The best leaders in dual-purpose organizations consider their high-level principles sacrosanct but their ground-level decisions provisional.
Harvard Business Review, “How Companies Can Balance Social Impact and Financial Goals,” January 2019
The benefit of Agile and agility is the flexibility to maneuver based on what is in front of you.
What typically gets lost is the high-level principles in our drive to “be agile.”
Which star are you navigating?
What principles are you using to guide your decisions?
Are those principles strong enough to overcome short-term challenges and pressures?
It’s easy to forget the high-level, long-term principles when faced with short-term challenges that, frequently, surface issues around money and security.
As the authors of the Harvard Business Review article point out, it’s a strategic paradox that needs to be recognized and addressed. Sometimes we have to make choices between our higher purpose and bringing in enough money to pay our bills. I wish that wasn’t the case, but that’s today’s reality.
The things that bring in the most money and gain the most rewards aren’t necessarily (and frequently aren’t) for the highest good. Or YOUR highest good.
The authors recommend putting guardrails in place to help you with decision-making. These guardrails help you keep the long-term, highest good goals and the short-term survival needs in focus.
The process of establishing guardrails invites you to combine seemingly disparate objectives.
How can you continue pursuing what you love while keeping a roof over your head?
Where can you compromise and where is compromise unacceptable?
It requires getting creative. Brainstorming.
Getting very clear on what is important to you and what isn’t.
The guardrails allow you to be more agile. You gain a framework that helps you make decisions as opportunities present themselves and as your environment changes.