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A CEO of Campbell’s Explains the Power of “AND”

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Leadership principles that work the best change us the most. Trouble is leadership is situational. That’s why many principles work in one context but not another.

I ask Doug Conant, retired CEO of Campbell’s Soup, to share the universal leadership principle that most changed him.

The genius of “and”:

Doug said moving from “or” thinking to “and” thinking most changed his leadership. He said Robert Schuller, a man he never met, sent him a book about being tough minded and tender hearted. That’s when the genius of “and” began gripping him.

“Or” thinking:

“Or” thinking reflects a scarcity mind-set. Forcing a choice between short-term sales targets and building long term potential is scarcity thinking.

Choosing between tough-minded or tender-hearted limits your potential.

“And” thinking:

“And” thinking embraces abundance thinking. You don’t have to choose between tough or tender; be both. Be tough on standards and enthusiastic about people. Doug explained the most fulfilling leadership experiences occurr when performance expectations are extremely high and people care deeply for each other.

Highest potential:

“And” takes your further than “or”.  “Or” thinking limits your potential by creating artificial barriers to creativity, excellence and diversity. “And” thinking creates challenges, opportunities, and innovation.

Wisdom is simple:

When I hung up the phone, I thought how often I’ve been an “either/or” rather than a “both/and” leader.

In the past, I put people who followed me in either/or situations, unnecessarily. I created artificial boundaries based on either/or thinking.

Three letters can change you and your leadership – A. N. D.


What leadership principle most changed you?

How do you express “and” thinking?


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Doug’s Book:

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