Prof. John Butman offers a nice post today about persuasion. He argues that more and more people are motivated to change the world by implementing great ideas. This, in turn, creates a demand for skills to manage the task.
I think he is right about the “more people …” part. The barriers to implementing new ideas are falling as technology lowers communication costs and raises expectations. I would go farther. I think it is a long term trend that is just getting going. The “start up” era is just starting up.
But I take issue with Mr. Butman in how this will play out. His pitch is geared to leaders or incipient leaders. The next generation of Steve Jobs types. Well, no doubt some of us will attempt this daredevil life style. But more of us will not. So are we excluded simply because we choose not to lead the charge? Nonsense.
The wider trend here is about group dynamics - not just group leadership. That dynamic includes forming groups, energizing groups, leaving groups and working in an ecology of groups. And I would argue that the value added will be squeezed out of the conversational threads between groups over time.
So we don’t all have to run around pretending that we are like Gandhi. We do need to invest more in the groups ecology that we are a part of.
And BTW do Mr. Butman’s ideas gel with those of Dan Pink, who recently authored a competing book on persuasion (To Sell is Human)? Dan’ s book is more about person to person connection. John is floating in the clouds - talking about communication “strategy” rather than communication “skills”. In fact, both are critically important. I have not had the chance to get into John’s book yet - but I am interested to compare his strategic thinking with Lafley’s Playing to Win.
More on that later … I hope.