Next time you are trying to find a solution to a problem, try stepping back and thinking of it in these two ways:images-3

1.  what are my choices and which is my best option?

This is an either/or mentality.  It works well when the goal is clear and you want to overcome obstacles to achieving it.  It is possible to assess which is the better option when the factors are measurable.  This style of thinking will produce consistent results because you only know your best option when you know what outcome you are shaping the options towards.

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2. How do I connect all the factors?

This is an and mentality.  It is the source of creativity, relationship building and lasting conflict resolution.  You don’t know where you will end up but you know it will feel right when you get there because that is your criteria for success.

You can apply these two ways of thinking to the same situation and get different options for moving forward.

Let’s look at a practical example.  You are the manager at a mine and contractually bound to hire 30% First Nation workers but they are complicated to manage, not showing up, difficult socially with the other workers.  On careful examination of the contract you note that there is a penalty for not achieving the quotas.  You weigh the penalty against the cost in work productivity and decide to factor the penalty into the budget because it is the least expensive.

Now, from an AND perspective.   What do they want and what do we want?  First Nation workers want jobs in their traditional territory so they can continue their cultural practices and participate in a modern economy.  You, the mine manager, want reliable safe workers who don’t have to be flown in from all over the country every 2 weeks.  What are the factors that are limiting the hiring of FN workers? (hint: you can often find the points of connection when you consider the meaning behind things). They go hunting, they have cultural responsibilities, they feel isolated.  The key to having reliable workers is to build in ways for the FN employees to have employment and practice cultural values.  Just like in the running of an airport you can build in responsive systems that result in predictable outcomes despite variable conditions.

Now you can stand back and make a well considered decision.

Balanced Leadership develops the ability to see more options.  From this position you can create a system that includes both options, or you can employ the options consecutively, or even choose one over the other.  Either/or is an operating principle of the fear-based world while and is an operating principle of the love based world.

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