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"And" Is The New "Or"

Leadership

3 min read

Business has generally been an either/or proposition. You’re either the boss or a worker, an owner or an employee. You’re either at work or in your life. You either have fear or you’re a strong leader. You either manage through intimidation, or are afraid of your own authority and end up being too distant or too nice. Is the answer systematization or having great people? Do I focus on maximizing profit or building a great culture? And on and on.

The "and" calls us out - to a bigger world and a bigger version of ourselves. It challenges us to live into hard questions. How can I be passionate about every aspect of my business or work and not get lost in the details? How can I stand for myself as a leader without apology and at the same time live the truth that I’m always bigger than my role - that I define it and not the other way around?

There’s a global business transformation underway. It’s about meaning, it’s about evolving our relationship to work so that our businesses become rich and alive places of passion and purpose. It’s about discovering and inhabiting your own unique style of leadership, and finding how creating spaces for others to become more of who they are at work is the fuel for increased profitability and growth.

If there’s one word that’s the touchstone for the leaders taking up this challenge, it’s “and.”

The "And" Goes Deeper

A coherent business philosophy, one worth buying, should be big enough to help you achieve your professional goals without running from your humanity or common sense. It should make an “and” where before there was “or."

Mediocre philosophies focus on intentions (selfish or selfless?), behaviors (good or bad?) and results (win or lose?) - with no “and” to be found and no inquiry into motivations and the deeper questions of “Why?”

When I look at the marketing in the business coaching and training industry, the ideas being sold can only reinforce the status quo because they perpetuate the either/or way of looking at things without knowing it. They repackage outworn and tired ideas about "strong" leadership, myths about work/life balance, and superficial nonsense about “positive thinking” and "manifesting success." These ideas take us further away from ourselves instead of closer.

EMyth is an “and” philosophy. And a new philosophy—dare we say, paradigm—doesn’t offer techniques or strategies for coping—it offers a new vista. The world is full of opposing ideas. A new philosophy has the space to contain both sides of an argument from a third place - a place that integrates the wisdom and discards the downside of both sides of the status quo “argument.” Here’s ours:

Hierarchy and Collaboration - because real leaders hide from neither and foster both.

Self-Interest and Caring - because it’s in your self-interest as a human being and as a business to feel your actual impact on others.

Work and Life - because trying to “balance” the two is ridiculous (and impossible).

Creativity and Discipline - through management that’s based in the courage to confront uncomfortable topics.

And most importantly,

Meaning and Money - because the best employees (young or old) demand it, and the world is getting hungrier for it by the day.

Maybe the “and” is what will drive the next great global economy. Not the economy politicians talk about, but the one you and I are trying to build in our own world every day by trying to evolve as leaders, to help our employees reach their own dreams as we strive to reach our own.

How big do I dare to imagine the role EMyth could play in that world? What if 10% of the 6 million small businesses in the U.S. (500 employees or less) had the confidence and self-honesty to accept that “they built it” AND at the same time got help to make it better?

What if there was one “and” that mattered more than all of them that we somehow lost along the way. What if real self-responsibility AND actual caring are one and the same thing - and together are the fuel of the next great U.S. and global economy?

What if the hardest thing to imagine is not that the world would change, but that you were one of the people who had the courage to step up and make it happen?

What if your business was one small part of this global transformation, and this was the year you could finally look back on and say that was when it really changed?

Wishing you a successful 2013.

Jonathan Raymond

Written by Jonathan Raymond

Jonathan was a frequent contributor to the EMyth blog from 2011-2015. His articles focus on marketing, branding, and organizational culture.

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