How to make the holidays less of a train wreck, family + work-wise

Ted Bauer
9 min readDec 21, 2021

Here’s how to conceptualize the idea of a “latitude of acceptance.” Take any idea that has two distinct sides. There’s a cluster of people all the way at one end (“Abortion is terrible!”), then a cluster of people all the way at the other end (“Abortion makes total logical sense!”) and then a much larger group of people in the middle with a nuanced (to them) perspective (“Abortion is OK in these situations, but in general, it’s not.”) Your latitude of acceptance is, essentially, how far you can go in either direction and still be amenable to changing your perspective. Some people (those who are perhaps more open-minded) might have a wide latitude of acceptance; for other individuals, it’s very narrow. A less-academic way of saying “latitude of acceptance” is “The OK Zone.”

Here’s the flip side: there’s also a concept called “The Reject Zone.” In that situation, you go so far away from a person’s “OK Zone” that instead of listening to you, they’re now listening to you only to attempt to disprove what you’re saying — because they’re so vehemently against it.

This applies to presentations and how you try to convince someone of something, sure, but more than that? It applies to literally every single work change or work shift or new work policy that’s ever put forth.

Basically people become comfortable working one way — under a certain umbrella mantra and ideas about work and policies and procedures — and if you want to shift the culture, you need to shift the people. (Remember, ideas happen at the macro level; action happens at the microlevel.) When you set about attempting to shift the people, well, here’s the problem. They’re all at different points along the continuum. “I’d love some work changes; things were stagnant!” to “Bah, corporate bullshit!”

How do you reach the most people so that the process of change can actually begin, then?

If you believe in this idea of “latitude of acceptance,” you need to basically meet people where they’re at: determine their place on the spectrum of attitude and see how far you can move it.

Harvard Business Review wrote an article about this concept, and there’s a “common mistakes” segment within it. Here’s an interesting line. It occurs as the №1…

Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.