid the white coat like the proverbial plague. I think it puts a boundary between me and my patients; between me and my peers, subordinates or bosses. The real marketing folks make we wear it when they send the photographers out. I also think that getting respect because of one’s title or position is usually short lived. I truly believe it has to be earned to be of any value. And I try to earn it daily. Generally it is by being trusted. And people trust me because they know me, because I have let them know me.

    And yes, I think I am sensitive enough to not be harsh when a person is in an “emotionally fragile state” as you put it. Honesty should not need to be mean.

  • Thanks very much for adding your perspective Davina. 

  • So many good comments, I will just add this. Even if you manage to be successful trying to be liked by everyone (not easy), once you are successful you will be disliked by a certain portion of people just for the mere fact that you are successful. So, you might as well be true to yourself along the way.

    I do believe that you can usually be honest/fair while being tactful and gracious at the same time.

  • That is SUCH a good point. I would not want to cross that line from “respected” to “target.” I’m not sure that is really up to us though, is it? Superb observation Adam. Thanks!

  • Most people prefer to be liked; the right ones choose to say what matters. Being liked by everyone is simply a sign you’re not making enough “ruckus” (to quote Seth Godin).

  • … facts and attitude. Facts alone may make you sound boring. (not the case, though!) 🙂

  • Not trying to be too “linear”, I believe there’s a general (wrong) impression that if a guy says things directly, he’s rude; if a girl does it, she’s just a hard b*tch. It’s a shame, in either case, that direct replies and not giving a damn about likeability are perceived as such negative features of one’s personality.

  • Amen, person I don’t know yet. I’ve always been outspoken, and I have paid the price of being outspoken. I’ve never felt like it did me any great service to say what I really think.

    Although Mark is an exception, he’s encouraged me. WHAT!

  • It always cracks me up when I read a post from someone who says something to the effect of, “Don’t agree with everybody! Go against the flow!” and then the comments read “great point” “I agree” “spot on” etc. I appreciate Loriaustex’s perspective below, because she points out that the ability to be contrary and get away with it is not level across the gender spectrum. So, I disagree with you, Mark! Perhaps men who go against the grain are rewarded, but I argue it’s not the same for women.

    Women who disagree, who speak their minds, are often punished with that “b” word, and it’s not beavis or butthead. I’ve been lucky, blessed even, to cultivate friends who appreciate me. But at work? A mixed bag. Sometimes I get the “finally someone said it” and other times I’ve made enemies who later…got back at me, I’ll leave it at that.

  • Like that. May add ruckus to my bio : ) 

  • You need to get to know Lori. Seriously.

  • I’ve had some bosses who were truly equal opportunity.  They were asses to everybody. 

    I don’t think you can say that all women who go against the grain are punished but I’m not exactly arguing from a position of strength since I’m a man. I can only say that in my own little sliver of the world I really admire women who kick ass … and I would say I am surrounded by them here on {grow} — @loriaustex:disqus @soulati:disqus  @ginidietrich:disqus  @howellmarketing:disqus  and you to name a few!
     

  • The longer I blog, the more I tend to speak my mind. However, I believe in doing so in a way that’s open to discussion of other perspectives. There are certain areas where nothing anyone will say is going to change my thinking, but sometimes comments I get blow my ideas out of the water. And, frankly, I’m cool with that.

    Where I hesitate to wade into discussions is when the potential for the behind the screen nastiness to become epic. I’m all for having even passionate discussion over differing opinions when it stays respectful. Too often, I’ve inadvertently found myself in the middle of a minefield of barbs that were just too much for me to handle. Besides, as I read on Brass Tack Thinking tonight, I sometimes need time to process information before I feel confident with my response. 

    I can honestly say that avoidance of the sticky issues has never been out of a need to be liked.

  • Always good to have someone like you on my team, Mark!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had one of those weeks – out visiting family in Phoenix, more visiting time than planned so running behind on thesis writing, came back to work to prep for an”exec team offsite (whoah, I’m an executive? how did that happen?), then got nasty sick until the morning of said offsite, then went to offsite and tried to help us think through ways to move the business forward while fervently hoping I would not keel over from lightheaded post-sickie feeling, repeat for day two after an evening spent overhauling my marketing plan and budgets. That’s my long way of saying I value you, Mark, and your blog and efforts, to truly miss having the time and energy to pop back in sooner. Oh crud, I am still behind on my thesis…

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