Communicative LI™

Topics related to communicative leadership intelligence

Communicating effectively in every day scenarios

What is the power of the spoken or the written word? Churchill said, “We are masters of the unsaid word, but slaves of those we let slip out” and Jean-Paul Sarte claimed “Words are loaded pistols.”

All of us have, at some point in our personal or professional lives, been confronted with situations where we have either averted a major “disaster” or fallen headfirst into one because of what we said. And when we look back on what transpired, very often we realize, it isn’t “what” we said, but “how” we said something that produced that desirable (or disastrous) outcome.
There is no getting away from it, or getting around it – communicating effectively is something we all need to do, in all walks of life, day in and day out.

The video below is a wonderful example of how your choice of words can influence people or situations differently.

Of the five Leadership Intelligences (Analytical, Communicative, Inventive, Operational and Ethical), it is evident that it is the Communicative Leadership Intelligence that comes into play here. In the video, the lady (in black) exercises this LI to change the way the visually challenged gentleman is perceived by people around (it can also be argued that she does this by appealing to the crowd’s Ethical Leadership Intelligence) thereby considerably increasing the donations made to him.

Enhance your Leadership Intelligences Through Exercise (ELITE): Communicative Intelligence Exercise 110901

Leadership intelligences are like muscles. The more you exercise them, the stronger they become.
Vivekin’s ELITE (Enhance your Leadership Intelligences Through Exercise) program provides exercises
drawn from daily life that are structured to help you develop each of the five leadership intelligences.

Watch every Monday morning for a leadership intelligence exercise that Vivekin Group selects from
its ELITE program and provides free of cost to its subscribers.
Want to get such exercises regularly? Make sure you sign up for Vivekin’s RSS feed.


The Exercise
This week’s exercise helps you work on your communicative leadership intelligence.
It involves reading a joke and then providing a response to the question that follows.

The Joke
Three men are on death row–an Italian, an American, and an Indian–and are to be executed on the same day. On the scheduled day, the prison warden comes to them and asks the Italian, “What would you like for your last meal?” The Italian says “Nothing better than a big bowl of spaghetti with meat balls rolling in rich marinara sauce!” And then turning to his friends he remarks in a sad voice, “Reminds me of my mother.” The dish is procured quickly, the Italian relishes it, and is executed. The warden then asks the American what he would like to eat. The American sighs and says, “Oh! I’d love to have a steak real rare, and a few slices of fresh risen bread.” It takes some time to cook this meal because they have to wait for the bread to rise. But after a few hours, the meal is brought to the American. He relishes it, and is executed. Now the warden turns to the Indian and says, “Brownie! What would you like to eat?” The Indian exclaims, “Oh! What would I give for a bowlful of fresh mangoes from the plains of south India!” The warden exclaims, “What? Mangoes! They’re out of season and will take at least a year to get here!” The Indian replies, “No problem! I’ll wait.”

As with most jokes, there are several versions of this joke. One version appears in
Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein’s, Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through the Pearly Gates

The Task
You now have three minutes to respond to the following question:
If you were fourth in line to be executed, what would you request for your last meal?

Provide your response through the comments box below this post. Comments will be made public late in the evening on Tuesday.

The exercise will help enhance your communicative intelligence by doing three things.

  • It will exercise your capacity for wit
  • It will enhance your ability to understand the pattern of previous responses in the joke and
  • It will exercise your intelligence in building on that pattern to provide a better response

Visual and Verbal Branding of Leadership: Gandhi&Martin Luther King

Leaders–whether unconsciously or self-consciously–become associated with brands. In fact, it is more right to say, they become brands themselves. Watch the video below of Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech. Notice the headgear of all the people around MLK. They’re called “Gandhi caps” after Mahatma Gandhi, who started to wear the cloth cap–a traditional headgear in rural India–to express a political view. The Gandhi cap became symbolic of non-violent resistance all over the world. Gandhi embraced visual branding strongly–through his loin cloth, his round eye glasses, and of course, his long walking stick. After all, he went to meet the King and Queen of England dressed in the same fashion.To quote from the Nov 16, 1931 issue of Time:

The same frayed sandals that carried St. Gandhi on his illegal salt march through India 19 months ago carried him last week up the crimson-carpeted stair of Buckingham Palace. Flunkies in scarlet & gold bowed the small, unrepentant lawbreaker into the Picture Gallery. There at the head of the receiving line stood George V in striped trousers and morning coat, Queen Mary in a shimmering silver tea gown and Edward of Wales (who had flown down especially from Liverpool) dressed like his father. The Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Cromer, advanced through a horde of 500 tea guests, some of them Maharajas wearing pearls as big as butterballs.

MLK, on the other hand, developed his brand through rhetoric–like the “I have a dream” speech below.

MLK\’s I Have a Dream Speech

President Obama: Speech on intelligence failures

Barack Obama is always fascinating when it comes to leadership intelligences. Yesterday’s speech, was a succinct demonstration of communicative leadership intelligence.Watch:

In an appropriately stern voice, Obama declared, “… our intelligence community failed to connect those dots, which would have placed the suspect on the no-fly list. In other words, this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.” He went on to say, that this situation was “not acceptable.”
In its editorial wisdom, the Washington Post says, “What was missing from yesterday’s assessment, and what Mr. Obama promised would be quickly forthcoming, was a treatment plan.”
In my opinion, Obama’s speech would have failed if it had laid out a “treatment plan.” Given that the purpose of the speech was to use communicative intelligence to solve a problem–”Obama’s administration goofed up in anti-terrorism efforts”–it had to demonstrate candor and the President’ authority to call relevant parts of his administration to task. And that it definitely did.
A spelling out of policy would have led to this becoming an exercise in analysis and full of operational details. A speech of the kind the Washington Post call for, would have at this point achieved far less than the speech Obama gave.
What do you think? Did Obama succeed in being a leader in this speech?