“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” – Anonymous
One of the traits I admire in successful leaders is that of persistence. The best leaders have a kind of dogged determination to achieve whatever it is they’ve set out to achieve. And they do it, regardless of things that get in the way.
On the other hand, one of the traits I see leaders struggle with is stubbornness. They’ve decided that the best road to take is the one they’re one, and come hell or high water they’re going to stay on that road. An alternative solution could almost literally be beating them on the head and they wouldn’t notice.
There’s obviously a fine line between being persistent and being stubborn. There are lots of ways to think about it, but today it strikes me like this: As leaders we have to be persistent about the destination we’re heading for, but we can’t be stubborn about how we get there.
In other words, it’s important that we have a vision for our organizations. What do we want them to look like? What does success look like? If you have that picture in your head, and you’re passionate about getting there, then you have to be persistent and keep pushing and keep battling until you make it. You can’t settle for something less than that vision.
That said, there are probably multiple ways we can actually arrive at that destination. Maybe what we thought might be our most important product might be replaced by something more relevant. Maybe the way we thought we might deliver our services becomes obsolete and we have to find another way to reach our customers. And so on.
My point is this: Understand what you aren’t willing to compromise – particularly WHERE you are going – and be persistent in regards to that. For everything else, be flexible, not stubborn. Don’t let your pre-conceived idea of how you think you’re going to be successful get in the way of the reality of how you’re actually going to be successful.
Have the courage and the humility to admit when something’s not working, and figure out a path forward. Other than your integrity, very few things can be held as sacred. Don’t get attached to the way you achieve your vision. Just get attached to actually achieving it – and find a way.