ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Friday, June 29, 2018

Safety in the wsorkplace

Safety from Violence in the Workplace – and School Room

It is important to note that in all of these cases, it is the loner, the misfit, the person who is uncomfortable in their own skin that erupts into violence.

Until we recognize this fact, and take action to help these people, not tease them, all the bars, and locked doors and police-presence won’t stop the violence.

Do you remember ESL?  That was a situation in which Richard Wade Farley (probably “on the spectrum”) was ridiculed and teased and exploded with violence.  The back-story was his unrequited crush on a lovely co-employee named (if I recall correctly) Laura Black.   Since he was never able to get her to go out with him – and her complaints to her employers were pretty much ignored, he went to some of the male co-workers asking for advice.  They told him that women liked “strong men.”  So he dressed up like Rambo, guns and all and as he entered ESL intending to show off to her, some people laughed at him and he exploded.  (This is information I gained from talking with several people who knew the situation.)

Think about all the kids that thought they were showing off or getting even by coming to school and shooting people.  What did they all have in common?  Yes, they were socially awkward and felt like outsiders – or people unfairly victimized by “the system”

I just spent the better part of the last three days working with a board of directors persuading them to put the needs of the people before money.  Finally, they did and the expected outcome of what might have been an awful situation is much better.  It has become a win-win for all concerned.

Treating people with courtesy and kindness will go far further to ensure safety in the workplace and school-room than all the locked doors, etc. 

By that I don’t mean that we should not hold people accountable, or make business decisions rather than emotional ones.  It’s how we do it, that matters.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Emotional Intelligence needed to Manage others

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence
ArLyne Diamond, Ph.D.

I’ve been consulting here in Silicon Valley and other parts of the country – indeed other parts of the world for over 30 years.
What do I find?  C-level leaders tell me that they have great difficulty promoting their talented people into management – because they lack “soft skills.”   Translation – they have poor social skills and are low on EQ.

Much of the work I do – although it always has other names – such as management training, communication skills, conflict resolution, etc. – is really about helping people improve their ability to “walk in another man’s shoes.”  Sensitivity to others.

It’s also about noticing the social clues.  If more brilliant technical people had these skills, we would have far fewer complaints of sexual harassment.  Why?  Because most of what we call harassment (to irritate or annoy) comes from awkward and mis-guided attempts to be friendly.  I hasten to add, I am not referring to abuse or bullying, but those behaviors that some men find “cute” and most women dislike.

So, what is emotional intelligence?

Let’s start with a definition of emotion.  Dr. Nathaniel Branden described an emotion as “an instantaneous psycho- somatic response to a value judgment.”   That means, your mind and body are connected and you have a reaction immediately to a stimulus based on your prior experience with that stimulus or similar ones. 

Let me give you an example of what I mean:

A police officer walks into the room.   What’s your immediate reaction?

  • ·       If he is your husband coming to pick you up after work, you would have a pleasant reaction. 
  • ·       If you had recently reported an expensive piece of jewelry as stolen, you might have a positive anticipatory reaction thinking he was coming to tell you your jewelry was found.
  • ·       On the other hand, if you were the thief, you would experience fear wondering if he had come to arrest you.

See what I mean?  Same stimulus – different reactions based on past experience.

OK – that’s emotion.  What’s emotional intelligence or EQ?   It is your responses to a test that measures several factors, including how you understand yourself as well as how you understand and respond to others. 

One measurement device from Multi-Health Systems, Inc. offers an instrument they call EQ-I. (I am certified in this instrument.)  It measures:

·       Self-Perception Composite
o   Self-Regard
o   Self-Actualization
o   Emotional Self-Awareness
Self-Expression Composite
o   Emotional Expression
o   Assertiveness
o   Independence
Interpersonal Composite
o   Interpersonal Relationships
o   Empathy
o   Social Responsibility
Decision Making Composite
o   Problem-Solving
o   Reality Testing
o   Impulse Control
Stress Management Composite
o   Flexibility
o   Stress Tolerance
o   Optimism

In his handout for Leadership, Dr. Raley Nadler the CEO of True North Leadership quoting Cherniss and Coleman) states:   “Emotional Intelligence affects the quality of relationships and emerges through relationships.”

You cannot successfully manage and motivate the best in others if you don’t try to understand them and interact with them accordingly.

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“Raise the Bar – Make Things Better”

“Raise the Bar – Make Things Better”

That was my contract.

What do Change management, culture, conflict, creativity, conflict, cooperation, crisis, compliance, and control have to do with each other?  The answer:  They represent the range of work I do when asked to “Raise the Bar – Make Things Better.”

I am unlike many consultants who come into an organization with a narrow specialty that results in a written report with recommendations that most companies never bother to follow.  I’m also unlike the “talking head” or junior associate of a large consulting firm that is merely parroting words from her power point presentation that has been created by someone else.

Why am I different?  Because I have over 30 years of consulting experience, many years of actually working – and managing – in the business world and bring a multi-faceted approach which includes business, psychology, education, law, and a smattering of other disciplines to my work.

How am I different?  When you hire me, you get me.  That’s my experience, insight, and ability to help you communicate better.  I work WITH people rather than at them.  I am not afraid of emotion – and help people resolve conflict, increase cooperation and communication.  By freeing people from hiding things under the rug and being resentful, talking issues through and cooperating to find mutually acceptable solutions results in increased creativity and productivity.  The culture becomes more positive because the conflict has been resolved.  This is real change management.

I help people bring out the best in themselves and others.  This includes Professional Development, Management training (how to treat people as works best for them) and Leadership Development – including coaching, shadowing, and problem-solving.

Because of my business background, I am also able to work with teams on process improvement.  Again, by making it safe for them to talk about processes that could have been simplified – as well as by sharing my own observations and knowledge.

There are many letters of reference and testimonials from clients on my website:  Please refer to them and you will see what I have done for other clients in the past.   You may also contact me:  408-554-0110 or

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Emergency Room - Customer service

Emergency Room Customer Service

I was appalled when reading how an ER Doc treated a patient at El Camino Hospital. 

Having recently been a patient there myself – although not in the ER – it was astonishing because I’ve been bragging about El Camino Hospital based on my own experience in December.  I’ve been calling it the Ritz Carlton of Hospitals.

It’s especially appalling because I’ve consulted to emergency rooms of hospitals on the very subject of customer service.
Dr. Keegstra allegedly said to the patient “I’m sorry sir, you were the least sick of all the people who are here who are dying.”  What a poor choice of words.

When I consult to ER’s I teach the administrative, nursing and medical staff how to be apologetic in a nice way to those left waiting because more seriously injured people are triaged into the inner sanctum first.

I suggest:  “Please accept our apologies for keeping you waiting so long.  We had a few people who might have died had they not been rushed in before you.  I hope you understand.

I also suggest that the ER staff be tolerant of the patient who explodes with curses upon being let in after a long wait in the waiting room.  Patients need to be treated with respect and courtesy no matter how upset or unkempt they might appear.

It would be great if the staff serving the incoming patient who is ambulatory and not in need of immediate medical attention have coffee, tea, orange juice or even water to offer the person who will be left waiting – perhaps for hours.

Be kind.  Be thoughtful.  

Remember, he or she is scared and hurting even though you realize because you are experienced that they aren’t necessarily an emergency at all.

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American's Role in the World - Chas. Krauthhammer

America’s Role in the World
BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER as recalled by Marc A. Thiesen
Unlike Rome or Britain or other classical empires, Americans do not hunger for territory.  We like it here.  We like our football.  We like our rock ‘n’ roll.  We’ve got the4 Grand Canyon and Graceland.  We’ve got everything.  We are not an imperial power, but commercial republic that by pure accident of history has been designated custodian of the international system. …
We Democratic Realism:  which sees as the engine of history not the will to power but the will to freedom.  America will support democracy everywhere, but we will commit blood and treasure only in places where there is a strategic necessity.  Put another way, we will intervene where it counts.

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Good The Bad and the Ugly

The Good The Bad and The Ugly
ArLyne Diamond, Ph.D.

#MeToo is doing an enormous amount of good in highlighting what had been on-going and unreported abusive behavior.  No longer will management upon getting a complaint get away with saying “boys will be boys” and “just suck it up.”  No longer will young girls be abused – indeed raped – by those they were taught to trust and respect.  That’s the good.
The Bad – the pendulum has swung too far and every tiny little piece of silliness is being equated with serious abuse and they are all being lumped into one category.  People’s jobs and reputations are being ruined.  Too, we are minimizing the seriousness of serious abuse by lumping clumsy attempts at friendliness or teasing in with them.
The Ugly – this accusation has become a political weapon.  All you have to do is accuse someone and they lose their political clout (and votes) whether running for office or a member of the management team in a company or government office.  We no longer presume innocent until proven guilty.  The accused is painted with the Scarlet Letter.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hot House Flowers

Are we going too far?  Will all our demands for safety backfire?   The latest that concerns me greatly is the rejection of working in open spaces as being equivalent to being seen at a nude beach.   I think that is ridiculous and over-kill.

Have we become hot house flowers - so weak and vulnerable that we need all this special protection?   Will we be wearing burkas next (no disrespect intended  to those who are more comfortable in burkas)   By that I mean, do we need to start hiding to feel safe?

We fought so hard for equality.  Why are we fighting now to be coddled?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Timing is eveything

Last night at the City Council meeting I found myself having mixed thoughts and mixed emotions.  I was emphatic and proud of the young women who came forward to complain that they felt uncomfortable because of Dominic Casserta's unwanted attention towards them.  Proved to me, whether I liked it or not, that Dom was a sleezy jerk.

Yet, I was also bothered because as the night progressed the words used to describe him and his behavior became more and more extreme.  He went from being a jerk to being bully (fair enough) to being a predator (not so sure) to being a pedophile (not so!.)

I found myself thinking this is an example of mob psychology - the emotions and rhetoric builds on itself and becomes nastier and nastier - angrier and angrier.  in another era this would have built itself to a lynching mob.  Good thing we are at least somewhat more civilized - and of course, we had our police there.

I also found myself having mixed emotions about the role of our Mayor and City Council members.  On the one hand I applauded them for taking the time and trouble to bring this to light and to allow so many people to express their feelings.  I could see how touched our City Council members were as they listened.

Yet, the cynic in me couldn't help wondering about the timing.  Dom has taken unpopular positions on the council and there are those who would have liked to see him gone - having nothing to do with the accusations.  Was this a set up?   Did our Mayor and her team find people they knew who had made complaints years ago bring them up again?

Too Dom is running for County Supervisor.  So too is another man I know - and he too is now being vilified for harassment behaviors that were alleged to have happened years ago.

Why now?  Has the #MeToo movement reminded people of events from long ago and given them the helping hand to be strong and come forward now.  YES, a resounding YES.

BUT, I can't help but wonder at the timing.  Has the movement also made it all too convenient for those running for office to be destroyed by their opponents?

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Should harassment be treated the same as abuse?

I abhor sexual abuse - or abuse of any kind for that matter.  I am delighted that #MeToo has brought out so many people (mostly women - but some men) to tell about what happened to them YEARS AGO and some recently.

BUT to ruin lives about some stupid remark, or awkward requests for dates doesn't seem fair at all.

I find it particularly obnoxious that now that we are in an election cycle so many people (mostly men) runnint for office are being accused publicly of alleged behavior that happened so many years ago.

Rape - violence - abuse - should be prosecuted without a statute of limits.  Harassment - meaning annoying, irritating and often stupid behavior should have a statute of limitations.  Either you report it formerly within six months or it can't be made public..... That's the only fair way to apply due process to what would be  an infraction or misdemeanor at most.

YES, let's stop harassment, abuse, rape forever.   But how far back are you willing to go to ruin someone's reputation, profession and possibly life because of some stupid inappropriate behavior that happened more than 10 years ago. 

Should we be treating these stupid harassing behaviors the same as violence, abuse, rape?

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