February 11; Time Must Be The Friend Of The Key Influencer
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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11 February

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded…

Proverbs 25:15a

Time Must Be The Friend Of The Key Influencer

Time 

The terrorists took the plane and took hostages. An elite negotiation team was called in and within a few days the hostages were released.

This was the timeline of hostage negotiation seen in any number of instances over the decades.

Q: How did the good-guys influence the hostage-takers?

A: A small incremental step at a time.

Here’s what it might look like. Communication is set up between the terrorists and the negotiators and a relationship is established. Both sides talk. Demands are made and considered. Time passes and the terrorist and crew and passengers are getting hungry. A (revealed-discrete) number of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches are delivered to the plane.

The Negotiators ask for the plastic trays back.

If the terrorists give the trays back it is only a matter of time before the hostages will be released.

The Negotiators don’t care about the silly plastic trays. What they were doing was getting the terrorists to move in a microscopic step in the direction of accepting the influence of the Authorities. The small reasonable steps of getting ‘unreasonable’ terrorists to submit is an art-form of persuasion we can practice in an even more dangerous venue.

Like, for example, your office.

Let’s say you need something only your manager can do for you.

The Boss doesn’t have time. But he has the authority.

You have time. But no authority.

Ask for a small-tiny-infinitesimal favor, which will cost him nothing – in no time to ponder your meager request and no effort grant. You should appear to be under no time pressure. It is an odd condition of management behavior that you will be appreciated more by the boss when the boss helps you. In time ask for a slightly larger favor. In time, do this again.

Professor Henry Mintzberg explains in his book, Managing,

Buffering– It is in this combination of all these linking activities that we can especially appreciate the delicate balancing act that has to be built into the art and craft of managing.

Managers are not just channels through which pass information and influence; they are also valves in these channels, which control what gets passed on, and how.

To use two other popular words, managers are gatekeepers and buffers in the flow of influence. (Mintzberg 2009)

Proverbs 25:15a will be at work for you, Through patience a ruler can be persuaded…

These negotiation techniques are so effective that terrorists don’t bother with hostages anymore and use commandeered aircraft for other purposes.

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Managing Mintzberg, 2009, page 79-80s

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