Principles Before Personalities

Principles Before Personalities

Recently, I responded to a question from a regular reader of the TMC (Tuesday Morning Commentary… what you are reading right now!) He wanted to know my thoughts about adapting to scenarios, and if you should change your standards or personality. My response was simple—and it doesn’t matter whether we are taking about a meeting, writing a proposal, or engaging in a negotiation. It was “adapt to the environment but do not alter what you stand for.” Let me explain.

If I am attending a meeting on Bay Street in downtown Toronto, I am probably dressed in a suit and tie. If I am meeting with a client who is a local grain feed operator in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, I am probably dressed more casually. I adapt to the environment in which I am engaged.

If someone is focused on business and not interested in casual personal chat during a meeting, I focus on the business at hand. If the meeting participants talk about their families and the economy, etc., I participate in that conversation with excitement. But if they asked me to a steak dinner to celebrate a deal, and I was a vegetarian (which I am not), I would not eat steak. If I was a strong environmentalist who believed big oil and gas is killing our planet and not doing anything to alter the way they operate, then I might choose not to work in partnership with such a company. I don’t drink alcohol. So, a celebratory drink of scotch, shooters, or champagne is not going to happen with me. I would be glad to toast with tea, root beer, or water, but I will not alter my principles, integrity, or ethical beliefs for anyone at any time. It is critical to adapt to your environment in a given situation, but that does not mean you need to alter your principles. Hence, I believe in the concept of “principles before personalities.”

As someone put it in a group I belong to, “Placing principles before personalities does not always endear me to everyone, but I would rather be disliked for what I am than liked for what I am not.”

Please remember to stay HIPS! (Healthy, Isolate when possible, Physically distanced from others, and Safe!)

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