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On the other side of the divide

Threads v Twitter
England v Australia

Whether it’s the tech giants slugging it out, the curious game of bat and ball or the latest scandal from the media to distract the public, picking a side continues to be the order of the day. 

It seems that we still haven’t learned from the vaxxed versus unvaxxed culture wars where you had to choose between ‘doing the right thing’ or ‘chance it’ as a ‘mass murderer’. I’m wondering where has the middle ground gone. 

Picking a side appears to be the way we are now expected to judge others and frame our perceptions. The challenge with picking a side every time is that the world is fickle. A good pick today isn’t always that great tomorrow because time tells. 

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There’s also the fact that picking a side can cause hurt. It needn’t be the case, but tribalism seems to require it of us. We have been conditioned to pick a tribe and for some reason, you aren’t allowed to like both. 

I remember back in the 90s when Blur had decided to launch a single in the same week as Oasis. Noel Gallagher infamously wished Damon would die of Aids, as Country House claimed no.1 over Roll With It. Oasis performed on Top of the Pops with Noel and Liam switching roles as Noel did his best Liam and Liam did Noel. However, Blur might have won the battle but Oasis won the war, as they raced towards their crowning glory at Knebworth. 

Then, all these years later, this last weekend, Blur reformed for a second time and played Wembley Stadium as the Oasis brothers continue posturing about a comeback. 

For me though, I always liked them both. Did I prefer one over the other? Yes, Oasis, but time has shown both bands’ discography remaining impressive. 

When I was growing up, The Beatles were as far away in time as Oasis is to my children. However, I do tell my kids that music was better back then and if this last Glastonbury was anything to go by, the older bands can beat the young ones hands down, and show them how it’s done. 

Now, all that said, there is one place I will always take a side and for many people, being clear on this one isn’t always easy. 

When it comes to good vs evil I’ll choose good every time. We all get it wrong at times, but aiming to be good is worth doing, if a little hard at times. I found it hard to walk out on an opportunity to have a stake in running an award-winning agency. It was really hard, but also the right thing to do. When I turned my back on it I rediscovered my moral framework. The organisation was making too much money out of the wrong things (tobacco and alcohol) and that made it impossible for me to run with it. And when I turned it down, God met me. 

I had had a varied experience of church, but, from that moment, I started to get to know God, and that, along with finding a great church family over the last few years, is what has held me and my family together. It has also reshaped how I view the church world. 

It is hard when church should be good but you see bad stuff going on in there. I believe that church should be a place where you go to find hope.  

Hope is a gift for every one of us. Hope comes in the form of words you need to hear in times of testing and trials when conditions are at their harshest. The last few years have been a real test for many of us and we need hope to keep our hearts focussed. 

Conviction is the voice within. It is the Plan A. The method may change but the goal will remain. Strategy changes but when you know your purpose you find a way through. Now for me, having a framework, a place of safety, and the inner voice of conviction keeps my heart when others are losing their minds. 

Without a moral framework, preference will be our custodian and comfort our cause. Both of these have turned man’s pursuit of purpose into a power play fixated on pleasure. That isn’t a noble quest, it enslaves people. 

A moral framework starts with a code, a set of principles and values that a life pursuing pleasures ruins. Can a company have a moral code? Well yes, good companies will have a set of values that they uphold. 

This is why having a decent Mission, Vision and Values help create the framework that keeps you on track and why some brands have been likened to a religion. When brands drift from their mission, vision and values things begin to collapse. 

This begs the question, does a company need to be moral? I believe that the best ones choose to do good over evil and they look to leave an impact. They stand for good and on the occasions when they don’t it damages the brand. The BBC, ITV, Cricket, Social Media have all had their bad days on display but how do they win? They choose to do good when faced with evil. 

It gets harder when the code to live by is unclear, remains undefined, and people choose the pursuit of preference above all else. 

Our experience of working with a wide range of companies has shown us strength and clarity of decision making comes when the values are deeper than printers ink. 

That is why we won’t work with anybody, in fact, we can’t work with everybody. Finding the right fit is our priority. Values have made us valuable to those that work with us and ultimately, in tough and trying times, you need people with values (positive ones) in your life. 

So I guess I do choose a side. I want good people to win. I want the leaders that we work with to be reminded that they can do business the right way, for the right reasons and that makes all the difference. 

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