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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second A lot of people, once they’ve come across this again, very overly simplistic analogy of Core and Flex, tend to think that the Core is the really important thing and that the Flex is Flex. Doesn’t matter as much.

Skip to 0 minutes and 23 seconds And I think in many, many, many ways, if you want to have cultural intelligence, actually the Flex is the really important bit. Your ability to, knowing your Core, Flex the rest and not fuss about it and go with things and learn in so doing. That I think the truth is that unless you have a strong Core, you can’t have big Flex.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds The analogy that someone once said to me was somebody who’s into boating. Not my strength, but it was quite an interesting analogy. And he was saying if you moor a boat and anchor it, if you make the anchor very strong but the anchor rope very, very short, the boat, as soon as you get any waves or winds, begins to fight the waves and begins to crack and crash on the waves. If, however, when you moor your boat, you make the rope long enough, then the boat has this ability to float and go with the waves. And it doesn’t end up crashing.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds And I think that it was quite a useful analogy is that if your Core is strong enough and clear enough, then it allows you to be enormously flexible.

Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds I met a young man the other day who was talking about his Core. And he said to me, I’ve always regarded Core as something that’s entirely personal and private to me. It’s got nothing to do with anybody else. It’s me and it’s private. And he looked at me in a lovely way and said, but if I want to be a leader, it can’t be, can it? And especially a leader with cultural intelligence. No, he’s right.

Skip to 2 minutes and 21 seconds If you want people to go with you, if you want people to trust in the way that they need to if you’re going to, they’re going to consent to be led by you, they have to see your Core and understand it, which means that you have to reveal it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds I think there’s lots of analogies here. The need for the Core to be constant, to be strong, to adapt a little bit with great care. But the stronger your Core is, the more Flexible your Flex is. And you have to show the Core so that people trust you. That’s the boating analogy, anyhow.

The anchor

What is more important? Core or Flex?

If you are secure in what you are willing to Flex on does that tell you something about your Core? Or do you have to start with what is Core and then become comfortable in Flexing the rest?

I have always used the analogy of the anchor to start to dig deeper into this balance. What do you think?

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Developing Cultural Intelligence for Leadership

Common Purpose