Category Archives: Conviction

Persuading vs. Convincing: Playing To Your Strengths

Patrick Henry’s stirring call to action — “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech on March 23, 1775 still resonates with history buffs 248 years later.

Imagine if you had a seat in St. John’s Church in Richmond, VA on that Thursday afternoon and you personally experienced that goose-bump, misty-eyed sensation as an impassioned Patrick Henry concluded his speech like a conductor with a dramatic crescendo. And imagine the resolute sense of commitment surging through the veins of his audience during the second Virginia Convention, a surging sense of purpose and principal that prefaced the American Revolution and spawned the birth of the United States of America 16 months later on July 4, 1776.

Fortunately, historians like Joseph J. Ellis have attempted to capture the dynamic scene. Writing in his book American Creation, Mr. Ellis describes Patrick Henry as tall and animated with the “appearance of an actor on stage and an evangelical minister at the pulpit.” His Adonis like 6-feet 2-inch body imbued his words with an inspirational punch.

But what if you are NOT that flamboyant, NOT that energetic, NOT that inspirational, can you still earn the confidence of others in your ideas?

What if you are the diametrically opposite of the tall and affable and loquacious Patrick Henry.

What if you are short, reserved and taciturn by nature. What if you are a 5-foot -4 inches tall –not 6 feet 2?

What if your voice is so barely audible that the stenographer asks you to speak up. And what if you routinely hold a hat in one hand as you are speaking and sabotage your ability to gesture and energize the audience with your body language?

Meet James Madison who would become the Father of the Constitution and the fourth president of the United States. He stood 5-feet-4. His voice was barley audible. His personality more reserved. His lifestyle so very different. In fact, Mr. Madison married for the first and only time at 43 not at 18 like Mr. Henry. And Mr. Madison never had children of his own. Meanwhile Mr. Henry fathered 17 children in two marriages.

And now you are debating the more flamboyant Patrick Henry on federalist vs. state’s rights.

Could you persuade with the zeal of a Patrick Henry who would become the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first governor?

Or rather would you play to your strength and convince others with your well-reasoned, evidence-based argument?

Play To Your Strengths

What if you leveraged your hat as a filing cabinet of sorts for your notes that you regularly consulted in real time to rebut point by point as Madison did “without flourish or affectation”,” writes historian Ellis, “and in a sense more impressive because of their austerity.”

In speaking like a leader, you play to your strengths. Some persuade. Others convince. Indeed, John Marshall,the Chief Justice of the United States, summed up the diversity of leaders, saying : “Mr. Henry had without doubt the greatest power to persuade while Mr. Madison had the greatest power to convince.”

For more tips and techniques to develop your strengths in persuading or convincing, have a mint — a leadership mint and refresh your feeling for leading. Savor 64 individually wrapped Leadership Mints for you in SPEAKING Like a Leader, With Civility, a Leadership Mints Series Book.

SPEAKING Like a Leader, With Civility — the third book in the Leadership Mints Series — develops your ability to gain greater shared understanding and collaborative decision-making through credible two-way communications especially in adversarial situations. The 298-page book is comprised of 52 Leadership Mints –short stories that leadership principles that like a candy mint are quickly savored and immediately rejuvenating to refresh your feeling for leading.

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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,

Relaunching Yourself At 40

Dreading your 40th birthday? I did.  But I survived and even thrived because I practiced one of the most critical leadership skills:  framing the problem or issue so you can better cope with it, learn from it and grow because of it.

What if I saw myself at 40 stepping onto a launching pad rather than onto a guillotine?

A launching pad?  How absurd!

Tell that to Jules Verne, the visionary author who saw deep into the heavens (From the Earth to the Moon), deep into the sea (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), deep into the center of the earth (Journey Into The Center of the Earth) and deep into the center of me. At least it seemed that way.

(This is adapted from Mint 3 in
THINKING Like a Leader,
Featuring 77 Leadership Mints).

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Plying & Playing in Your Sandbox

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to gain greater buy in for a leader’s vision. Reading time: 3:14.

     Think of the Sandbox on the playground the next time you’re rolling out your company vision for all employees to buy into.

    sandbox1 Encourage your employees to parlay the creative process in the Sandbox as long as it remains situated on the same playground (a.k.a. your company’s founding principles) you built years ago.

     The playground is your company’s playing field –where you compete in the marketplace, where your company’s principles and policies are deeply embedded and where your Sandbox is a fixture in your corporate culture.

     Your Sandbox is a DESIGNated area for creative endeavor where employees can exercise their creativity and unleash their imaginations with the Sandbox.

     In time, employers build their proverbial sand castles in a celebration of diversity in thought and action and an eruption of the collaboration of so many hands, hearts and heads working together.

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Leaders Are Borne Not Born

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you respond in a crisis. Reading time 3:47.

     The more the winds of change blow, the higher the sails soar on your personal LeaderSHIP. That’s why leaders are borne –not born.

     Jumping  Leaders are borne on the winds of change, like a kite rising higher and higher BECAUSE of the prevailing winds.

       The higher the winds, the more the leader rises to the occasion.

       In fact it is because of the escalating winds –not despite those winds of change —that leaders do more than survive. They thrive.

     Greater the headwind greater the leader. At least that’s the way Abigail Adams observed the leadership winds of the presidency of the United States.

      From her unique position as the wife of the second president of the United States (John Adams) and mother to the sixth president of the United States (John Quncy Adams) observed: “Great necessities call forth great leaders. These are the hard times in which a genius would wish to live.”

   Leaders are borne on the wings of those hard times. Continue reading

Becoming a SumBody

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to spur responsible problem solving. Reading time: 3:51

        When Charles Lindbergh became the first solo pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, a business executive smirked: “It would have been even more remarkable if he had done it with a committee. “

      a committeeAfter all, it takes a real leader with persistence to untie the red tape that is wrapped around most committees. It takes a real leader with conviction to sort through all the hidden agenda. It takes a real leader with purpose to fight off the prevailing  kick-the-can down the street syndrome that plagues most committees.

     Indeed, too many committees don’t commit. Too many committees spin their wheels in the sand of consensus. Too many committees drive to assumptions more than arrive at conclusions.

       But leaders do commit. They don’t hide behind committees or reports. They run after problems –not away from them. They weigh in rather than wait on.

       Leaders are always on a mission with a vision especially when the specter of a committee threatens to drive many a project into the proverbial ditch with  its powers of procrastination and indecision. No matter if those  committees are comprised with feckless people willing to let others assume responsibility like those in the story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody by that famous author Anonymous.

There was an important job to be done
and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it. But Nobody did it.

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