Extra Steps

Plus what's happening this month in the Bento Society

Hi there and welcome to the Bento Society. I’m Yancey Strickler. It’s great to be with you again.

In this issue:

  • Last month in the Bento Society

  • Introducing the Future Us Grant

  • A strategy for dealing with conflict

February in the Bento Society

Here’s what happened last month in the Bento Society:

  1. We launched two seasons of the group experience How to be a Bentoist with 70 participants between them

  2. We held 11 community events (Weekly Bentos, Retro Bentos, three experiments)

  3. The Ideaspace published five interviews with leading thinkers exploring values and self-interest:

Community Skillshare

One February highlight was an event called the Community Skillshare. Three members of the Bento Society were given ten minutes to share a skill and ten minutes to answer questions from the audience.

  • I shared messaging strategies for media interviews

  • Jennifer Newcomb Marine shared how to brainstorm a nonfiction book

  • Kevin Sutardji showed how to use Notion to track your values

Watch a video of the presentations here. Thanks to Jennifer and Kevin for being so generous with their knowledge. The next Community Skillshare will happen on March 28 at 3pm EST. RSVP to attend here.

The Future Us Grant

This month the Bento Society will launch a new initiative: the Future Us Grant, a quarterly $1,500 grant given to projects exploring the frontiers of value and self-interest.

What kinds of projects is the Future Us Grant for?

  • Projects defining or exploring new forms of value

  • Projects defining or exploring new concepts of self

  • Projects supporting or amplifying the voices of future generations

Learn more about the grant or apply for it here. To support the grant, become a member of the Bento Society. The first recipient will be announced later this month.

March events

Extra Steps

One way I make a living is by coaching CEOs. Recently I was speaking with one of my clients, the CEO of a startup with 60-plus employees. 

The CEO told me how they and one of their executives had been disagreeing about something. My client’s initial instinct was to assert their authority, close the issue, and move on. Rather than doing that, however, the CEO decided to open a document instead. 

In that document the CEO first wrote down their opinion on the situation and why. Next they wrote down what the other person thought and why. When the CEO looked at the two opinions side-by-side, they were surprised to find they were 95% the same. It was a tiny area where they differed. 

The CEO sent the document to the executive and asked what they thought. An ensuing conversation resolved the specific issue and revealed something deeper that the disagreement was really about. They were able to make progress on that too.

I was impressed with my client’s decision. “That wasn’t easy to do,” I told them. “It took more energy to write down both perspectives than just flex your authority.”

The CEO laughed. “It seems like it,” they said. “But think about how much energy I saved by doing it this way.”

They were right. Often what can seem like an “extra step” is really the critical, thoughtful step that unlocks better outcomes and prevents a bunch of undesired extra steps later down the line.

Next time you find yourself in conflict, don’t rush in. Try writing down both perspectives first and decide from there.

Peace and love my friends,

Yancey Strickler
The Bento Society

The Bento Society explores the frontiers of what’s valuable and in our self-interest. It hosts weekly events for its global members and supports projects aligned with its mission.

Join the Bento Society