An Inner Circle member posed a question in the meeting this week. Without giving details, it went something like this. “Should this be the direction I take, ‘or’ should I go this way?” If you are a business owner you know you have faced this question, probably many times.
The Inner Circle probed his question trying to find the answer. Lots of good advice. Then one member, channeling Jim Collins of Good to Great and Built to Last, asked the best question of the meeting. “Shouldn’t you be asking how you can go this direction ‘and’ that direction at the same time.” Everyone’s perspective changed immediately, understanding how the use of the word “or” was limiting their peer’s options and opportunities. The discussion got better and the takeaway was he needed to go both ways for a while and needed to find a way.
Jim Collins devotes an entire chapter of Built to Last to this these two words and how the best companies avoid “or” in favor of “and” in discussing strategy.
It’s titled, “No ‘Tyranny of the OR'”. The successful companies wouldn’t let “or” limit them to just two options. They were determined to have both.
The next time you find the “either/or” question in front of you, can you turn into an “and” question work on figuring out how to have both. Even if you decide on one option over the other, your plan for executing to that option will be superior.