Falconry: power, influence, and persuasion jujitsu

… power leads individuals to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point, insufficiently adjusting to others’ perspective. (Pink, 72 pag.)

I agree. This is really yet another call to focus on learning rather than teaching.  If I, the teacher, focus on my work and the job I do too heavily, then I may miss the fact that some in my care are not learning what I think I’m teaching.  (How many times have I been surprised about what my learners do not know?)

Sun Tzu writes: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.  It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry, which can on no account be neglected.

This means that facing challenges, both problems and opportunities, is vital to personal success.  This is the arena in which we can grow, excel, create, and expand. Without these challenges we wither. Because of this importance, it is equally vital to examine the way in which we meet the challenges by questioning our path from the outset. (Lichtman, 51 pag.)

Learning is of vital importance.  How do we face the challenges of ensuring that everyone learns? How do we grow, excel, create, and expand our abilities to differentiate, enrich and intervene, so that everyone is making progress.  Can we overcome the subtle, and not so subtle, barriers in communication, expectations, confidence, and support? How do we teach learners to overcome these barriers too?

As a result, the ability to move people now depends on power’s inverse: understanding another person’s perspective, getting inside his head, and seeing the world through his eyes. (Pink, 72 pag.)

Offering learners multiple ways to become aware of what is to be learned and designing experiences to lead learning and practice should enable and empower the learner to grow stronger and more confident.

I’ve been thinking a lot about power and influence.  I do not have the power to make anyone learn.  Learning is within the power and control of the learner.  I have a sphere of influence and an ability to persuade.

Think of this first principle of attunement as persuasion jujitsu: using an apparent weakness as an actual strength. Start your encounters with the assumption that you’re in a position of lower power. That will help you see the other side’s perspective more accurately, which, in turn, will help you move them. (Pink, 72 pag.)

I instantly loved the phrase persuasion jujitsu.  The American Heritage Dictionary breaks down jujitsu or jujutsu as  jū, soft;  + jutsu, technique.

I aspire to develop persuasion jujitsu, a soft technique, when teaching and learning.  I agree that it is critical to understand the learner’s perspective.  I argue with the idea that because I was a student once, I have that understanding.  I assume that I need to walk more in the shoes of a learner in 2013 rather than reflect on the needs I had as a student long ago.

Can I model lifelong learning and openly discuss my learning with others? Can I teach persistence, risk-taking, and overcoming failure struggle if I share, question, and collaborate?

I aspire to be a positive influence. I aspire to examine the way in which I meet challenges.

I aspire to listen more, question more, and learn more.

I aspire to become a falconer.


Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

[Cross posted on Flourish.]

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