The Transformational Power of the Both/And Principle!

How do you leverage the power of the Both/And Principle today?How do you leverage the power of the Both/And Principle today?

You have older technologies that are working well for you today. You discover there is a new capability that could disrupt and transform your markets very quickly. What do you do? This is a great time to employ the Both/And principle in your business!

My favorite tool when helping clients become more innovative is the Both/And principle. Dan Burrus shared this unique concept many years ago and it’s been transforming how companies approach technology adoption and market leadership. So, what is the Both/And principle?

The Both/And Principle allows you to continue using your legacy systems while also trying new technologies out in different areas to be certain that what you want to achieve can happen with these new technologies. The best news is that this approach can help your organization become better at change and transformation.

Here’s how I share it with clients.  Dan and I agree about how powerful the idea is and we both use it when working with clients. There is more about this in his upcoming book, The Anticipatory Organization, coming out next month. You might want to grab a copy before your competitors do!

The Both/And Principle allows us to maximize the impact of new technologies by removing the traditional either/or thinking from our business. Many business leaders believe it either this or that when deciding what their decision will be. Depending on their training, many executives are comfortable making decisions that are either yes or no.

Today’s quickly changing global market place is forcing organizations to become better at making multi-dimensional decision making. This means we may want to be more flexible when looking at our decisions. It could mean going from yes or no to yes, no, and partially. Try doing this with product engineers during their development processes and you’ll see what I mean.

I use at in brainstorming sessions with clients and their customers to help better understand the possibilities that exist before we go to market. It’s very easy to do. The Both/And Principle is a great tool to add to your brainstorming and strategy planning sessions,

Imagine you tell me that your next generation of software needs several key capabilities to compete with competitors’ products and services. Right now, this strategy will make you a fast follower. It’s a strategy that has worked for many organizations in the past.

I’m not so certain it will ensure success today. Things are changing very quickly. You may never catch up. Organizations want certainty when dealing with suppliers. They want your best ideas and strategies. The Both/And principle takes your team’s thinking to a whole different level. Both/ And elevates your team’s performance because it doesn’t settle for the easy answers or solutions.

Let’s consider a practical example of the Both/And principle at work. I recently got a home equity loan. I could complete the entire process online with Quicken Loans because they use electronic signatures as part of their loan process. They had their loan officer walk us through the whole process online. We could ask questions and get the deal done the first night.

They then could do a quick database search for comparable houses in our neighborhood. Now here’s where it gets interesting, they then could send an appraiser in our area out to look at our home. We live in the middle of Amish country. During the whole loan process, they used private message boards to communicate with all the interested parties. Not just a message board, but online chat inserted into phone calls when needed to prepare us for what’s coming next. Everyone knew where we were and how the process was going.

Finally, add the human element. We could set up the final meeting in person so that we could get our loan in record time. They were not limited by an either/or paradigm of how loans are made. They chose a Both/And principle when dealing with us.

How might you use Both/And to transform and accelerate your business? If you have questions, please feel free to give me a call and I could share several ideas that might help you build a stronger business. You will be amazed how this simple tool can transform how you see the world.

See you next week.


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