PERSUASION (Q3.6)

The Initiation Of First Movement

Compulsive chicanery cannot sustain Momentum

Persuasion is the third of the four F3 Leadership Skills. It is the Effective Leader’s ability to initiate Movement toward an Advantage that he has first Visualized and then Articulated to his Group. If he has done so Competently, the Members have a clear understanding of the Movement required to achieve the superior condition the Leader sees and they don’t like it, because they fear that it will cause them Pain and Chaos. Yet, through Persuasion, the Effective Leader convinces them to abandon their Status Quo, even though they want to stay right where they are.

Movement must be voluntary, not something the Leader initiates through compulsion or chicanery. If he does that, he is not a Leader but rather a charlatan or a tyrant—or a bit of both. Nudging a man away from his Status Quo requires patience, Skillful Argument and properly calibrated Incentives that combine to convince a man that Movement rather than stasis is in his best interest.

While all men Visualize and a few men Articulate, only a very few men Persuade because the application of reason and Argument is a lost art that requires patience and high degree of Skill that can only be obtained from training, Practice and discipline. As a result, most Groups don’t bother with it, resorting instead to compulsive chicanery to initiate Movement. While this may work in the short run (and is certainly easier and faster than Persuasion), it is the means and method of the tyrannical charlatan and will not sustain Momentum to and through a fully accomplished Vision.

We know this from the many failed examples of compulsive chicanery employed by Groups, particularly governmental bodies. A man will respond grudgingly to the lash of compulsion only so long as he must, but most of his energy will be consumed not in the accomplishment of the Outcome sought by the Governance, but in struggling free from the agent of his compulsion. Likewise, any Influence born of fraud will evaporate like the morning mist once the truth is discovered by the men whose acquiescence was secured through chicanery rather than Persuasion.

An example of the futility of compulsive chicanery as a means of Influence comes from the repeated failure of centrally controlled collectivism (C3) as an organizing structure. The promised efficacy of C3 is a grotesque lie that has worked to the great Disadvantage of the Members of every Group upon which it has been forced, with the rise and fall of the Soviet Union serving as the template of catastrophe.

Assuming they were given any kind of a choice, It likely did not take much to convince the serfs of pre-Soviet Russia that C3 would be an improvement over feudalism. Russia’s unelected Governance under the Czars was dedicated to the strictest possible maintenance of a Status Quo where a man born into serfdom was destined to die there with no hope of any escape to something better, either for himself or his children. What serf wouldn’t agree to exchange his hopeless life under the thumb of a brutish unelected nobility for a place in the workers paradise to come. The promise of C3 must have looked like a pretty good deal to them.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t, because (despite its theoretical promise) C3 doesn’t actually work—primarily because it commands a man to labor toward a centrally designated goal rather than Incentivizing his Individual Initiative (I2) toward an Advantage that he selects for himself. As such, C3 seeks behavior of a man that dramatically contradicts his nature, while I2 harnesses his natural desire to be justly compensated for the efforts he chooses to make for his own benefit. Man is a rational and individualized Advantage-seeker who is best Incentivized by the prospect of enjoying the fruit of his hard work, initiative and risk-taking. We call that fruit Profit.

The fact that it has never worked has not deterred the mavens of C3 from seeking to impose it upon people who would never voluntarily choose it if they knew the truth. So the mavens resort to chicanery, chiefly the lie that Profit-seeking is evil because it encourages selfishness to the detriment of the Group. The opposite is actually true. A man Incentivized by Profit to build a better mousetrap through the risk of his hard work and capital benefits far more than himself if he succeeds. He reduces the vermin afflicting the entire Community that, once it sees the Advantage, will beat down his door to buy what he has made.

It is Profit that Incentives I2 by providing an upside to the investment of a man’s sweat and treasure, both of which he would logically harbor in a Profit-less C3 Group that would not reward him for his efforts. Thus, it is actually C3 that encourages selfishness, while Profit harnesses I2 for the Advantage of the Group.

The fall of Nazi Germany provides the clearest example of the superiority of I2 over C3. In August of 1945 Berlin was in ruins, having been bombed and shelled into stone-age oblivion. The eastern half of of the city was controlled by the Soviet Union and the western half by Great Britain, the US and France. For a time, the citizens of Berlin could pass freely from one zone to another, but ultimately (in 1961), the Governance of the Soviet Union constructed a wall to divide east from west, creating two cities: C3/Berlin and I2/Berlin, thereby (unwittingly) initiating a perfect experiment to compare the two systems.

The Soviet Union claimed that the Wall was necessary to protect the people of Communist East Germany from the intervention of the “fascist” west, but that was just chicanery. The true purpose of the Wall was to lock the door to the rat cage that was C3/Berlin.

In the sixteen years following the end of WWII, I2/Berlin had recovered so much more quickly than C3/Berlin that people were fleeing westward in droves. Other than admitting that C3 was in-Effective, the Soviet Union had little choice but to resort to the compulsion of the Wall, because the rats were voting with their feet. I2/Berlin was Effective and C3/Berlin wasn’t, so the Soviet Union locked the door and told the rats that there was nothing good for them to see outside of the cage.

That, of course, was a lie. C3/Berlin was not a paradise for workers or anybody else. It was a rat cage with a bad vermin problem and no mousetraps on the shelves of its empty stores because there was no Profit to be had in putting them there. People being a lot smarter than rats, nobody who lived in C3/Berlin could be Persuaded to stay there through reason or argument. They had to be kept prisoner there through the compulsive chicanery of the Wall.

Reliance upon compulsive chicanery to achieve Advantage is the method of the tyrannical huckster, not the Effective Leader. While it is certainly cheaper and easier to employ in the short-run, it will not sustain Movement. That requires the I2 of the individual man, properly Incentivized and Persuaded into action through patient and diligent Leadership. Leaders Persuade upwards. Tyrannical hucksters compel downwards. The difference is like that between shooting a rifle and throwing a rock.

Mañana is a crackpipe

As we have said, all men Visualize and any man can Articulate if he is willing to try, although few do. Even fewer men Persuade, although this is also a Leadership Skill that anybody can learn with persistence.

Let’s take a man who Visualizes a powerful Advantage that he diligently Articulates to the Members of his Group of whom Movement will be required for the Vision to be realized. The people hear the man out with nodding heads and sympathetic grunts of agreement. And yet, they will not actually move from the Status Quo. They may appreciate the Advantage (or at least say they do), but still decline to initiate the Movement that is required to get there. This is the point at which most men who aspire to Lead will quit or resort to tyrannical hucksterism to get things going. What they fail to recognize is the awesome power of Inertia over the human spirit. It is this power, which manifests itself through procrastination—The Crack Pipe Of Mañana—that can only be broken through Persuasion.

During the first century following Jesus’ death the Apostle Paul was a powerful Articulator of the budding Movement that ultimately became known as Christianity. Paul set off on three journeys around what then comprised the known world around the Mediterranean Sea.

In each town and city he visited Paul followed the same pattern. Being a Jew himself, he would appear at the local synagogue and preach to the town’s resident Jews about the birth and death of Christ (who, like Paul, was a Jew), in order to Persuade them to follow him (Jesus that is, not Paul). In each instance, some did choose to follow while others rejected Paul’s message, but the great majority did neither. Most people asked Paul to come back again in the future for some more discussion. In other words, the majority procrastinated. They delayed Movement today to puff away another day on the CrackPipe Of Mañana.

It might be logical for people who have been raised in the faith of a single deity, as Paul’s Jews were, would want a little more information before accepting from a stranger (as Paul was) that God was in fact comprised of three entities (and always was), one of whom had recently appeared in human flesh to forgive and die for the sins of both Jew and Gentile. That is a big Vision to embrace from a stranger right out of the chute, even for people that have been struggling with sin and its implications for as long as they could remember. Procrastination under those circumstances seems like a normal reaction and something in which a being with free will would likely engage before making big decisions.

But it turns out that people engage in procrastination before they make small decisions too, and medium decisions and any decision at all that requires a Movement from the Status Quo, even if the Movement is something as infinitesimal as getting off the couch to turn on the porch light. People procrastinate all the time. It’s just what we do, even when it results in an obvious delay of a very important inevitable. In the heart of man, Inertia rules.

Which is why a man who can Persuade other men to Movement is so rare. He is a man who has not only overcome his own hard-wired Inertia (a tough enough task), but has also learned how to Influence other people to overcome theirs (a monumental task).

In a sense, the HIM is Serving his followers by providing them an external means to break through their own Inertia. To Influence, he must Persuade. To Persuade, the HIM must see himself as a Servant of his procrastinating brother by yanking The Crackpipe Of Mañana out of his mouth.

Incremental Movements Build Agreement

While Inertia is a powerful restraint to Movement, Persuasion need only be a slightly more powerful prod to work. A Leader is successful if he overcomes a man’s hard-wired procrastination instinct just enough to initiate some small Movement toward Advantage. Unfortunately, most men unnecessarily set the bar much higher than that. They see it as a failure if the subject of their Persuasive efforts does not immediately leap up and yell “by God, you’re right! How could I have been so blind and stupid?”

I learned this the hard way trying cases in front of juries. As a young lawyer I would become so invested in the rightness of my client’s cause that I wanted the judge and jury to see it that way too, to the same degree that I did—immediately. That, I ultimately learned, was an impossible goal.

A jury is objective in a way that I certainly am not. For me, winning a case is akin to an actualized Advantage, one in which I have a heavy financial and emotional stake invested. But I discovered that I could never hope to Persuade twelve strangers to reach the same level of Commitment to my case that I had, particularly where there is another lawyer in the courtroom (my opponent) who is working with equal skill and zeal to Persuade them to an Advantage diametrically opposed to mine.

Before I realized this, I would focus too hard on agreement (full agreement) and not enough on Movement (small Movement). For example, if a witness against my client testified to something that I knew was demonstrably untrue, I would set about to prove to the jury that he was lying. This tactic made perfect sense to me, although I’m pretty sure I never succeeded. Jurors want to believe that the system works, that a witness who has sworn to tell the truth will do so. Persuading them that a witness has perjured himself is a huge leap for them, one which they are likely to procrastinate until they can’t anymore. I have tried many cases, but I don’t think I have ever succeeded in proving that an adverse witness was lying.

And yet, I never saw the futility of my tactic until a trial in which one of my own witnesses surprised me by testifying untruthfully. I expected my opposing counsel, experienced man that he was, to do what I would have done in that situation and try to prove the man a liar. He didn’t do that though. What he did do provided me a great lesson in Persuasion. He simply proved the man to be mistaken, a much easier task that had the same effect on the jury.

My opponent realized that my witness would likely fight the accusation of perjury to the bone, but (with far less drama) would probably be willing to admit that he was mistaken. “Mistake” provided him an escape hatch from the trap that his testimonial inconsistencies had set for him. Ultimately, he admitted his mistake to avoid being proven a liar. More importantly, the jury did not have to make the big leap required to believe my witness was a liar to be Persuaded to disregard his testimony as undependable and begin Movement of the toward my opponent’s position.

From that experience, I began to learn the power of small Movement. It takes less energy to initiate and builds Momentum, and it is Momentum over the long haul that achieves Advantage. It is far easier to initiate Movement toward Advantage than it is to obtain than agreement with Advantage.

As a result, I have learned not to expect another man to invest in my Vision until he has already begun Moving toward it. I see now (in retrospect) the sin of pride in my previous notion otherwise. That pride would lead me to frustration and anger with those who could not or would not fully acknowledge the Advantage that I (in my brilliance) had Visualized and painstakingly Articulated. Since my pride told me that I was right about everything, anyone who did not fully embrace my Vision had to be completely wrong, even (this is the self-defeating part) if they did agree with me enough to initiate some Movement. Now (again, in retrospect) I can see what a short step it is from from frustrated anger to tyrannical chicanery. Maybe there is just a little bit of Uncle Joe Stalin in me as well.

While tyrannical chicanery fails as a means of Influence, frustration and anger are not any more Effective, particularly where the Advantage may be in dispute but many are still willing to Move (a little bit) toward it for their own reasons.

The environmental movement is an example of the futility of reliance upon anger as a means of Persuasion. Environmentalists have many Visualized Advantages but none more important than stemming the increase in global temperatures brought upon by industrialization—in other words, Global Warming.

To illustrate the example, let’s divide people into three camps:

• Camp One is comprised of those who both believe in the premise of Global Warming and are willing to initiate some or all of the range of proposed Movements that the environmentalists contend would stop or reverse its effect on the Earth.

• Camp Two is comprised of people who adamantly disagree with the premise of Global Warming and are completely unwilling (on principle) to initiate any of the proposed Movements to counteract it.

• Camp Three is comprised of people who are either undecided about the existence of Global Warming or disagree with it entirely (as much as the people in Camp Three), yet are still willing to initiate some of the proposed counteractive Movements.

I have many friends in Camp One, while I am an undecided resident of Camp Three. I am undecided because (remember, I’m a lawyer) I don’t believe the environmentalists have carried their burden to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. Thus, I have some doubts about the quality of the data that relied upon to establish rising temperatures over the last 150 years that thermometers were in existence, but I have huge doubts about the 4.5 billion years worth of temperature readings that don’t exist for the life of the Earth prior to the invention of the thermometer. For me, accepting the premise of Global Warming is a bit like identifying a very large animal by touching only the last one-eighth of an inch of its tail. I’m just not there.

Yet, I am willing to join in my Camp One friends’ efforts to counteract Global Warming even though I decline to pitch my philosophical tent there. Why? Because many of them are the same things a careful steward would do, regardless if will make the Earth a single degree cooler. Plus, I like my global enthusiast friends and don’t mind spending time with them as long what we’re doing is at least neutral. And who knows, maybe they’re right.

Unfortunately, most environmentalists demand more than mere Movement in the direction of their Articulated Advantage—they require full agreement. For them, Camp Three’s Movement without believing is just as frustrating Camp Two’s refusal to Move at all under any circumstances.

In fact, listening to the rhetoric of its leaders, one suspects that environmentalists doesn’t actually see the existence of the three camps. For them, America is divvied up into those (the smart ones) who fully embrace their viewpoint and (the stupid ones) who deny it. The problem with that approach is that calling a man stupid is not an Effective way to begin Persuading him.

What it does is make him dig in his heels and refuse to Move on things he was perfectly willing to initiate before he was called stupid. This is where I find myself on Global Warming today. Having been angrily hectored as an idiotic earth-hating climate-denier (particularly by men who fly around in private jets to do the hectoring), I’ve become Movement-resistant. I won’t go as far as to say I’m jumping into Camp Two, but I will wager that many Camp Three people have. I’m just not as likely to join in Movement as I was before. Isn’t that the opposite effect of what the environmentalists should be trying to do? It’s profoundly in-Effective.

We hope that F3’s method of Persuasion provides a contrasting example. Our Visualized Advantage is the invigoration of male Community Leadership. It is F3’s Articulated Purpose, and it is going to take a lot of work to realize. When we encounter a man who disagrees with us that male Community Leadership is dormant, the last thing we do is get mad and call him stupid. Do that and we’ve lost him forever. Instead, we just ask him if he would like to be in better shape, because (if so) we have a free Workout that will work great for him if he’s willing to try. All it takes is the small Movement of getting up a little earlier and braving the elements outside of the gym.

One small step is all it takes.

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