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The importance of flexibility as a LDRBRND

When’s the right time to bend, break, or hold fast

There’s an old quote that I can’t remember exactly or who it’s from but the general gist is that we need to stand firm when it comes to foundational principles but we can go with the flow when it comes to things that are less important.

To put it another way: we can adapt to the environment around us as long as it does not violate our deepest beliefs. This is a crucial concept as we explore what it means to be a LDRBRND (leader brand for those who don’t understand). I’ve invited all of you along on a journey to be something more, to stand for something that is bigger than ourselves, and look at things with an eternal perspective so we can impact the world in a positive.

For me, a lot of my idea are grounded in deeply held faith beliefs. I was raised in a Christian home. Even though I stepped away from my faith for a number of years (riotous living in Biblical terms), I eventually returned after coming face to face with my own mortality.

But you don’t need a near death experience to see the benefit of living a principled life. You don’t have to have the exact same belief system either to understand that there are times as leaders when we need to hold our ground on the really important ideas.

But how do we decide what are the most important and fundamental concepts that we should defend?

It’s tricky and I think there is going to be some variation for people. However, there are a few places where we can agree that it’s important to put or foot down. And when we talk of these high ideals, we are talking about more than just work. These reach across from the professional to the personal. They tap into the various sides of who we are: emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.

Here are some of my core values:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Love
  • Optimism
  • Care
  • Service
  • Justice
  • Kindness
  • Respect
  • Self-Control
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience

These are the ideals that are in breakable to me. If I am in a personal or professional situation and I am asked to violate these, it’s an automatic no from me.

Here’s why:

The Slippery Slope Theory

If I violate one of these – even in a small way – it’s going to be a lot easier for me to violate another and another until I find myself living an unprincipled life. That is a life of greed and malice. That isn’t the life I believe God created me to have. But I have to do my part to hold that line.

When I do so personally, it becomes a lot easier to execute in a professional capacity. The reverse is also true. It’s because we are human beings and one area of our lives affects the others. As much as we may try to (especially as a guy), compartmentalization doesn’t work. We are connected within ourselves and with other people.

So hold fast on these ideals.

“Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

But now we also have to talk about when is the right time to bend and even break. As a LDRBRND we can (and must!) be rigid about principles but flexible about day to day operations and tactics. My thoughts typically go to the professional side of things when I talk or write about this.

Within our business and industries, we need to maintain some awareness of what are the ongoing trends. Whether that is marketing, sales, operations, IT (Digital Transformation), or any other area. The business environment is so dynamic. It’s not only that things are changing quickly but that the rate of change is increasing as well. We need to be able to leverage new ideas and ways of operating.

This takes wisdom by the leader. We need to be able to figure out (and quickly most of the time) how a new tech or tactic is going to be viable within our operation. Sometimes it won’t be. And that’s okay! Saying no to the wrong thing is a must. But we must be able to say no to a good thing if it isn’t the right thing.

That leaves us with saying yes to the right thing. If that tactic doesn’t break our value system and benefits our customers and employees tremendously – we should absolutely go with the flow there. Not doing so would be a disservice to all involved. It could also lead to ineffective as as business and people rightfully questioning our ability to be leaders.

So sometimes we incorporate something new on a smaller scale. It may be a piece of tech that makes things run a little smoother. There may be some small pushback from the camp that is resistant to change. But they come around once they see how it improves their work days. These are the bend situations. We can think of these as the incremental improvements.

Then there are the times when we have to break they system. And this isn’t just limited to when the operation is losing money/failing at an alarming rate. Sometimes the forces of change are so powerful around us that we are required to blow things up. Or we risk losing relevance. That leads to non-existence as a business.

These are the times of massive disruption. Not everyone will come through. They may have been okay with minor tweaks to business as usual. But an overhaul or a pivot to something new/foreign will cause some people to abandon ship. We have to be okay with that. We may be breaking the system, but it’s not out of a sense of wanton destruction.

We are holding firm on an idea to better serve our people (Customers and employees).

But if we haven’t established those bedrock values, we won’t be able to make those types of hard decisions and see them through to completion (and future success).

Being a LDRBRND is exactly this:

Making hard decisions

Do we bend, break, or hold firm?

Then having to deal with the ramifications of the decision. But this is also what sets us apart from the crowd. The ability to discern the difference, make the right call, and persevere to the end. If we look at the flip side we see:

People who bend or break when they should hold firm (this leads to a lack of morality and character; self-serving and greedy practices at the expense of both customers and employees).

People who hold firm when they should bend or break (this is dogma and a lack of pragmatism; business who cling to the past way of doing things and slowly fade).

Being a LDRBRND is hard. But this is exactly what’s needed these days.

Are you up to the challenge?

I am.

And I hope you will join me in it. Because in the end the effort is worth it.

Thanks for reading today! I hope you feel inspired, educated, and blessed by this post. It would bless and encourage me if you shared this post with others. Cheers!

servant based leadership ldrbrnd gene

I’ve been helping leaders become better marketers for over 21 years and would love to help you take the next step in your spiritual leadership journey.

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