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 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 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.
“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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