Our Spring Citywide is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2nd.


Sustainable persuasion–really?

On Thursday, April 28 a group of Servant-Leaders gathered to explore the topic of “sustainable persuasion.”  Sustainability evokes images of equilibrium while persuasion often takes the form of coercion.  The notes below reflect highlights of the rich conversation that took place.  These notes reflect the synthesis of the notes Jim Kerlin took, my own notes, and the wisdom of the people around the table.  Dan Lococo (5/9/2016).

Environment and culture:

  • A top down / command and control environment is not sustainable.  Good people will leave that environment.
  • Having a clearly defined mission and articulated values creates the foundation for any effective organization.  Messaging for mission and values, has to be continual and from multiple sources.
  • Having great vision is really useless without having great people.  When we are insensitive to the values those people bring to the table, we cannot cultivate a sustainable environment.
  • It is much easier to persuade others once we understand their perspective.
  • Trust is a key to being able to persuade people in a positive way.  Persuasion doesn’t work without trust.
  • When trust does not exist, arguments to persuade can end up being the basis for counter arguments.
  • People are like coins we hope they show their heads more than their tails.


  • When we seek to persuade others, we start from the assumption we are right in our thinking/perceptions.  In a situation where we are trying to build consensus seeking to persuade without sharing the vision of the end result does not provide a foundation for collaborative effort.
  • We need to understand our role.  Having an understanding of the creative value others bring to the table can provide insight into how to leverage the power of collaborative efforts.
  • If you know you have communicated clearly we may need to back off and let things sink in.  When dealing with a group, sometimes you should voice your opinion, stop, (pray) and be satisfied with the results.
  • It is not how we ‘react’ to things; it is how we ‘respond’ to things.  Compromise is not weakness.


  • A persuasive argument is meaningless without a receptive listener.  People need time to process – pushing to convince others can be counter-productive.
  • The dynamics of growth and change are relevant to both persuasion and sustainability.
  • When there are groups with opposing viewpoints, it is often harder to persuade than if there is one group.  Allowing people to take ownership of why they are opposed to something can be more productive than trying to silence opposition.
  • Start with getting to a shared value or set of values….then persuasion is a mutual process.
  • Once the shared vision/value is established persuasion becomes an opportunity for mutual growth.
  • Manage emotion and focus on shared value. “How does this meet the shared value we established?
  • Three C’s:  collaboration, compromise, consensus.
  • Out of conflict you can have great conversation.
  • After conflict there is opportunity.
  • Conceptualization and foresight are tied to achieving sustainable persuasion.
  • We can facilitate discussion in a way that integrates persuasion with collaboration.  Conversation becomes more one of collaboration toward a shared value when the parties are persuading each other.
  • Criteria for decision making can take some of the emotion out of it.
  • Start with shared value and persuasion comes easier.
  • There are multiple ways to do most everything.

Servant-Leader roundtables take place in the Milwaukee area most Thursdays of every month.  If you would like to receive reminders of where, when, and roundtable topics you can join our email list.  Click here to add your name to the list.

Copyright 2016, Dan Lococo.  All rights reserved.
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