One of the challenges we face in these uncertain times is that we have nowhere to hide. It used to be the case that we could hide behind the marketing literature, the company brand, or, at a push, pricing.
Now it’s different. Topics are being brought into play that requires us to have an opinion that belongs to us, not one we’ve borrowed from the company. Whether it is diversity, climate change or something more local, our stance differentiates us from automation.
The dictionary defines stance as “the way in which someone stands, especially when deliberately adopted (as in cricket, golf, and other sports); a person’s posture”.
The metaphor is appropriate. We may have been given an expensive company bat and even had lots of time in the training nets, but nobody else will deal with the ball coming our way.
Developing a stance requires work and commitment. It is an attitude, not a strategy. It defines our boundaries and those areas we are not prepared to compromise on for the sake of an easy win. It’s more specific than vision, and the boundaries of the “how” of purpose. I find stance a filter through which to look at what I’m doing and ask “does it pass”?
Here’s where I’ve got to regarding on my own lens.
- The way we run business does not reflect reality; it is just where we have got to so far. We can ensure that business is a force for good for more than just a few.
- The conflict we see about the nature of business is not to be feared. The better way is to be found in the heat being generated.
- There are better ways to be found; we can’t see them yet.
- We can bring these better ways into being if we dare to question and challenge from a position of humility, generosity and compassion.
- Complexity is to be welcomed. The answers are not in plain sight, so going both broad and deep and following intuition as much as data is needed. The pursuit of efficiency at all costs is a trap for the unwary and an easy excuse for not doing the hard work.
- It will take time. It is more important that progress is made together than I am seen to make it.
You will have your own, even if you can’t write them down yet. I suggest it is essential to find them, because we all have a thread we follow, and our stance is what keeps it in our hand.
It used to be the case that people asked us what we did for a living. Today, with what we are facing, the question is how the way we make our living represents what we stand for.