Anticipating The Counter Argument

Ah! Ah! Ah! Don’t touch that dial! That’s what Dagwood Bumstead, would say BEFORE the start of a weekly television program (circa 1957) long before the dawn of the TV remote.

The cartoon character spawned from the pen of Chic Young in 1930 and still popular today in the comic strip BLONDIE, wanted to keep the audience engaged to share in his fun antics —and maybe even share in one of his famous Dagwood Sandwiches stacked 6-8 inches high with a bit of everything from a variety of cold cuts and cheeses to extra slices of bread topped with more cold cuts and cheeses.

Dagwood’s preemptive chant (Ah, Ah Don’t touch that dial!) is an example of how the most effective leaders anticipate the expected negative behavior of others so that they can more readily frame their message or point of view for greater acceptance and adoption.

Imagine that you are a leader in the field of nutrition –unlike Dagwood Bumstead — and you are trying to persuade The Dagwood Bumsteads of the world that it’s better to carefully cook your own food rather than perfunctorily toss a stack of cold cuts between two pieces of bread and call it a meal. Now that’s a heavy lift, especially for those used to lifting a supersized Dagwood Sandwich.

In fact, asking the Dagwood Bumsteads of the world to cook would be like trying to sell a pants presser in a nudist colony. No wonder if you ask the Dagwood Bumsteads of the world what they are making for dinner that night they’ll readily quip: “Reservations.”

However leaders, without reservation, exercise their emotional intelligence, begin building a bridge of understanding between the grab and go finger food folks and the foodies who savor the spoon stirring and slowly simmering aspects of food preparation.

Notice how the authors of the book What To Eat and When –Michael F. Roizen M.D. and Michael Crupain–anticipate that backlash of the Dagwood Bumsteads of the world to their message that preparing your own food is key to your nutritional health.

Now if you are thinking about ripping this chapter out of the book and burning it because you (fill in the blank with) can’t, hate to, don’t want to or don’t have the time to cook, hang with us. It’s actually easier, cheaper, more delicious and more efficient to cook than to pick up takeout or dine out.

For more tips and techniques to anticipate and counter expected negative reaction to your proposal or idea, consider refreshing your feeling for leading. Have a mint — a leadership mint. Savor 64 Leadership Mints individually wrapped for you in SPEAKING Like a Leader, With Civility, a Leadership Mints Series Book.

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Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go– a Leadership Mint is a bite-sized idea, thought or story illustrating a key leadership principle to refresh your feeling for leading and reinvigorate your capability to reinforce your continuous performance improvement with initiatives that are readily remembered, applied and acted on. Like its candy counterpart, a Leadership Mint is easily accessed, quickly savored (average reading time 5 minutes or less) and immediately rejuvenating,

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