Updated: Apr 4, 2019
‘If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything’
Stand for something
‘If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything’ – this modern proverb is attributed to Gordon A. Eadie and was popularised by American Actress Irene Dunne in 1945. A search on Google attributes versions of the quote to many people including Malcolm X and Rosa Parkes. You don’t need to be a civil rights activist to stand for something, but in business - and probably life - I believe standing for something is vital.
It’s not just the standing for something that is important, it is what you stand against. By standing for something you are giving up options, taking a side, adding a passionate voice to a cause. It allows you to develop ideas, to start a debate and to identify right from wrong in your view. By flying the flag for your cause, you encourage others to take a stand by your side, harnessing the very essence of leadership.
Lessons from Brexit
Yet the Brexit debate (or shall we say debacle) is giving standing for something a bad name.
I don’t think it is the standing for something that is wrong but rather the lack of principles on the extremes of each side. Standing for something should have a moral aspect, it should be driven by ethical principles. Blind prejudice or enlightened self-interest are just not good enough.
Standing for something doesn’t preclude debate. On the contrary it encourages it and it doesn’t stop negotiation or compromise to help those involved reach the best possible solution (the key is in the word ‘possible’). However, there will be red lines that need crossing because some things are plain wrong, as Rosa Parkes and Nelson Mandela demonstrated. Without ethically driven principles, how can anyone know right from wrong?
What do you stand for?
That is why I believe that in business you do have to take a stand for what you believe is the right way to do things, and let your staff and clients know what that stand is and whose side they are choosing to stand by.
Every Thursday over the next few months I will take that stand on behaviours and practices that I believe are good or bad in my sector of marketing production and print management. A lot of those practices will be common to a lot of sectors and companies. I will also be looking at how businesses put what they stand for at the heart of what they do and what impact that can have. Please read on and comment to let me know which side you fall on.
Mike Newman, theSPC
At theSPC standing for something is exactly what we are trying to do. Our stand is to value experience, understanding and insight to help Brands and their agencies to do the right thing when it comes to their marketing production. We strongly believe that there is a right way to manage production and the production supply chain for each of our clients and we promise to find it.