Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finding the right balance

I believe that balance in opinion, aspirations, views, collaboration, and politics is a positive force in life and leadership. I believe that a key mission of leadership is to help our teams and organizations find that middle ground where differing opinions can coexist and real strength in purpose and mission can thrive. It is my belief that most leadership challenges do not have black and white answers. The best position on most issues is likely to have some shade of gray.

My explorations and reading this past week brought two examples of "Finding the right balance."

New Dialogue on Abortion
We all recognize the ongoing debate on the abortion issue. It is not my intention to debate this issue on this forum. Nevertheless, the black and whiteness of the opposing perspectives could support a polarizing debate forever. I read with interest this morning in the Star Tribune (yes, I'm old fashioned and I read the paper edition of the newspaper every morning) the article titled "One side tries new strategy in debate over abortion." The article sites that there is a growing trend by organizations to move public opinion on a variety of issues toward solutions instead of polarization. The American mood is showing increasing fatigue with extreme politics whether the issue is abortion, gay marriage, stimulus debate on tax cuts versus spending. I am one of them who is saying, find some common ground at a point where the color is some shade of gray and let's move toward solutions.

The Impact of Money
Another example of balance came from an article on the New Scientist site titled "Why money messes with your mind." Our relationship with money is complex and has many dimensions. This becomes particularly clear when you evaluate the relationship between greed (think Bernard Madoff) and social ethics. The balance message in the article is that there is a positive and desired balance between the pursuit of extrinsic aspirations (money and wealth) and intrinsic aspirations (building personal relationships). In summary, a more balanced relationship with money is better. Although, "we are still a long from knowing why some people appear to go crazy over money", there is recognition that balance is better.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly and stay balanced.

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