Balance – By Mark Gande

BalancedThis has come to mean many things in today’s increasingly regulated and politically correct world.  It could well be a synonym for an expression like ‘media-savvy’ or indeed, a word for the closet politicians amongst us to hide behind when things aren’t going their way.  They will often counter with a defensively worded opinion about wanting to share a more balanced view with the rest of us – whether we choose to listen or not!  All the while implying that the original fact or opinion previously expressed was somehow unbalanced.

And yet, on the basis of the belief that MOST people are inherently good and want to do the right things then everybody in the world is always making and arriving at balanced decisions and conclusions.  After all, when we decide to do something or affect some kind of outcome there are always 3 choices:

  • Engage in activity to affect an outcome positively
  • Engage in activity to affect an outcome negatively
  • Do nothing

This is an oversimplification, but if we just take a look at some of the more inspirational figures from recent times would we actually say that the quality we remembered about them most was that they possessed balance? After all, how excited are we going to be when we are expressing a balanced view of something?

Typically, the expression of balance comes in the latter stages of a series of events that have unfolded or as an opinion about ‘events’ that have already taken place.  Manifestations of this can be recognised by statements being prefixed with the phrase ‘upon reflection……’ The challenge is often FIRST having the ability to move people in order to influence outcomes or achieve objectives AND THEN to change direction if required by bringing balance to the plan.

Beware though, if you are a leader engaged in achieving results through people and all managers are; then the perception of you could actually be that your infectious passion or compelling vision has been diluted by expressing balanced views. This is how it will appear.  Or worse, that you are a bit of a ‘clever clogs’ who takes pleasure in expressing genius in hindsight opinions rather than pushing for constructive solutions to achieve desired outcomes.

I suppose, at the risk of this turning into a rant against the quality of balance, what I am trying to communicate is that it has its place within expressions of great wisdom.  However, it is often misused to dilute viewpoints or worse ‘spin’ them into something where the original meaning or desired purpose is lost within all the blandness.

Imagine a rousing speech or motivational pep talk where you as the listener come away thinking that it was all a bit bland.  Admittedly, the point was made, but (and this may be crucial) it didn’t really inspire you to do anything.

If we think of inspiring figures from history that had the gift of making rabble-rousing, inspiring speeches (you know who they are).  General Patton or Winston Churchill, as examples, truly moved people first.  Then wise words would surely follow.  These would bring balance.

More current examples are the way that sports/celebrity figures are often ‘coached’ in handling interviews and are instructed to say nothing controversial.  The whole impression created by this coaching often leaves the listener feeling undecided as to whether or not they like this person.  In today’s social media driven environment that could mean a crucial loss of support for their espoused cause, and an overlooking of their undoubted abilities.  Liking someone or what they stand for does translate into critical support.

For example, who would you be rooting for out of the following:  Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick or Andre Agassi?

Forget for one moment their undoubted abilities as dedicated athletes and  focus on why they would get your support.

Footnote: ‘Everything in moderation……………including moderation.’

Special thanks to Mark Gande for his contribution to our efforts here.  As you can tell, this is a man with a gift to share, even if he does seem unduly proud of his England.  Just kidding Mark, we love you.  To get his contact information, give us a call at (816) 237-1820.

To reach the very core of the subject of balance, click here.