You Shouldn’t Read this Post

 But if you do, write me a comment and tell me why you wasted your time…

I recently finished reading Adam Grant’s latest book “Originals:  How Non-Conformists Move the World”.  I read a lot and it’s generally true that there is “nothing new under the sun” so I am really delighted when I find an idea that I hadn’t fully considered before.

In the book Grant talks about the unique qualities and tactics that some truly innovative leaders have used that break all the rules of conventional business.  It’s in the breaking of these rules that Grant explains the greatest impact on society can be made.  This is more than just outside the box thinking, it’s screw the box and go to a completely different room.

One of the most innovative ideas that I found in Grant’s book is what he referred to as The Sarick Effect.  According to Grant, professor Leslie Sarick completed a study of different sales pitches and found that initially arguing against your own idea can improve the audience’s reception of it.

There are five key conclusions of Sarick’s study.

1 – Leading with weakness disarms the audience.

2- Too much optimism seems like salesmanship.

3 – Critical comments are perceived as smarter than positive ones.

4 – Starting negative boosts trust.

5 – Listing negatives makes it harder for listeners to think of their own objections.

Taken together, leading with weakness can make people like you more.  They will also start to try and help and actively look for solutions with you.

One of the other things Grant talks about is the idea that if you state something as fact, at least 3 times in rapid succession people will tend to believe you without doing any further research.  Although I am not a big fan of trying to deceive people it’s interesting to note that Leslie Sarick doesn’t exist, and the Sarick Effect is a name he made up to prove his point.

I’ve begun using some of these tactics in my presentations lately and I can tell that they do work.  Starting a meeting with the top 5 reasons nobody needs life insurance is going a bit far in my opinion but being honest about my past bankruptcy and long journey to financial security has been very effective.  It helps people see me as human and vulnerable.

As I state on the home page of this site, I’m just a fellow traveler on this road, what I have to offer isn’t unique but it’s honest and that counts for a lot.

So, thanks for reading this post – even though I told you not to.  Tell me, what do you think of leading with weakness?  Have you ever tried it?  What where the results?


L C Sheil writes regularly about, spirituality, life and business coaching.  He is the founder and director of The Matthew 5:5 Society (formerly The Meekonomics Project) where he coaches ministry and business leaders to Live Life to the Fullest in Complete Submission to the Will of God. 

Mr. Sheil has authored two books and is available for public speaking and one on one coaching in the areas of work life balance,  finding and living your core values  and financial literacy.  Write to The Matthew 5:5 Society here for more information or follow L C Sheil on twitter and instagram.  

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