One of the real challenges that is presented to leaders in all organisations is aligning their organisational activities to their end game. That is, the outcomes their organisations are looking to achieve and ensuring every communication, plan, framework and other key documents align to their ultimate goals.

This is a very challenging thing to achieve.  How do you stick to your fundamentals and habits that will achieve success but at the same time remain flexible and adaptable due to changes in your organisations, services, clients and other factors outside of your control?

At a recent public sector workshop that I was speaking at, I heard someone put this in to a simple mindset and tag line that resonated with me; strategically principled – but adaptable and flexible.  Their thoughts on this was that organisations need to strategically principled with their plans but adaptable and flexible with their approach to achieving these outcomes.

For me, this is fundamental to success.  If we explore this further, for me this means the following:

  • strategically principled means having plans in place.  Not long wieldy plans but plans built on pillars, key principles, goals, targets and objectives
  • this extends further to having values as key drivers in your organisation.  Strong principled values that are both non-negotiable and aspirational that drive the right behaviours and outcomes
  • the other key point with being strategically principled is ensuring your plans are regularly reviewed, updated and aligned across all aspects of your organisation
  • being adaptable and flexible is all about how you go about delivering on these plans.  It is about empowering people to get on with the job, holding people to account and doing what you say you are going to do
  • it extends further to less is more.  Simple and adaptable systems that are easy to work with, a strong approach to learning and growth and a mindset of improvement
  • is our organisation more like bamboo than steel? i.e. principled but flexible enough to change, adapt, innovative and drive towards outcomes
  • being flexible extends to the mindset of your employees.  Are they open to change?   Are they improving all the time?  Are they driving outcomes rather than being busy versus productive?


A very powerful mantra that really resonates for me personally.  Strategically principled is critical because you need to stand for something, deliver on your goals and achieve the outcomes you are looking for.  But being flexible and adaptable in your pursuit because many things change over the journey.

It reminds me of a great saying which is “you can’t control the wind, but you can navigate your boat to take advantage of it”. Very much in line with the message above.