Setting standards, taking a stand and finding kindred spirits.

You might have caught this speech from the Chief of the Australian Army this weekend. It’s been flying around online for days and many people have made comments, but I particularly agree with this twitter remark from @5tu (Stu Maschwitz):

“This is how you say stuff.”


I realize the Chief of Army is addressing a very, very serious issue and it is an issue that demands our full focus and attention. But his choice of words is so powerful I am going to relate them to business and life. I just have to share my thoughts about his speech because I have never heard a clearer example of taking a stand an fighting an injustice.

As businesses we all face issues and injustices, whether it’s the high cost of eyewear or the stigma we associate with addiction.

I’ve watched this speech three or four times over the weekend, studying Chief of Army David Morrison’s amazing delivery. He is speaking from his heart with a force that sticks.

And I just can’t get this statement out of my head:

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.


There are a lot of lessons in that statement.

Here are a few I see and feel:

1. Leaders LEAD by taking a strong stand.

2. Taking a strong stand about an injustice can lead to conversation and change.

3. When you take a strong stand you will draw people toward you. And yes, maybe away from you. Taking a stand about your belief system emotionally connects you with others and creates strong bonds.

4. This speech is like a well-written manifesto. We are big time believers in manifestos for organizations and communities. A good manifesto should be something you can feel. A good manifesto unites and connects, it draws a line in the sand and defines which side you are on.

5. If it matters to your organization say it with strength and conviction. And say if from the heart. Yes. All of that. Don’t try and please everyone. If you water it down to please everyone, it will not be loved or hated. And you will not be heard.

How can you apply the statement “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept” to your own life?

Well…do you watch others under deliver? Do you say, that’s good enough? Or that is not my job? Do you know what your company stands for and what you and others should never, ever walk past?

What can you say with a force that sticks? If the answer is nothing, I suggest you find a new job or fold your business.

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