Lemony’s saying came to mind this week in two separate conversations I was having with executives – different organizations and industries but both facing big, complicated change challenges. I was struck how both had crafted solid reasons for not yet acting on their challenge Lack of sponsorship, uncertain success, lack of precedent – all good reasons for pause. At the same time, both indicated the inevitability of what had to be done – mostly because the current patterns and circumstances were not sustainable.
If they were to heed all the warning signs they would, in fact, be elevating a set of values neither would be proud to claim above the risks at hand. In one case, the morale of the sales organization if not the entire enterprise was at risk. They were risking losing their best people at a critical time in the organization’s trajectory. In the other, the political peril was in danger of lining up one of the finest executives I have ever known squarely on the side of bullying and abuse. As you can imagine, both were shaken by the reframing of their position.
This is not a plug for rash action. Rather it is highlighting a single, important question:
If we don’t act now, what does it mean we really value and support?
Status quo? Self-preservation? Something worse?
If you find yourself where my friends found themselves, ask someone you trust to tell you what you need to hear (maybe not want to hear) and have them answer that question.
Remember – if you are not standing for your purpose – surely you are standing in someone else’s. Good luck.