Lessons from James K. Polk, “Napoleon of the Stump”
As I crafted our campaign theme, I wanted an idea that communicates an invitation. The words “Come to the Table” became an immediate fire in my belly and a clarion call for leadership. I immediately knew that I would need to create a table but I wanted it to be special. I settled on a ‘five legged table’. I decided that the fifth leg would need to have a super-special meaning. The idea of using an actual tree stump came to mind because since I was a little kid growing up, I had always been intrigued by tree stumps. As a young boy growing up, my father would send me to the valley on his property to chop down trees for firewood and ferry everything up a hill. One part that challenged yet inspired me was the stump – having to dig it out of the ground then carry it in pieces up the hill to the house. I learned quickly that each stump had it’s own personality.
Fast forward many years later. As a young adult, I met my wife in Nashville, TN as we were both in a leadership program. As we toured the Tennessee State Capital, I was swept away by the story of James Polk, who was the eleventh President from 1845 to 1849. Polk was nicknamed ‘Napoleon of the Stump’ for his oratorial skills. I found out that he was speculated to have had a personality type that would be “… INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment). A reserved, analytical and insightful character with a strong sense of independence” (American Historama, an Encyclopedia of US History). INTJ is terminology from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI was developed by the mother and daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. It is based on the idea that humans have four dominant psychological functions. Similarly, each individual person who journeys as a public servant has a unique leadership personality.
For me, results have consistently showed that my dominant personality functions are Extrovert, Intuitive, Thinking, Judgment, abbreviated as ENTJ. Individuals who have emerged as ENTJs have tended to be strategic, logical, efficient, outgoing, ambitious, independent, effective organizers, and long-range planners. This section of my Eightfold Platform details my ENTJ personality as reflected from work experiences with the backdrop of the eastern red cedar stump below that I used for the fifth leg of my campaign table.
E – Extrovert
The eastern red cedar has a personality that is gregarious, unreserved, and exhibitionist. This can be seen clearly in the beautiful diversity of its sturdy reddish-brown bark. The bark shows off to the beholder as it easily sheds into long, thin strips.
According to the MBTI, I am strong as an extrovert. In all my work, I have modeled a big and bold approach to engaging people. My good friend Donald E. said, “Herman possesses the ability to look at life with a sense of excitement and passion. To talk to him about the things that he is excited about, raises the level of excitement in others”.
N – Intuitive
The eastern red cedar has a visceral, ingrained, and natural inner personality. This can be seen in the varied beauty of the cross-section of it’s growth rings, all the way from the bark to the outer layer, the cambium, heartwood, and the pith. Stunning!
According to the MBTI, I score high on being intuitive. I am comfortable off the beaten path and thrive on new ideas. Reminiscing recently, a great supervisor Heath S. said, “You exuded great optimism by pushing people to a higher standard. Your diligence and your excellence pushed every staff and intern that came in contact with you”.
T – Thinking
The eastern red cedar is really part of a genus of North American trees known us junipers. It’s scientific name is ‘Juniperus Virginiana‘. The only true cedars on earth grow in the Middle East and in North Africa (for instance the ones believed to have been used to build the Temple of Solomon).
According to the MBTI, I am a dominant thinking personality. I have an ability to develop elaborate plans then define how they fit within short, medium, and long term spans. Teammate Jenilee S. said, “It always impressed me how all your conversations seemed carefully thought out and purposeful, though they were never overbearing or overly serious. … it just flowed up from out of you… you are purposeful about life…”.
J – Judgment
The eastern red cedar is extremely useful. Wildflife use them as a source of refuge and food. Humans use them to line cedar chests, for paneling wardrobes and closets, for woodenware, making gifts, and many more novelty items. In a sense, the wood has taste, ingenuity, and great acumen.
According to the MBTI, I possesses an innate high judgment. I have an incredible understanding of the needs and dynamics of organizations. Coworker John R. said, “You have personal integrity and carry yourself humbly as well. You are a friend to many and kind to all. Your gentle and confident spirit leaves a positive impact anywhere you are. Your goal setting and decision making is inspiring”.
“You really are doing this! This stump table may end up in the Smithsonian if you win this election!”
Statement by a great neighbor and friend
What is leadership personality? The eightfold PLATFORM demonstrates Dr. Najoli’s personality as a leader. As he continues in this campaign for Hamilton County Commissioner, many will get to know him better. Please share his personality with groups of people. Here is what you can say:
Dr. Herman Najoli has the personality that we need in Hamilton County. He conducted a doctoral study of 193 leaders across the United States, making him not only an educated supporter of learners but also a most qualified successor. His ability to be so successful in collecting signatures where many have failed is because he understands the urban core, the first ring suburbs, the suburban areas, and the more rural areas of Hamilton County.
Dr. Najoli’s ability to initiate and innovate comes from his independence and smarts. He believes that serendipity plays a role in his life, but he also is a committed public servant. His depth of service as a public servant in the education and nonprofit sectors is remarkable and has only been possible because he has a pioneering spirit. Dr. Najoli turned in his signatures on a symbolic 230 pages of part-petitions to symbolize the 230-year history of Hamilton County. Dr. Najoli wakes up daily with a drive to blaze trails and push for change that makes the world a better place. He is a trailblazer and an engaging soul. He is visionary with the wisdom to serve prudently and a devoted shepherd too. Dr, Najoli is an educated supporter of young children and their dreams for the future.
Come to the Table!
Support this Eightfold PLATFORM!
Thank you for getting onto the stump with Friends of Najoli.
PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF NAJOLI. PATRICIA SCOTT, TREASURER.
PO BOX 7112, CINCINNATI, OH 45205