I have focused all my recent posts on technical topics related to facility and infrastructure asset management. I wanted to take a break and shift to a more business or leadership stream, even though the title would appear to be all about beer, and lite beer at that!
Whenever an individual or an organization needs to make a decision, in my experience the default mindset is always “should we do A OR B”. We often are presented with, or develop a list of options, often that are opposite or conflict in some way and are asked to “pick one”. While in some cases this makes sense when the decisions are somewhat simple. Should we go left or right. Should we go with this software or another.
I have found that as our team has grown and our organization becomes more complex, the challenges that we face and decisions we have to make need more nuanced solutions, often requiring (I hate to use the cliches, but) outside-the-box thinking. When we are faced with options to consider and asked to make a decision, as my team will tell you, instead of focusing on “OR” I often try to explore the “AND” first, especially when the initial options represent trade-offs.
How can we try to combine options to get the benefits of both and avoid the potential draw backs of either. What would A and B look like? Is there a third option that gives us even more upside than the OR options? The ultimate solutions that we have come up with have often allowed us to avoid trade offs and get even more value (1+1=3 solutions) that we would have if we had gone one way or the other (OR thinking).
For those of you of a certain age, you will likely remember the Miller Lite commercials that used to play during every sports broadcast in the late 80s/early 90s. A bar full of rowdy sports fans would line up on either side of a room and argue about why they loved Miller Lite. Tastes Great!! Less Filling!! By the end of the commercial the narrator tries to convince the viewer that Miller Lite tastes great AND is less filling. For those of you that are too young or have forgotten these classic commercials, click here to watch one.
So, the next time you are faced with what appears to be two (or more) options that are at odds with each other, grab a Miller Lite (either literally or metaphorically depending on where you are and your company policies on alcohol) and see if you can find the “AND”.
How have you found greater results or benefits from “AND” thinking with your team? Please share your thought and experiences in the comments section below.
Despite my suggestion above that you try to find the “AND: solution, I am still a firm believer in the old adage of Good, Fast and Cheap, pick two. I don’t think there are realistic “AND” solutions to all three options yet, at least not in our business.