The first thought is around the intransigence of some people. Whilst a stubborn willingness to ‘be successful’ at all costs can be a virtue, this determination has to be balanced with pragmatism. The folly of a Pyrrhic victory has been recognised for millennia; but we still see leaders, managers and individuals who simply cannot see the virtue in compromise and ultimately knowing when its time to lose.
Our government’s ridiculous stand against renewable energy and a whole range of people’s opposition to the concept of climate change is one example. Another is the range of people opposing gay marriage and other largely unstoppable social trends based on their beliefs.
No one is suggesting the opponents to these social trends need to change their behaviours but by fighting to impose their doctrine on others, which is not accepted by a vast and growing majority, simply causes unnecessary pain and suffering all round. Three key Christian doctrines are firstly ‘love thy neighbour (as they are)’, second set a good example (and encourage other to follow you), and third allow God to judge the ‘quick and the dead’ – mere mortals can never understand the ways of the Lord and cannot judge others. Notwithstanding these basic tenets of the Christian faith, watch a whole lot of people misuse Christianity to tell others how they should live their lives and then become bitter when the inevitable happens and they lose the ‘fight’ after causing a huge amount of unnecessary damage. The art of leadership is to commit you followers to fights they can win, and where winning is worth the cost.
The flip side of this proposition is great leaders and managers also know when to lose and how to lose gracefully. This was the theme of our paper: Know when to lose.
On a lighter subject, I turned 65 this week and the powers that determine UCT kindly decided to increase the duration of my birthday by an additional second, making the day one of the longest in the modern era. I’m not sure I particularly noticed the extra second but it’s nice to know it was there. If you are interested in the journey to precisely accurate calendars the story is at: The origin of calendars.