Persuasion: From Sumo to Judo

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you counter challenges in the marketplace. Reading time: 2:02

            You’re the CEO of a family friendly resort. But the prostitutes seem to be more visible than ever before around the resort, no matter how much security and police patrol.

Judo –Using an Opponent’s Weight Aganst Him

           Now the prostitutes are getting even more brash, distributing their business cards in public lounges, on vending machines and in bathrooms among others places throughout the resort.

         It seems the faster the janitorial staff confiscates and trashes those business cards, the quicker those prostitute business cards reappear. (For a Fun Time call xxx-xxx-xxxx).

       How would you solve this problem?

       Practice judo not sumo. That’s what the most effective leaders do. They outsmart the prostitutes.

     They  use their strength—against them — the way combatants in judo use each other’s weight against themselves.

      Forget trying to out power them the way sumo wrestlers do. Forget trying to confiscate those business cards faster than they can distribute them.  Out do them with judo like this:

       The CEO  decided to turn the prostitute’s strength –their business card distribution system–into their weakness. He had his janitors carry a label stamp.

       This time the janitors picked the prostitutes business cards up, stamped them with a three-word message and put them back on the vending machines, in the bathrooms and in the public lounge areas.

      The three word message: “First Hour Free.”

      Within 24 hours none of the prostitute business cards could be found on the resort.

       Effective leaders practice judo not sumo. Leaders win OTHERS over with finesse: Judo style. They don’t have to resort to winning OVER them with force. Sumo style.


           Witness sumo wrestlers in action and you sense the raw might and size to win OVER the opposition. With size. Sumo wrestlers seem to smother their opponents in layers of flab and fat and overpowering them with might and muscle.

       Meanwhile judo aficionados parlay a sense of synergy, and understanding of leverage, and an execution of precision to win OTHERS OVER. With smarts.

        Here’s another example of winning: judo over sumo.

         You’re a publisher with 3 million brochures to print and distribute. You’re on deadline. Just before you push the print button you realize you could have a possible $3 million copyright infringement fine for not securing the publishing rights to a picture vital to the brochure’s layout. There is no time to negotiate. The time-sensitive brochure must be printed two hours from now. What would you do?

      Practice judo not sumo. That’s what  the most effective leaders would do. And that’s what the publisher did of the brochure for Teddy Roosevelt, launching his 1912 presidential campaign. He ordered the printing to begin on time without the copyright approval and risked the $3 million fine. So the publisher turned the tables with conviction. Judo style.

      The publisher sent the photographer a letter offering HIM the opportunity to have his photo used in the brochure printing as a good publicity for the photographer, asking “How much will you pay? “ And the response from the photographer: “Can only afford to pay $250.” Done. The publisher had secured the necessary permission from the unknowing photographer and won the dilemma. With smarts. Judo style.

     The next time you’re facing a tough challenge, turn the tables. Use your opponent’s strength against them. Give ‘em the business – and maybe even a doctored business card or two.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Practice Judo not Sumo  to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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