In the classic business book, Built to Last, Jim Collins talks about avoiding the “tyranny of the OR” and embracing the “genius of the AND”. He explained that “a truly visionary company embraces both ends of a continuum: continuity and change, conservatism and progressiveness, stability and revolution, predictability and chaos, heritage and renewal…”
When my clients are considering options, they often say, “I could do A or B.” My job as the coach is to help them explore what might be possible if they leverage the genius of the and.
If you tend to succumb to the tyranny of the OR you might think:
- Either my team member changes her behavior or I’ll have to fire her.
If you leverage the genius of the AND your approach can be:
- My team member needs to change her behavior and I can help her by setting clear expectations.
Although this can be challenging for people who are more comfortable with black and white than grey, I invite you to find a middle ground by identifying the best of both options — that is the genius of the and.