Taking the Art of Persuasion to a Higher Level
How often would you say you reflect on your effectiveness as a leader or salesperson or boss? When you do, do you find yourself feeling you could achieve much more if you could just reach people at a deeper level?
If you think about it, things that are truly timeless and last through the ages, probably do so for a reason. The art of persuasion is one of those things. Going all the way back to the time of Aristotle, and that’s more than 2,000 years ago, we find that he created a formula for mastering the art of persuasion in his work entitled Rhetoric. Persuasion and influence continue to be studied to this day and, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled The Art of Persuasion Hasn’t Changed in 2,000 Years, some economists believe that persuasion is responsible for generating one-quarter or more of America’s national income.
So, what was Aristotle’s formula for mastering persuasion? It is presented in the following five rhetorical devices:
- Ethos or Character – allow your audience to gain insight into your credibility
- Logos or Reason – make a logical appeal to reason, show why they should care about your idea
- Pathos or Emotion – move people to action through emotions
- Metaphor – clarify your idea by bringing in something familiar
- Brevity – there are limits to what people can absorb, so start with your strongest point!
I highly recommend this article … and don’t think it should take too much persuading to get you to read it.
To read the full article, you can go to https://hbr.org/2019/07/the-art-of-persuasion-hasnt-changed-in-2000-years
Building Blocks of Transformation
Have you noticed the level of uncertainty in the market seems to be increasing? Are you finding more and more reasons to be nervous about the future? Do you question whether or not your organization is ready to meet the challenge?
Over the past six months, we have seen more and more senior leaders begin to seriously question the path their organization is on. It seems as though they have begun to recognize that without major, transformational change, their organization may not be able to seize the emerging opportunities which shifts in the market provide.
Just like you, they have four choices.
- Ignore the need for change
- Hunker down and hope for the best
- Cut back on all costs to conserve cash
- Lean in and drive change deep
The article below from Strategy + Business, entitled The Four Building Blocks of Transformation, speaks to option number four, and the way in which successful transformation can be navigated. Rightfully, they call out just how important driving cultural change is to the success of any change process. In our experience, too many leaders are afraid to address the cultural aspects of change. They try to find a soft, gentle middle path where they don’t have to make the hard calls and difficult choices, and deal head on with the toughest part of the change equation – the people and their mindsets, attitudes and beliefs.
To read the full article, you can go to https://www.strategy-business.com/article/The-Four-Building-Blocks-of-Transformation?gko=5a1aa
Staring Down the Change Monster
Have you noticed how many things are changing all around you? Have you noticed how the pace of change is picking up speed and seems more unpredictable than ever before? Have you ever worried you and your organization are not going to be able to change fast enough to keep up?
Everywhere we look, leaders seem to be struggling with what to do about change (not to mention its bigger, badder, bolder brother called transformation). In many cases, leaders don’t seem to understand there is a progressive playbook they could have been using all along to help them succeed. Instead, far too many are trying to put the brakes on change in a desperate effort to slow it down or even worse, covering their eyes and hoping it all just goes away.
We get it. Change is a challenge but the fact of the matter is, all progress comes from change.
In our view, successful change begins with a change in mindset. It starts between the ears and there are four things we believe are the keys to leading change.
- The ability to think in the future tense
- The capacity to connect the dots and paint a vivid picture of the future
- The courage to confront the cynics, victims and bystanders and not them highjack the organization
- The willingness to identify and harness the change ambassadors and put them to work in the trenches
Frankly – we need leaders fit for the times and so we have created an online Change Leadership Course.
Just click here.
Do you worry about how many people in your organization care enough to tell the truth? Are you worried about people who should be speaking up, and aren’t doing just that when it really matters?
As part of our philosophy and approach to leadership, we have always believed the worst truth is better than the best lie. We also understand not all people have the courage to speak up when they should, especially to their boss and other senior leaders.
When several people are thinking the same thing and no one speaks up, that is what is called an open secret, and open secrets can be toxic and are almost always damaging. The truth is, right now within your company open secrets exist, and not dealing with them could put your entire organization in jeopardy.
This was the topic of an excellent piece in HBR back in January 2019, and it seems to become ever more important as time goes along. In fact, the many valuable points raised in this article should be reviewed by senior leaders on an ongoing basis.
Leaders should understand the reasons people:
- Choose to be bystanders,
- Expect others to stand up, or
- Diffuse responsibility.
You might want to pause and try to figure out exactly why your people, especially those on the front lines, are opting out of the communication, action and accountability loop, and becoming silent co-conspirators in the plot to hide valuable insights from senior leaders.
To read the full article, you can go to https://hbr.org/2019/01/why-open-secrets-exist-in-organizations
Leveraging Conflicting Tensions and Senior Team Dynamics
As a leader, are you willing to really explore the tensions and dynamics impacting team performance within your organization? Are you hooked on finding team harmony, or are you willing to consider something more complicated, but ultimately much more productive?
We have written before on the value of embracing constructive conflict, and continue to believe it is a core competence of successful teams. We now have an opportunity to look at it again, in a slightly different light, thanks to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review entitled The Best Senior Teams Thrive on Disagreement.
In this article, the authors are presenting some convincing research showing that the greatest predictor of top-team performance at the enterprise level is not cohesion, but rather the ability to manage conflicting tensions. Trust and positive team dynamics are critical foundational elements of course, but appreciating and managing these tensions will elevate the senior team performance.
Delving a little deeper, you will find these conflicting tensions are identified as:
- Risk vs. Results – creating circumstances where both risk and day-to-day delivery can peacefully coexist.
- External vs. Internal Pull – consistently scanning the external environment for consumer, competitor and industry knowledge, and using that knowledge to adapt internally.
- Top-down vs. Bottom-up Innovation – managing the tension between leading and directing innovation, while also engaging and empowering the broader organization.
High performing senior teams navigate these tensions well, recognizing they represent a spectrum of behaviours and processes to be managed, rather than isolated problems to be solved. We believe you will find great value in exploring these concepts, understanding how they are at play in your own organization and learning how to manage the tensions.
To read the full article, you can go to https://hbr.org/2017/09/the-best-senior-teams-thrive-on-disagreement
Capturing Your Unique Spirit in the Core Values Statement
Do you ever find yourself in the lobby of another organization, staring at your own core values framed on their wall? Have you attempted to make a unique statement, only to discover that it is not so very different from everyone else’s?
To quote a little research from a recent article in the Harvard Business Review entitled Ban These 5 Words from Your Corporate Values Statement, 90% of companies reference ethical behaviour or use the word integrity, 88% mention commitment to customers, and 76% cite teamwork and trust. A core values document is supposed to inspire your employees in a way that is unique to your organization, but it seems the language is often not unique at all.
So, here are the five words you should never use in your core values statement:
- Ethical (or integrity)
- Teamwork (or collaboration)
Chances are you might recognize a few words from the list above. The problem with them is twofold according to this Harvard article – in the first place, they are really just table stakes for any business that wants to be competitive and, secondly, they don’t define what is distinctive about the organization.
This article goes on to describe a few ways you can differentiate yourself, and really define what is unique about your company through your core values statement. It’s definitely worth reading, and then incorporating in a way that is meaningful to you.
To read the full article, you can go to https://hbr.org/2018/02/ban-these-5-words-from-your-corporate-values-statement