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The Rubber Band Rule of Respect

The Rubber Band Rule of Respect: 7 Forms of Respect, communication skills in the workplace

Dr. Julie Pham

Dr. Julie Pham

Dr. Julie Pham is the founder and CEO of CuriosityBased, an organizational development firm based in Seattle. Dr. Pham has been recognized with numerous awards for her community leadership. She has applied her community building approach to building strong, collaborative, and curious teams. She was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and raised in Seattle. Dr. Pham earned her Ph.D. in history at Cambridge University as a Gates Cambridge Scholar and she graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley as a Haas Scholar. She earned her real life MBA by running her family’s Vietnamese language newspaper during the Great Recession. She has worked as a journalist, historian, university lecturer, marketer, nonprofit executive, and management consultant.

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0:01 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Welcome to the Nonprofit Exchange This is Hugh Ballou with co-host David Dun. Worth Center Vision Leadership Foundation is where we help leaders articulate their vision and create synergy around the vision, hence the name Center Vision. It’s the synergy of what we do as leaders. It’s similar to what we create as conductors and musicians in orchestras and choirs. It’s the ensemble of the culture. Our guest today is Julie, Fm, Phd, Julius here from Seattle, Washington. And Julie, tell us a little bit about your background, you know, just a wee bit about who you are and what prepared you to do this really great work that you’re doing.

0:47 – Hugh Ballou really important part of my identity. I’m a Vietnamese refugee. Both person. My parents and I came here when I was two months old and they started the 1st privately owned Vietnamese language newspaper in the Pacific Northwest. I got my training as a historian and I decided that I didn’t want to stay in academia and so I left academia and I came back to Seattle in two thousand eight start a great recession to help run my family’s Vietnamese newspaper that’s where I got my real life MBA and this is important I think for your audience because I started volunteering a lot I started joining non profit boards I and so I actually feel that my non profit work my volunteering was part of was part of my special topics in getting that real life mba in learning how to communicate how to how to fund raise.

1:38 – Hugh Ballou And then I ended up actually the best job I ever had was six years as an executive of community engagement at a nonprofit that worked with the, the tech industry. And that was before I started my company Curiosity based and again in the middle of the pandemic. So I seem to recession, pandemic, Those are times for big changes.

1:56 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. That’s where people that really are motivated get something going. Everybody else is calling back, So kudos to you, kudos to you now. Our title today of this is The Rubber Band Rule of respect Seven forms of respect. Communication skills in the workplace So give us an overview of what we’re going to talk about, what’s that all about?

2:18 – Hugh Ballou Well, so when people think about respect, they think about the Golden Rule, treat people the way you want to be treated. And so the thing is with the Golden Rule, what if people don’t want to be treated the way you want to be treated? And then there’s the platinum rule, which is treat people the way they want to be treated. Well, what if you don’t want to treat them the way they want to be treated? So there’s actually I want to have the rubber band rule, which I will get to all. Explain what the rubber band rule is.

2:43 – Hugh Ballou It shows though, how respect is dynamic, it’s subjective, it’s relative in its contradictory.

2:51 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Oh, I love it. This is the way I think, David. She must have been lead.

2:55 – David Dunworth I think she’s been sneaking in your house on.

2:59 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. So Julie. Your focus is on curiosity. What does curiosity have to do with respect?

3:06 – Hugh Ballou This is even though some forms are respected. It’s a communication relationship framework. I actually think of it as a tool to spark curiosity. We talk about respect or it’s a tool to spark curiosity around respect. We talk about respect as if it’s fixed and universal, so David, David and I can go back and say, David, I need you to respect me and Dave’s like, Julie, I am respecting you and we go back and forth, back and forth. This happens a lot in the workplace. We needed respect here, we’re being disrespectful.

3:33 – Hugh Ballou And yet what’s happening is we actually have different ideas and we talk about it as if we mean the same thing, though we talk about it as if it’s this universal idea of respect and it’s not. And that’s why we need to practice curiosity around what do respect mean to each other at 1st, actually to myself. Because actually a lot of times. Ps I can say I want respect, I want respect, but I actually have an ask myself what does that mean? And if I don’t know what it means to me, how do I expect someone else to know it?

4:04 – Hugh Ballou So I have to get curious with myself. 1st.

4:07 – David Dunworth Well, that’s a pretty deep stuff. I like it. Now, Julie, in your book, you know, you talk about the seven forms of respect, but what’s that all about? What do you what do you mean by the seven forms of respect?

4:22 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Yes.

4:26 – Hugh Ballou I just want to say some forms of respect, more works, more like for, for those in your audience, the five love languages. As in it’s about choosing Pm, which are the ones that matter to me. It’s not like seven habits of highly effective people. So I just gotta be really clear because sometimes people see seven forms of respect and they think, oh, this is gonna teach me how to be respectful and I need to do all seven forms. It’s actually about figuring which are the forms that, that I prioritize, that matter to me.

4:53 – Hugh Ballou And so I got a bookmark here, see this bookmark. These are the seven forms. It’s uh, there’s procedure, punctuality, Information, candor, consideration, acknowledgement, and attention. And these are, these are all the different forms, and some of them I, I prioritize, they matter to me, and others I don’t. So I’ll give you an example of attention. So you think, oh, deep listening. Deep listening is respectful for other people. It’s like multitasking is a sign of performance.

5:22 – Hugh Ballou If you can’t multitask, that means that you’re not quick, right? And so it’s, it shows that how with each of these forms they can actually be relative.

5:35 – David Dunworth Interesting. Yeah, you. What you’ve said has already changed my view on everything because I never looked at it that way. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

5:46 – Hugh Ballou Oh, a lott of people are like, wait a minute because you be like respect is respect, what do you mean? There are different kinds of respect, no respect is respect and actually thing is we can agree on what respect feels like, Feeling seen, heard, acknowledged, appreciated What we disagree about is what does it look like, What does it look like, For some people, multitasking is so, so disrespectful. In other people. It’s not a big deal, it’s just reflects the reality of the life that we are, the fast paced world that we are living in.

6:24 – Hugh Ballou And and yet we kind of all, we have these thoughts like multitasking on their phone and we don’t say anything. And so it’s, it’s about being able to have conversations and to practice curiosity around it.

6:42 – David Dunworth Thanks, That’s this is fun.

6:46 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Thank you for that question, David. There’s a good, a big piece of communication here which is about relationship, isn’t it? So I, David, really does respect you, I’m sure.

7:00 – Hugh Ballou feel the respect David.

7:03 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. So your book Now tell us about the book and what inspired you to write the book?

7:11 – Hugh Ballou There was the Epiphany moment, and then after, and then, looking back, there was my My community building, my lived experience, and then the research. So I remember I was speaking on this panel on leadership and someone in the audience said, I’m really trying to get my coworker to trust me. And they’re just like, and I’m doing all these things, but I can’t get them to trust me. I don’t know what to do. And I said, well, maybe you’re telling him all about your personal life and what he really wants is for you to show up on time.

7:42 – Hugh Ballou That’s, and that would be what you needed to do to get his trust. And that was my kind of like, Oh. And I said it’s, it’s like kind of like the five level languages, maybe you have different ideas of what to do there. And so then I was, so my 1st question when I started writing this book was when I started thinking about this was I didn’t have the word respect to. I just would ask, how do you want to be treated? How do you want to be treated? And then so I look back on my community building work, like I said when I was at the newspaper.

8:09 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. you what.

8:09 – Hugh Ballou volunteering with nonprofits, right? And I did a lot of bringing together people from very different backgrounds, and what I noticed was there would be friction that would emerge because they had different ideas of how they wanted to be how they wanted to be treated. So that was, that’s one influence is the community building work. I actually think non profit experience so critical to just where I am to where I am now, because I think being in the nonprofit space really exposes us to lots of different people.

8:39 – Hugh Ballou So that’s one is the community building. The 2nd is my lived experience. So growing up Vietnamese in the Us and then having lived in the Uk, Germany, France and Vietnam as an adult in all of those different places. I mean David, you said you lived in, you were in the military, so you know, you know.

8:58 – David Dunworth Been, yeah, a few years.

9:00 – Hugh Ballou And you know how. You can go all those different places and respect and how we treat each other, those expectations change. Yes, right? And so that was, yeah, and that was part of my lived experience. And then the 3rd thing that, that Inspired actually the respect part was once I started doing the research, once I started conducting the focus groups and, and questionnaires and refining, and then people kept saying I want to be treated with respect and that’s when I said, what does it respect mean to you?

9:31 – Hugh Ballou And that’s when they kept talking about the goals and rule. And so that’s, those are the three things that inspired the book.

9:37 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Well, you know.

9:39 – David Dunworth Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I’m sorry. Did you have something?

9:43 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. That’s such an important perspective. I was going to be picky here, Dave, and do a Part B of my question. I’m sorry. So that’s just a reframing and and we want to treat people like we want to be treated, and that’s deadly sometimes. Don’t want people treat me that way and you know that I’m just resonating. That was so, that was so much. So you, you were inspired to write the book, but what I heard is you also were inspired because people needed something and you had a message to share. What was your, what was the experience?

10:17 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. And if people have, if you haven’t written a book. David’s working on a new book. I’ve got twelve working on 13, but it’s, it’s, what’s your experience having written a book? How did that change you, How did that empower you?

10:30 – Hugh Ballou well. Let say, I just gotta say this is my 2nd book, my 1st book is so different. It was about the South Vietnamese military perspective of the Vietnam War. That was based on my undergraduate thesis. And then, and then there’s this book. And so I think that. The thing about writing a book is that it’s like, I mean, I don’t have any children. Imagine that we put all our hopes and dreams and expressions of ourselves in this, and then we release it to the world. And then they’re going to interact with it and we don’t know how they’re going to interact with it and so actually I self published both the times my books and the second time I did it with an indie go go campaign and I fundraised that way and I had got over three hundred supporters in the book to pledge and I know and and and I remember I felt like it was because I shared it with people that it was not just mine anymore and that was part of this, the communities and I also had to be accountable to them.

11:40 – Hugh Ballou So for me it was like I need to get this book done because I committed to this. And so then just before the book came out, I ended up writing a letter that I called dear book, and it was as if I was writing to a child like the it’s going to come out in the world and I don’t know what people are going to think and what’s been really fascinating, because the book came out in may twenty twenty two how we have learned so much like in conversations like this how to talk about things in more detail.

12:09 – Hugh Ballou That, oh gosh, that’s not in the book, right? Because it came out afterwards and Did you have that experience when you when you wrote yours? It’s like, Oh, I wish I had done. Now that I’m talking about it more, I wish I’d included it in the book. But that’s what another edition is for.

12:25 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. I’m on the 4th edition of my 1st book and I just write a new book or an e book or whatever. Now that I stepped all over David’s question, I’m gonna back up and let him ask it.

12:34 – David Dunworth that, that’s quite all right, that’s quite all right. And with regard to the, oh, I wish that was in the book, yeah, I, I’ve done 2nd and 3rd editions, so yeah, that’s what you know,

12:45 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. That’s W.

12:47 – David Dunworth But let’s go back to your nonprofit volunteer days and, and the Respect concept and growing community and that sort of thing. And building relationships, does that work with non props and boards per se. Let’s talk maybe an example or two about it. You said you served on board Help us out understand a little bit with perhaps an example or so.

13:07 – Hugh Ballou Yes, it served in lock, yeah. Yeah, so I’ll just say that respect lives in layers and organizations. And so I’m going to give you the knowledge of language, all right. So if you think about There’s the organization as a whole, so this is the nonprofit as a whole, right? And then and then typically it’s the board that’s the leadership of the, and the executive director, but really the executive director is embodying the, the, what the board wants. So whatever they say are the forms of respect, what they’re prioritizing, that’s the national language.

13:45 – Hugh Ballou And then within that nonprofit staff, there could be, hey, here’s our fundraising team and here is our client team, like whoever we’re serving. And then here’s our program team, right? And they all have their own leaders too. And so I think of whatever those leaders are prioritizing, that’s what we, it’s like regional dialects.

14:10 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Hey.

14:11 – Hugh Ballou And then there’s me. I’m the individual. I have my own wants and needs, too, right? And you know who can succeed best in an organization. Are those who are multilingual, where I can be with the staff and I can also be with the board. And so it’s interesting when I work with nonprofits versus when I’m working with just a, with a with a private company or when I’m working with government. Because there’s actually depending on some organizations have a lot of connection between the board and the staff and others it’s just the board’s like, oh, the staff is up there, oh sorry, the staff thinks so the board is up there, right?

14:51 – Hugh Ballou And and it’s okay actually for when we are in our own group, to have our own, our own forms of respect that we prior Prioritize, right? It’s okay if the board, when they’re just with each other, it’s like, oh, we’re going to prioritize this. Prioritize candor and yeah, maybe and the staff, but when they’re interacting with the staff, then we think about the Or as a whole. No, we’re going to prior, prioritize acknowledgement. So also another thing is In the nonprofit sector, it’s the, it’s not always about pay, right?

15:24 – Hugh Ballou You’re not, you’re not always going to get as competitive pay when working corporate. So maybe acknowledgement is going to be more important because of that. And so the nature of the work. Actually will have an influence on the forms of respect. And the thing that I really try to help organizations do is get away from thinking about what’s nice to have, what we should have, because that’s respectful to thinking about what is our work together,

15:48 – David Dunworth Yeah.

15:49 – Hugh Ballou what are we doing And what are we doing on this team? And then what are we doing as an Or? And if we could think about it that way, what are the forms of respect do we need to prioritize to uphold? That mission. And I will say with nonprofits it is easier to think in terms of mission. Sometimes actually to the detriment of the individual. It’s like, oh, and there can be a bit of altruism with nonprofits too. Where she is, well, I have to, I have to totally suppress my individual wants and needs because it’s about the mission and, and we try to get people to think, well.

16:25 – Hugh Ballou It’s not just about the mission, it’s all about the nature of the work too, and how we work together.

16:33 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Whoa, thanks. I get I, I’m thinking about this uh, disrespect thing and it, you know, it gets more intense as you get older. I can say that because I’m an old guy, so, you know, but we do bring value to the workplace because there’s collective knowledge that all guys have and the more gray hair I get,

16:52 – David Dunworth Yeah.

16:52 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. the more I learn from all of my. Some people call them mistakes, I call them learning opportunity and so, but their respect. Thing and when I feel like I’m not respected, it’s like they’re wasting my time. Ask me to show up and then they’re running a stupid meeting which we’re not doing anything. And I, you know, I, that’s one of my triggers. Do you, you feel comfortable saying what are some of your triggers? And you feel like you’re not respected and how do you deal with it?

17:20 – Hugh Ballou Oh, gosh um. What the punctuality is really important to me and we actually in the forms of respect, we encourage people to think about why I feel a lot of anxiety around it. Like I feel a lot of, I actually feel physical anxiety around time. It actually has to do with my mom picking me up late from school when I was a kid and I still, it still kind of comes back and so I let people know, hey, this is one, it’s important and this is when it’s not important or actually when someone’s saying hey, I’m late rather than saying that’s okay, it’s like, thanks for acknowledging that, which is different.

18:00 – Hugh Ballou You’re not saying you’re a horrible person. She is like, Thanks for, thanks for acknowledging that.

18:06 – David Dunworth I got the I’m, I’m right there with you on the punctuality thing because of the way I was raised. You know, 10 min early is on time, being on time is late. Literally got that beaten into me. So yeah, I get physically an upset stomach. I’m nauseous.

18:28 – Hugh Ballou And and, yeah, and you were in the military too, right?

18:31 – David Dunworth eight years, yeah.

18:33 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. So was I so. And when you I’m also a conductor, when you got you pay it for two hour gig is a union orchestra, you and you end on time. If not, you’re paying overtime. So it’s really important to acknowledge that. So that’s, that’s helpful. We lied. David that said he had the hardest questions, but I think that was the hardest one. So all right, you picked that, you picked my interest, you picked the listener’s interests. This rubber band thing.

18:58 – Hugh Ballou I’m curious. All right, so I got a rubber ban here. What’s the

19:02 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. What’s the rubber band rule? Tell us the rubber band rule.

19:05 – Hugh Ballou the rubber So ban rule shows how actually when we think about respect, we’re actually we as humans are able to flex, we can stretch, right? So, Hugh I know that you like, you, you like it, when I see you on all these emails, I don’t like to do it, but you like getting all these emails, I’ll stretch for you, right, I’ll stretch for you, right? And then when I’m with you and David, they both, they both really want me to give them tons of praise, I’m like, all right. I’ll do it and I’ll stretch a little more, right?

19:36 – Hugh Ballou You know what happens over time when we stretch and stretch and stretch ourselves. You know what I’m gonna do?

19:41 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Oh, no.

19:46 – Hugh Ballou So with the rubber band rule, what it’s about is we have to know what our breaking points are, what’s gonna make me snap, and that’s different for everyone. So this is actually about self respect. I need to be able to know myself. So that I can tell other people. So remember how I said curiosity, it’s a practice and it, and it starts with ourselves. A lot of times people are like, oh, That person was, they’re being disrespectful. Yeah, I, I’ve never told them what I need. So with the Rubberband rule, I needed to know what my breaking points are.

20:19 – Hugh Ballou I need to be able to communicate that with other people.

20:25 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. We don’t, do we?

20:27 – Hugh Ballou I’m making notes over here and by the way and by the way, I want to be very clear. So I got a big rubber band right here, right? So everyone’s got different rubber bands, right? So some are big and stretchy and like, oh, go with the flow and other people like, I’m a tight little roba. Don’t try, right? And it’s about knowing. And also we can actually our rubber band can be different at home versus at work too. Or maybe even like when we’re volunteering, maybe like here I am, I’m the board chair and at work I mean like I’m like in a really junior role, right?

20:58 – Hugh Ballou And so, right, and so And how we are, cause it’s dynamic, we change,

21:05 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. And we change sometimes in the different audiences. So.

21:09 – Hugh Ballou we got adjust.

21:10 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Having seven forms of respect, you want to highlight those for us real quick.

21:14 – Hugh Ballou Yes, okay, So again, oh, we use this acronym called Peca, Pp, Icc, Aa and it’s procedure, punctuality, information, candor, consideration, acknowledgement, and attention. Hello.

21:26 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Well, and I’ll bet you have those articulated on your website. I’m going to ask you, so your website? Let me give people the Url of your website. It is curiosity based cur, ios ity based com. So if people go there, Julie What are they going to find?

21:47 – Hugh Ballou So they’re gonna find a lot about my company and if they want to find out more about the book, you can click on that Forms of Respect to the right And then that’ll actually take you to the Forms of Respect website and that tells you all about that and you can get a free Wiz there’s a free course. We’ve got this video where I’m actually acting out different forms of respect too. So yes, those are. That’s what you’ll find on the site. There’s even a free mini book.

22:14 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Mini book.

22:22 – Hugh Ballou Hugh, it’s been a while since I found the free mini book, but it’s on there. Poke around that right, right, and you can if you click on book.

22:29 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Actually, we’re going to include that. If you’re listening on a podcast platform, that’ll be in the narrative about the podcast. The link will be there. And if you go to the Nonprofit Exchange Dot or th Nonprofit Exchange Dot Org, you’ll find it there as well. You’ll find a link to her website, and she’s also giving you a link for this, this gift. So it’s, it’s part of her website, but it’s, it’s a link that you can find under resources on the website. So that’s, that’s where it lives.

22:59 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. So. Julie, We’re going to ask you to come back in just a minute. David and I are going to talk about our community. Come back and give us the last word, whatever you want to leave us with today. So David We have a gathering of people around the world every week and around the country. We even have people from Seattle. Guess, guess what? Who are nonprofit leaders or work with nonprofit leaders? We come together. And so that’s the tip of the iceberg is the interaction. Together. We talk about things like this.

23:27 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Julie Ill invite you some time to come and share with that group about the seven forms of respect. But David, what are some of the things that we do in the community that empower nonprofit leaders? We work.

23:38 – David Dunworth routinely. We have different activities that go on for our members and Last meeting, to be honest with you, we talked about, you know, bringing something to the table of value that you’d like to give. It was a give and ask type of thing. Out of about a dozen people, we’ve got one ask because people are want to give. Whether it’s a tip on a book or it’s this or it’s that or something. But it was, it was all. It’s a loved based feeling that you get by being included in the organization and that’s how A lot of people learn, but they don’t realize it that, you know, the, the attitude in the atmosphere come into play a lot.

24:32 – David Dunworth And so I think your respect and the forms of respect are an ideal addition to what we’re doing. We have masterminds, we have workshops, we, even you and I have done workshops in different parts of the country. On occasion. And so there’s a lot of activity. Plus, we produce a digital magazine every month. It’s called We, it’s our non news level. Our news letter. We call it updates. And uh, we, Hugh always has. He’s a great cook, by the way, always has a terrific recipe in there.

25:09 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Hey.

25:10 – David Dunworth I always find some weird jokes to put in there. I pulled the content together. We’re always looking for guest contributors. Julie And you can reach either or David at Center Vision Leadership,

25:19 – Hugh Ballou All right, all right.

25:26 – David Dunworth Org for that. And if you wanted to join our community and our listeners and viewers. You can go to the nonprofit community. Org.

25:38 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Yeah, that’s the, that’s the easy to remember, like,

25:41 – David Dunworth Easier to remember or center Vision Community Org. And I would recommend you go to the 1st one, but membership and a paid membership there and you can get a lot of resources.

25:48 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. so there’s no.

25:54 – David Dunworth and join some people who are really hard centered, people that either are working in nonprofit or clergy, or they support nonprofits. And so we’re, we’ve got a nice little community there. You’re welcome.

26:08 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Like you said, we have smaller breakout groups that were able to, people can talk. You get too bigg a group and you get too lost. Just sort of a one of a kind place where you work on yourself and you work on the skills like you talked about today. So Julie Some, some programs teach these are soft skills, but you know when you don’t do them, it’s a pretty hard stop isn’t it? So what do you want to leave people? This is great. Stop by the way. Well, we’ll have it up and ready pretty soon. It’ll be on any place you get, podcast, the nonprofit exchange, and there’ll be a transcript.

26:37 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. So if there’s something you want to find, look for it in the transcript.

26:43 – Hugh Ballou I want you to think next time you feel that you are disrespected, ask yourself was that disrespect which is intentional or was it lack of respect in the forms that matter to you? So just pause. Do they intentionally mean that or do they just not know? And if they do, and if you think that maybe it’s because they didn’t know, then think about how you can communicate that to them.

27:07 – David Dunworth Beautiful.

27:09 – Julie Pham, Ph. D. Dave is another awesome interview, right?

27:11 – David Dunworth I know it’s it just keeps getting better.

27:14 – Hugh Ballou It’s been so much fun to be with the two of you.

27:17 – David Dunworth Thank you so much, Julie. God bless you, Julie. Thank you so much.

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