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A Principle Is Only a Principle Until it Costs You Something

Should the Lockerbie bomber have been freed?

The Lockerbie bomber has been 'set free for oil' scream recent headlines. It seems that the British Government uses the Groucho Marx School of thinking…

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.”

A negotiation tactic is to give something away that costs you little yet has value to the other party. In the oil for prisoners negotiation it is easy to see the short term win. What are the longer-term implications of sacrificing a principle? In this case, diminished reputation, loss of confidence in leadership, a further target, to name but a few.

Ultimately, we are defined by the principles we uphold. As Abraham Lincoln once said “Important principles may and must be inflexible.”

More Stories By James Donnelly

James Donnelly is Managing Director of Mitchell Phoenix USA based in New York. Mitchell Phoenix also has offices in London, UK. He brings over 20 years of experience of working with CEOs and companies around the world across the spectrum of industry. He specializes in Corporate Culture; Leadership Development; Communication; Change Management and Strategic Thinking. He is an expert in leading change from the top down delivering measurable results and lasting insight.

Donnelly’s passion for leadership development and change management was ignited through his early career experiences. His background is predominantly in sales and marketing. He began his career with IBM before joining the Royal Air Force, gaining the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He then ran sales teams at AT&T. These three vastly different cultures sparked a lifelong interest into what made companies great.

Donnelly has delivered over 10,000 hours of seminars, speeches and presentations to large and small audiences from the boardroom to the frontline. He is credited with making fundamental differences to people’s corporate lives. He is one of the principal architects of Mitchell Phoenix’s programs, principles and philosophy.