Sunday, July 15, 2018

Feeling Pressured to An Opinion

It was one of those 40 collaboration calls I've been on to figure out what is people's contents that was special because of the way it ended up being set up. The discussion was as usual. There were a few of us having a discussion on an intriguing topic. The original topic was way too big for a single talk, and we collaborated on what would the pieces of focus look like that we would consider. 30 minute talks about everything between life and death don't do so well and don't end up selected, so we always seek something in a call that really has a fighting chance.

As I ended the call, a friend in the room expressed they had been listening in saying "You can't seriously consider you'd take *that* into the conference program".

I was taken back but was stupid enough to budge under pressure to confirm that I wasn't seriously thinking of it. Even though I actually am. I always am.

Because of my failure to - again - stick up to what I believe and let a verbal bully run over me, I felt like I wasn't true to my values. But I also learned that while in the moment I may be run over, I always come back to fix what I did wrong. So a few hours later, I expressed my annoyance of the style of communication, and recognizing the added bias of this negative interaction, I'm more carefully taking the advice of the two other excited co-organizers I had on that call.

Looking at the interaction a little more was funny in the light of a discussion a few hours later on how  awesome visual thinking strategies (a lesson by Lisa Crispin) are in identifying when you're doing an observation and when you're doing an inference.

Observations are the facts. The exact words the person would use in a call. What you can visually verify. What you can sense with your senses without adding judgment.

Inferences are not facts. They are your observations mixed with your experiences. They are your biases at play. And the reason we teach the difference in testing (and try to practice it), is to recognize the difference and seek fairness.

What the friend didn't see fit in the conference program was only unfit through their biases and experiences of when people are collaborative and when they are pushy. There's room for pushy people like them pressuring me to opinions I need to come back defending, so I'm sure there's room for all sorts of people.

Software is easy but people are hard. And combination of the two is fascinating.