The power of AND

I subscribe to a number of blogs and newsletters and the like. My inbox is filled daily with someone’s thoughts on something. I enjoy them all and read them voraciously. What occurs to me, however, is how many of the writers are stuck in a false dichotomy: this OR that. On the horns of a dilemma – it can be one OR the other. You can have vanilla OR chocolate. You can work on strengths OR weaknesses. You can focus on the past OR the present OR the future. We list exclusions and get stuck.

What happens, though, when we list inclusions? What is the power of AND?

Roger Martin addresses this in his book The Opposable Mind and others have tackled it as well.

Revisit that list.

You can have vanilla AND chocolate – and now you have a new creation that might be better than either in isolation.

You can work on strengths AND weaknesses – and while the ratio of time you spend on each might be important, you will likely have a more successful and enjoyable voyage with the leaks patched over.

You can think about the past AND the present AND the future – because they are all part of who you are and who you want to be, and recognizing that makes the self-discovery and self-creation process richer and more meaningful.

What false dichotomy have you set up for yourself? And what if you replaced the OR with AND? Then what becomes possible?

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Lisa Sansom

Lisa Sansom has her MBA from the Rotman School of Management, and over two decades of experience in teaching and training. Her years of work in the organizational development field have included projects on change management, employee engagement, leadership development, team coaching and employer of choice strategies.

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