|Benny the Deuce|
When he matured as a monk, he decided to open a monastery on his own lands. At first, he imposed a very strict rule modeled on his own experience: bread and water six days a week -- wine or milk on Sundays if any layperson contributed any. It is probably not surprising that enrollment remained low. He adopted the comparatively lax Benedictine Rule (which demanded more asceticism than I'd ever want). This abbey thrived so well that he formed other houses as well; in time, he was such a big wheel that he helped with the Synod of Frankfurt, at which he argued persuasively against the Adoptionist heresy.
Religious leaders have an obligation to hold onto principles -- I wouldn't ever argue that point. However, some principles are important, and some are vanities, preferences, and habits masquerading as principles. It was wise of Benedict to ditch the severe austerity that had fulfilled his spiritual desire in favor of plain old austerity that would allow others to fulfill theirs. In doing so, he increased his own influence significantly.