July 7; Projecting Power Without Moving a Muscle
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Seven: Power; 7 July

Fools give full vent to their rage,

but the wise bring calm in the end.

Proverbs 29:11

Projecting Power Without Moving a Muscle

Rock Solid

What is the most popular window display at Christmas? What has crowds enthralled, captivated?

It is the train circling on a track at the toy store. Constant motion. Wheels turning, smoke blowing, bobbing heads. Movement catches the eye. Motion attracts attention. Which is useful in product promotion and entertainment.

The opposite holds true for leadership presentation.

Your Business Professor was once elbowing his way through some interns to get at a well-stocked protein-plus buffet. I stood with a lobbyist friend balancing drinks, and plates piled high. (Shrimp wrapped with bacon.) (One does not soon forget a bacon experience.) It takes work and concentration to keep the plates and chicken wings horizontal.

I noticed a gentleman off to the side—by what he didn’t do. He didn’t move much. Didn’t have his head a-bobbin’. Didn’t move his arms. He is wearing a dark suit, commanding presence. He is not eating. He is standing still. What motion there is, is minute, deliberate, unwasted. He’s not drinking.

My friend knows him. The Unmoving Man is president of a railroad company. Trains move. He does not.

(Try this simple exercise at a gathering as Your Business Professor often does. Look around any room. Whoever has the least body movement has the greatest “rank” in the room. Whoever has his mouth full and his hands full has the least rank.)

So I finish off the Heavy Hors d’oeuvres and toss the chicken bones over my shoulder. I wipe the grease off my hands and mouth (I never did get that merlot stain off my tie) and bounce over to met that prez.

He stood like royalty with his hands clasped behind his back. It was imposing. I watch him as he greets others. When he shook hands he barely moved. I would not have been surprised if the supplicants Namaste’d instead. You don’t touch royals or a pope. I was impressed he offered his hand.

Think of Japan and other cultures where greetings reveal status. The person more junior in status bows the deepest as one would expect from any boot-licker. The more senior person may microscopically move his upper torso: Barely a head fake. The greater the station or position, the less the movement.

Motionlessness is hard to master. It seems counter-intuitive.

***

In the army, infantry are taught how to fight in the dark of night. The best response to an enemy illuminating an overhead flair is to freeze. When the night sky lights up: do not move. The natural reaction is to dive for cover. This military night reaction requires extensive training to overcome innate impulses. It can be taught.

***

If you are learning to lead, be still. Leadership and power have a calming effect.

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11.

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