The Power of 'And'

I probably ought to walk away from the keyboard right now and not write this article. Because I'm cranky. My Mother always said "Take a deep breath, count to 10 slowly and reassess what you're thinking of doing." Good advice Mum - I'm going to ignore it today though...

See, I'm getting so tired of the 'either/or' arguments or exhortations that keep getting posted on LinkedIn. This morning's is "You hired them for their strengths. Why focuson their weaknesses?" Ugh! Now don't get me wrong, I understand and to some degree agree with the sentiment. Statistics show that the yield from strengthening strengths certainly surpasses the yield from strengthening weaknesses. But, what? We should stick our fingers in our ears and sing "Lah, lah lah!" at the top of our voices while studiously ignoring the glaring deficiency that a team member exhibits? Hell no! That's plain stupid! So, please stop suggesting that we take one path over another.

A gent by the name of Craig R. Hickman wrote "Mind of a manager. Soul of a leader" back in the 90's and in the opening pages he posed a question along the lines of "What do we need more of today, managers? Or leaders?". It was a trick question. In a much later chapter he answers the question himself... "Yes". We need more of both! Hickman observed that in the critical areas that 'executives' need to focus:

Competitive Strategy/Advantage Focus:

Managers . . .

Leaders . . .

Concentrate on StrategyNurture Culture
Consider DangersSense Opportunity
Follow VersionsPursue Visions
IsolateCorrelate
Determine Scope of ProblemsSearch for Alternative Solutions
Seek MarketsServe People
Think Rivals / CompetitionThink Partners / Cooperation
Design Incremental StrategiesLay Out Sweeping Strategies
Correct Strategic WeaknessesBuild on Strategic Strengths

Organisational Culture/Capability:

Managers . . .

Leaders . . .

Wield AuthorityApply Influence
Seek UniformityPursue Unity
Administer ProgramsDevelop People
Formulate PolicySet Examples
InstructInspire
Manage by Goals / ObjectivesManage by Interaction
ControlEmpower
Easily Release EmployeesWould Rather Enhance Employees
Employ ConsistencyElicit Creativity

External/Internal Change:

Managers . . .

Leaders . . .

Yearn for StabilityThrive on Crisis
DuplicateOriginate
Fasten Things DownUnfasten Them
Drive Toward CompromiseWork to Polarise
See ComplexitySee Simplicity
ReactProactive
PlanExperiment
ReorganiseRedevelop
RefineRevolutionise

Bottom-Line Performance/Results:

Managers . . .

Leaders . . .

Scrutinise PerformanceSearch for Potential
Are DependentAre Independent
Compensate PeopleSatisfy Them
Conserve AssetsRisk Them
Pursue the TangibleSeek the Intangible
Inhabit the PresentReside in the Future
Concentrate on Short-term ResultsSeek Long-term Results
Want GoodDemand Better

Individual Effectiveness Style:

Managers . . .

Leaders . . .

Ask How (Seek Methods)Wonder Why (Seek Motives)
Think LogicallyThink Laterally
Perpetuate HierarchiesStrive for Equality
Are SkepticalAre Optimistic
Plan AroundConfront
Take ChargeEncourage Delegation
Like FormalityPrefer Informality
Venerate ScienceRevere Art
Perform DutiesPursue Dreams

Now, I don't know about you but I can't even begin to imagine an organisation surviving, let alone thriving without an appropriate balance of both of those sets of focii. As Peter Drucker famously noted "Management is about doing things right. Leadership is about doing right things." They both need doing.

From where I sit I believe that one of the greatest 'influences' that is present in the business-world today - and that most people seem to struggle with - isambiguity. And as a consequence one the most critical competencies any of us can possess in this day and age is the ability to 'manage the and'. Either/or has no place in today's world (or today's society - don't get me started on the 'othering' that governmentsaround the world have long promoted in order to exact more control over their citizens and marginalise others).

So, lets strengthen our people's strengths AND strengthen their weaknesses. Please!