August 18; Will You Get What You See? MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK: 365 Daily Bible Verse & One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
Chapter Eight: Communication; 18 August
…The LORD does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7b
|Will You Get What You See?|
“Are you a lawyer?” The bank clerk was making conversation as she made the transaction.
“No” I said. “I’m a mechanic.”
Her face gets dark. I think she mistook irony for mockery.
I was on my way to a garage to train (brief?) mechanics on how to replace MacPherson Struts. I may—or may not—have been wearing Armani. (Your Business Professor has a weakness for high-end suits.)
Decades ago I worked with clients in sales and marketing in automotive maintenance. But I didn’t dress for the mechanics. I was outfitted to fit in with the C-suite. I did have well-fitting coveralls that never got dirty. My hands never got dirty.
This is the image challenge for managers: how to work hard and never break a sweat or get grease under your fingernails. Commonly known as Duck Management: serene on the surface; paddling like the devil below.
It is true and, well, a Biblical imperative that we don’t judge a book by its cover or a person by his coveralls. Unfortunately the manager cannot depend upon Scriptural literacy in her sphere of influence and command. We live in a sight and sound generation and your business and the fates of nations depend upon image management.
President Franklin Roosevelt was a master during the Great Depression in the 1930’s,
His audiences were less interested in his stand on tariffs…than in taking the measure of the man, and what they saw was a magnificent leader—his leonine head thrown back, his eyes flashing, his cigarette holder tilted at the sky, his navy boat cloak falling gracefully from his great shoulders. He was the image of zest, warmth, and dignity; he was always smiling; he always called people “my friends.” (Manchester 1973) page 60.
These days we call this the politics of “optics.”
In 1960, the first-ever Presidential debates were held. But the bigger first was that they were the first-ever televised. The younger Kennedy wore a dark suit and a bright countenance in contrast with the gloomy looking Nixon. The tanned, rested Kennedy wore make-up. The tired, pale Nixon did not.
The former Vice President Nixon may have sounded better, but Kennedy looked the part and was sworn in as President in January 1961.
Historian William Manchester wrote, “How a candidate looked on the television screen would be as important as what he had to say.” (Manchester 1973)
Maybe the voting public should not have considered the outward appearance. After the Bay of Pigs disaster in April 1961, President John Kennedy gave a tough-talk speech. The Chairman boss of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, evaluated the speech and the capacity of the leadership of Kennedy and his team,
The Chairman wasn’t much impressed by cold war oratory, having delivered a lot of it himself. What interested him was that the new President, young and inexperienced, had stumbled badly. Kennedy seemed unsure of himself. This looked like a good time to pounce on him. (Manchester 1973) vol 2, p 1112.
Even the appearance of weakness invited trouble prompting the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Kennedy could have benefitted from some non-verbal communication from another previous president. Where President Eisenhower sent Mohammed Naguib, the first President of the Republic of Egypt, a nickel-plated pistol; communicating the need to resist communist influence. (Manchester 1973) p 828
…The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b