Eighteen years ago I was in a debate with a colleague and a friend. At the time, we were coauthoring a paper on the potential, structure, and viability of a different way of doing business. The business was up for review. Were we going to invest or sell? The initial indicators suggested that we do one or the other. As we intensely argued our view, the range and depth of the challenge on both sides grew. We wanted this paper to be good! We valued the debate. We knew that the other brought something to the paper that was unique.
As we struggled through the obvious issues such as culture, demographics, changing economic climate, we came to a turning point. At the center was a simple question. Did the core business principles we believe in apply to this situation? Did culture and context dominate? Specifically, was Michael Porter’s view a lasting one?
I have never forgotten our debate. Our paper became the foundation for an amazing business adventure, but that is not why I remember it. The lasting memory that refuses to leave was the strength that truth has. It crosses cultural divides. It bridges differences. It fits with a wide range of circumstances. Others may not see it clearly yet it endures.
I find the overwhelming amount of data and images in life to be distracting. I sit in the quiet morning light, silence overwhelming the senses of what is around me. The truth I heard almost two decades ago lives on. I have found even more truth since then. It too will endure. David’s old echo reminds me that endurance is more than a choice. “Babies not yet conceived will hear the good news – that God does what he says.” (Psalm 22.31) In certain cases, endurance is a fact.
I never imagined how the future would change in the heat of the debate. I do remember – the laughter we shared, the passion we brought to our lives, and most of all, the respect for the truth we discovered together; a gift of hope.