In the book Built to Last by Jim Collins and Scott Porras, the authors noted that the common decision process is merely choosing between two or more choices—it is an “either/or” process. For example, shall we minimize cost or maximize quality. It is an approach that “…pushes people to believe things must be either A OR B, but not both.” That, of course, dampens the imagination, limiting the possible. It is this Tyranny of the OR that led President Kennedy to say, “We need men who can dream of things that never were.”
The authors describe the Tyranny of the OR as a rational view that cannot easily accept paradox. Influenced by the Tyranny of the OR, these men and women cannot deal with two seemingly contradictory forces or ideas at the same time. On the other hand, what distinguishes the truly remarkable leader and organization is, in the words of the authors, “The Genius of the AND.” Groundbreaking individuals and organizations have replaced the traditional OR approach to decision making with an AND approach—for example, rather than choose between low cost or high quality, they ask, “Why not both?” “Why not give our customers both the highest quality at the lowest cost?”
Consider Apple and its leader, Steve Jobs. Given the choice between robust complexity and simplicity—Steve Jobs insisted on both, complexity and simplicity. Given the choice between utility and beauty, Steve Jobs chose both. “The Genius of the AND” is to dream of things that never were and say why not now! Because Steve Jobs did, Apple changed the world.
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Tom Collins’ books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online store. unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to http://amzn.com/B00IV5ZJEI. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore.