A Touch of Class
I don't know if you've ever played that game at home or on training courses where you have to come up with the 3 or 4 people that you'd choose to have a dinner party with. We play it regularly as a break-time activity on MTL courses.
Well, I have and I always seem to put on the list a guy who returned to our TV screens here in the UK this week in a series called "Nature's Greatest Events", Sir David Attenborough.
Listening to his measured, erudite, and gentle tones as he showed us yet again the beauty, grace and amazing diversity of the natural world, I couldn't help wonder what quality it was that I admired so much in him.
And then it struck me: unlike so many of our TV celebrities, the guy's got class.
Now, I don't really know how to define class and I certainly don't know if I've got it myself. But I do know that it's a pretty rare commodity. But you do know it when you see it.
I have probably only worked with a handful of people in my time who I would describe as having class.
One was a colleague who always seemed wiser, calmer, and more attuned than the rest of us. Whenever a crisis broke out, or a difficult decision had to be made, or the evidence of our senses suggested disaster all round, this particular chap could always put things into perspective, make sense of it, and do it with spadefuls of kindness and gentleness.
I always thought he was the most charismatic leader I'd ever met. Up there with the David Attenboroughs, who, despite my dinner plans, I have never met.
In these times of crisis, panic, and seeming disaster all round, wouldn't we be better served by leaders like them who lead with a kindly smile than those who come on too strong?
And that's why, even at the risk of trying too hard and coming on too strong, I've always tried to follow this advice from Louis Tice:
"One thing that all of us must understand, whether it is in selling, business or in our relationships with others, is not to come on too strong. Many of us tend to do this. We get so excited that our enthusiasm outruns the content of our message. That is, the harder you try, the more doubt you imply to the listener.
"There is a phrase that covers this. The object is to be so strong, so powerful, that you can afford to be gentle. As change occurs, as your growth happens from inside, you will become more powerful, more confident. So you can become gentle, at ease and real.
"Which is another way of saying, you will have class."