And, not or

Amid the wreckage that passes for our national political system I’ve decided to turn my back on its abundant blog gifts and turned my gaze on other matters (at least for this week).

In an article last week on Fast Company, Bob Frisch made the case that “Culture Vs Strategy Is A False Choice.”

In a nutshell his argument comes down to something that we all should know — at least since we left school and started working in the real world. Yes, there are times when the choice is “or”. However, more often things work much better and the outcomes are far stronger when you embrace the “and”. Do both. Use both. Work to make both strong.

In the case of this real-life Bob, he was referring to the mini “war” between culture and strategy for determinism in the corporate landscape — a war that largely ignores the fact that you need both. A strong strategy that is aligned with the culture, with what the organisation CAN do, with the promises they CAN keep, will win over just one or the other — every time.

Look across the landscape of the organisation and you will see plenty of other “or”s that could just as easily be “and”s — big and small.

  • We can make promises we can keep or keep our customers.
  • We have to choose either profits or people; we can’t have both.
  • It’s either, make it good for the environment or make it cost effective.
  • Outsource to China or have quality well produced products.
  • Sell online or have a “bricks and mortar” storefront.
  • Twitter or Facebook.

The list could go on and on. The point is that in most cases when you stop to ask how you can have this “and” that, the very act of connecting things together immediately multiplies the opportunities and ideas that can emerge.

If you replace “and” for each of the statements in the list, you will build a stronger and more resilient organisation — which in the end is the “and” that matters most.

What “or”s could be “and”s in your organisation?

See you next week.

Michel is an independent adviser and advocate dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes the Brand Alignment blog. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan


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