Saturday, January 24, 2009

Where Do You Stand?

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

Thomas Jefferson

Many years ago a mentor of mine gave a popular speech in which, when talking about the value of total commitment, he said “on this rock I stand and world, you will adjust to me.”

Pretty bold and somewhat catchy don’t you think?

As a young man learning some important life lessons I was impressed. Later I went to Japan on a consulting engagement for three months that turned into twelve years—thus I still do not offer seminars on planning—and the client organization was headed by a CEO who had been with me at that great speech and liberally quoted from it.

As I got to know the organization better, it became clear that while the speechmaking was grand, the execution was a lot less than 100%. When I questioned one of the Vice Presidents about this disparity and specifically the “on this rock I stand” line often quoted, he replied in describing his boss, “His rock has wheels.”

Our personal power and effectiveness is to a large degree determined by our awareness of our principles, our taking of personal responsibility for having them show up in our lives and our ability to fully communicate them to others.


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