Clearing Archive Roboposter roboposter at lightlink.com
Sat Aug 1 12:06:01 EDT 2020

Toward the goal of being able to better assess for alignment and
misalignment early on, you not only have a list of ideals such as the
common mission statement or want list, you also have a list of deal
killers or misalignments.  This requires some thinking as to what sort of
thing would constitute a misalignment in the situation, what would make
you so upset or uncomfortable that you would want to get out of the
situation, escape, remove someone else from it, or both walk away and
dissolve the game. 

Items on the list of misalignments should be _attended_ to early and even
_spoken about_ openly, even if the list is unofficial (in contrast to a
mission statement). Part of the problem is there are so may ways to get
something very wrong, that it's hard to list them all, impossible really.
However, we do have some past experience to go on, and the more we know a
road, the more we know where the potholes are.  It's scarcity and naivete
that lead us to fail to check for misalignments. If we're naive, we don't
know what to look for, even when there is a major problem staring us in
the face.  If we're in scarcity, we will ignore the early warning signs,
not discuss them, pretend that important things are not important, expect
to train or retrain them out, hope they will just go away, or jockey back
and forth between horror and incredulity as misalignments show up. We
accept and pursue what we shouldn't accept and pursue because we're trying
to be tolerant or we rationalize the problem away, or just expect it to
get ironed out over time.

I think much difficulty lies is in 1) pursuing one's own goals to narrowly
and 2) lack of empathy, not putting oneself into the other guy's shoes to
see what information they would likely need to make an informed decision
early on - a very natural telepathic act. What kind of ideas do you have,
what are your methods and ways of doing things, that they would abhor if
they knew about it.  So instead of positioning and hiding, we have
openness, high willingness to walk away, care for the other person's long
term well being on his terms, and a huge respect for both parties as
persons and respect for both of their resources.  We also have to be
willing to risk a bit, because if people are too skittish and are too
willing to run out the door, then they don't get to know each other, so
nothing happens and all you have is interviews and no project.

Look back on various interactions and projects that went sour,
and ask yourself the questions to explore or inspect misalignment:

What information would I liked to have had, 
that I didn't get,
which could reasonably have been had, 
within the first hour of our contact? 
within the first 15 minutes of our contact? 
within the first month of our contact?

What information do I feel was withheld from me
until late in the game, or too late?

Was I or the other party in scarcity about something?
If so, what scarcities were there, which may have led
us to hide or run past misalignments?

What communications should have been more open?
Who? what should have been said?

What questions could have been asked early on that
would have smoked out the misalignment?
   questions in the first 15 minutes
   questions in the first hour
   questions in the first month

What happened that I felt trapped or betrayed?
(run 4 flows on this theme)

What intuitive information did show up for me
very early on that I ignored or rationalized away?
How did that make a difference in the course of what happened?
What would I do differently if I had it to do over again today?

What stands could I have communicated or expressed 
early on that would have exposed a misalignment?

What concerns could I have communicated or expressed
early on that would have exposed a misalignment?

In retrospect, what did I hide or neglect to talk about early on
that would have given the other party the information they
needed to know to make an informed decision?

How could I take more responsibility in the future for
surfacing misalignments and deal killers early on?

C.B. Willis
January 21, 1998
| cbwillis at netcom.com            | "Values are the infrastructure   |
|                                |  upon which civilization         |
|                                |  will be reinvented."  - CBW     |

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